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.

Happiness

Sitting at home tonight I was thinking what would be my ideal life? How many of you have thought about that?

I did what I usually do, I looked up Wikipedia and found this. Also, Google Image Search gave me the picture to the left.

Did you notice that if you look for happiness (literally) then you do find “Sehnsucht” – a feeling that is described by longing for something.

Drugs were used to create the same feeling -advertisement for alcohol and cigarettes were playing with those feelings. Are we all longing for happiness?

Also I found the World Database of Happiness, describing happiness as: Happiness is defined as ‘the degree to which an individual judges the overall quality of her/his life as-a-whole favorably’. In other words: how much s/he likes the life he leads.

I did not know that so many people talk about happiness and find definitions of it. How do I define happiness, how do you define happiness?

What about “We are happy when for everything inside us there is a corresponding something outside us“, William Butler Yeats. When all outside forces have an inside force and the system is in a neutral situation. Something that reminds me of my physics and technical mechanic classes. Everytime a force is moving something downwards there is a force working against it in the opposite direction to get the equilibrium. So, does that mean equilibrium is happiness?

How do we achieve happiness? Can we achieve happiness by living a religious life? A Buddihst life maybe? Latter one is the most common life-style associated with happiness but does that mean that other religions do not offer happiness? Why buddism? Does Buddism offer the equilibrium we are looking for? Does Buddism openly discuss the idea of accepting and working with the forces in the world. Seeing a force or energy flow towards you as a challenge and something you can absorp in order to work against it. Would you then become the opposite force, part of the system which is in equilibrium, and as part of that system how can you be happy carrying a force in you?

Lets use an example: if X critizises Y all the time then there is force of X working towards Y.

X -> Y; so Y now could use some force against X by swearing for instance, resulting in the following system: X -> (Y<-) – is that the mathematical equation of happiness that if you keep any opposing force inside yourself and do not take it to the outside, then you are happy and in equilibrium, whilst X would not be happy?

I would like some comments on that – can spiritual development be so easy?

Mit einem astralen Handschlag verbleibe ich…. which according to Google-Translation says
With a astralen hand impact I remain ….

Hellinger

Hello Everyone!

It has been a week. Mainly because I was away with work in Germany and met interesting people again. I will be away most of following weeks, so apologies for any delay in publishing things.

I still wanted to make a note on Hellinger. Why? First of all I had a family constellation with Hellinger’s therapy back in 2000; and in 2001 I wrote an essay about it. It showed me why I did certain things and acted in certain ways, being influenced not only by my parents but also by my “Urfamilie” which means the family since the start of existence of the family. I found a strong link to my dead grand-father who died 6 years before I was born. Is that coincidence, can that be real?

Hellinger states that people could get neurosis by either identification and moving towards a dead person in the family or by moving towards a living person which then is not available, e.g. an ill mother in hospital that cannot be visited. Both situations can lead to a feeling of being neglected.

Hellinger uses Transactional Analysis (TA) and visualisation of constellations to change the group situation. In a “live group therapy” other group members can play a part of the family and talking to group members, imagining them being a part of the family, can help solving issues, e.g. “I forgive you father for ….”.

The original situation, our “Urfamilie” will be enlarged over the years with other strong relationships, e.g. wife, good friend, our own children, mentors, work colleagues etc. All of those can play a role in our behaviour and our life. In order to have a balanced life, Hellinger gives several examples of people giving and taking equal amounts to be happy. Some groups cannot take on any happiness because they feel like they have not the right to be happy. They feel it is unfair for them to be happy and like to suffer with those that never had the chance to be happy.

Taking amounts can relate to anything – material and non-material goods. Happiness is an example and money could be an example. There are people that try to buy themselves happiness or trying to give great gifts to their partner in order to buy themselves or their partner happiness.

Whilst Hellinger is not a theory that I take for granted I find his ideas fascinating. In my case there was someone years ago that had an influence on my life. How could he have done that? Was it because people in the family talked about it and we identified ourselves with it? Let’s use my granddad who I admired. He liked his drink, smoked, seemed to be the cool guy I identified myself with when I was 20. Now, what would Helllinger’s constellation show me now? Would I still identify myself with him, maybe do I carry a burden of never meeting him?

I do not think so. Neither do I smoke nor am I need to be the cool guy. However, Hellinger’s group constellation could show me other things. E.g. there is surely something in my family I still carry around, a burden which influences my current life. Could I solve it in any other way? Do I need to solve it?

There is no clear yes/no answer to any of those questions. I truly believe Hellinger has a point of showing possible connections within the family/group and can explain problems and influences. Going too far with it could lead to blaming everything on the family.

Maybe a good example is if someone changes jobs and discussed – first for herself – whether that is the right job. Money, career perspectives etc. She might come to the conclusion and sees that the money is enough and the job is great because it makes her happy. She then talks to her father who thinks that she can earn more. And that money is more important. Is that Hellinger that he has influence on her? Is that just natural thoughts of “I should listen to my dad, he taught me so much and was always right”. Maybe she will come to terms that “dad is right” or to terms that “dad, I understand your concern, but I live my own life and decided what is important for me and that this is not always important for you”. Is that Hellinger? No, that is common sense and the dad would surely come to terms of “yes, daughter, I accept you the way you are”.

Those things are not always that easy and can lead to a conflicts. Surely in more complicated cases Hellinger or family constellations can help. I leave any further thoughts with you – as you should not blame any situation straight on the family just because it is most likely. There are other influences out there that should not be neglected!

Have a great Sunday!

Another Sunday

Sad but only on Sundays I find time to post at the moment. This week was very hectic and stressful and the next few weeks I am going to be away.

I am thinking a lot about the book from Hillmann about the idea that, as Plato already said in the Antique, all humans have an inner voice, the soul, spirit, guardian angel – the information of our life are already incorporated. No matter what we do we become what we are meant to be. Similar to a seed of a tree which has all the information of that tree inside the seed. Here are the original back cover notes of Hillmann’s book:

Synopsis
A Jungian analyst explores the fundamental question of human existence and identity, discussing such topics as fate, character, motivation, intuition, vision, impulse, and calling.

From the Back Cover
Plato and the Greeks called it ‘daimon‘, the Romans ‘genius’, the Christians ‘Guardian Angel’ – and today we use terms such as ‘heart’, ‘spirit’ and ‘soul’. For James Hillman it is the central and guiding force of his utterly unique and compelling ‘acorn theory’ which proposes that each life is formed by a particular image, an image that is the essence of that life and calls it to a destiny, just as the mighty oak’s destiny is written in the tiny acorn.
Highly accessible and imaginative, The Soul’s Code offers a liberating vision of childhood troubles and an exciting approach to themes such as fate and fatalism, character and desire, family influence and freedom, and, most of all, calling – that invisible mystery at the centre of every life that voices the fundamental question, ‘What is it, in my heart, that I must do, be, and have? And why?’

It has been 6 years since I read that book on a holiday in Spain. Going through it at the weekend I was thinking that if there is a daimon that chose the sperm of my dad and the egg of my mum to make me and that this combination will make me whatever I am supposed to become – then I could do what I want and will turn out to be what I am supposed to be? Would that really work?

If I meant to be a superstar but decide to give up my job and live on an island on a little farm – would I still become the superstar? Maybe – maybe not. How would you measure what is inside you and what is formed through external influence. Who has measured character before?

Maybe it is a nice theory and surely worth knowing about it but maybe it is taking it too far. Not that I do not believe that life is pre-destined but I do not believe that we cannot influence things. What meant to be meant to be but our influence can change the route. Very phlosophical. Maybe too philosophical for a Sunday afternoon/evening.

I leave it with you. See you all next week.

Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)

Sunday Thoughts

I am still not sure, and my fiancée asked me that last night, how many people actually read this blog or are interested in it. Purpose – purpose of this blog is not necessarily to create a new dictionary of thoughts but more of a collection, a diary if you like, of what I read, process and think about. To give an insight into the availability of literature, theories and how to use them to increase personal and corporate performance. That is in a nutshell.

Hellinger – I thought a lot about his theories last night whilst having a BBQ. There is a site called www.hellinger.co.uk which shows practitioners and a definition online for the UK. I went to my shelf and got a book from Angelika Glöckner “Lieber Vater, liebe Mutter” and Gunthard Weber “Zweierlei Glück” and James Hillman “Charakter und Selbstbestimmung“.

All those books will be, alongside an essay I wrote on Hellinger, be revisited shortly. At the moment I struggle to find enough time next to my day job to revisit too many theories. As I said to a friend the other day, if I won the lottery I would spend half of my money on books at Amazon and the other half on a good life at the end of the world where I read and study until the end of my days….Have a great Sunday!

VisualDNA

On Lesley’s blog I found this visual DNA. I added it to the bottom of this entry. Although not directly related to the work of CB Consulting it shows associations in visual forms. Another thing used in NLP – pictures; re-framing.

One distinguishes between analog and digital for the 5 senses: to see, to hear, to touch, to smell and to taste! Surely we come back to that. But getting a DNA of your visualization is something new. Like it!

Coaching (1)

“A successful coaching engagement will have a cascading effect, crating positive change beyond the person receiving the coaching.” – Diana and Merril Anderson, from J. Whitmore, Coaching for Performance.

I have not read Whitmore’s book but came across this quote in Clutterbuck’s Coaching the team at work. Most of you reading about coaching must have come along Clutterbuck. I was overly interested in his book about team coaching to see how one can improve team performance without being a team-leader.

In his book he suggests to look up www.coachinginsider.com where one finds loads of definitions of coaching – all I found was loads of links to different coaching offers, one linking back to the UK, The Coaching Academy, where I have done a course in the past. And, they just send me more information through the door about running workshops – you cannot avoid their promotional offers and marketing.

However, Clutterbuck summarizes nicely that the most common threads for coaching are:

  • developing personal or group insight
  • performance against specific goals
  • support and encouragement
  • experimentation
  • the effective use of questioning skills

Also, a coach can be seen as a vehicle for taking the individual in the direction they want to travel. That reminds me of an old “joke” about NLP. If someone ask for example a police officer where the station is, the police officer might say “left, 2nd right, on your left hand side”. An NLP person would say “imagine you are already there, how did you manage to get to the station?”. Back to perception and your map of the world. Seriously, is coaching nothing else than the use of NLP, similar of DBM offering techniques for NLP tools so does coaching? Would be interesting to discuss!

I don’t want to stir anything up or devalue coaching at all – what I like to point out is that coaching, DBM or other techniques, e.g. motivation techniques used by so many gurus, are often based on NLP. And what is NLP? Is NLP not common sense? Common sense of life experience modeled so you can use those experience in other life situations? NLP as a basis for development – or is that too generalized?

Now I drift a little away from coaching. But I met people who were obsessed by NLP. It can get me where I want. It is the ultimate thing to know and you are happy and invincible. If I do my Master Practitioner I can teach people the world. Come back to reality! There is no doubt that NLP offers you great tools, as written in NLP revisited. However, it is not an ultimate tool and it depends WHO uses it in WHICH WAY! NLP is not the remedy for everything.

Coming back to coaching. Clutterbuck publishes a great model in his book explaining differences of coaching, mentoring etc. I asked for permission to publish it so hopefully you will see it here soon.

NLP revisited (2)

NLP and DBM are closely connected. NLP is like the tool, e.g. a hammer. With a hammer you can smash glass or a brick. But if you like to master the hammer in order to use it in a useful manner, one needs the technique, goal and direction to put a nail in the wall. DBM goes beyond the tool and provides you with the techniques on how to use it.

Applications of NLP/DBM are universal. In coaching, careers advice, personal development, change management, motivation, sustainable change. Some services of CB Consulting are based on those techniques and tools to achieve sustainable change.

O’Connor and Seymour in their book “Introducing NLP” nicely describe “the map is not the territory”.
An artist, a lumberjack and a botanist taking a stroll through a wood will have a very different experiences and notice very different things. If you go through the world looking for excellence, you will find excellence. If you go through the world looking for problems, you will find problems.

Perception and beliefs are basic understandings of how we see the world.

I just finished reading a book called “Die vergessene Generation (the forgotten generation)” by Sabine Bode – it gives an insight about people who were born during WW2, e.g. their traumas and experience and how those influenced their lifes. Not many people paid attention to this generation that was born during bomb attacks. This generation suffered but tried to ignore their traumas to “move on” and “make things happen”. “Others were worth off” and “you do not speak or talk about your problems, you just get on with it”. This behaviour was passed on to their children and children’s children generation. The attitude of Germans working hard surely might come from that generation which after the war build up a destroyed country. A friend just mentioned recently that women in Berlin (Trümmerfrauen) over-achieved their target per day of cleaning bricks on a regular base. Because their motivation was so high. Maybe their fear of the war coming back was so high? Whatever the motivation was it made them highly successful.

Can our generation, lucky as we do not have any wars in our own countries, learn from their experience on how to motivate ourselves? I believe we can.

The Prince and the Magician

A story related to NLP – I recommend everyone to read the book by John Fowles, the Magus. Amazing!

Once upon a time there was a young prince who believed in all things but three. He did not believe in princesses, he did not believe in islands, and he did not believe in God. His father, the king, told him that such things did not exist. As there were no princesses or islands in his father’s domains, and no sign of God, the prince believed his father.

But then, one day, the prince ran away from his palace and came to the next land. There, to his astonishment, from every coast he saw islands, and on these islands, strange and troubling creatures whom he dared not name. As he was searching for a boat, a man in full evening dress approached him along the shore.

“Are those real islands?” asked the young prince.
“Of course they are real islands,” said the man in evening dress.
“And those strange and troubling creatures?”
“They are all genuine and authentic princesses.”
“Then God must also exist!” cried the young prince.
“I am God,” replied the man in evening dress, with a bow.

The young prince returned home as quickly as he could.

“So, you are back,” said his father, the king.
“I have seen islands, I have seen princesses, I have seen God,” said the prince reproachfully.
The king was unmoved.
“Neither real islands, real princesses nor a real God exist.”
“I saw them!”
“Tell me how God was dressed.”
“God was in full evening dress.”
“Were the sleves of his coat rolled back?”
The prince remembered that they had been. The king smiled.
“That is the uniform of a magician. You have been deceived.”

At this, the prince returned to the next land and went to the same shore, where once again he came upon the man in full evening dress.

“My father, the king, has told me who you are,” said the prince indignantly. “You deceived me last time, but not again. Now I know that those are not real islands and real princesses, because you are a magician.”
The man on the shore smiled.
“It is you who are deceived, my boy. In your father’s kingdom, there are many islands and many princesses. But you are under your father’s spell, so you cannot see them.”

The prince pensively returned home. When he saw his father, he looked him in the eye.
“Father, is it true that you are not a real king, but only a magician?”
The king smiled and rolled back his sleeves.
“Yes, my son, I’m only a magician.”
“Then the man on the other shore was God.”
“The man on the other shore was another magician.”
“I must know the truth, the truth beyond magic.”
“There is no truth beyond magic,” said the king.
The prince was full of sadness. He said “I will kill myself.”
The king by magic caused Death to appear. Death stood in the door and beckoned to the prince. The prince shuddered. He remembered the beautiful but unreal islands and the unreal but beautiful princesses.
“Very well,” he said, “I can bear it”.
“You see, my son,” said the king, “you, too, now begin to be a magician.”

From “The Magus” by John Fowles

NLP revisited (1)

What happened in the last week? Business and more business – I had interesting chats, met people and ideas. There are so many of you out there that are interested in people, motivation, coaching and sustainable business. And often someone gets curious and asks “what is NLP” and “I am afraid of NLP”. That happened to me last week too when someone approached me and came up with one of the oldes prejudice I came across in NLP. If someone is looking to the left or right it means something specific…..yes I said, it can be. But it does not have to be – the biggest mistake most people do is to generalize, to assume that if you do A then B must be true. Whilst that, in some cases, can be 99% right, for many other cases it could be 99% wrong. So never assume without knowing the territory ,-)

So let me summarize what I think of NLP. What is DBM and where is the difference.

NLP, Neuro Linguistic Programming, was developed in the 70-ties. Names associated to this are John Grinder and Richard Bandler (I will not go into much detail as you can read about most of it on various websites, e.g. on Wikipedia).

They discovered patterns of behaviour in people they tried to model based on Neurology/5 senses, Linguistic/Language and programming/structuring. Bandler described NLP as an “attitude and methodology that leaves behind a trail of techniques”.

DBM, Developmental Behavioural Modelling goes beyond NLP. It does not have the ready-made answers or pre-packed solutions. Information in detail can be obtained through the website of Sensory Systems where my thanks and appreciation goes to John McWhirter. His aim is to provide “Empowerment through experiential learning”! Although it has been a few years since I worked with John (or he worked with me), his approach to NLP, his DBM is what makes me “tick”. Thank you John!

Website live

Hello Readers,

Now my homepage www.cb-consulting.co.uk is finished. Hurray! Congratulations ,-)

What are the next steps? Due to my main job constraints I did not progress with my blog as quickly as I would have liked to but surely I catch up over the next week. So let me know what you think about my website and my services. Any suggestions? Any queries?

Have a good weekend,
Volker