Posts Tagged values

Sunday Column (432)

The joys of travel makes it almost enjoyable to sit on an old Southern train on a Friday, bumping in the seat, as I go into the office. The usual routine is back and I had a chance to see both the wife and the kids before I headed out of the house. The life I chose to be living. As I finalise this piece, my kids are sitting in their PJs entertaining themselves, the wife is making lovely bacon butties and I have a strong cup of Joe. Saturday, sunny, and maybe a BBQ on the cards. Life can be pretty awesome.

Friday, and that is not what I anticipated, a terror attack in Stockholm. As I said on Twitter, I was in Stockholm when it happened in London and I was in London when it happened in Stockholm. My friends are safe in Stockholm. I am shocked. I said it then and I say it now, we will see more of those attacks. Terror. Not a lot of casualties but fear. Cheap, little preparation. Stay safe everyone. Then there was Syria. Wow. I don’t know what to say but I am more scared of stupid people than of smart people. And you know what I mean by that.

Anticipating how the week would develop, see comment above ‘or not’, I started my ‘new routine’ this week of flying into Germany for a few days with a lazy Monday night. That was very much needed, and deliberately planned. So I started the week with a long sauna session followed by eating healthy salad, watching ‘The motorcycle diary’, a story about Che Guevaras. The right thing to do. Balancing your life.

I cannot say I know much about him, but he travelled and experienced a lot new input biking across South America. I have not travelled much to new and exotic places (yet) however lived in different cultures since I have been 16. That’s a different experience. A different input. So watching the movie and for Che Guevaras to realise that he is no longer the one he was, stroke a cord with me. I am no longer the me I was when I lived in Germany 16 years ago. Or in the USA 20 years ago. Life moved on and experience took over, and one got busy having a family and all. But we are still we, aren’t we?

Those experiences determine how we react. For our German team we did a personality test (red=driven, blue=organised, yellow=creative, green=team person) which determines your main character. Similar to Meyers Briggs this test just looks at your favourite personality treat but uses colour to determine your preference (see above as a rough guide). I am, of course, red. Driven, determined and GSD (getting sh* done). I strive on productivity and love getting lots done doing two jobs at the time. I try to not let anything slip through the net, but cannot promise to go into every little detail as necessary. That is a challenge for me but as they say, it is interim. This interim position got a lot of traction in the German press which I sincerely enjoy. See my Linkedin profile for details.

So whatever made you the person you are, determined your connections between your left and right brain, and whichever experience helped you to be who you are and achieve what you got, you will always go back to your childhood values. Can you tell I have been in Germany, getting back to making those long winded sentences (Schachtelsatz) 🙂 Values often don’t change but come out in different ways. The basic you, the one that doesn’t change, is still there, even after all those years and experience. And this is what I find fascinating, to still get adjutated (sometimes) with the same things by getting a trigger in Germany. Pushing the button on small things that I had long forgotten. That includes words, actions and attitudes. An amazing muscle/brain memory function of going back and making those connections mentioned above.

As I start writing this post I am about to take off from Hamburg. A lovely city. A nice city. It is funny how every airline seems to take off slightly different, like a different driver of a taxi, getting used to Eurowings. Moving forward I will go back to Easyjet at least for the outbound journey due to a) costs and b) convenience. Also, in all honesty I enjoy the extra challenge of having two jobs on one company, however difficult it is to manage sometimes. It is fun and satisfying. I strive on a challgene and love the company I work for. I do. And the more challenging it gets, the better the job right?

So I managed to wrap up the week from London and focus my energy on my two little boys over the weekend. Actually I don’t think they are that little anymore. It is great to see them again and make sure they know I am still there and love(d). I cannot wait to spend more time with them over Easter. I managed to bring back some new Pokemon and some Pokeballs. And some Gummibears of course and NicNacs which are still not available in the UK. Allegedly, so I heard years ago, there is some licensing issues around it. You’d never knew.

With those thoughts about the constant evaluation of life and work, character and personal destination, I want to close for the week. I can see an increase in downloads for my book which is nice and encouraging and hope it helps people to organise their life’s systems. Link on the right hand side.

Have an amazing week ahead of you.

Love and kindness,
Volker

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Sunday Column (417)

Please accept my apologies for the late publication of this blog – the scheduling let me down 🙁

Merry Christmas.

We have been, and are celebrating, with our families today. So I have already written the post and by the time you read it, I hope you are sitting down, chillaxing after a fat turkey dinner, glass of sherry or wine, maybe a cheese board, and you are creating an experience and memories with your families. That is what Christmas is about. Having a good time and spending some amazing time with your loved ones. For years to come you will look at your pictures from Christmas, remember the moments when the kids unwrap the presents, the sound of the fire and the taste of cheese and wine. There are so many experiences you’ll remember, the funny and sad stories. Moments that matter.

Christmas, end of year, is time to reflect. An amazing year it was. It started actually with an interview on the first day back after Christmas in 2016. This year was for me to create my life. To find out what I want to do and how I want to do it. Given the recent developments, I mapped out what I want to do what I shall focus on moving forward. And the reasoning for anything is around a few things that are very important for me: values. What I value. What I cherish in life and what is important to me. And my career is important to me. Lots of things to do, so much opportunity out there.

One value for me, without any question, is family. I want to have the flexibility to see my boys growing up and make the good night story more often than just at the weekends. Or the school pick up. At least once a week I’d like to be at home and be there for them, around them and help them grow up. I want to be their sounding board and advisor, friend and lecturer all at the same time. That is important for me. And, it is important for me to allow my wife to go back to work too. That will hopefully happen early 2017. So more change to come.

Another value is energy. I want to put energy into things and projects where I get energy back. I enjoy working with people that work hard and put a lot of energy into things to make them work. Honesty. Trust. Not being able to funnel your energy into the right direction or not being able to funnel energy whatsoever, just doesn’t work for me. So a part of 2016 is learning about my energy household, about meditation techniques and on that note I concluded more than 365 days of daily meditation. It helped me a lot!

This year saw my oldest joining middle school. The youngest going into year one. Those are big steps. I don’t believe how quickly or too quickly they grow up. Whichever cliché you think it is, we don’t have enough time to see our kids grow up. See earlier point. My wife re-trained and is ready to go back to work. Life is moving on slowly but surely. You would have noticed me mentioning the driveway a lot, yet it is a completion of the house for now. All work has been done, the next few bits and pieces are repairs and cosmetics, some plastering, some decorating etc. After 4.5 years we are finally done with the house and the outside in a way we wanted to have it. A great, satisfying feeling. I can sit in my chair, have a glass of wine and happily say we are done with the house. A very satisfying feeling. We have good health. My wife even ran a marathon. We are surrounded by family. What else can we ask for?

We saw Trump’s election this year. We saw Brexit. Latter resulted in me sending off for the naturalisation this week, to become a British citizen. I love this country, love living here, so might as well have a British passport in order to be 100% sure I can stay. Most probably I can anyway, but after 15 years it was about time to get this sorted. The likelihood of me moving back to Germany is very slim. And Trump – I follow politics and I am a bit concerned, yet we have to evaluate as we go along. As anything in life, there is a German saying, nothing is eaten as hot as it is cooked – let the news die down, see them taking office and see how much they actually do of what they threaten to do. Yet, given the German history, I am cautious to not ignore early warning signs. Fingers crossed.

At the same time we see terrorism in Germany and I am glad I don’t know of anyone being affected. I lived through 7/7 in London in 2005 and that is over 10 years ago now. We almost expect terrorism daily and luckily not much is happening. Let’s hope that we will see less of it rather than more. Paris, Madrid, London, Berlin….why can’t we all live in peace. Aleppo. I feel better by donating £50 to Unicef for some winter blanket, shoes and cloth for a child. But I am still very detached from what is actually going on. I wouldn’t say bubble wrapped but distanced. Fortunately or unfortunately. Trying to explain to your kids that having a turkey for Christmas, presents and the fire on, sitting in the warm and enjoying ourselves is something that they shouldn’t take for granted. I am trying. We should value every little thing in life and cherish those moments we create. Share the love whilst it lasts. Enjoy the good moments, and cherish them.

We also had a few nice holidays. Nothing fancy but great memories for the children. Memories and experience that matter. York in autumn. Centreparks. A few days at at the beach, Scotland with the MIL. The kids do not care if it is Cacun or Littlehampton, and when they are older I hope to show them more of the world. At the moment we are struggling to communicate some basic principles of what the European Union is or that the world is round. And just because Power Rangers are in New York, doesn’t mean going there we will see them 🙂 The world isn’t that simple, or maybe it is and we lost touch with the simplicity of it by making it more complicated than it should be. Anyway.

What I wish for in 2017 is simple: more time with the family, more happiness and health – latter is key to anything we do. Nothing is more important than health. So I continue to run my 20K a week, doing some weight training and maybe take up swimming again. We encourage the boys to take on different sports. Food is key too. What you put in, results in energy and output. Bad food will result in diseases. Very simple, so making sure to choose the right ingredients, cooking and eating healthy is in stock for 2017.

And maybe this is the same tune I had on last year. Sunday Column 364 and 365 talk more about sick bugs which we seemed to have avoided this year, at least the nasty stomach ones, so far. I also talk about my exercise routine which I kept up throughout the year, and still even then the work life balance wasn’t 100%. Guess it never is. And I do talk about the driveway LOL.

With that closing, thanks for being a regular reader of my blog and thanks for your support and help throughout the year.

Have a Happy Christmas, great start into the New Year and I hope that you are as excited as myself to embark a new journey in 2017. A year where I like to look back to and say it shaped my future. Yet every year does 🙂

All the best and stay safe and well,
Volker

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Sunday Column (367)

The first week back at work is always hard you might think. It started slowly but intensively. Long hours and lots of work but just the way I like it. Some great discussions about the future of the industry and future prospects.

And I seem to have so much more energy. Whether this is due to dry January, I am not sure. Things seem to happen.

I also pushed myself physically this week. Two 10K runs, a 1K swim and two kettle bell sessions topped up with some body resistance training. I am a bit knackered, really feeling it. Also, I went back to wear more formal shoes. I love my green trainers but thought maybe it is time to be a bit more smart, to step up the game again. Maybe it is just a fad. Maybe go back to the comfy trainers again soon. Then again I bought nice new winter ankle high boots (see Instagram). My wife seems to like it though.

This week I kept pushing myself. Going outside my comfort zone. Listening to podcast pushing boundaries. Is that my 2016 resolution? If you do what you have done, you will get what you got. Time to push. Outperform and go beyond of what you have. Maybe words but followed by actions. Demanding answers, making things work, pushing the needle, winning. Sometimes there is losing, re-negotiating, learning from set backs and pushing forward. Times are good and right to push forward. Standing still is not an option!

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The goal of this week was to push forward with reading a book about negotiations. I did that and I love it. Some of the theories are not new, but yet very effective. Some are new theories and show new ways of getting agreements. Things are never the way they seem. Most thoughts and situations are in your head. Being able to quieten some of those voices, concentrate in the moment, listen and following up properly does help you in negotiations. Just being the human you are with the ability to connect, cross reference and understand. Seems simple yet there are only a few of us capable of doing this effectively. Confidence has something to do with that. Experience I suppose.

The beginning of the year. Time to still reflect on the old and looking forward to the new. Expectations. Values. Friends. Priorities. There are a lot of things to consider in life. Work, income, career prospects. Life is there to make the most of it, in which ever way YOU want to do that. What intangible value is the most important one for you?

I had this interest in HR and leadership ever since I got my MBA. That’s what I live and want to make sure people understand people. I am a people person, that’s what I do, I want people I deal with being happy and getting value from the exchange with me. Trading intangible values. Whether you read my blog here, at tidwows, my articles on LinkedIn, my book on productivity or you talk to me, negotiate with me, or buy from me. I am essentially a value proposition 😉

And in the meantime just be a good friend 🙂
That’s what I did at the weekend. Meeting friends. Letting go and just be myself. For what I am worth.

Sending you love for 2016. From my little corner of this ever exciting world.

Volker

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Sunday Column (291)

This week I was in Turkey. Nothing like the Asian/European emerging market cities – a buzz going through the streets, lots of cars honking, everyone making their own rules. It is like you see it on TV or I have experienced it in Cairo back 8 years ago. Maybe Cairo was a bit busier.

The people are great. Friendly. Particularly with Germans; one waiter said to me “we are one country with different flags”, which shows you the deep connection between our two countries. Amazing. For generations. It is something special.

I enjoyed the trip. As always when you go on business there is little time to squeeze in sight seeing. A bit was ok but I would have loved to spend more time looking at more things. There is just too much to see. But my wife already said she would come with me for a long weekend, I cannot wait!

Friday was a holiday in Germany for the reunification, or celebration thereof. East Germany joined West Germany. I don’t remember how many years it has been. Twenty at least. I wrote about it before, I remember my Latin teacher trying to explain the unexplainable, that Germany after 40 years of divide was reunified. I never understood why my mum was crying. I didn’t understand. How could have I? It was something deep inside the older German people.

On my flight to Istanbul I watched Lore. A movie about a girl of a German Nazi commander who was left to rescue her siblings and take them from the Black Forest to Hamburg through the occupied territories, the American and Russian sector. A girl, maybe the same age my mother would have been, born during the war.

And watching this movie I cried. I am crying because I feel for the generation of my parents and grandparents. Most people wouldn’t understand the way this generation would have fought for food, for things to be better and make do with the little they had. All that whilst coping with guilt.

I never forget my grandparents. Without saying they taught myself all I needed to know about surviving, to never give up no matter how complicated life would get. They are my heroes. My ideal for resistance against order and subordination. My heroes of, no matter what, bringing up their children and giving them the best future possible. An attitude that I believe sits deep down inside most of us.

reunification

I had this discussion over the past few weeks a lot, deep down, we as humans want to help other humans. We have the urge to protect others, help them and particularly with our own blood, our own heritage, we would put our lives over theirs. This is instinct. An instinct like the one for a dog to be loyal and please their “master”. Maybe not the best comparison yet I couldn’t think of anything else 🙂

It happens to me regularly but more so once a year when I reflect on life in general. To praise Buddha, to thank “God” for my happiness, for the fantastic family I have, my wife, my parents, my heritage and the future of it, my two boys. I feel truly blessed with life. Deep inside me I am hoping to pass those values I was given, and those we added in our generation, on to my boys, to never give up and to always look forward in life. To trust that things in life will work out and things going to be ok. As long as we believe in it. As long as we keep our head over water and keep on paddling with our feet. To never ever give up, or to accept anything on face value.

Deep inside me I am hoping that my kids will show an interest and read this or other thoughtful posts, and trying to understand where their heritage is coming from. Why people get emotional talking about the devastation through war, separation, reunification and rise of a country. A country that will make up 50% of what one day they might stand for. Their choice. We can only educate, hope and suggest.

I know that people will read that saying to me, once again, ‘I had no idea what a deep thinker you are’. I take that as a compliment. I believe I have always been like that and writing a blog helps me a lot to express my thoughts and feelings over the week.

Given you have read this far, I hope you enjoyed this post. It puts me back in time just to realise that we are living for the future. And that we are living in the very moment, the moment we call now. Only now can I change the future of my children. For the better.

Have a fantastic week ahead.

Volker

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Sunday Column (256)

The 9:04 train becomes a 9:14 and I see myself London bound a lot earlier than anticipated, catching a delayed train prior to my original plans. It is a rainy day today and I am reflecting a bit on the past few months. Tomorrow I start a new challenge, a few months ago I would have called it a ‘gig’ but I believe this is more. This is an exciting opportunity to evangelise, to start something new around the “2nd screen” opportunity: a new job, a career. It is about linking TV advertising, connected and unconnected TV, to your second screen: laptop, tablet, mobile. This is going to be amazing. Tomorrow morning I will start some training and of course report back next week.

I had a few days off in between jobs and will properly reflect this in a separate post later on. I enjoyed spending time with the boys, with the wife, getting involved in the daily routine and disturb it somewhat with my presence. I had one day I spend most of the day dozing on the couch, watching Monster Trucks on YouTube, only interrupted for a massage and picking up the take away from the front door. I had some me time yet never stopped engaging with my industry on Twitter, Facebook, in person, or by reading articles. I love what I do and the industry I am in. Could life be any better?

Working with my coach I have been thinking of trade offs. What if scenarios. Would I be happier working local and not having a career in London? Would I be happier moving back to London and not commute for an hour? Or what, god forbid, we were two earners living in a London flat without family, DINK (double income no kids)?

I don’t think so! If nothing else I realised over the last few months is that family is an important part in my life. It is something I truly enjoy, something that makes life worthwhile. My life is planned around it. Yet, on the other hand, career and success are important too. So my life needs to balance both, and I believe I manage quite well. Of course there is always room for improvement, but I life is good. We are making the most out of it.

I often get asked why I openly share all these thoughts in public? The reason is twofold. On the one hand it is a way for me to express myself, air myself and share my thoughts. If you disagree you don’t have to read it. The other part is about sharing my life, people can, and based on feedback they do, relate to my life, and take a thought or two into their own life. We as people have this greater unconscious. I believe we are all made out of the same material if you like, and think similar, similar basic standards. Of course there are a few exceptions. Speaking to industry peers, friends in Hassocks, family, dads, career driven people, they often have common reasoning similar to myself. Someone in the industry changed jobs recently to have more time for their family whilst other can block it out and work 24/7 regardless. I try to balance it and so do most people.

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Everybody has their own twist to their purpose in life. A friend recently decided to pack a suitcase and jet off around the world. I envy him for it but at the same time he doesn’t have the same commitments I have. We keep comparing ourselves to others, yet forget people have different circumstances why they are in the position they are. Also, everyone has their own perception and conviction to live life the way they want. No one seems equal if you like. We live our life according to our needs and means. That’s really it, and to be honest not a new revelation.

The closer one lives their life in accordance with one’s values, convictions and dreams, the happier one becomes. I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t have about two or three hours commute in order to read, catch up on personal things, TV, blog posts, industry news etc. I wouldn’t know where to fit it in. I soon will fly more across Europe and this will be disconnected time. I cannot wait for this quality time. An hour or so of just me and my thoughts. Amazing. Yes, there might be work that needs doing but that’s fine, undisturbed time for emails and presentations.

These are my thoughts this week. Not much more to add. As promised I will fill you into more job details over the next few weeks.

Have a great week, a great February for that matter. My youngest will turn 3 already. Where has the time gone?

Love and Happiness,
Volker

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Sunday Column (255)

Some weeks are slow in taking off. One focuses on the family, one’s health, and just tries to relaxes, getting on top of things and making sure things are in order. They never are. There are always things that need doing. One never really finishes a todo list. Crazy, ey? A never ending story of always being busy. But maybe it is a good thing, to be occupied, and to be chilled out at the same time. However, that really doesn’t happen either, does it? The latest suggestion this week is to keep two lists: a todo list and a not-todo list, but would that work?

How chilled out can one get? Going to the sauna, steam room and spa facilities at the local gym doesn’t make one relaxed. Meditation, relaxation and clearing your mind helps. The idea of emptying your brain, rid yourself of thoughts and making sure you quieting your mind: that helps! The ultimate GTD Brain Dump. That really helps!

Ridding oneself of the past, letting go, finding closure whilst looking ahead – key to any successful person I suppose. Steve Jobs said that too (I believe I mentioned that a few weeks back). Starting from zero, kind of. Like the changing of the year when you close one book to write a new one, with every day being a new chapter.

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My coach helps me a lot, sorting thoughts, twisted rules and contradictions in life. We all got them, some more than others and some are less aware of them than others. I enjoy digging deep into my (un)conscious to identify needs of change. I need to understand my values and rules, to make sure I only support and not limit my own boys moving forward. Show them freedom, peace, happiness and make sure they are willing to take risks and push boundaries. I want to support them doing all that. This is something somewhat alien to my parents’ generation due to guilt and limitations after the war in Germany. Even my grandparents’ generation were more risk taking, more entrepreneurial because they saw the world before the war and lived more actively in times of the “Wirtschaftswunder”. But all that has changed now too.

Yet in a few years time people will look back at our generation, our influences in society like the recession, flying in space and having permanent digital influence. I read another post this week asking “do you feel like 1990 is 10 years ago” – I suppose a lot of us do. There are personal circumstances that will influence our values, rules and life. Isn’t that exciting? Isn’t it fascinating how every generation shapes new rules, validates old ones and abandons others. It is a constant learning for the greater unconscious we are tapping into on a regular basis.

What is holding you back to move forward and take the next step? What is driving you on? Questions I like to answer for myself. And I do answer them. I know what drives me on and why. I love moving forward and I am. Follow your dreams. For now my dream is a successful career in digital. A 944 Porsche. Lots of quality family time.

To close I’d like to make a remark about The Big Issue who’s CEO spoke to our Rotary Club this week. The Big Issue gives homeless people the chance to earn money, trade their time for money and giving them a chance to think beyond the next 60 minutes. A purpose in life. And if you buy the next issue, don’t just give them the money but also take the magazine. Because if you don’t, they just got money for nothing and the purpose is to sell an issue, to make something out of what they have and do. I hope that makes sense. And the foundation offers help beyond the magazine too. A fantastic charity worthwhile supporting if you ask me.

If you got a few minutes, please watch below for a good insight.

That’s really it for this week. There are some more details next week about my drive and how I move forward. But I spare them until then 🙂

For now I hope you have a smashing week.

Cheers,
Volker

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Sunday Column (246)

Another week. If you are like me, sleep a few hours and you are busy and engaged on your waking hours, weeks just fly past. I had a good week. Somewhat. Lots of frustration yet an overall positive week. Good chats about values, skills and what it is that makes me tick. My coaching is coming along nicely, and I make progress on a lot of ends. I worry about my kids, my wife and whether I can keep up with everything I want to achieve. I guess it is a normal worry, not a “mad worry”. Yet, there needs some more bits coming into play soon. Anyway….

I started to formalise my dream, as in my life milestone I want to achieve. I started thinking differently about certain topics compared to a couple of years ago. I start thinking deeper, thinking purpose, commitment and what stays when you are gone. I write a lot, just added another column in an industry publication to my commitments, and I enjoy sharing things. It helps me think.

dreams

On Wednesday, at our Rotary meeting, I got introduced to a charity helping people with mental problems: Portugal Prints. if you haven’t yet bought your Christmas Cards, please feel free to do so via them. They are amazing. A self help group, financed partly by Westminster Council and partly through their design sales, they help about 35 people to cope with their mental illness.

These are the moments I feel humble. I wish I could hand over a cheque and support them in their daily business with a day or two of myself. Of course they are not the only charity where I see myself being able to help. Yet, there are a few that touch me deeply. Working with disabled children, helping kids in the developed world, negotiating peace deals. I want to give something back and have an inner urge to give, help and make a difference. I started with some baby steps but hopefully I will be able to help more one day. This is part of my dream.

Life. Death. I finished reading the biography of Ayrton Senna. I wonder what made him such an idol? What makes anyone a hero? I guess one part is always the dying part, and dying in mysterious circumstances. Yet Ayrton was healthy, fit, concentrated, had a gift of handling a car and was a likeable, down to earth guy. He followed his passion and tried hard to be the best in what made him tick.

We should all aspire to that. We might not become Formula One racing car drivers but maybe better individuals: at work, at home, in society. I met a friend this week who has been hit hard by life over the last year I’d say. Yet he soldiers on, be in the moment and is soldiering on. He is not giving up. I am grateful for knowing so many brave, enthusiastic people. The ones that look forward, set an example, live of a minimum and just get on with what they do. Never give up. I can be a bit more forceful, more demanding. But that’s me. We are all different.

Being-second-is-to-be-the-first-of-the-ones-who-lose.

I am not sure where this leads us. Some random, charitable, praising thoughts? No common theme again. But maybe someone likes my thoughts. Maybe they are a bit random. It doesn’t help that I read HERO, another book by Rhonda Byrne, the author of The Secret.

On Friday I chaired the last AdMonsters conference for now. This will free up some time to do other pet projects. I recently started coaching a student from Aberdeen University. This is great, I enjoy that. I want to get more involved in Rotary, also looking into another membership. Some people wonder where I take the time and energy from, but it is me expressing myself, creating variety, growth and love around me. That paired with my family is probably the happiest I can ever get.

But let’s stop philosophising. There are still a lot of day to day tasks to be done and lots of stuff to achieve before the dream might become a reality. For now, today, I need to focus on finally shaking off this cold, build up an immune system and get going again on the treadmill.

Onwards and upwards.

Have a good one,
Volker

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