Posts Tagged trust

Sunday Column (461)

No train on Monday. This week was half term, and I damn well enjoyed myself. Sorry, but I really did. Let’s start with last weekend, when on Sunday we went off to Bracknell to the UK’s longest water slide. A bit of shopping first, and then we headed to the pool, which turned out to be a bit disappointing and the slides a bit dangerous with both boys falling off the rafts inside the slides. Nevertheless, the swimming was fun, lots of water plays and two tired boys at night. That night I managed to sleep close to 10 hours myself and prior to that we had a great steak and chips evening in the Beef Eater adjacent to our Premier Inn. What a way to start a short vacation, and despite previous experience, the Premier Inn was really nice. And unlimited chips too (so much about my diet 🙂 ).

On Monday and Tuesday we were in Legoland. I so desperately wanted to stay in the hotel, that we decided to do that over half term and we chose an adventure room. It was fun, a great themed hotel room, a riddle to open the safe for a toy, and two days of rides and food. What not to enjoy? The possibility to spend time with my two boys and the wife was great. I haven’t had that for a long time and feel like I have been away too much travelling recently. But that is going to stop for a few weeks I suppose, that’s what I think anyway. So time to make up for it and even go down a roller coaster ride. Really? Yup, I did, but I didn’t enjoy it at all. And if I am not mistaken, it was the first time I ever went on a roller coaster. I know…I am a bit of a chicken when it comes to fairground rides. The Ninjago ride/game was great, despite the 90 minute queuing time and the laser ride in the pyramids was fun as well. Probably my two most favourite rides. Yes, Legoland is a great place to be, but after two days, I was done with it. I had enough to be honest. I was “lego-d” out. The most fascinating bit was probably the Star Wars exhibition.

The last day of my half term we went to London to get the boys new German passports. With Brexit lurking and the world being a not so safe place, you never know which passport will be best in the future. So off we went and also spend a sunny day on the Southbank. A boat ride, a relaxed swing on the exhibition in the Tate Modern and lots of tube and train journeys. Just what the boys enjoyed. We skipped the Emperial War Museum and saved it for a rainy day. Yes, another successful day, and three tired out boys in the family 🙂 Time to go back to work, so I did exactly that on Thursday. Not without having a huge pizza and some wine on Wednesday. Back to the diet as of tomorrow, right?!

At time of writing I am still looking back at the experience. What a fun packed week, and when leaving the house on Friday morning after my run, the boys and the wife were still asleep, catching up on the much needed sleep and dealing with the experience of the week. What fun we had! Even a few days away can make such a difference and on the back of it we ignited the Lego fun again. My wife organised a new shelf to organise the Lego and I got myself the BMW R1200 Lego Technic motorbike to build for the weekend. The boys and I put it together on Saturday and on the way I explained them how engines work, mechanics works and what traction for wheels is like. Time to get my hobby car, the Jaguar. Maybe next spring depending on the situation moving forward. We shall see.

As they say, life happens when you are busy making other plans.

And as I read the papers, the noise around a no Brexit deal is getting louder. There is a chance for Brexit, maybe even later than 2019, and there is a chance for a no Brexit deal or even a no Brexit. Two options to not go ahead, or really one to go ahead without a deal and one without a Brexit if that makes sense. I believe that slowly this country comes around and realises the implications a Brexit might have, and that already a lot of banks moved to Europe in order to avoid the uncertainty.

Uncertainty, whether one is out of a job, looking for the next step, waiting to hear about some results, or living in a country to exit a union, is never a good situation. It is, as it says, uncertainty. A situation where one doesn’t know what happens and naturally humans seek security and certainty. Yes, we also need uncertainty, and the 6 human needs clearly show it, but mostly in a controlled fashion in forms of adventure or entrepreneurship. We don’t want to live with constant uncertainty, at least most people don’t. In other words, living in a country with an uncertain future and having an uncertain future, is a combination that doesn’t make life easier. Should one stay or should one go, carry on or do something new? With every uncertainty comes opportunity and as my boss used to say, change is good. Life is good too, did you notice that? Where focus goes, energy flows.

I watched a video recently where, in an experiment, people were put on a line and everyone who had to never worry about money, always had food, always could go to school, never had to worry about a roof over their head etc. took a step forward for each of those priviliges. Priviliges they cannot even pat themselves on the back for. Having a warm home, enough food and the ability to learn gives my children a head start. I am glad I can provide that and hope that in the future I can do even more. Because they are my first priority in life, and nothing should ever change that.

So before I go on about uncertainty and priviliges, I look at the upcoming sun, with a mind like water, and trust that the universe will help me to get where I am supposed to be in the future.

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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Thursday Flash (9)

I got asked the last week why I don’t share all of those articles on Twitter. Good question. The reason, however, seems straight forward. Whilst I overheard some older people discussing on the train, whether to join Twitter, I have been using Twitter for 9 years or so. If I am not mistaken I joined in 2008. But since the engagement rate has gone down. So has the engagement rate on Facebook. For reach, I still use Twitter and for important things, I use Facebook as people are still reading it (yet less so I find). Hence the Thursday Flash got a place in my weekly blog to just collect what I find read worthy. And then I still share it via social media.

If you are enjoying it, please share it on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook or where ever else you like to share it!

Thanks. Here we go with the Thursday Flash!

I am a big Tim Ferriss fan (4 hour work week, 4 hour body week, amazing podcasts!), and this article about Deloading is worth a read. A must read in my opinion. If you like it, please visit his website and look for more of his stuff.

Deloading is about having some time to just do things without purpose, to think, brainstorm, enjoy and chill. Loving the idea and coining that phrase.

The next one is an article you might have seen before, about work life balance, trust in employees and working from home. It is a great summary of how our work place culture is changing and how to structure and create a great work place! Did I mention that I work for a company that has been voted ‘Best company to work for’?

Last but not least, most people in the industry think of Artificial Intelligence (AI) being a fad. Let me tell you, it is not. We are just scratching the surface of applying AI to our lives. This article in Exchangewire about Deep Learning hit the spot with me. Ciaran, the founder of Exchangewire, and I are going back a while. I wrote about Deep Learning myself in this article about AI on Linkedin.

Great, that’s it for this week. Enjoy yourselves and see you next week.

Best,
Volker

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Sunday Column (416)

A week of train strikes. Early mornings, late nights, different trains, packed trains, impact on work and family life. Wow, I survived. It was utterly ridiculous. But then the ease set in from Thursday. What a lot of people didn’t know was that I had a few discussions with management over the last few weeks and we decided to finish off on a high after I finished a project earlier this week. So this concludes my first consulting project on programmatic and I hope I added value to the company (positive references are available upon request). I took the first step into freelance/consulting. So I now got a few weeks off.

What’s next? I will announce further consulting and advisory roles in the New Year. Having said that, one has been announced already, another software start up working with real time data. Exciting times (See Linkedin). Whilst I don’t want to rule out a f/t position, my remit and interests are very wide. Focus is key, yet also my life and values. I have had discussions with my mentors for a good while, and the key to any success is that the values of your job match the values of the company. Additional to that it needs to match your life style. What I mean by that is for me, with Southern Strike for instance, I can work from home. This isn’t always possible of course. Or I can work around my wife’s shifts. Or do some school runs. When I told the boys I would be home a lot over the next few weeks, they hugged me for 2 minutes. Needless to say I was humbled. I haven’t seen much of my family for the past few months. See reference in earlier posts. So life will be good!

The best conversation I had this week was with a fellow MBA who put some management theory into practise: a proper matrix organisation that works independently by vertical team and owns the product line. Empowered, in charge and happy at work with retention rates beyond industry standards. Very impressive. I haven’t come across too many organisations like that, but it brings out the best in people. Trust is key in any employer/employee relationship. The only other organisation I have seen previously working in a similar fashion was an agency which had given 70% of its shares to employees. That means they were directly impacted by the growth and revenue and owned part of the company. It works. Not many organisations are willing to set it up like that.

This is a keen interest of mine. Company culture and staff empowerment. Maybe a topic for the next book? Not sure. I now have 2 weeks to finalise my productivity book, identify publishers etc. Things seem to happen for a reason and life is too short to worry and not get on with it, to give up even. You know sometimes you have to go to the edge of the cliff. To see what it is like. Not to end your life but to take stock. To think. How often have you taken time out in the last 6 months to just sit and think? To reflect and see the world go by? I haven’t but I look forward to do that a lot more. I emailed my coach a few weeks ago, unfortunately he has been busy assisting Tony Robbins, and the reply I got, ever so short, already gave me kick up the bum. You know what I mean? Life is happening!!!

The best way to describe my cliff is I am on a plane ready to jump. I am at the edge, taking stock, have taken stock, and I am now ready to jump. But not without a parachute of course and a plan for when to open it. To take the leap, to make it happen, to be, to create MY life. You must create your life and be in control of your destiny. Anything else does not matter. Things will always fall (no punt intended) into place. One cannot make people feel a certain way or shoe-horn them into a situation. It is not going to work.

I am overwhelmed by support. People that I didn’t expect to say that, to be very supportive for me to take the leap. People offering me parachutes as I jump out of the plane. I have a small one but they offer me bigger ones. Some offer me safety nets and cushions. It is amazing. I am ever so grateful and thankful for that. Life is good and good to see that people are helpful. I am loving life. Seriously, could it get any better.

There will be more announcements to come after Christmas. For now it is wind down. I can go back to 10K runs in the morning, swimming, saunas and school pick ups and good night stories. Maybe some Lego and Power Ranger play too.

You have a nice last week before Christmas.

With all my love,
Volker

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Sunday Column (405)

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I feel tired. Maybe the weather change, maybe the wine, maybe just being on the edge of winter? The fire is on, I am finalising my blog on Sunday morning. Not that it is that cold, but why not. However, I also feel full of energy. I am bursting to put more hours and effort in to get things done. Make this my world, my day, my minute. Make time work. Make this my life. Somewhat, over the last few months, I feel more in charge of what is happening than I have ever done before. This is a new but amazing feeling. As my American friends would say, I am pumped!

Beer. Football. Fun on a Saturday afternoon. Fish and chips, take away pizza and a curry. Am I turning into a Brit? No doubt I still have my German accent, yet I feel, after 15 years, things are coming together, and I am more settled than ever in this society. I love this country. Passport or not, am I turning my back on Germany? Slowly but surely I am I think. Whilst I still have my roots there, no travel is required to the fatherland at the moment, so I get little exposure to it. So maybe I am just properly settling down… nothing wrong with it, life is good, I am happy.

Brexit or not we keep investing. Hopefully into something money cannot buy, but health for my back and sanity: a new bed and memory foam mattress. A bit beyond what I wanted to spend, but I feel this is an investment worthwhile. Our first bed after uni was IKEA. The mattress lasted a few years, then it was gone. Then we had a futon mattress. 4 years, it is gone. Now a memory foam one with 8 years guarantee and 40 days return…we cannot go wrong with that one I don’t think.

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On the note of health and my wife completing her first marathon, I am getting obsessed with my Apple Watch as a fitness device. Whether to track my runs, or to see how often I stand during the day, how much I move or how well I sleep. The health app and my watch keep me right. A gentle reminder on my arm suggests to breathe, take a minute out and refocus. Nice. I need those reminders and find them useful. I remember too well that my colleagues at uni in halls of residence laughed at me, when I had my first palm pilot, and it reminded me of things. And they said, is that to remind you to breathe, Volker? I didn’t then. My device now does. I think it’s funny now. They probably don’t -) Particularly this week whilst I suffered from the evil man flu. Trying to not fall asleep in meetings and getting any sympathy of course doesn’t work, so a bit of focus on the inner self was useful.

And I am now competing with my friend Adam on performance on a daily basis. How many steps did he take? How long did he stand up? A nice competitiveness. I think my wife needs an Apple watch too. Christmas coming soon.

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Another thought this week. Whenever I start a new job I am getting consciously aware of new people reading my blog. Often I get asked, based on my bio, whether I am a Buddhist, and I guess I am. Why, I wonder, am I classifying myself as a Buddhist. And I guess the answer is relatively simple. As simple as most things in Buddhism. For me it is about the philosophy. The bit about being in control of your thoughts, to be able to help and to be a good citizen. But foremost it is the philosophy of calming your mind, being mindful and present in the moment. Focusing on the one thing that is important. It isn’t a religion for me, it is a certain commitment to be a good human being and focusing on improving my mindfulness. It is that simple really.

Being a good dad. A good father. A good husband. A good manager. I was told this week by an ex colleague of mine, that I am very good with people. A huge compliment. I love people. I love working with people, developing them. One of my biggest things. Hence I love my new job. I can so see how I can help and impact the workflow and people. I enjoy that. Yes, there are things I don’t like, but there always are some in any job. I only started and got a chance to meet the big boss this week. You know, and I would say that, meeting the founder is impressive enough, but meeting the guy who has the vision beyond your little world is impressive … Jim Rohn said to surround yourself with 5 people that help you develop. I am improving my 5. And hopefully I am to others what they are to me.

Jim Rohn. Anthony Robbins. Freedom Fast Lane. The Mentee. There are virtual mentors and instructors, coaches and helpers, yet having people in the real world that talk sense makes you feel good. Who are your 5? Who are the five people that influence you? I enjoy sitting in the middle of receiving but also giving. Helping and being helped. One grows, all together we improve and grow for a bigger purpose. I enjoy that, an environment I strive in.

Hopefully, so will my boys. I haven’t seen much of them this week but when I did, I feel like the bond is improving day by day. I want to be a good dad. A good friend and sparring partner. A coach. All their life. That is my purpose. And the only way I can achieve that is by gaining trust.

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You know, trust is key in any relationship. It takes ages to build, and once destroyed it is difficult to regain. I remember in one of my start ups they gave me the trust to be the sole account holder, I mean kind of. So, when I left, in theory they had to cut my card. They trusted me for so long, would you trust them? Yes you would. And still today you would. This is the key to any relationship. My wife, and we had a great night out on Saturday. Let’s work on that in our lives to improve the relationships we own. Let’s make time for each other, rech out and share trust and love.

I wish you well.
Have an amazing week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (380)

If I look back at this week, it was a funny one to be honest. People are back from their Easter break, heads down, on with their work. So I had days at work just catching up on admin, last minute meeting cancellations and then days where I went from meeting to meeting. Some weeks are like that – not one is the same as the other. I suppose it is good for variety.

Evenings were filled with watching Outlander on Amazon Prime on Amazon Prime. Found some awesome Outlander Quotes, see one here. The wife and I finally found a series we both enjoy. I also watch Bosch, a police drama, which is ideal for treadmill runs. No thinking required whatsoever!

outlander quote

I also managed to catch up with a few friends this week which was nice. What I realise more and more is that one gets so busy doing things, that one can loose focus on the little, enjoyable things in life. Like meeting friends. Like making that difference to one particular person. It is great though and often I am sitting there on the train home, thinking it was a really good day. Most days anyway.

The bathroom arrived too. The next three weeks we are getting our wet rooms done and that will conclude house renovation part ‘one’. Means we have done the front door, back door, garage door, asbestos removal, downstairs loo, downstairs kitchen and living room completely with fire place, upstairs carpet, ceilings, floor boards, most radiators in the house and now the bathroom(s). Forgot anything? Once through, hurray. Last thing on the list is some garden work and the driveway which we hope to have done in May.

Then the new motor. I had another look on Saturday and we are test driving the car again soon. We made up our minds, and given the finance options, we might be able to do it as early as May….then we have to wait a few months to get it of course. We shall see. One step at a time. Oh, yes, the Skoda Superb with most the trimmings.

I ramped up my exercise routine this week also. After a 10 mile run (16K) on Sunday I swam on Monday and did 2 kettle bell sessions and two 10K this week. I am feeling fitter than ever, yet don’t seem to get enough quality sleep. I am struggling with lots of things going on in my mind atm. And this causes me a headache I am not sure how to get rid of.

Whilst I wouldn’t call it stress, there is strain on decisions and from discussions I am having. Sometimes when you wake up and think about things, it is difficult to go back to sleep. Yet my cats keep me company, they are settling in and got their last injection this week too. That means they can all go outside as of this week. Hurray. We are getting there. They are still a bit coy to venture outside but they have been. Of course Lula got herself locked into a neighbour’s garage on her first outing. The joys.

Guess life is about patience. The famous roses and perspective. Another great podcast this week said that you only create barriers in your mind. I tend to agree. Reading about Elon Musk who founded both SpaceX and Tesla, you realise human potential and what we are capable of doing. Yet not everyone is willing to take the same risk.

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Tony Robbins nicely summarised it with his human needs. Some people are more security driven then others. Some need more love and growth and others might thrive more on contribution and adventure. We are all individuals. And looking at it from a corporate perspective, a company needs to adjust to every one’s needs. Not just one person’s or the other’s. So understanding the individual, their goals, their background and what makes them thrive is key to being a good manager.

The reason I bring that up is that I am going through a bit of a recruitment spree at work, adding to the team and in the process restructuring some processes. That is fun and never ends. Not without challenges of course but great learning. As a company we are transitioning too, and are in a very sweet spot of our industry. Full steam ahead. I am excited!

One must trust the universe and that things fall into place. Having the above patience and enough stamina. That’s key to success in my view. Things never go as planned and nothing ever comes easy. Hard work always pays off and in the end we are going to be ok. Trust. That’s key to anything I suppose. Any relationship.

Let me leave you with those thoughts. It is just before 7 am on one of those days that I drafted my post. With the real time streaming on Facebook and Twitter, maybe I should consider a ‘Ballueder Video Blurb’ from the breakfast table. Maybe one day 😉

Have a great week and stay safe.
Volker

trust the universe

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Sunday Column (368)

This week started with a surprise. Things that meant to happen will happen of course. After a very relaxing weekend things just wouldn’t stop. And this wasn’t even work related. Luckily it all worked out and to that point one needs to trust that things will be working out. The famous dots will connect in the future. Looking backwards.

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Whether that is for work, career or personal things. One must trust the greater universe for what there is, what there will be and things work out in the future.

My biggest concern, besides money which will always be a concern, is health. For myself, my loved ones and friends. Hence I run, reduce drink, swim, exercise, meditate and try to eat well. But will that be enough given circumstances like work and the commute, stress and the environment? Are we having enough influence on our own well being?

I don’t know is the honest answer. Maybe we will develop enough new technology for healthcare that we don’t have to worry in the future. But I guess we cannot bank on it.

Work was busy this week, or intense seems to be the better expression. Good intense and it felt like we made a lot of progress. Signing a big deal is always a great fulfilment. Touching base with people that are pushing boundaries and move things forward is satisfying. This was a good week. There will be some things I hope to share soon, but I am in a very happy place.

Also I gave up on my dry January. Not because it is difficult, actually I could do with never drinking again. It’s not that difficult but I do like my wine. I didn’t drink for two weeks, it wasn’t a big deal but thinking of having a glass of wine, sitting by the warm fire, coming in from the cold…that is a piece of heaven. I can do without drink, don’t need to prove that to myself, and a detox of two weeks is enough. As a matter of fact, I would like to consider an alcohol free week every month. With 14 units being the limit, this will be a good idea. What would Donald Draper have said to that?!

On that note I am down to the last few episodes of Mad Men. I cannot wait to finish it, or not to finish it as I really enjoy watching it. It is escapism, yet within my industry.

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We then test drove a car at the weekend. Looks like the only spacious saloon car out there big enough for us giants is the Ford Mondeo so we are thinking of getting one. The new car finance deals are tempting, yet we aren’t convinced whether we a) need a car just yet and b) whether a good used one might end up being the better deal. Or, we could wait until we can afford a SUV.

No rush, so we shall see. Still waiting to win the jackpot 😉 After two wins over the weekend of around 10 pounds, I am hopeful LOL

On the note of jackpot. My wife is running a half marathon on her 35th birthday and raises money for RISE. She really goes out of her comfort zone and pushes boundaries to achieve both the fundraising and the fitness. I am very proud of her and hope you spare a few pennies.

Last but not least the boys have been good lately with trying new food. We printed off food charts showing the different things they tried. It turns out to be a competition. We find it very important for them to be exposed to different foods, try things, go out of their comfort zone. Big steps for my little people. I am a very proud dad.

Guess that is enough of an update. Today we mainly enjoyed the snow, a long walk, some yummy hot chocolate and cake, another log fire …. a fun day!

Have a great week. Wrap yourself up warm. Winter is finally here.

Love and kindness from me.
Volker

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Buddhist Thought – Believe Nothing

believe nothing

Believe nothing.

Test whatever you are given with your gut. Your common sense.
Trust your gut feeling more than anything else.

You will be right.

Volker

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Buddhist Thought: Doubt

There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.
Buddha

I actually don’t think this quote needs any explanation.

However, you know how you create doubt, don’t you?

Withholding information.
Not communicating.
Not sharing.
Not being good to others.

Have trust and faith in what you do and what others do for you.
As a manager communicate openly and make listening your chore.

Only in a trusting environment you will create a thriving spirit.

Buddha bless,
Volker

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