Posts Tagged prioritisation

Success Stories – first quarter summary.

Dear listener (and readers of course),

You have been likely to listen to my podcast Stories of Success over the last few months. I have been going for 3 months now, and I figured it was time to write up a solo episode which I then decided to put into writing rather than ‘reading it out’ or podcasting it. Again, thank you for staying with me over the first quarter and we have some existing guests coming in Q2 this year. Please rate my podcast if you like it and also, please subscribe on your favourite podcast outlet, as this will help me to increase my fellowship and amount of listeners.

I started the podcast in January to explore how some of my friends are successful, some aren’t as much and what it takes for some of my mentors and industry leaders to climb up the career ladder. This was triggered by a) me looking for a job and looking for inspiration but b) also to build more of an expertise of what it takes to coach people to become (more) successful. So a lot of my learning is based on their learning and experience. Naturally, as it is in adtech, we are a male dominated industry which sees a lot of male leadership. However, I have since managed to get a few women onto the podcast and there are many more to come. Also I have been venturing outside the industry a bit. It is and has been an exciting journey with me having a lot of fun recording the podcasts, meeting new people and digging deep into principles and habits. Thanks for sharing your stories! I appreciate my guests’ time and effort and patience.

What are the main learnings? I think the main learning for me is that most of the successful entrepreneurs and leaders aren’t feeling successful because they earned money. Money seems to be more of a measurement of success in the USA, whilst overall for most interviewees success is all about achieving a goal, being on the journey of achieving things and ideally making the world a better place. Making that famous ‘dent in the universe’ Steve Jobs spoke about, and money usually follows. Follow your passion of being in the moment, create experience with others, and help others achieve their goals. Rise with the tide and lead from the front. Success as a term seems to be very objective, and further is not really the same as happiness.

Is it that simple?

Yes, as a summary maybe. It is also about a lot of hard work and clear cut prioritisation. On the back of that, work life balance seems to be key for most Europeans, and a key part of the success story. From what I gathered, this is because you work very hard, you sometimes neglect the family a bit, but you will make up for it as and when you can. And sometimes that means to put family first, and turn off emails or calls for a while. That is dedication on both ends, and a bit ‘black and white’. Preparation and being thorough is key too – whether that is to prepare a board and investor meeting or just to organise your thoughts. The focus on the bright sparks in your brain that move you forward, focusing on positivity rather than negativity.

Not that I want to quote Steve Jobs too much, but a lot of the success is due to serendipity, and that means, that the ‘dots connect looking backwards’. Being at the right place at the right time – but how do you know? You don’t until you had the success or you are on your journey of achievement.

We also spoke a lot with my guests about routines and habits. I have, as most of you know, a 5 am routine. That means for me to get up at 5 am, exercise for about an hour, meditate, shower, breakfast, out of the door. That’s what works for me, and it wouldn’t work for everyone. But I noticed that a few of the guests I interviewed had a morning routine, to achieve something before everyone else does; or you had, similar to myself, a journaling routine, a planning routine or to take time off on a regular basis to do what David Allen would call a ‘brain drain’. And those habits are sacred, and from what I learned more instilled in men than women, given the way our brains work. However, I have heard of fantastic morning routines from females, so not all black and white after all.

Meditation is a common theme and really relaxing and focusing on things outside work, which could be reading or building models, or just family as of above. It is the focus and drive, the razor sharp prioritisation of the right things that make the difference. The yin and yang of work and life.

Another topic and theme I explored was upbringing. You would expect upbringing having a huge impact on your life. Whether an entrepreneurial family breeds an entrepreneur or quotes and mantras instilled into you from a young age. Or the influences you had from a cultural point of view. A lot of success is related to self awareness, being emotional intelligent (EQ). In contrast to that I found that the connection across the globe was mentioned and people being more connected through smart phones and social media. That in return leads to loneliness and as one guest (episode with Chris) pointed out a higher suicide rate. Is greate connectivity really leading to more loneliness? This is an area I would like to explore more, yet it is a bit outside the scope of a success podcast, more of a view on the social development of the world. I do have an opinion on that of course but maybe that’s for another time. We often drifted into different topics and got philosophical, which I found interesting and the listeners appreciated from what I heard.

And as we found more and more philosophical terms and discussions, we learned about visualisation and how there seems more energy in America to push things forward. The law of attraction (LOA) was discussed without many using the term of it. The visualisation of what is going to happen and how life will plan out. However, some cultures hold themselves back or express their energy in a different way. But we all move towards the same connectedness and realise the potential of coming closer together. Like failure used to be a stigma in the German culture but now is more and more recognise to lead to success – as long as you learn from failure I suppose. The more mistakes you make, the more you avoid those same mistakes in the future.

Another trend I noticed is that we find more coaches and mentors being present in the Anglo-Saxon world (US/UK culture) and this is a trend that continues into the rest of the world. To have someone you can trust with anything, you can share your fears with and also to speak to like a mother or father. But someone who understands the corporate world and the values that are important to you. They are helping with being persistent, with helping to move forward. I do this coaching too, so if anyone has an interest in that, please feel free to reach out. Nothing like someone that can help you develop and understand the situation you are in. Someone you can trust.

Yes, as we are looking at some of the key drivers above, we notice one more theme: don’t take yourself too seriously and make time for a laugh with friends. Life isn’t all work. Play it well.

I am looking back at an intense and amazing quarter of podcasts and discussions around success. Some philosophical, some flowing, some less flowing conversations. Some I listened in awe, others I got right in. It has been a lot of fun, so thank you for your time and input.

Please if you get a chance, subscribe to my podcast on your favourite podcast outlet, and please rate me 5 stars if you think I deserve it of course. If you can share this post or the podcast with friends, that would help me too. This project is going to continue for the foreseeable future and please let me know who else I should have telling me their Story of Success.

If you are looking for the books that have been recommended on the podcast, please got to my recommendations page.

Thanks for listening, and please leave me feedback (just email me)
Volker

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (269)

Oh yes. I started writing this post early in the week, as I normally do. For the first time in many years I had a good wash rather than a hot shower, however the boiler has now been fixed and we are back to modern times. A weekend passed at which we had a family bath: hot water and one by one got a turn. Youngest last. I also spent a lot of time trying the best method on how to make fire. This should be an instinct to men really, yet we are not living in a cave any longer.

20140428-090909.jpg

Someone suggested we should put a fire guard on the wall for the boys to stop playing with it. The thought never crossed my mind tbh, as the stove is that hot and we explain at length not to touch it. Actually, I showed Colin how to use matches and when we get our axe, he will learn how to split wood. Others might disagree. When I grew up I was so scared of fire but at the same time so curious. I made loads of them. On a building site across the road I set paper on fire, lying awake all night being scared the fire was out, and as it was forbidden, and I didn’t have any experience, I was scared to talk to anyone about it.

Education is key. Kids will be kids and they will play with fire, or will try cigarettes, or beer when they are under age. Of course the impact of fire can be horrendous yet I am a strong believer that they need to learn. And I don’t let them light the fire or move hot logs, open the door or leave matches lying around.

Whilst I am of course justifying myself here, I am also thinking of something else: the influence and comment on social media, which is to no offence to the above. I just read a chapter on productivity suggesting we are wasting a lot of time and listen to a lot of noise. This is certainly true, yet over the past three month I improved on a few things.

Firstly I don’t check my social media or emails at the weekend that often anymore. I am deliberately tuning out, also making it less of a habit during the week. Working in the space will certainly mean to not being able to completely stop checking in, tweeting or updating Facebook, but I am getting a lot more selective. Feedly is also being reduced again massively.

The reason is time. Learning how to organise, prioritising and making sure you put important things first, shows you how much time you waste, trying to be up to date on everything that happens. That in return means you might never really focus on the things that are important or important to you. A simple learning in time of information overload, learning to filter the information we get.

20140428-091028.jpg

Then there was my birthday. Nothing of overly importance and just a step closer to 40. Not there yet though. My wife treated me to a few goodies which was very nice and kind.

However the best birthday present came this weekend: a new couch and arm chairs. We now got our living room back. Less echo in the place, a place to come home to. A kitchen work top. A new espresso machine, furniture back in place and our spare bedroom back to how it should be. Yes, we finally finished the place. Still some smaller. It’s to arrive but the majority is done. Thank god!

The laptop replacement arrived and seems to be working fine. The boiler works. The aerial got repaired. I think it is all done now…fingers crossed.

I will post some impressions later in the week, just to give you the heads up on what changed. For now I am getting over the last symptoms of a heavy cough I had this week. I went to work on Thursday and coughed from train to conference to office until I decided to best go home. No sleep etc. but hey, you only get that when you have kids 🙂

I am better now.
Things will be ok.

Have a great week,
Volker

, , , ,

1 Comment