Posts Tagged success

Principles of Success – Success is a Journey (3)

SUCCESS is a journey that never finishes; giving, creating and improving situations creates SUCCESS

The third principle of success is all about success being a journey. I believe it was clear from the beginning with the interviews of Brian Fitzpatrick and Caspar Schlickum, that we realised that success isn’t an achievement where you stop. Often Success is perceived by the people surrounding you, and defined by society to a large extend. However, if people look at you and think you are successful, you are often just on your way to where you want to be.

I personally believe you can compare a career to a rocket flight. You need a few years and a lot of energy to get off the ground. Once you are off the ground, trajectory sets in and catapults you where you meant to be. On that trajectory path people will think you are successful, however you are just on your journey to the moon or mars or you might not even know where you are going yet.

And as a successful entrepreneur or individual you might look out of those little windows on your rocket and think that you haven’t come far yet, and nothing has changed for the past few years; however, you haven’t realised how you got higher into the orbit and closer to your goal. Yet the success is all about the journey you are on, and actually you might feel quite deflated when you reach the moon. What’s next?

That’s why most entrepreneurs don’t hang around the moon or the company that acquired their start up, but actually jump on the next rocket. The success is the journey not the destination. Enjoy it!

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Principles of Success – Make a difference (2)

SUCCESS is about improving the world around you, making a difference.

This is the second principle of success which I learned from my guests who I interviewed on Stories of Success, my podcast that examines habits of successful people. We already discussed the first principle which stated that success isn’t all about money, but about creating something.

Now leading on from there, we need to look at what we can create. If I can throw in a curveball here, if you have been watching Dragon’s Den in the UK, or similar shows across the globe, then you would have seen lots of entrepreneurs having ideas on how to improve the world and trying to raise money. A few of them are quirky ideas but you soon realise that the idea will never take off. Some entrepreneurs are looking to solve a problem that either doesn’t exist for the majority of people or that isn’t a problem in the first place.

However, and my revelation came when speaking to Gareth Davies about his motivation. I remember him saying ‘I wanted to make a difference in my industry and improve things from the way they were done before’. Essentially that meant that he knew there were problems to be solved, and that he thought he could improve it with his way of thinking and developing a new or improved solution. Needless to say he succeeded.

And those are the prime examples of success. Identifying an existing real problem and improving the existing solution and or finding a new solution to that problem. Cleaning the Oceans, helping agencies and brands to communicate, helping others post retirement and redundancy, helping homeless to think about the future, and so on. You have listened to my podcast of successful entrepreneurs and leaders that have shown you how it is done.

Making the world or the little bit of the world you are looking after a better place. Helping others and making the difference to society and entrepreneurship. That’s another part of the puzzle on how you create success.

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Principles of Success – Money and Success (1)

Money doesn’t equal SUCCESS; the focus isn’t on earning money but on building something that matters.

When I set out with my podcast back at the end of 2017, I compiled a few questions for my guests. One of them, and the question I always ask first, is ‘how do you define success’. To my positive surprise, not one guest so far has mentioned success would mean money.

I am going back a few years, mainly when I worked in start ups and full on sales roles, that money was the main motivator for me. It was about ‘retiring at 40’, something I didn’t manage, and which was to a certain extend illusional. How could I imagine making that much money by just working for a start up rather than founding one? Money was all I cared about at some point and it was important to own things. Anyway, that changed for a variety of reasons.

With me being past 40, not retired, and I slowly but surely realise that money isn’t everything, I wanted to find out what success is made of. Success for me is about my family, having a secure income and progressing with my career. Personally, it is about making a difference and creating something that lasts. And this is reflected in the answers I got from most of my podcast guests. It is the long term game, staying in a job, making a positive difference, and passing on my experience. It’s about helping others to achieve their aspirations.

If I start comparing this wisdom to the one of my podcast guests, I am surely not alone. What I find even more amazing is that the younger start up entrepreneurs also didn’t set out to become rich but their sole motivation is to create something that matters and makes a positive difference to their industry or the world even. Of course they make money on the way, and the idea of selling a business is not about not having to work anymore, it is about launching the next thing. Money becomes a by-product of success.

This explains why successful people carry on to have more success and do not stop until they become even more successful. But it is this drive to succeed that spurs them on. Just look at Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos, it is all about creating more meaningful things, making this world a better place. To quote Steve Jobs along the lines of “you cannot buy anything if you are the richest person in the graveyard”, sums it up. You could become rich and being able to afford nice things, but on the other hand, you never get rich if you don’t create something meaningful. And that’s probably where many people went wrong, focusing too much on earning the money, rather than creating something meaningful.

I have this dream that one day, maybe in a different life, I am setting out with an idea, like a proper entrepreneur. And I would create something meaningful, that ultimately lead to something bigger and something that creates value people want. Maybe my podcast is the beginning of a media company, a content creation company, for which one big media house might pay me one day. But I didn’t set out to start a podcast to make money but to create value and help people to learn from entrepreneurs, successful people, and make a difference.

So for you out there, who want to be successful, find a passion and go for it. Create something meaningful and make a difference in your industry, your line of work, in something you are interested in. Focus on having fun and enjoying the process of creating. Money will follow if success is there. And, as many podcast guests and I philosophised about, you might be a lot happier too.

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Sunday Column (505)

You know, this week saw the beginning of season 2 of my podcast. I really enjoyed recording loads of material over the summer, meeting interesting, successful people and recording their stories. However, I also know that I probably end up having less time doing that moving forward. So this season is similar to season 1 maybe a bit more topical and next year I am planning to potentially shift the podcast a bit into a longer form concept. Let’s see how it goes.

I must say this weekend was fantastic. Life is about creating memories. I managed a 25K run, and it was fun, pleasing somewhat. It was weird, running through fog, cold patches as the sun came up, then warm muggy patches in the woods. I love where I live and whilst discussing Brexit a lot this week, I don’t want to leave. I am sure things will work out. Will I end up running a race after all? Maybe, I still haven’t made a final decision yet.

Then the little one and I enjoyed a fabulous football game in Brighton. It makes for a whole afternoon just to get there and back. And what fun we had. Who would have guessed that I enjoyed football that much, after I had never been to a game until 2 years ago. And now, we got the premier league at our door steps, why wouldn’t we go?

I wrote it before, life is about focus. So when the family disappeared for 10 days and I had some spare time, e.g. a long bank holiday weekend, I decided to crank out lots of content for my podcast and blog (watch this space over the next few weeks). Also, I started clearing out some old stuff. Every now and then I go through old folders, picture albums and decide whether I keep them or not. So this time, a lot more went in the bin than I had anticipated but it is good to discard pictures from 25 years ago, just keeping a few of good friends or special occassions. Clearing your mind, your house and letting go of things is important. As the only thing we can do is live in the now, and be present in the moment. That’s where we create memories, we don’t need pictures of them or post them on social media.

I also wanted to thank you for the positive feedback about my more topical blog posts, including the one around success which includes my podcast. Are we obsessed with success, or am I?

Maybe. And how are we defining it? When joining my fraternity in Germany many years ago, I transitioned into a ‘career driven personal development’ person, developing a sense of ‘always give your best performance to achieve the most possible results’. And of course there are limits for everyone, discussing this recently with a fraternity brother of mine, a mentor for over 20 years, there is always a new boundary to push and a new angle to develop on your personal approach, in order to push yourself further. This could be in a job or outside work, most things are mind games. My running training for instance. You can always improve a bit more. You compete with yourself not others.

I discussed that with an executive coach this week too, trying to find the best approach to get some professional help to push things a bit more. The last couple of years I have invested a lot in self finding, career development and have been battered by redundancies due to industry change. Life is a constant change.
I seem to have this urge to constantly better myself. I know a few people that do not understand that, but I love a great challenge. I strive of the learning I get from new exposure, people and concepts.

So to conclude, as I get deeper into my work and get busier learning new skills and apply my experience, the further I develop and apply focus. Hence my podcast concept will probably change come 2019; as I keep closing chapters, discard of the past in a physical and/or mental sense, I open new doors and opportunities. Exciting times.

As one door opens, another one closes. Or the other way around, as one door closes, another one opens. Similar things, aren’t they. And yet they can be seen differently.
Life is a constant change and I am learning to embrace it, enjoy it and think less about it. But I will be more present in the moment, the now.

Have a good week,
Volker

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Success like it was 2013

As recent as 5 years ago I wrote a PowerPoint with the ‘Top 10 Principles of Success’. I rediscovered them by accident when researching for my latest work on ‘Principles of Success‘. The principles are based on my interviews on my podcast, Stories of Success. A lot of success in there.

So in 2013 I collated the following:

1. Begin with the end in mind, focus on the outcome and make sure you have stepping stones which are like mini goals on your todo list for your big goal
2. Communicate: whether it is active listening or understanding people
3. Think Win/Win: sustainable business and business ethics, trust and belief in building a relationship
4. Have fun, be positive about work and enjoy what you are doing; be passionate
5. Reflection: take time off to relax, calm your mind and meditate
6. Time Management, whilst a topic in itself, made it on the list with planning only 70% of your time and using a trusted system
7. Financial Planning: Taking a calculated risk, be able to live of less than you have, creating a buffer for unexpected expenses
8. Helping, developing and coaching others
9. Having mentors
10. Balancing life and stay fit, looking at hobbies and purpose for yourself in life

Fast forward and the Principles of Success I collated from my podcast are not much different.

Success is …

1. Not all about money
2. About improving the world around you
3. A journey
4. Being lucky
5. About balance
6. Created and helped by visualisation
7. About values
8. About routines
9. About meditation and relaxation
10. About Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
11. Accepting failures and move on
12. Having mentors

Over the next few weeks I will go deeper into my learnings from the podcast and share more examples, a more in depth analysis and more content around each principle.

But I love how over the past 5 years things have not changed that much really.

Old vs. New:

– 1 matches 6
– 2 is somewhat related to 2
– 3 is related to 2, but also to 1
– 4 is underlying in 1,2, 4, and 5 – a lot of my podcast guests mentioned to have fun and enjoy themselves
– 5 matches 9
– 6 matches 8
– 7 isn’t really reflected, if it was then in 11
– 8 matches 2
– 9 matches 12
– 10 matches 5

So you can see that there is a lot of correlation and my new principles are very much a development of the old ones, without having taken the old ones into consideration. So it is nice to see that what I developed 5 years ago is still strong today and supported by my own research via the podcast.

Watch this space for more content around success later in the month.

Have a successful day,
Volker

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Sunday Column (485)

Let me start with last week: thanks for the feedback that allegedly my blog sounded a bit miserable. You know, maybe it did but I am not. I am not 100% sure if that makes sense. The job search of course can be frustrating and tiring but on the other hand there are a few exciting opportunities out there. Patience, trust and ‘letting the universe do its thing’. I am good, don’t worry. As a matter of fact, given I haven’t been searching that intensively for that long due to some other things that were going on, including a contract and family matters, I am very happy with my progress. I have definitely accelerated the search again and also, with the end of the financial year (or start of it), things are picking up. 🤞🏻

On Tuesday and Thursday I had the kids. The wife was working. I was waiting to hear from a few companies and also had a few calls, a podcast recording that didn’t happen etc. So you cannot be fully with your kids when you have other things on your mind. The focus needs to return, and in order to do that I need to let go and be in the moment. Every time you take redundancy, or really every time you are taking time to reflect, you end up getting better in understanding what really matters in life. Having had 5 redundancies so far, 2 because of office closures and downturn, both in 2009, and 3 because of company take overs and mergers (you have to love adtech), one learns a lot. I always bounced back and got stronger. Other industries don’t experience this very much but our industry is very prone to those circumstances. And the higher up the food chain you are, the longer it takes to settle again. So all normal, and yes it takes longer every time, but GDPR (the new data legislation coming into play in May) isn’t helping at all.

For me the learning this time around, is that I need to be more in the moment with the kids, and secondly I need a hobby. As the wife isn’t allowing me to get a motor bike, the next thing to decide on is a car. Something for the weekend, to tinker with and get the boys involved into mechanics. I think it is going to be a Landy but maybe, it is going to be something different…..a Jaguar or so 😉 Anyway, there are other things that are more important first.

My podcast guest next week explains ‘being in the moment’ very nicely. She has been reflecting a lot and a lot of things have been thrown her way. I cannot wait to share her story. This week’s podcast surpassed earlier episodes for downloads. If you haven’t seen my first quarter summary of my learnings from the podcast, please read the Stories of Success Summary Q1. A good catch up with a friend got me another idea on what to do. ABC, always be closing, and moving forward. Chin up and keep on walking. The path will open up to what the universe has in stock for you. Visualise the outcome, and things are going to be great. They will, no doubt. Believe.

No more!

On Tuesday the boys were desperate to watch Liverpool against Manchester City. One supports the first, the other the latter team. So it was a late night for them, watching Liverpool progressing in the Champions League and Manchester City I guess will most likely win the Premier League. Maybe we have two winners this year. If Liverpool vs. Bayern are in the finals, then we might see a cousin fight coming up 😉 Oh the joys. I have never been more interested in football than now, and even contemplating to put my name down for a season ticket with Brighton.

Explaining life to the boys however seems almost too difficult just now. They ask about my job, why I am not in the moment, why I am on my phone and other things. They do not understand the concept of stress, pressure, restlessness and that daddy needs to plan things. And the latter is a big part of my life which is why I prefer going into a permanent role. This will work out eventually, it needs to be the right opportunity though.

One day the dots will connect looking backwards and the learning will increase and the resistance already has. Don’t live someone else’s life. Be the change you want to see. Enough about that. The universe does what the universe has to do, as a friend of mine said, and that is true.

We finished this weekend with a 1 mile run by the eldest and a 10K run by my wife at the Brighton running weekend. She had to downgrade from the marathon due to the eye operation earlier in the year. It is difficult to plan life sometimes, and you have to take it as it comes. But life never gets you down as you always get up again. Never ever give up, life it too precious. We also managed two (!) BBQs, washed the car and got the garden furniture out. Spring!

Make the most out of life and therefore I am ending this with a positive note 🙂

Volker

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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

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Sunday Column (478)

I am thankful for the support and conversations I had this week. I cannot thank people enough whether they spend time making a nice comment about some work I have done, or wether they brainstormed with me over a coffee and a walk. Or some really experienced headhunters approaching me for the roles that would take my career to the next level. I feel like there is opportunity, and listening to Tim Ferriss’ podcast interviewing Bob Metcalfe – oh wow, there is so much that can turn out well and of course it comes down to luck and serendipity, but who says I am not in the vortex now. Are things happening as we speak. And where do we end up? Wow. Wow. Wow.

As you can see I am enjoying my journey. That is of course until the cold reality kicks in and I realise that contracting only covers part of my costs at the moment, but there is more contract work on the horizon. I am trusting the path and that the dots will connect looking backwards. That is what I am learning with every podcast I am doing, and you will be pleased to hear that I am in the process of getting some female guests signed up. And another coach. I could spend more time making this into something bigger but fear it takes focus away from the job search. Maybe that’s for the next part of my life?

So this week started out with an interesting discussion on my podcast. Yes, I interviewed a friend and mentor and, given it was 9:30 on a Monday, we drifted in some deep philosophical thoughts around happiness and success. As we finished the podcast it felt like we have talked forever and connected on some deep values, a very intense start into the week.

What am I saying here? My podcasts on success help me a lot to reflect of what is important. Whether success is important and whether happiness is related to success. Or success related to happiness. And with some of my guests I drift down to the question of what’s important in life, and it most often is achievement, the journey, a good life, health and family. Most are high achievers and for them it is important to be top of their game and make a lasting difference. And a lasting difference seems to be set equal with a long and healthy life. It is also NOT set equal with money. Something I always thought growing up.

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Please not that I have now put up a page on this blog to refer to a reading list of books recommended on my Stories of Success podcast and books I recommend anyone to read. Check out those recommendations.
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My question, and this is unrelated to the above, is if it is an illusion we are living in. Have we not always expected to grow old in the same way as our grandparents did. Our parents and the generations before. I have. And, for whatever reasons, we seem to hear from more people that die young or are ill younger, and if I say young, I mean 50-60 years of age. Putting it into relation, I am sure the statistics don’t show more people dieing younger yet, but there seem to be more touching my life. Now we can philosophise as much as we like, and Anthony Robbins invested heavily in stem cell therapy to improve life expectancy (that’s the way I interpret it), but one thing is certain: we will not grow old in the way older generations have.

It is a fact. And the reason I am so sure about that, is that life is changing constantly. We work differently to the generations before us, we consume different foods, we consume different media, get different stimulus, we are living in more polluted cities, we have more reliance on money, ….and the list goes on. Our lives are already fundamentally different to our parents’ life at the same age. And you just need to look at our kids using tablets and iPhones at an age we weren’t even have computers. The exponential acceleration of technology, for better or worse, results in us having a different life when we are older. Whether that is computer and robot related, or better health technology, or us never reaching that age as we all die of some disease or blowing up the planet.

This fact fascinates me, and I’d love to get involved in the development of some of those technologies that might make our life easier and better. One day, I believe so anyway, I come up with an idea that will change people’s life. That is when I will get self employed and go for it. I just haven’t had this yet, but given all the podcasts, when you deeply know you need to do something to make a difference, you will. I sit patiently and observe my thoughts. And maybe it is something small. And different to what I thought it might be. And it won’t be about money. Who knows what the future holds.

For now I am back at work. Not in a full time position but I am doing some contractual work. That keeps me occupied and stops me from going stir crazy. It is fun, I can make a difference, and maybe it leads to some full time employment – one way or another. I said to someone last week that I feel that things fall into place and I am now in a place I wanted to be 3 months ago. But 3 months ago, maybe me or the universe, things just weren’t ready. Timing, patience, believe and positive thoughts are what drives us forward.

Serendipity. And who listened to my 2nd published podcast with Caspar Schlickum knows, I quoted him a lot today. I am grateful for mentors and grateful for giving back. Latter I believe I have done this week too. Give and take. Greater unconsciousness.

Love and kindness to you, wherever in the world you are.
Volker

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Happiness, Success and Chemicals

This is a post about an article I read recently. This article was suggested to me by one of my podcast guests from Stories Of Success. Happy Valentines Day.

We talked on the podcast (release date tbc) about how success and happiness go together. There are a few chemicals that are actually responsible for happiness:

* Dopamine
* Serotonin
* Oxytocin
* Endorphins

The argument goes that when we are happy, this will result in us being more productive, motivated more and healthier. As a return of those impacts you could argue, that success is higher too. So the happier you are, the more successful you are. Is that conclusive? Maybe not, but that’s to be discussed on the podcast.

The article goes into depth of each neurochemical, but I wanted to summarise the main ones here for you:

* Dopamine motivates us to take action towards a goal. Low levels lead to procrastination and self-doubt. So whenever you achieve a goal, a todo and take it off your list, there is this little kick, the reward for having achieved something. Then on to the next one.

* Serotonin flows when we are feeling significant. One of the six human needs. Significance. The opposite is loneliness and depression. So if you don’t feel important just now, live through past experience. The brain doesn’t know if you visualise or your experience real. Quite a trick isn’t it? And sunlight helps too, 20 minutes a day which might be tricky if you live in the UK just now 😉

* Oxytocin creates intimacy, trust and healthy relationships. That will make you happy – orgasms will release those chemicals. It’s also called the ‘cuddle hormone’ and little (or big) gifts increase the level too.

* Endorphins – most of us would have heard of them. They are released in response to pain and stress to remove anxiety and depression. When you push yourself in the gym, have a ‘runners high’, that’s when your endorphins kick in. Laughter releases those chemicals too. And, the article suggest that the smell of vanilla and lavender (ever wonder why you love that smell) is linked to the production of endorphins too. Also dark chocolate and spicy food triggers those chemicals.

In conclusion, to release your happiness chemicals, just follow the list above: have sex, eat chocolate, tick things of your to-do list and make yourself feel important. Simple this happiness thing, isn’t it?

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Success – Positive Giving

After interviewing a good friend and successful entrepreneur on my podcast Stories of Success, he sent me an article and a link to the positive encourager website, which I read with great interest.

Success, so far looking at only a few definitions from my podcast’s guests, has to do with encouraging people positively during our time on this planet. I phrase this a certain way on purpose, this is for the greater good of human kind, and NOT about short term financial gains. It’s about the great unconscious (Carl Jung) and the bigger picture.

It is about finding people’s strengths, develop practical strategies and achieve their picture of success. THEIR success, is what THEY want to achieve. To be loved, live in peace, achieve a career, or whatever it might be. The same, according to Mike Pegg, who is the man behind the positive encourager, can be applied to teams and organisations. So in that context, we are looking at superb work, forming good habits (see my book), to provide a good service, achieve goals, and finish those activities successfully?

As I go through Mike’s website, and I encourage you to do the same if you are interested, I find lots of material on positivity. It is a person’s choice to be positive, to create and take responsibility. As human beings we are in charge of our destination by making decisions, making choices between options.

Looking back at my experience, I have been looking to stay positive more than once in my career and life. When I started meditating, and letting go of situations I couldn’t influence, I learned to deal with situations differently. I was even told I come across of not caring, which isn’t true, but I am a lot more chilled out. Being able to prioritise your feelings and your reactions towards a situation is important in my mind. If you cannot change a situation, monitor it until you are able to make a positive difference.

The LOA (Law Of Attraction), which hasn’t yet been mentioned by any of my podcast guests, is about energy. The way I personally describe it is that you put a lot of positive energy and thoughts into something, and you get the same positive energy back; same of course with negative energy. So by wishing your competitor all the best and hoping the best for her, will in return win you a similar contract even if it isn’t this one. Patience is key to understand those principles and practising them continuously. You wouldn’t notice a difference with one thought only, so persistence is key too.

Following the positive path will lead to gratitude. Essentially this is what I described above. Also, from this path you gain more confidence as the world seems to conspire to help you. You will have more success on the back of being more positive. When writing this article I am looking at a few presentations from Mike Pegg which are published on his website.

Meditation not only allows me to choose when but also how to react to a situation. This is particularly important when you are in board meetings, heated discussions and deal with emotionally involved people. That’s when having a mind like water (David Allen’s expression of being able to have enough computing power in your brain), paired with experience and the ability to retain your thoughts, comes in handy. Self Awareness and Emotional Intelligence. Meditation taught me to let go, stop thinking and to not contribute to a discussion and wait until things sort themselves out naturally. It works, try it out!

On the topic of energy and heated discussions. How often do you find people that drain your energy? They talk about themselves, are selfish and don’t share the same positive attitude. Those people are challenging and don’t bring you forward. Try to help them bring themselves forward and if that doesn’t work, let them go. They shouldn’t be part of your life, should they? Make room, time and space for people that give you positive energy and provide you with fun, and enrich your life.

Following discussions and looking back at my NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) training many years ago, I was remember of the long term goal. Imagine you are on your death bed, looking back at your life, what would you have wanted to have achieve?

If you believe in Steve Jobs’ last workds or not, someone published them on Facebook as the following recently:

I have come to the pinnacle of success in business.
In the eyes of others, my life has been the symbol of success.
However, apart from work, I have little joy. Finally, my wealth is simply a fact to which I am accustomed.
At this time, lying on the hospital bed and remembering all my life, I realize that all the accolades and riches of which I was once so proud, have become insignificant with my imminent death.
In the dark, when I look at green lights, of the equipment for artificial respiration and feel the buzz of their mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of my approaching death looming over me.
Only now do I understand that once you accumulate enough money for the rest of your life, you have to pursue objectives that are not related to wealth.
It should be something more important:
For example, stories of love, art, dreams of my childhood.
No, stop pursuing wealth, it can only make a person into a twisted being, just like me.
God has made us one way, we can feel the love in the heart of each of us, and not illusions built by fame or money, like I made in my life, I cannot take them with me.
I can only take with me the memories that were strengthened by love.
This is the true wealth that will follow you; will accompany you, he will give strength and light to go ahead.
Love can travel thousands of miles and so life has no limits. Move to where you want to go. Strive to reach the goals you want to achieve. Everything is in your heart and in your hands.
What is the world’s most expensive bed? The hospital bed.
You, if you have money, you can hire someone to drive your car, but you cannot hire someone to take your illness that is killing you.
Material things lost can be found. But one thing you can never find when you lose: life.
Whatever stage of life where we are right now, at the end we will have to face the day when the curtain falls.
Please treasure your family love, love for your spouse, love for your friends…
Treat everyone well and stay friendly with your neighbours.

Wow, wow, wow, which I thought were his last three words, but it tells you something. Even if it is a story that is partially true, the message is simple. Life isn’t about money but about having a positive impact. About sharing the love and enjoy every moment. It is about learning and love, success and fun at the same time. I encourage everyone to go through the exercise and decide what your life goals are. I am sometimes wondering if I have set mine, yet they are dynamic as we go along. The reason is simple, as I get older and wiser (I hope so anyway), I end up having a different focus and changing priorities. The sports car in my 40ies might be less important in my 60ies or 80ies, yet my health is much more important now than when I smoked like a chimney back at university.

People seem to forget that life is a journey and is changing. So is success as you start defining it differently as you grow older. Your life changes with life stages including marriage, kids, building a house, career progression and parents dying. The circle of life is ever present and influences your thoughts and objectives, definitions of life.

Coming back to Mike’s approach on positivity for a moment, he writes about vocation. What is your vocation and can you match your purpose in life with a job that matches it? What can make you really happy? What activity gives you this inner satisfaction? And if you cannot get it at work, where can you get it?

I am embarking on a journey where I started to examine my strengths. A mentor of mine, not the same that pointed me to Mike’s theory, coincidentally suggested to me a test to examine where my strengths lies and which ones I need to develop. Which are my weaknesses? I have done the test and loved the results. As we move along on the journey of life, I would love to offer this as a service to companies and individuals to understand their personal profile better, to understand which areas need to develop for them to achieve their individual success.

Once identified the strengths, find yourself some mentors. Jim Rohn said you are as good as the 5 people you spend the most time with. Who are your 5? Which 5 people do you spend the most time with and which 5 people do you ask for advice. Find yourself some smarter, more experienced people who are willing to help you on your journey. Importantly, do the same for younger, less experience people. Give back what you receive, and close that energy loop!

I hope you took something out of this article, and please share it on other sites. This is an important milestone for me to bring a few thoughts together early from my podcast but also from discussions around my job search. I am not sure if this gets me closer to the meaning of life, but it shows the energy flow and the practises that work to put life in perspective, figuring out where you want to go and how you want to approach life. Isn’t it exciting to fail and adjust, to try and succeed, to make decisions and go along with things. Identify your strengths (contact me for details) and make yourself better, every single day.

Volker Ballueder

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