Tag: Personal Development

Buddhism – Inner Dimensions & Spiritual Revolution

As this month I will not arouse myself with alcohol, I hope to be able to write a few more posts, particularly about Buddhism. Let us look at the following quote from the Dalai Lama:

Our problems, both those we experience externally such as wars, crime and violence and those we experience internally as emotional and psychological suffering will not be solved until we address this underlying neglect of our inner dimension. That is why the great movements of the last hundred years and more–democracy, liberalism, socialism, and Communism–have all failed to deliver the universal benefits they were supposed to provide, despite many wonderful ideas. A revolution is called for, certainly, but not a political, an economic, or a technical revolution. We have had enough experience of these during the past century to know that a purely external approach will not suffice. What I propose is a spiritual revolution.

– His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I highlighted in bold a few points:

a) address the underlying neglect of our inner dimension
b) failed to deliver (referring to the outer dimension)
c) spiritual revolution

Only a spiritual revolution will be able to address whatever is bugging you inside. b) and c) state the obvious. If it is politics or if it is personal circumstances, an outer dimension will not make you happy inside. This could be a job, a marriage, possessions or plain money. Nothing will be able to be put upon us that makes us happy and find inner peace but the spiritual revolution.

Of course you can think of the “spiritual revolution” in many terms. But what is the Dalai Lama wanting to say?

Let’s look at a), the underlying neglect of our inner dimension. As long as we, unconsciously or consciously, fight an inner dimension, then we will not be able to be happy. Why is that?

We need to be able to have inner peace. Only with inner peace we are able to develop our spirituality. By overcoming obstacles that we have inside us, and those can be anything from challenges in our job, our relationship or in daily communications, we will not get the inner peace.

Those of you that are working in personal development will know what I am talking about. How often have you had clients that fight the same situation over and over again. With their 3rd employer the same problem as with the 1st, the 4th wife having the same problem as the previous three. No, the problem is inside you! Stop neglecting your inner dimension and focus on the problem inside you. Only by overcoming your inner problem you are able to move on.

Buddhism theories go as far as suggesting that we live in samsara until we overcome all those issues, all personal problems that hold us back, in order to gain enlightenment. And, in order to do so, don’t rely on the outer dimensions but the spiritual revolution.

Buddha bless.

With Love and Kindness,
Volker

Buddhism – being busy

I get a daily newsletter with Buddhist quotes. Hence I like to collect the most inspiring ones and put them in my blog. Similar to what I did with Balamadana back in the days.

Most quotes have been in my draft folder for a few months, if not years. So here we go with one:

How very happily we live, free from busyness among those who are busy. Among busy people, free from busyness we dwell.

– Dhammapada, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Now I recently couldn’t travel due to the sickness of my children. However, as I had holidays booked, I just ended up with two and a half days without any plans whatsoever but helping my wife and spending time (!) with my kids.

Time. Free time is almost unheard of. We all work a lot, normally 9 to 5.30, often to 6.30 and most often much longer. We are people that enjoy working (and I speak about people like myself), and we should probably or most certainly take a day off. Or compensate for over time. Not because we don’t value time at work or because it might be our right to do so. No, we should take time off because we need to.

We need to relax, unwind and take time for ourselves. Children really help you to de-stress and relax when they are in good form. Of course they can be awful, ill or very annoying at times, but the majority of the time you spend with them, it takes you back to “point zero“. You relax. You see the world with their eyes, more relaxed, more simplistic. It is great to unwind.

You become more productive if you are sitting down and unwind. Taking a break at work helps you to increase your productivity. Employers start realising that.

So as a self conscious Buddhist, someone who is at ease with him/herself, you should be able to have a calm and relaxed mind. A mind like water, being focused and concentrated whilst you ignore the busyness going on around you. You are the rock. You are the one that stays relaxed, not being bothered by what the environment tries to put upon you.

It takes a lot of practise but it is possible. You decide! You are in charge of your destiny and the way you live your life. Take charge.

Sunday Column (68)

Another Sunday, another week. I updated my URLs, I made huge progress at work, and I managed to get myself in order for personal development. Nope, I won’t go into detail but I am making progress across the board. Striving for perfection πŸ™‚

This week was busy, no doubt. Monday started with a proper day back in the office after being out and about for over a week. So after a good catch up and sorting out some admin stuff, I managed to see our new office on Tuesday. I am very excited to move into the new place. My new staff and I measured the place and made plans, still not being able to decide on the right “coffee maker” – difficult decisions ahead. We are moving on the 1st of July πŸ˜‰

Now, I guess the highlight of the week was yesterday. Colin’s first birthday. We were hoping to get everyone together in the park for a picnic, but the weather was miserable. My wife managed to entertain all mums & babies on Friday, and we did the “rest” together on Saturday. It was good to see the godparents and friends being there. Colin now waves, laughs, claps his hands and of course gets stubborn too. Oh dear, the joys of being a parent. Unfortunately I don’t see him every night but trying to make an effort to see him at least two nights a week, bath him and put him to bed.

His first birthday, which was overshadowed by him having a rash, also marked the 2nd anniversary of us moving into Allen Road. Today I bought our 3rd toilet seat, I think the only thing that I have replaced on a regular basis since we moved in. The last one only lasted 6 weeks πŸ™ Maybe there is something….. – nope, I won’t go into that at all.

Now, I have another busy week ahead, just finished off some unfinished business, and hope to spend the rest of the afternoon watching Germany win the football. I cannot support England after such a poor performance yesterday, can I? Then again, I don’t really care.

Have a good one,
Volker

Sunday Column (40)

Yes, this week was quieter than expected. However, this has been my happiest week for a long time. Really since February if you exclude my two weeks paternity leave this summer.

Monday kicked off with lots of meetings. Caught up with good friends and interesting partners which hopefully leads to more business soon. The same really happened on Wednesday, another busy day. Also had to go to the dentist which resulted in us buying a new toothbrush, an electric one: Oral B Professional Care 3000. Not only do we get the “dentist feeling”, which I am not sure about whether that is a good or bad thing, but we also get a polishing function. Wednesday ended with a networking event on Search Marketing organised by the great guys from NMA. Thanks again for a great night.

Thursday I finished my Tai Chi form. Finally πŸ™‚ I only started Tai Chi in Beckenham this February. But, given the size of Bromley, we are not really many in our class. The Greenwich Tai Chi group allegedly is much bigger. Anyway, we finished the Hine Tai Chi long form in less than a year. Now it will take probably another 10 years to perfect it……

Friday I set up a PPC (pay per click) campaign for cb consulting. As you know, besides my main job, I am offering coaching and consulting services, mainly focusing on inbound marketing for start ups in London. But also, I am focusing on youth and career coaching. A friend asked me for some help, so I thought I try out some Google Adwords campaigns myself before spending money for someone else πŸ™‚

I often get asked how I have so much time. But, often all my posts are written during the weekend, and I try to do them outside the “Colin time”. This way they just get published during the week and don’t take up much time.

The weekend was great too. I booked 2 days holidays Monday and Tuesday, so we went away over the weekend. We visited friends in Raleigh in Essex, and also went to Leigh on Sea, a small fishing village. It was a beautiful but windy and cold day. We really enjoyed our first night away with Colin who managed not too badly.


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So I am looking forward to two days off….. πŸ™‚

All the best,
Volker
….

Human Needs

This week I continued to listen to the mp3 of Anthony Robbins, and the six basic human needs:

1. Certainty/Comfort.
2. Variety.
3. Significance.
4. Connection/Love.
5. Growth.
6. Contribution.

Having worked with my coach for a few week, and had another coaching session this week, I realise that these basic six needs are very important. Let’s assume you are in a relationship, in a job, play chess in a club, or anything that is important to you, and none or only one or two of these needs are met. How long would you stay in that situation and not change it? And why?

For argument sake, you are in a relationship but your partner doesn’t give you security because s/he is going off to gamble the hard earned money. Then s/he doesn’t’ show any love or connection to you and your kids, and you feel like you cannot grow or contribute to the situation at home. As Anthony would put it, the blueprint of your life of what you want to achieve and life itself are not equal. You are very unhappy.

Then this is the time for change! Change to either solve the situation if you can or get out of there. Find a situation that meets three or four of your basic human needs.

If you watched the video above you can see what I am talking about. It is just one of many videos on YouTube, so if you do a search for “Anthony Robbins” and “six human needs”, you should find answers to:

a) What is stopping us from having the life we want?

You ever tried to blame others for the situations you are in? It is my boss, it is the work environment, it is the commute, it is my neighbour, it is my wife/husband, ….. – there is only one person you have fully control over and that is YOU. You are the one that can change people, situations and of course yourself. You decide – have choice – to develop yourself the way you want. The answer for anything lies within you, something I try to explore with my blog on Buddhism and Management which is currently paused.

b) What is controlling and shaping your choices and emotions?

What is it you would like to achieve? Which pattern/behaviour do you have? How could you break it? Why do you do what you do? Look from the outside in and experiment what would be if you changed. Get a coach to do a time-line exercise to understand what you are looking for.

c) Why do we do the things we do if it is so easy to change?

This comes down to pattern, behaviour and routine. Don’t you get up every morning and have the same routine. And if something disturbs you in it, don’t you hate it? And, you cannot change any pattern without finding a substitution that meets the same needs.

Anthony says that if a habit or a pattern meets at least three needs it becomes an addiction – in a positive as well as a negative sense. If jogging or sports meet three needs then you might get addicted to sports, but if smoking gives you security, comfort and love as well as contribution to a social group, then this habit will be hard to break. So you need to find an alternative that meets exactly the same needs by doing something different!

Have a think about it and please leave a comment or contact me if you would like to find out more.

Why?

I have been digging around in personal development lately and have re-discovered Anthony Robbins. I gave him a miss a few years ago because I thought he is just a motivational speaker.

However, below is a nice video from him, and I believe he is a great source for coaching, life change and personal development.

Sunday Column (33)

Here we go again. Another week, another Sunday. I like writing these columns as it gives me some time to reflect on the week.

Monday: a client meeting, it was raining and I arrived there soaked. Met an ex-colleague and got some good gossip, and some good insight from a different perspective. Sometimes it is really good to just sit down and talk openly.

Tuesday: we had a workshop at work which worked out very well and I think we made a lot of progress, followed by a Wednesday where we had a great team night out. I really like the guys I am working with and it is great to see everyone working so hard to make things happen.

Thursday I went back to Tai Chi after a week’s break and enjoyed it a lot. And, before I knew it, it was Friday. Some positive comments from my boss which made me feel great. So the whole week ended on a positive note.

Saturday was divided into two – on the one hand I enjoyed myself and went for a massage. Stopped at McDonalds for a dirty breakfast, Starbucks for a coffee and read my FT. Me time, very enjoyable. Then, on the other hand, it was family day. I spent most of the day with the boy, went to Homebase to buy some plants and paint for the fence, and we had our neighbours over for a few drinks.

However, I am coming down with a cold AGAIN. Wonder if my immune system just decided to walk, or if it is the boy. They keep saying that you get ill more often having a baby, but he seems to be fine. I am off for 3 days next week, and don’t want to spend them all in bed.

Also, this week a friend’s nephew was killed in a car accident. It was one of those moments when you sit down and think “why am I going through all these things in life, hassle, work and stress when it can be over so quickly”. One of those moments when your life comes to a full stop and you reflect.

On Sunday my mother in law arrived. I haven’t seen her for a long time, so looking forward to spending a week with her.

There are many other things going on, which I don’t need to speak about: things like coaching and personal development. Also I am working on my cb consulting website. Would like to integrate some of the sites on this URL and also get some of the balamadana blog content here too.

I reviewed two more wines, so you will get a taste over the next 2 weeks. Will try to write more often, but seem to be busy with my job and the family. Both of which is enjoyable, but I need to work on a routine to fit things like my blog in again too.

Have a fantastic week!

work balance only?

Yes, you read correctly. There is a new approach David Allen, the GTD guy, wrote in his book “Making it all work“. Or maybe it is not a new approach but a different thinking I personally like.

He says pretty much to forget about a work life balance. David argues that people put too much emphasis and pressure trying to separate the two: work & life. He further says that the concept of balance is irrelevant as you only seem to focus on it when you don’t have it.

By just focusing on what you are doing that moment, trying not to count the minutes you play with your dog as supposed to type your article for the press, it gives you more energy. It is about living in the now and thinking about “What am I doing”, “What is next”. David says that the key element is to eliminate the distraction, whatever its source, and to have focused alignment in whatever you’re doing.

I find this approach quite right. If I worked for myself or at home and let’s say I have to go shopping, then I go shopping. In return, I work late at night catching up with my emails. Of course, some companies already offer that, and it is a common approach for some. And, I would not differentiate between my work and my private life.

By desperately trying to separate the two, e.g. working 9-5 in an office, then going home and not looking at any work related things at all, would put more pressure on me. Naturally I try to not think about work when home and not thinking about home when at work. Maybe the way I demonstrate it exaggerates things, but generally speaking, I agree to not separate the two.

Personally, I don’t mind having a day off but checking and in urgent cases responding to my emails, or even make a phone call. When I get home after work, I surely want to spend as much time as possible with my boy, then put him to bed. And, if there is important work, I might just work for another hour or so. In return, I would (and can) expect my employer to give me time if my child is ill and I have to work from home, or come in late as I need to go and see the doctor with him.

But, and that is the way I understand David Allen, people in general worry too much and think too much about the “what if” rather than “what’s next”. It is about productivity and about making the most of your time. If you are officially at work or at home or if you just in “your time”. And that is what counts.

Of course for blue collar workers that have more of a regulated, maybe even machine driven work pace, things are different as they cannot really do anything else whilst supervising a production line. And, whilst being at home, there might less work to be done. Work might not be as flexible.

Bottom line: Stop Worrying, and Start Living. Dale Carnegie wrote about that more than 60 years ago.

Stop being desperate about a balance between work and life. Treat all as life and organise yourself. From there, you will be productive: for work, for life, for yourself.

Hope that makes sense.

Coaching yourself

Not too long ago I wrote about career coaching in a recession. Now, things have changed a bit and I am revisiting some great coaching resources. Also, I should expand on the time line on when the coaching in a recession is most useful.

The question if you are in a situation, like I was many years ago, where you thought that nothing would move forward and your whole life is in shambles, you decide to coach yourself. Similar to Baron von Muenchausen who pulled himself out of the swamp.

muenchhausen

Ideally I have some partner coaches I work with at cb consulting but sometimes, for smaller things, and my own dream fulfillment, I work with myself a lot. You need to be your own coach and chose mentors to work with.

As a coach you are always a leader at the same time. Leadership consists of skill, knowledge and being able to provide examples. You just cannot coach people without identifying their problems, knowing what to do and giving examples of how other people have done it, or how things would be in a similar situation. So you become a role model for your clients by being a good coach and doing what you know and be the one you are.

This sounds a bit weird. Maybe I expand on this. If you know how to pull yourself out of the swamp like Muenchhausen, then you know how to pull other people out too. You need to be confident and do the same things that you would do with clients to yourself. And, when you build up the skills and knowledge, you are the example for your clients.

This is growing into the role of a coach. You live your values and become a role model to your clients.

You need to identify
– your identity: passion, vision, ethics and doing that by being curious and observing yourself
– relationships with others: be curious about them, build rapport and set the standard needed
– facts: understand the facts and be creative in your approach, building new models

Now, if we look at the above, I cannot help but thinking of my current job as a manager. I have been managing for quite some time, additional to my coaching – or vice versa if you like.
Being a good manager also means to be a good coach.

First you need to know where you stand and know what you want, represent, what your goals and objectives are and how you can fulfil your role. This is usually done during the decision making progress of choosing a new job. Once the job has been chosen, you identify your role in more detail and set up an action plan, targets, goals and objectives.

Secondly: you build rapport, relationship and be a role model for the people you manage. Set time aside each week, or every other week to discuss their role, their aims and their objectives. Make sure you understand what they want to achieve with their role, if they feel self confident in the role and how you can support them. Let them fail if you have to but don’t make them fail on purpose. Let them learn and give them guidance.

Thirdly keep yourself up to date. With your job, the industry, your contacts, your staff, staff morale, situations at work etc. Be the one you are and be informed about as much as possible. I am not referring to gossip but to a simple understanding of what is going on.

So from coaching yourself you can take the step to be a good manager and coach to your staff. A quality I find very essential for any manager. Develop your staff….but develop yourself first.

If you want more answers about coaching, please visit our website for Personal Development Coaching.

Island Theory – revisited

In May 2008 I published my essay “Island Theory. You can still download it on my website forpersonal development and coaching – cb consulting.

Over the last few months I was wondering how far this theory still holds up and whether it is in need for a re-vamp. I thought I try to summarise what I think the theory says.

1. We go from island to island and the more islands we have conquered, the more experience we have, the more tools we have, the easier the step from one island to another.
2. Islands can be parts of life, part of a year, part of a project or just the whole life.
3. Eventually you get to an island and you settle there. And, you can build upon your experience and build a nice big home.
4. You settle on an island and build bridges to other islands. You get people to connect to you.

So, based on this short essay and the major 4 points I would like to challenge the idea a bit. Lets say you have achieved a home, a house, the dream job and network of friends and family that connect to you. You are nesting and settling down. What would the next step be, and how likely are you to go back to the “unknown” waters and trying to find another island with a bigger nest, nicer friends etc….

The hunt for bigger, better, more expensive, more flash, more money and other materialistic values is a rat race we enter the moment we aim for a career. However, can modify this need and motivation and use it inwards!

What if we settle for “any” island and decide to be happy in this stage. We love our nest, our friends, our family and are happy with the shelter the island gives us from this evil water. And, if we don’t want to progress and find another island, we are happy to stay where we are.

I believe that is where the personal development thought from my Buddhist friend comes in. The idea of developing ourselves inside us. The personal development and focus on the inside of ourselves. What energy is left? What is deep inside us? How can we be sure that if we go somewhere else that it will be better? By focusing within us we don’t change our outer circumstance.

Volker is still Volker and still earns his money and still has his friends and drives his car etc. But, inside me, I can start changing myself. Using various coaching techniques, meditation, questioning and self development tools, I can change the Volker inside. I could make him stronger, more peaceful, more patient, more of an adult, more intellectual, more fun, more of anything I want to achieve. I could get him to stop smoking (I don’t smoke btw.), stop drinking, start meditating etc. – I decide what I do with myself. You decide what you want.

Now, strengthen yourself from within helps you to develop yourself. Now, using this inside to strengthen your outside: the nest, the bridges, the relationships – that is when the island theory becomes more interesting.

A year after the writing the theory I believe that at the early stage of personal development you are seeking new and exciting places. This is until you get to the place in your life – physical/non-physical – that allows you to settle down and focus more or solely on yourself, your inner person.

And, you should use all your energy to strengthen your inner self as one day you will eventually move beyond this island again. You might take your nest, most of your friends (particularly if you have now a stronger relationship with them) and move to a better island. One that might just fulfil a little bit more of your purposes, your luxury or your change of circumstances. Maybe an island you could not afford to live on a few years back. Or the one you used to live on a few years back to which you want to return. But this time it is not the tools that decide where you go but your inner self, your decision making progress. Because you have the tools, you only have to decide where to go.

So enjoy your peace and your situation you are in. Enjoy being with your friends and enjoy the shared love. And from there, make sure you work on yourself. Don’t rush, be patient. You will never be able to plan where you are going to go and when. But if the time is right, you are going to go and you want to be ready. It might not be far but it will be the place where you always wanted to be.

I hope this philosophical journey was helpful and made you think. Because most of what you need is already there. Inside you. Go and find it!

Have a great bank holiday weekend.

Love and Kindness,
Volker