Volker’s blog

Welcome to my personal blog. I have been writing this blog for over 15 years, and love sharing my views of the world. I work as sales and strategy consultant, career and leadership coach, and offer mindfulness trainings. I also host a podcast on success, wrote a bestselling book and published an online coaching course on how to #BeBetter. Feel free to follow the links on the left-hand side, or reach out to me directly! This is my personal ‘blurb’ which at times is a rant, other times just a philosophical point of view. Please let me know if you enjoy reading it.

Systems – Imprints

I was thinking today about making decisions: if people have hope for a positive decision from you and you disappoint them with a negative decision, would you actually create a negative imprint?

From my point of you I do not think so. I mean it obviously depends on how you break the news and how you think people will react to it. If I understand the system right, the one I believe in, then the other person should actually be very happy for you and wish you all the best.

Whilst that happens in most cases that people accept decisions and that people will allow you to decide against what they like, they see beyond and see that the person decides for something else, seeking happiness for the person.

Would that not mean for the person making a decision that they create a positive imprint by accepting one direction whilst creating a more negative, if not negative impression, by deciding against another direction.

Either way, the amount of “negative” can be influenced on how to break the news. Lets use an example:

Your 2 friends A and B ask you to do something with them over the weekend.

You decide to go to the football with A and create a positive imprint talking to him and making him very anxious about the upcoming event. (N.B. if you then cancel last minute due to reasons A would not understand then you would create a negative imprint.)

B will be disappointed if you break the news saying “I will go and watch the football with A”. However, you can create a more positive imprint by suggesting “you want to join” or “why don’t we arrange something for next weekend” or something along those lines. It is up to you on how well you break the news to B. What about “I go to the football with A because I like him/her more”. That would hurt and, even if true, would be unnecessary and create a negative imprint.

NLP differentiates between Conflicts and Dilemmas for decisions (examples from John McWhirter, Sensory Systems Glasgow):

a) Conflict: short term decision on either continuing what you do or stop doing what you do; e.g. if you are having a good time you could continue to do so and will develop on something different. Whilst on the other hand you could stop having a good time and go home, e.g. going to a safe place. Then you make that decision again.

b) Dilemma: if you have a good time and look for a long term decision you can ask for the benefits until both sides agree what is better (sum of imprints zero) and then make a decision on either one way (yes) or another (no). You will still continue to have a good time but in “one way or another”.

To sum it up, we have to make decisions in life and will always create positive and negative imprints doing so. But through the way we make decisions, break news or even decide we can arrange for the imprints to be more or less positive/negative and influence our consequences from it.

Mike Farrell

I just finished reading Mike Farrell’s Book “Just call me Mike” – I am amazed and thought before I drop Mike an email and tell him how much I like his book and his attitude it might be good to write a few lines here. He might read it (if you do, please leave a comment).

To be honest, the reason I bought this book was because Mike played BJ in M*A*S*H, a TV series I absolutely love. What I did not know is that he is a human rights activist, passionate ambassador for a better life on this planet and a dedicated husband and father. He wrote endless journals and publishes them on his website.

I had to stop me from crying while reading his book full of passion and love for others more than once. He amazes me and shows me how little I have done so far to improve the life of others, how selfish I have been compared to him.

He did not stop me from being inspired, amazed and motivated to start helping others who are less fortunate than me. Creating a positive impact on this planet, for others. Thank you.

Mike, you are great!

Spiritual Coaching

Hello All,

Just yesterday I read in one of my many newsletters about spiritual coaching. Very interesting that there do not seem to be too many people out there doing it (from what I gathered from the newsletter anyway). To be fair, what is spiritual coaching and how would one define it?

A definition I found was on http://www.spiritualcoachingcenter.com/

Spiritual Coaching Center specializes in helping clients move past their fears, discover their true selves, and get on with the passionate pursuit of their dreams.

Later on the side they speak about integrity and being oneself, not pretending to be someone. When I spoke to my CMI group the other day and suggested to have a talk on spiritual coaching and spirituality & management or something along those lines, they asked me to explain and I had a hard time doing that.

The normal response I get is that people say “what has church to do with anything in management”. I stop right here because spiritual and church are not the same. Or they can be but not have to be the same.
From my point of view spiritual coaching refers to principles we got within us and values that are related to values people see in “church”. Honesty, Sustainability, Integrity, Fairness, Trust, Gut feeling – but how can you apply it to business.

I need to mention the Diamond Cutter again (see earlier entries) but also, that if you take your time out to reflect on your life and business, e.g. meditate or pray, you might get a better understanding of what you do and how to progress with a situation for instance. Your problem solving nature might change and things will be resolved differently than if you do it in a conventional possibly monetary driven way. Of course we all want to make money in business but if we do it in a sustainable way where we are making others happy and being “good about it” (I guess being a “good person” would be seen as a “church value”) then business is coming back to us. I mentioned that before.

We all say that things come back to us. The negative imprint of the diamond cutter, you remember? If we only create good imprints, then we only get good things in life. Is it all that simple?

Maybe. Spirituality can help to create positive imprints.

Wikipedia writes about spirituality as “connection to a metaphysical reality greater than oneself” and “tradition of perceiving and internalizing one’s “true” nature and relationship to the rest of existence” – what does that mean?

For me it means that from a business point of view, if we connect to something greater (that does not have to be a god but maybe simply “all the good in the world”) and connect to that and apply it to others (being good anytime anywhere to anyone) then we create a positive imprint (to use the Buddhist term). We then might perceive our true nature, our honesty and integrity and connect to ourselves better and that will reflect to the outside.

Let me try to put it into a more “technical term”. If the energy system is always “zero” then if we send out positive energy all the time, we need to get positive energy back. And, if we have the possibility to connect to a higher self – or quite frankly to our inner self which must be in a state of pureness – then we do find the values that create positiveness and happiness for others. And that is the energy you want to send out, because that is what you like to get back.

I hope that makes sense and clarifies the term “spirituality” and how you could use it in business – I am a fond believer that business needs to be built on honesty and true value to be sustainable and that spiritual thoughts can help us with that.

Diamond Cutter – business problem 43

Geshe Michael Roach describes an interesting situation in his business problem no. 43 which I like to write about:

You live in a business and social climate where integrity is simply not respected; where only fools are strictly ethical every hour of their business day – where “Nice guys finish last”.

He writes about people leaving a company. As usual the manager asks if there is anything they can do to help. And usually there is not. The manager gets back in touch with the ex-employee after 3 weeks and the person is usually happy.

Then Geshe Michael Roach writes “the imprints for having bad people around you, you see, aren’t changed by manipulating external circumstances. The Tibetans say that, when most of us go into a room with ten people in it, we find three people we like pretty much, three people that we pretty much don’t like, and four people that we don’t feel much about either way. Then if we go into another room of then people it’s just the same. …..It is not a function of external reality…it is a question of imprints in our own minds. Change your own imprints in our own minds. The change will not come with you running away but by you changing your imprints.”

That reminds me about my most common NLP motivation technique – moving away from is not working, it is the moving “towards to” motivation that gets you where you want to be. If the imprints in this case, your mental stimuli is right, you will work towards something that is worthwhile, that makes you happy. If that is work or any other circumstance.

However, if you keep leaving companies or avoiding situations because of things that seem to be everywhere you are, then you cannot escape them until you have dealt with it in your own mind, because the perception/imprint comes from you. Ergo, you will always end up in the chosen situation until you see it differently.

At the end of the book Roach also talks about “seeing it from other point of views” and “being united with another person’s being”; whilst he then expands on happiness and wealth I was thinking of self-monitoring too.

Because if you monitor yourself and think “what would I like to hear from that person if I was the person asking me something?” – then I would always have a good answer and might be able to motivate people. And, most importantly, I would get a good imprint for myself and even for the other person. Using that in business I create a win/win situation, because a new employee for example would be more motivated, gets a positive imprint, is happier and creates more business.

Let us find out whether those principles work in business.

The Diamond Cutter

I am reading the book THE DIAMOND CUTTER at the moment. Again, one of those amazing books you do not want to put down.

In a Buddhist way Geshe Michael Roach is showing how sustainable business really works. And, how you can apply Buddhist principles to it.

My most favourite chapter is about the imprints you left in your life that cause you experiencing similar situations over again.
For an example, if you had a bad boss and you are thinking that is only his fault to be bad, then this leaves an imprint. You then move to another company and somehow you have a similar situation there. Not happy, bad boss. It is your imprint, your perception that let you be in certain situations.

Geshe Michael gives a great instruction on how to change your imprint, to only have positive imprints that lead to a great business, happy work and great situations – it is up to you and how you perceive situations as well as your previous experience.

Definitely a MUST READ. His Website is here, currently under construction. But you find a short abstract here. Also, there is another website.

Motivation par excellence

I went jogging this morning. As I have done for the past few weeks. It was the bank holiday weekend in August when I said to Jen that I want to lose weight. I said by the time we get married (2 weeks from today) I weigh not more than 100 kilograms (kg).

Hurray, I achieved that about 2 weeks ago and I am almost at 98, counting for a loss of about 10 kg! No, you do not lose your belly but you lose weight. The belly stays once you passed 30. So, how did I do it?

What I did not do was having some miracle cure or remedy that just makes my weight disappear. I read a book to motivate me about “how to beat cancer by eating healthy”. That gave me motivation to:

  • cut down on alcohol
  • cut down on (red) meat
  • cut down on animal fat
  • eat more healthy stuff, e.g. vegetables
  • think about what you eat, eat less processed food

I did not read this book because I have cancer but because I am interested in changing my lifestyle so that this never becomes a topic to think about. Fingers crossed.

After all, I gave up smoking 9 years ago. Smoked off and on since but in general, I did quit from 60 a day and never went back to a proper smoking routine of more than 10 months and more than maximum of about a pack a day. Haven’t smoked for the last 3 years really but the odd cigar and pipe – which is not a problem if you do know it is the odd one. Self-control it is.

When I gave up smoking Alan Carr’s book clearly helped by saying “do not focus on the cigarettes you give up but on the fresh air, healthy life etc. you gain”. Old NLP technique I mentioned before. Motivate yourself towards a goal and not away from it.

So, coming back to my weight loss, I focused away from weight, away from being fat. But what I really focus on is my healthier lifestyle:

  • slimmer figure
  • more toned body
  • healthier look
  • healthy food
  • healthy digestion (you wouldn’t believe it … I spare the details)
  • more energy
  • better feeling towards yourself

As you can see I focused on the good things in life. The slimmer figure I got. I lost about 2 kilos just by not drinking wine every night. To be honest, I cut down on alcohol to an absolute minimum. Didn’t stop me to have a great night with great wine but I reduced the amount significantly. The odd glass does not do any harm – red wine is even healthy in moderation. Then, just by cutting out animal fat – the odd burger after a night out or a kebab – that is where the fat is! And, the less you drink, the less you are tempted to have this hangover cure.

Also, I started jogging again. 10 minutes to begin with. Then half an hour, an hour by now. Weight just comes off if you exercise. If I did not feel well, I would go for a long walk. Walked down the River Thames last week and 3 days of exhibition, makes it probably about 10 kilometers a day. It all counts. The stairs in the office, the walk at lunch time. Give those elevators a miss.

Got myself a bench to do some bench press and free weights for my biceps. No, I do not look or want to look like Arnold but I really like being a little more toned. A little bit muscular, makes you feel stronger and burns off a lot of calories. Do not forget, just a few repetitions work wonder. 5 minutes in the morning and 10 at night. That is all it takes.

The healthy look comes automatically. Your skin clears up. And then, the healthy food! Never thought that some veggies could be so tasty. Unfortunately I have an intolerance against “Quorn” so stick to Tofu, but there are loads of alternative options out there. Some rice or pasta with broccoli and Indian spices do it for me. Saves me money too. Overall, perfect way to save money and eat healthy. And it is no effort at all.

If you do all that on a regular base over a few weeks, a month or two, you do notice that you gain more energy. You sleep better and get more done. You think clearer too. You sometimes do not stop thinking and go wild. You need to run because you feel the “ants in your pants”. A positive vicious circle.

I mean, let me not forget. If you drink a lot, have a nice meal every other night then you get tired, lazy and get into the vicious circle the other way around. Change today and you will see how much you can gain. Quit the glass of wine at night that you think gives you relief, step up the game and go for a 15 minute run. Notice the difference within a week!

So what do I do when I do not feel like doing anything? It is cheesy but I watch Rocky. Either the first movie or when he fights the Russian. I love the scenes when he trains in the snow in Russia. No technology, just him and nature. Often, I just watch it on fast forward. But it is great to see that someone with no help and financial support can achieve so much just by wanting it. You can too!

It comes back to my grandma – if you set your mind to it you can do it. I have the stamina and motivational power to do it. I can do it. I want to move towards to……

Try it for yourself!

My grandma always said….

….my grandma, who I dearly loved, always said that if you work hard and dedicate yourself to what you are doing then you will get rewarded for it.

I talked to a close friend last night and she is working hard, works with dedication and passion, “just” doing a very good job. And, it does pay off, it is recognized. That makes me proud!

However, unfortunately those situations are not always true because often people work their butts off and do not get any reward.

So, grandma, maybe we have to say that if you really work hard and dedicate yourself to what you are doing then you will get rewarded for it IF you have a manager who realizes it.

It comes down to good managers and good leaders. With high empathy, EQ and relationship to their staff.

Have a great weekend.


I do not believe it is the 3rd of October already. Time and year has passed – flying!

Just finished the book on Colin Powell today. Nothing revolutionary new. Nice story Oren is telling but the is it really a leadership secret he reveals? Not for me.

Did we not all know that a good manager is someone who manages but a great leader leads by example, is balanced and appeals to common sense? Particularly the latter one seems to be the secret of Colin Powell, not getting too engaged with his duties but keeping the “30,000 feet overview”. Think outside the box, do not forget your front-line staff and be – after all – very human in your daily tasks.

I liked the book, I have to admit. But it is nothing overly new. Then again, maybe I need to read the autobiography of Colin Powell, as he is a great man and politician. My respect Mr. Powell!

Do things turn out the way you want them to?

Do things turn out the way you want them to?

Not long ago, I wanted to change something in my life. I was angry, furious to change it. Nothing happened and I decided I am going to stick with what I am doing, I do not need the change I am longing for.

Now, a few months on, I still think of the change but my emphasis and importance of changing did change – which means that I am still interested in the original change but not as angry and furious about it. Therefore, the change seems to come naturally and I can cope with it easier, as I am more patient, more relaxed and I do investigate more about the right step of change.

Of course it depends on the topic but if you really look for something and you put your mind to it, it will happen. And it is coming your way when you are ready. It will be there, be patient and relax. It does not come without effort but it might just come as a more sustainable change and not with a crowbar (I translated that from the German “Brechstange” and hope it makes sense).

There is a saying that you cannot force your luck – you cannot. But, it is true that good things come to those who wait. Just do not fall asleep waiting ,-)

All the best for the next week.