Posts Tagged priorities

Sunday Column (476)

We are getting closer to 500 Sunday Columns. That’s close to 520 weeks, which is close to….10 years Sunday Column blog posts. I love writing weekly, actually I journal daily and focus on what I like the best. I like to focus my energy on positive things and things I enjoy. As of my latest podcast, a healthy mind in a healthy body, positivity is key! See more below.

I have been asked in interviews what I have been doing since I left my last employer. Theoretically I just finished gardening leave. And I have discussed that with people too: looking for a job is a full time job. But me being me, I cannot just do that. I record podcasts, met coaches online, networking, speaking to people, advice companies and consult. I just said to my wife the other night, I am so super busy, what am I going to do when I actually get a full time job 🙂 And just on Friday I got another consulting work through, so yes, I am NOT sitting on the couch waiting for recruiters to call. I could wait a long time for that it seems at times.

When launching this week’s podcast, Pascal Finette, the downloads sky rocketed. An amazing guest and I want to have him back on my podcast. He is such an inspirational interview partner. As Pascal said, we are needing to focus on the bright spots in the world and the ones that drive us forward, not the black spots associated with failure. I am trying my hardest. I am entertaining, that’s how it seems, some opportunities for work, which I know will not result in bright spots, yet they keep up morale. And every opportunity is learning. For some I am too sales lead, for others I am too operational. You cannot win, no matter how much you explain what you have done, it comes down to personal connection and chemistry. I am doing well though, and I am sure things will work out in the end. They always will. It is an up and down, and I want to be honest, the market only picked up mid January, so all I am really looking at is 4 weeks of job hunt. I am doing well for that. Keep your fingers crossed. As above, it’s not that I am not busy.

This week, I heard a sad story from a friend of mine, which puts a job search into perspective. It puts life into perspective and sometimes makes your think why we doing what we are doing. Life ain’t fair, and sometimes it is hard to believe that things will happen for a reason. But they do and the dots will connect moving forward. Trust in the greater universe. But they might just not connect in the way you expect them to. Funny isn’t that? Actually on Saturday morning I had a thought whilst meditating that put life into perspective once again. About energy fields and love – that’s really what connects us humans, and some are better at that than others. I need to give it more thoughts but honestly, Jung’s theory around the collective unconsciousness makes a lot of sense to me. Maybe my next book will be more philosophical. What is life all about? Who determines ‘success in life’? I love that research and part of it is of course my podcast.

Whilst naturally my job hunt dominates my life, there is more to it. My boys and time spend with them. This weekend was my 7th year old’s birthday. Mighty proud he was, and should be. He is super sweet and I couldn’t cuddle him enough, the innocence and heart warming stories he tells me and the things we make up as we go along. Teaching him about life and watching him just now, this moment of writing, warming up in Karate. He has his whole life ahead of him, curious and driven to learn. It is the best thing in the world, no matter how tiring and annoying kids can be at times 😉

I remember as if it was yesterday that I was speaking to the nurse who delivered him. And whilst my wife was about to go into the delivery room, I was still on the phone with my former boss about priorities of hiring a Sales Director. Full on and committed in a start up. Only 7 years ago. I have done a fair share of ‘sleeping under the desk’ within a start up and sacrificing my family life for the sake of companies. And, I would do it again. Yet as I get older I wonder if it is too much to ask to just have a ‘normal job’, which I appreciate doesn’t really exist. What is normal these days. But I am drifting into work stories again. Also, I am not that old yet, and there is still a LOT of fire burning in my belly. One is for a job opportunity I am waiting to hear, which would allow me to do something I have done in the past, but this time I could apply a lot more learning and it would accelerate things. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, there are other interesting opportunities I found out this week too. Sitting tight was the advice from a good friend and mentor this week.

It is funny how work is always a major part of ones life until work becomes something pleasurable to do and you hardly notice it. Not sure this make sense. And yet I wouldn’t do anything different if I had to start again. Or would I? My first podcast host mentioned that when you leave university, you should try to work for a big name in the industry. Funny that my first two jobs were with big names and I didn’t even plan it. It didn’t help so far. However, the dots will connect looking backwards. They will. I cannot wait to discover it all.

Anyway, a clip-and-climb afternoon at the local leisure centre followed by a night at the Indian. For someone who isn’t too keen on food, he loved the experience. But experience is all what it is about and that really means, and that means being around and spend time with your first priority. And that is always your family, the work life balance, the life balance, needs to be set right. I can do that. Never ever did I have so much time to focus on my most important things in life. I feel blessed, almost too blessed sometimes. I will look back in years to come to realise which opportunity I had. I might have missed some of it too. But I won’t know until I start looking back. Hindsight in life, isn’t it?

As of my meditation above, I thought of my grandparents this week. Partly because it was my dad’s birthday too, but also because Rohan asked me how my granddad died. And that’s when I remember sitting with my grandma, the summer of 2002, I just had lived a year in the UK, when I came back to my granddad’s funeral and an internship for the summer. I remember the emotions and love and discussions we had, sitting in the shade on their balcony. When you feel that deep connection with someone, this inner bond, the energy flow – that special feeling, then try to hold on to it. Be there in the moment and let go of everything else. It is called love. Don’t ignore it. There is nothing wrong with having bonds with people through positive energy.

Have a fantastic week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (472)

Another week in January, already half way through the first month. I started writing this early in the week. I have a new creative outburst this year it seems, e.g. I love putting thoughts into writing and talking (see last week’s post with the info on my podcast Stories Of Success). And I am proud to announce that the first (solo) episode went live this week. Check it out. Also, I conducted first interviews which, post production, will be published over the forthcoming weeks. This has been fun and and exciting.

Not sure I mentioned this before, but on weekends, as you would, time is reserved for the family. That is very important for me, as normally I am not around that much during the week. Having said that, I truly enjoy the school runs at the moment, however it seems that whilst this week was still quieter than anticipated, my diary is filling up for the next weeks. Fingers crossed to get back into the ring and get some, even if temporary work. I am starting to go stir crazy 🙁

Anyway, on Saturdays for instance, I love getting a lie in (that means 7 am for me at the latest) and then have breakfast with the boys who are usually up at that time, before taking the youngest to Karate. When I was a child I wanted to do Judo. Mainly because a friend of mine did Judo. Years later I got into Tai Chi and loved it, and think that hindsight I would have benefited from learning a martial arts when I was younger. If I say it wasn’t done in those days, I would be lying. Everything was done, but a lot of things you did were more conventional, not exotic, and martial arts were probably seen as exotic.

As I describe in my podcast, I used to think a lot about what others thought, and that’s probably down to the way I was brought up. That has changed, and when my boy decided to take up martial arts, I would get up at 3 am at the weekend to make it happen. There are always excuses, unless you just move forward and do it. To conquer a fear or an imagined fear. No one really cares what you look like or if you do one thing or another, and you shouldn’t really care if they approve or not. Who are those people that think they can approve or disapprove what you do with your life? That’s the same with a lot of topics, the immediate one I can think of is your sexuality. You shouldn’t worry if you are gay for instance, and neither do I. Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been the case in our society, and neither was it common place to do martial arts. Life is changing for the better. Just see the #metoo campaign lately. Rant over 😉

You know that I have been looking for a job. No news yet, and I believe it will take another few weeks to be honest. I am not very good at sitting at home doing nothing, and until you know what project you do next, you are a bit restless. Potentially I might sign a short term contract as a consultant, yet it is about the bigger picture, the long term perspective. And there are plans, as always.

There is a thought of moving out of advertising technologies (adtech) industry and move to a different industry. Discussing that with a friend this week showed that I am not the only one 🙂 As a matter of fact most people I speak to think about it. That’s never a good sign, is it? I don’t yet have to make a decision on anything but I have been thinking about that for the past weeks. Adtech has been good to me, and I have been working in it for over ten years, pioneering some of the stuff we are taking for granted and yet still, people make it sound complicated. I love my mates in the industry and it is a fun and dynamic industry too. I speak to more and more people recently that are fed up of people who made it to the top and don’t have a clue about what’s happening. The industry is due a change in 2018, and I won’t bore you with the details here, but I believe that a big change is going to happen. The old model and set up of agencies specialising in different discplines and consultancies being specialist in some aspects of it, won’t work. I see them two joining together, delivering strategy and execution at the same time. What that means is that agencies will become more strategic with clients across the board, not only around media and creative, and consultancies becoming more hands-on with delivery and execution.

Adtech will be at the heart of this merging with Martech. Martech will just become part of an overall technology stack, software essentially. Whilst this transformation will still take 3-5 years, there will be lots of turmoil. M&A will fuel all that and big telecoms will buy those technologies, ending up with a few original adtech players like Google but also telecoms being the owner of technologies. I am excited for that industry and love it. However, being in the middle of it won’t be too much fun, as something will have to give, and quite frankly, I could do with a bit more stability in life on the job front, in order to focus more of my spare time on my number one priority: family and kids.

Now don’t get this as a too negative notion on adtech. I am still speaking to a few companies in adtech and some have some smart solutions. Just this week I spoke to an interesting company which has a niche solution delivering incremental ROI. That is so cool! That’s when I get still excited. And yes, likelihood is I am back in adtech before we know it, but let’s also be honest and watch the space as it is changing.

So, that’s all from me folks. More news next week.
Volker

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Sunday Column (471)

One week into the New Year. So what are your New Year resolutions? Oh, and before I forget, Happy New Year to all my readers. It was nice to hear some positive feedback from a ‘Northern’ reader this week (shout out to you mate) which I much appreciate. I really enjoy getting feedback, so please reach out and let me know what you think. Thanks!

Socialmedia allows us to reach out to a mass of contacts easily on New Years’s Eve to wish people a Happy New Year. Less of a personal touch and a lot easier than trying to phone people when lines are busy. You remember that, trying to send a text message on NYE a few years back. And the network was down or you didn’t have reception? How times have changed, and technology too. However, it is nice to see what everyone is up to and reflects upon and of course, is looking forward to this year. More about networking below.

Next is my podcast, like an audio blog really. The website went live this week: Stories Of Success. I hope to have the first couple of recordings by this time next week and push out a first episode the week after. I am excited and scared at the same time. You will hear it in the first few episodes I am sure, but it is so much fun creating something, that in my mind, will add value to the listeners. Here is to 2018, to new opportunities and new ideas.

What are your plans? What are your Stories Of Success you want to write?

Btw, if you think you are successful or if you know of someone who is, and you think that person should be on my podcast, please come forward and let me know. Any help or referral is appreciated and paid for by beers….see more about that later. Another cry for feedback today, so yes, I’d love to hear from you.

I have been thinking hard to define my top three goals for the year. Actually, they are quite simple for 2018.

Firstly, I would like a new job. This could be on a contract basis, however my main focus is to settle in a more secure job for the next 3-5 years, a job I like and a job that takes my career forward. I started to speak to a couple companies within and outside my current industry and hope that soon I’ll find my new challenge for 2018 and beyond. After all, my main responsibility at the moment is my family, bills to pay, mortgage to pay and to provide security.
My ask to you: if you know of anyone looking for an experienced commercial person, please get in touch.

On that note, I reached out to recruiters and my network this week, and I appreciate that a lot of people aren’t really back at work until next week. However, the response I got so far was overwhelming. Not only did I get a lot of positive replies but people also offered their help. It is so nice to see that people care. And, if you are in a similar position and need help, you know that you can always reach out to me and ask me for advice, introductions etc. I love helping, and I appreciate help. Thank you all for your kindness.

Secondly, and aligning with the first goal, is focus. If I didn’t learn anything else from 2017 from my manager or from my 6 weeks brainstorming and reflection at the end of last year, but to have focus. My focus is clearer than ever, focusing on values around family, stability, security and a happy, healthy life. On the back of that, there are values like career advancement, progression and success. Those values will gain more focus in 2018 as I make them more of a priority than I have done in 2017. But matching my life style and career to the values is key.

Thirdly, my passion for personal development needs to have a clearer form and shape. What I mean by that is that launching my podcast is the beginning of a new journey. Once the first episode is uploaded, I will make sure to let you know. I am excited to interview people who have been successful and uncover their secrets for you to apply their ‘secret sauce’ to your life.

As every year, we were looking to have a dry January. And, similar to most years, I probably stopped it by the time you are reading this. Yes, I was planning 2 weeks really, but as the days are so dark and cold, and the fire is on… so don’t worry, I will be up for pints if you are 🙂

A week off the booze is enough to detox. The idea is more about having less booze overall. Having had plenty of conversations with people over the past few weeks, I don’t drink more than average (defined by my benchmark of course) and well within the norm. Moderation, as always, is key. This of course goes in line with a new exercise routine (less is more = moderation) and focus around a healthier life style. The amount of crisps and junk food I ate over the past six weeks has been fun but awful at the same time. Oh and don’t forget all that cheese 😉

So this concludes my thoughts for 2018.

I wish you and your family a healthy, prosperous and happy 2018.

All the best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (423)

Loads happening this week. Late nights working, getting my feet under the table, early morning runs and getting stuff done. Yes, I had a fantastic week. Busy busy but also demanding and tiring. All good, all happening. I am enjoying myself!

My highlight, clearly 🙂 , was an unexpected meeting with my old ‘boss’. I haven’t seen him for 10+ months, he was in town, and we discussed life, work and what it is worth living for. It wasn’t all sentimental, but it was. A great mentor and friend, it was so good to see him again. I know you are reading that, and hope to meet up again soon. Good to see you!

My lowlight on the other hand was the whole story around Trump. I guess that was everybody’s lowlight, no? Segmenting people because of religious belief, origin or maybe even colour of skin? I thought human kind, being German in particular, passed that stage. I don’t want a 4th Reich, another Fuehrer that ends up causing a world war. Peter Maffay, a German (refugee from Romania btw), sang in his song “It’s time” about signals show red, the piper leads you to death, it’s time to realise and look around you, all signs point towards war. I don’t want a 4th Reich, no destruction and war. I freely translated this and think it is so valid, given it was written a while back. Why….why would anyone do what Trump set out to do? I see danger ahead. I feel fear. Yet I also feel encouraged that the supreme court in the US is stepping in and ruling above the president. That’s how democracy should work, similar to the UK re Brexit. Even if the outcome doesn’t change in this instance, we have tried to make sure we are holding up our values of democracy. Yet what the US government is trying just seems to utterly wrong.

On another note, the train services are back to normal and more reliable. One day of delays but particularly evening services are going ok. It is nice to relax a bit more about getting home. Particularly when the weather is wet, cold and you just come from the pub 😉 On the note of weather, my cold didn’t allow me to train as hard as I wanted to this week. I cannot wait for the weather to warm up a bit and me hitting the gym harder again. And I got outdoor, muddy weather, running shoes. I cannot wait to try those bad boys out either. It’s going to be a fun year in terms of exercise I think. Not sure what I plan besides the 24 hour race… but time will tell.

My biggest compliment this week: I am happy, said the wife. She has done well to get a job, so things are falling into place. We renewed our mortgage for the next 5 year on a good rate and we are sorting some other bits out. Winning I think. At least from our perspective. We are happy as a family, and love where we are living. I managed to spend some time with the kids this week, yet R was ill and it was a bit difficult around that. But we managed in the interest of all of us. I couldn’t be more on top of the world at the moment.

I also listened to Kara Swisher being interviewed by Tim Ferris. She mentioned that one of her regrets, if I didn’t misheard, was that she wasn’t as passionate about her kids/family as she was with her job. I am not sure if I am similar. I love my kids to bits, so does Kara, yet we sometimes put work first, and this isn’t right. And it is difficult to understand or for anyone to accept unless you feel similar. I know a few people like that, and it doesn’t mean they do not love their kids, it is more about being so driven in a job, that it seems to overtake everything else sometimes. It is as if you were as passionate about your kids and could spend 50 hours a week with them, it would be awesome too. But we seem to enjoy the work we are doing, and it ultimately benefits the family and kids too. I will be working on that, improve on it, being more mindful. It isn’t a bad thing, it is a thought of priority and passion. And passion is there, priority is difficult sometimes. I am on it.

And on that not, there is nothing like getting this 2 minute hug from your youngest in the morning before going to work. To chat with your 7 year old about how he solved the Rubix cube. To see them succeed and better what we never achieved. You want them to win, be part of what they do. That ignites my passion. I often think of them during the day, what they would be up to in school and what would they be playing just now. And I trust them being young intelligent human beings, making their own decisions. They are growing up far too quickly.

I cannot wait to take them to my new office. To show them around the free snacks area 🙂 To let them draw on the whiteboard wall (paint) in the board room and look at all the goodies we have. They will just love it. Half term is near! I want them to be involved in what I do as I am getting more involved in what they do.

Life is good. I am happy and content and feel like things have just began.

From my little corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday column (175)

This week was quite rainy again. I suppose we haven’t had much of a summer this year. So in all honesty I didn’t mind visiting our Milanese office on Tuesday for a day to tank some sun and of course taking the team out for lunch and having a very important meeting (you notice the order 🙂 ). Those day trips are bearable and travelling wise it is almost like going into London. I am up a bit earlier and home a tad later. I don’t mind though.

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Travelling is one of those things. The train didn’t leave early enough for me to get to the airport. So I had to take a taxi. Then flying back it is quite a train trip to get to the Milan airport. Not that it isn’t at all manageable, I have done it many times before. As mentioned last week I shouldn’t worry about flying. But you still do when you turn left and right flying above the Alps. But it is a stunning view.

Village life continues to treat us well. We finalised the plan on what we are going to do for now, then decide where we set the next priorities without stretching our budget. Our garage door arrived already. Next week we get the asbestos removed. Then the garage ceiling re-instated and hopefully the last boxes unpacked. The wardrobe is ordered. The spare bedroom finished for now and my parents were here to help in the garden and the house. It helps to have a helping hand: or four for that matter. The kids’ bedrooms are done and the new garden shed can arrive too. We also found some cat remains. Bones and very smelly rotten flesh with red fur. Not great.

Our parents brought us a height adjustable desk so that at least at home I can work standing up. I am loving it ever since HP gave me such a desk when I did an internship back in 2000.

Also we got our first fish. The aquarium we got last week has the right water temperature, bacteria and chemical mix in order to host our first fish. Colin is very excited about it. I think I got myself a new hobby with the fish tank, which I already started to enjoy.

A few more sentences to priorities in life. I still very much enjoy working and running the teams I do. I love continuing my career. However, having those long commutes makes me realise how much admin I can do on the road, writing emails, following up on things. I can focus on getting work done on the road, coming home both free of work and leaving work behind. It is like the commute gives me a barrier; I get off the train and unless something important is happening, I am offline, with the family (if the kids are still awake when I get home), do my own stuff, feed the fish, or speak to my wife (yes, that still happens). My work life balance increased massively without compromising on work. I am very chuffed about that. Just the old dilemma: one leaves on time at work and it looks like you slack off. But that’s not the case.

A few more words about my exercise progress. After I spend a lot of time and effort removing a bamboo root in the garden last weekend, I pulled a tendon in my leg. Not ideal, and I cut down on the exercise this week. I hope it is better next week so I can focus on my weight loss even further. I slowly move into the two digit kilogram figures, so doing ok. Once I got my weight bench I should shed more pounds more quickly.

Enough about that, I feel like my life is on track. Some things need time to sort and some have improved a lot since moving. I focus on the important things and only lack sleep and time. Again, this is just something to get used to I suppose.

Hope you have a great week.

Best,
Volker

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