Posts Tagged sadness

Sunday Column (439)

Hello friends. I noticed that, if I am awake early on Mondays, that this is good writing time. So I am on another flight. Just about 16 hours after I disembarked my last. Yet the last one was for fun. My wife took me to Edinburgh for the weekend. It was amazing. Not only did you not have to worry about the kids but could do all the grown up things kids are not interested in. Culture, sight seeing, castles and whisky tastings. Plus, my wife took me to a restaurant, allegedly the best one in Scotland, the Witchery, where I ate the best steak I ever had in my life (and I had a lot), and I discovered the most interesting and tasting Italian blue cheese I ever had too. What a great weekend. Thank you again.

Later in the week I got a belated birthday present. Two actually. One was the picture of a Buddha my youngest drew. I love it. I even got two copies, one for each office. How sweet is that? The other a book of pictures and quotes collected by my wife from my closest friends. It was very emotional to read the impact I can have on lifes. I love you too guys, and this is only the beginning. 40 is the time you turn up the heat, put your foot down and enjoy the wind in your hair. Because you can. Because you don’t know how much longer you can do it either.

So as I wander through the airport on Monday morning, I am tired. Of course I am. The cold I had is still lingering around. Maybe it is more of a hay fever. The weekend was exhausting. I am happy though and that’s what matters. I am trying to think how we best plan our holidays over the next year(s). Also, I am listening to my podcasts again. This time it is all about passion. That someone should not necessarily want to be like someone else, but everyone is an individual. Realising you don’t want to be Steve Jobs or Anthony Robbins is the first step to realise that you are not like them. As I have learned over the years, it is about what you can take from any of those individuals and how you can put it together to form your self. The podcast guest suggested that you shouldn’t quit your job and start working on your passion. A passion is still what you do in your own time. And if that takes off from a side project, so will be it. Those podcast paired with the book I am reading about evolutionary coaching just make a lot of things come together. What an amazing life we are living, and slowly it all seems to make sense. The dots are connecting more than ever before. Wow.

Discovering your passion as something like ‘helping others’ and ‘developing others’ is great. That’s what I did. And if you as a reader of this blog or someone reading my productivity book is interested in what my opinions are, then please share and get engaged. I am just someone with some strong opinions on certain topics. I believe I know how to set up a productive work life scenario and work efficiently for others. I believe I am mentally strong and have a good working routine. A routine that allows me to cope with the workload and life load. And whilst doing all that, I still have a lot of fun. I cannot see myself being the Jim Rohn or Darren Hardy or Anthony Robbins but I can envisage to offer seminars for lifes’ little tricks in years to come. Not in my 40ies though 😉 And one of the reasons is that once I stopped university, I started learning. Life experience, personal development books and so on. Experience of others that helps me to go through life. And that experience is something I’d like to pass on. But I am far from perfect and yet have many years of (life’s) training to come. Embracing this makes it even so exciting. Evolution at its best.

Bad news this week are coming from Manchester. A terrorist attack killed teenagers and hurt a lot of people. Terror at a ’teenager event’. 22 people died. A 22 year old was named by the police. I am speechless. Those kids had their whole life ahead of them. A 22 year old, someone who just started out in life, what did he know? Was it hatred or religious reasons or just someone being confused. At time of writing I am not sure, but in the end it doesn’t matter. It is awful. My thoughts go out to those affected. And it impacts things in London. Fear of attacks, disruption and anger. United we stand. We will get through this, terror will never win.

In other news, as I still recovered from the weekend, I took it easy this week. A lot of work to catch up on, not too crazy tbh, and I managed to even fit in two saunas. I got a haircut in Hamburg (never as good as home) and caught up on a lot of catch up TV. I haven’t done that for a while, so a relaxing and very productive trip at the same time. Some me time to catch up on important things, testing my new Asics trainers which aren’t as good as the Nike. My pain creep back up running in the Asics but not in the Nike trainers. The weight of the shoes, the way I run in them etc. So the Asics are going back. I might still try some Ultraboost, but at least I am getting back on track. I even managed my first 10K in ages on Friday. Somewhat I haven’t been in a good place with running and the 24 hour race is coming closer with only eight weeks to go. So I better find the right trainers and the right mojo to make it. It’s going to be epic. It must be. Another wall to climb, to break through and move forward from.

When waiting for my plane on Wednesday I was wondering why those trips are so draining. And my conclusion is that you cannot do both of your jobs 100%. I am not sure if that makes sense, but I enjoy what I do. I chose my job to make it successful and be there fully, giving my best and make sure I have an impact. But by doing two jobs, it seems as if I do one or the other, and both only 90%. That is just not satisfying to be not as good as you could be because of restrictions you cannot change. Not sure that makes sense. Nevertheless the support from my boss, HR, colleagues is overwhelming. A great place to work. And so much more to learn and walls to climb. I definitely put my ladder on the right wall here.

However, I enjoy things as I used to. It is a cracking challenge, lots of fun with some really great people and amazing tech. Things are good, and I am not complaining. I am just tired this week, that’s allowed sometimes too I suppose. As the week moved on, my tiredness turns sleepless due to the heat. I am up most nights at 4:30. So I fit in the above 10K, a cheeky 5K and time with the boys before school. Challenging at times, but hey, isn’t that fun. 40 – life is only just beginning. Only now got I the tools to break through those walls. Keep them coming.

From my corner of the world, have a great week ahead. Enjoy the bank holiday weekend! Sun. Summer is almost here. BBQ. Family!

What else to live for?
Volker

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Sunday Column (418)

Happy New Year. Hope this year turns out to be what you are wishing for. I have been waiting for this year to happen since I was a small boy. Yes, I am turning 40 this year, and it was always going to be a mile stone for me. Oh dear, you cannot stop time, and why would you want to? It has been a great journey so far, and I just continue to enjoy the ride whilst it lasts. I believe it was Tim Ferris who put a thought in my mind the other day: if you live to 90, that means you have about 2,600 (52*50) weekends left – or he used other examples of less occurring events. Time doesn’t stop and we all have the same hours in the day. Make the most of it. Work, live, be happy and make others happy. And that’s the key for 2017 for me I suppose.

Darren Hardy is talking about looking back, to take stock and move forward into the new year. I do. I naturally do and enjoy looking back. For me, from a professional point of view, 2016 was a great experience and learning. I finished a job this summer after 2.5 years. It was a successful one, 3 company names, one acquisition and a lot of evangelisation. I enjoyed that, deeper discussions around data and more channel sales, an interesting product. Then my first consulting project. Privately, I enjoyed it too. The boys are growing up, some great family holidays, lots of improvement in the house and I sometimes even sit there and go ‘what next‘. What will 2017 bring.

I have dreams and hopes. I have plans. I want to achieve more. I am far from done with my life or ambitions. Coming of age, I am entering the most existing times of my career, the second 10ish years. Time to put the pedal down and change the world. A job and idea at a time. I am excited about my career, yet it needs to fit in with my life, e.g. the kids’ and wife’s ambition. We work it out. We always have done, we always will. You must trust in the future, in life moving forward and the great universe to assemble to make it work for you. And things in life come at the right time, they come to you for a reason, and things happen for a reason. I am a strong believer of that and have a lot of faith. Many moons from now we will be looking back at life and paths we took, just to realise what we learned. That is taking stock. I do that yearly. And I examine a lot, and question and accept a lot.

We must choose and win. We cannot stop and smell the roses all the time, yet never forget to do it regularly. No one said life is easy. It certainly isn’t. But it isn’t that difficult either if you are organised and willing to give. Coming of age I notice the changes I have been through and changes of which I know others went through too. Life is similar for most of us, some are open about it, some are not. And whilst you keep meeting the same characters, you also find new mentors, new guidance and gain new input and understanding. Life is funny like that. But I am a big believer of embracing it. I am keen on challenging myself in 2017, publish my next book on productivity, and also start writing on my next book idea. I cannot stop thinking and improving and working. I love what I do.

So as this year is coming to an end, I came to a hold a bit. The last week I was standing still. All my energy was put towards the family, some reading and meeting friends. Wow. No emails, no work, no powerpoint, no strategy discussions. Just going with the flow. Looking back and realising how lucky we are. How others haven’t been that lucky. Some who lost their fight with cancer, some who won their fight. Life and death are so close together and, besides the celebrity deaths across the UK and Germany, there were some personal losses too. I used my downtime to refocus a bit and decide on what 2017 and beyond should look like. Let’s hope for it to be good and long lasting dreams.

Come Tuesday life is back. I got meetings lined up, things to explore, and hopefully decisions to make.

For you and yours, all the best for 2017. May your dreams and wishes come through.

Love and Kindness,
Volker

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Sunday Column (381)

A rather odd week if you ask me. I didn’t work my usual day from home, a window shattered next to me without me having anything to do with it, my back had a spasm when running and overall I am drained. The weather cannot make its mind up and my colleague handed back my old accounts as he was leaving. So things are stagnating a bit with new hires coming in soon.

And then….Winning. Being up there and doing things right. That is contagious. Isn’t it? Tuesday was one of those days. We won. We made progress. We made it happen. We are moving to the next level. Life is very much split sometimes.

Being on later train home than usual and thinking that whatever you put your mind to, you can achieve. Patience. Fear is the key driver of procrastination. I am not fearful. We must move forward. Tomorrow is the future. The day after tomorrow, a step further. A step closer. Life is moving in the right direction.

Steve Jobs Last Day

This week I closed a chapter. Putting things to bed is good sometimes. It hurts. It’s not nice and we move on from there. But we had a good time. We can appreciate, agree and move on. The future is now. It is happening. Either way things are moving on, never stop, never being put on hold.

The most annoying bit this week was iTunes deleting my music library. And then they didn’t restore it properly. I wonder if it is just a technical glitch or a general iTunes problem. As it seems I am not the only one having those problems. The deeper you go into the dependence of Apple, the more you realise even they aren’t flawless. Guess no system is. However they still make the best devices in my opinion.

On Thursday night I had a bit of spare time, as the wife was away, and I watched a few Steve Jobs videos on YouTube. Also, I caught up with a few podcasts. I am making sure I am learning and moving myself forward. Patience is key. Things come to those who wait and things are moving.

Looking forward is the theme at the moment. Believing in positive change. That things will change. Things will improve. That is key. And this isn’t specific but in general having a positive and opportune outlook in life is very important. We cannot just stop, put it all down and give in, give up. We must fight, move forward and make it happen.

The moment we lose hope or wonder whether the path we go down is right, we lose power and energy. We must believe in making the right choices. We must believe. Always. There is no way you can give up. Or give in. You must work it out. Whether in private, your job or life in general.

Trusting the universe with what’s happening and that it will look after you. Action=Reaction. Your action determine the reaction. The universe gives back. Direct you if you like. Taking feeling into perspective and lead with your heart not your head.

And then, as I am finalising this blog post sitting on the train, I am listening to a conversation next to me about electric cars. Having just read the Elon Musk book on Tesla and how they push the boundaries for batteries. Yet the discussion, someone owning ‘an electric car’ arguing with someone else about “the charge will never be able to last the promised miles”. The reason I bring that up – a lot of people do not believe. They believe what they have, what they see. They are not visionary and cannot imagine this improving.

musk failure

We all live with limited information. Even if we are fully informed. That is, because we don’t know everything at any one time, as we are learning and as a human race expand our wisdom. Another report this week about the ripples from black holes puts life into perspective. Hawkings was mentioned and interviewed.

There are people that are pushing boundaries. That make things happen and move things forward. I still have a few beliefs that seem to hold me back, like security and barriers in my head.

They are moving, slowly but surely. And I am still young. I might never, and surely will never be a Hawkings or Musk. But maybe I will be able to push the boundaries in my little world. Moving the needle a bit. Contributing to positive change.

Enough thoughts for a day. When this gets published I am touching down in Frankfurt Germany for a family visit – having booked Monday off. Then business as normal in Germany for a couple days, back to the big smoke. Life is busy. Life is good.

Best wishes,
Volker

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Sunday Column (334)

I am writing this post with a heavy heart. This is not only a post, it is an article I suppose about coping with change, making decisions and being self critical. I am sad, devastated. Yet the decision we made is final and right. This isn’t easy. But who ever said life was.

Whilst last week all looked very well with Rosie and we were hopeful to have new training methods that stopped her from jumping on people and snapping at them, we decided to give her back to her breeder after all. It broke the family’s and my heart. And the questions are asked whether we gave up? Did we fail?

We got Rosie despite knowing that C was scared of dogs. He turned out to be her best friend, and to that extend the person that loves dogs more than anything else. His whole attitude changed towards animals in general. He loves any animals and isn’t scared of dogs anymore. Rosie helped us to transform his life. But also she helped transform R’s life. He loved that dog too, and cuddled beyond acceptability, and she let him do it. True companion and friendship. This dog didn’t have a malicious bone in her, friendly, good with children, yet she needed a lot of attention too.

As you might remember we went a long way to get Rosie. A long journey every weekend. Proving that C would be fine with big dogs. We put a lot of research in which breed to get and settled for the GSP (German Shorthaired Pointer) as this breed is intelligent, good with children and easy to train, willing to run for hours. That was the plan, once Rosie was old enough, we wanted to take her on daily runs.

However, the main problem we had with her was her jumping up. This started from day one. The first dog trainer at early puppy stage said this was a puppy behaviour and you tackle it when they get older. And that is where our inexperience came in, we had to believe that dog trainer. As time progressed and she started jumping up and snapping at our kids, it was time for another trainer. Even at that stage we put it down to puppy behaviour, yet she did jump up on strangers, out of the blue, after excitement, without excitement. The kids learned (!) how to kneel down and seek cover when she ‘attacked’.

The next dog trainer put it down to the dog, saying maybe this GSP in particular wasn’t going to stop jumping and might have to be on a lead all its life. This wasn’t an option or isn’t an option for a GSP. So we soldiered on, always on the look out for strangers, then putting her on the lead if she was off it. We stopped going to the park or the beach as we couldn’t take the dog.

We tried more training. We went from buying a citronella collar, to almost buying an electric collar but couldn’t bring ourselves to do the latter. My wife spend hours training her, any free minute she had, sacrificing a lot. Yet it seems as if Rosie needed more than 3 hours of attention a day, taking the attention away from the kids. Rosie then jumped on R again at a walk a few weeks ago, and shortly thereafter on an elderly woman. There was nothing I could do, I had no control of that dog. For all I know, I could be in jail if that person had pressed charges or had had a heart attack.

Rosie

Don’t get me wrong. There was not a bad bone in that dog. She wasn’t evil, just very excitable and very jumpy. A GSP through and through. And maybe the jumping was normal and will go away as she gets older. But maybe not. The snapping got worse and we continued to solve the problem. Yet, with her ‘attacking’ (playing with) a friend’s child and out of the blue, without any playing involved, coming up to C to snap his face (luckily nothing major happened), we felt we compromised on the safety of our children.

If we cannot trust the dog we love, the one we put so much hard work into, and yet the dog without prior warning comes up and snaps one of our children, a decision must be taken. Whether this is puppy behaviour, wrong training from our part, or whatever, the safety of our family and friends must come first.

We just had got another dog trainer involved who had the best approach yet. We are almost through the first year, her birthday coming up, how much longer can we wait? Will Rosie be ok when we go camping? We cannot put a GSP on the lead, can we? What if she decides to jump on a baby, another older person or seriously (if not deliberately) injures one of our kids?

Again, this dog is far from aggressive. She, and maybe it is just her personality, wants to play and expresses her needs by snapping at people. If she does that with a grown up, this might just be ok, yet not acceptable, but with elderly and children, vulnerable people, this isn’t going to work.

And yes, maybe we had to try it for another few weeks. Another, third, dog school. A gun dog trainer taking her away. And maybe she would have been fine. Maybe she would have hurt a child. We do not know. And giving her away for someone else to train didn’t feel like the right thing to do.

It is devastating. We miss her. It is one of those logical decisions, not emotional ones. I tried explaining it to the kids but one cannot. They will get over it. We re-homed our cat because of the dog. We cut our personal life and visits to friends short to accommodate Rosie and trying to make it work.

Yes she was a hard work, like any dog would be, to be dependent when you go on holidays, travelling in general, taking her for walks in bad weather, making a mess. The inconvenience she caused, not least of her behaviour, that limited us to do things, all that we could and would have and did deal with. She was the greatest joy and transformed our lives for the better. She taught me patience most of all. It is empty in the house without her. No one that greets you in the morning or when you come home from work. And, without a doubt, I would get a new dog tomorrow. But I suppose we wait for a while…before we decide on another pet.

I guess, my honest conclusion, is that we got the dog at the wrong time. A time when our kids still needed most attention and they weren’t in school yet. Also, I believe we got the wrong breed at the wrong time. A smaller breed, or quieter breed might have been better. One that might have needed less constant attention, less energetic. Whilst of course there is hassle, and the dependance, and all the negative things that come with a dog, we were happy to do that. I remember the pain of going to Germany, putting my parents through the experience of a hyper active GSP. This was all fun 🙂 However much inconvenience it caused.

This isn’t about blame. Whether the less experienced breeder had the right limitations with giving us the dog or whether we should have been less determined to get this breed. It is not about whether the breed is bad (which it isn’t, we would get one again), and maybe it was just Rosie’s personality. Maybe we did a mistake from the beginning or should have waited another few years. Hindsight is always easier. The only thing I would do if I could turn back time is to wait another 2-3 years before getting a GSP. So the kids can be more involved and hence the dog got more attention. Then again, more than 3 hours are hard to find…and I still wonder if there was something wrong with ours (Rosie).

But we don’t know and can only speculate. The decision was right. We were not able to judge if the snapping develops into a more malicious biting, and whether you could have friends with children around – and it wasn’t fair on the dog to put her in the crate when all others were playing? Or, we likewise didn’t know whether she might just stop snapping tomorrow. Speculations.

So we are glad the breeder took her back. Matter of fact she managed to re-home her with an experienced dog handler who already has a GSP. We are glad about that. I could have not brought myself to put her into a dog home. I love her too much. We couldn’t risk injury of the kids for the sake of a dog. And that is what the kids will understand over time.

Things in life, I tell them, happen for a reason. Rosie transformed us, tested our patience, was a true companion, a lovely cuddle and great friend. She was a challenge and we loved her. She gave the boys so much confidence in dealing with animals. She made us learn so much. Rosie, you will always have a place in our heart and we will miss you. When we put you in the car to drive you back to the breeder, you knew. Your eyes told me that you knew you were in trouble. Yet you loved being back with your sister and mother.

And we tried a lot to make it work. I hope, for my Karma, and for Rosie’s sake, that Rosie will be able to forgive us. That she understands that she wasn’t the right companion for us in the long term. That she went one step to far, and that we couldn’t bear the thought of her not being controllable. That she understands that we tried, and tried again but at the end of the day, the life and health of our family is more important than her. And I hope she understands that she enriched our lives, and will always be in our hearts. And that we love her. We cherish her and wish her well. And we believe we put her in a place where she will be happy.

Farewell Rosie. You have been amazing!
We lost a true companion.

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