Tag: consulting

Ballueder Thinks (2) – I believe in you

To believe in someone, you have to believe in yourself. That’s my opinion anyway. Did you know, according to Coach George Ravelin who was interviewed on Tim Ferris’ podcast the other day, not many parents tell their children that they believe in them.

The coach, now 82, also talks about ‘staying alive’ was his goal for most of his life, living in America as a black man. Every time he got stopped by the police, he feared for his life. A sad, yet fascinating podcast. It takes me back to my life in Kansas. A year as an exchange student, being pressurised into (soft) drugs, guns, drinking, sex and witnessing racial discrimination. It might sound horrible now, but at the time, I thought that’s what America was like. This is over 25 years ago, and I had a teacher back then, I might add a black teacher, who told me that he believed in me, and that one day I will become someone great. Whilst I still wonder when this might be, I wonder if I am already there. Who knows what ‘great’ really means?
You were a great mentor, Dr. Stone!

I have witnessed racism against me at the time, and against black people. I have witnessed a lot in my life, that I have forgotten, or pushed aside. But I believe in myself. That’s the main thing. And, I am very keen on making sure my kids believe in themselves, and their lives moving forward. When my son had his birthday recently, I wrote exactly that in his card. Hopefully, he will read it over again. And he starts believing in himself.

Whilst this is all 25 years ago, it sometimes comes back to the top of my mind. Just recently I remembered some scenes from that time, and it feels wrong now. No one would blame me, being 15 at the time, to not stand up for things I felt were wrong then, but felt I couldn’t speak out about back then. This is all a very long time ago, but you sometimes wonder what I have learned from all that. A whole lot I’d say, as I am someone who processes things and likes to reflect on things. And, I am willing to learn, to strive and make things better.

What have you done 25 years ago when you look back? It might sound as if I was a total idiot. Actually, I don’t think I was, given the environment I was in. But comparing it to the environment I came from, maybe I was 😉 It’s all good, wounds heal, yet it also gave me a deep inside into the heartland of America, the Mid-West. I learned a whole lot, made some really good friends too, and to this day would like to visit again. And what we Europeans often forget is the size of America. Kansas, where I was, is only about 20,000 km2 smaller than the UK as a whole. Or, to put it into perspective, Kansas is the size of the UK minus Wales. That’s a big country for one member state of a bigger United States, and it would have its own dynamics.

Enough about that, as with everything in life, we live and learn. I recently decided to launch a business with someone else. This is very exciting. And of course I will reveal more as we go along. We are still pretty much in stealth mode. We spoke the other day and had a good chat. Business for us is about TRUST. Trust for me comes back to belief. I believe in him, and he believes in me. We believe in what we do and how we will trust each other. That’s more powerful than a contract I suppose.

There is something else I wanted to write about. Teaching. Now, my dad and uncle both were teachers. Both in Germany, both successful in moving up the teachers’ ranks, and both have had a good life, brining up a family, owning a house etc. It is pretty much a good middle class family job. When I grew up, and most children do, I wanted to become a teacher. I wanted to do what my dad did. Thinking back, I am glad I didn’t become a teacher. Despite Covid19, and teachers going through a tough time, they also have a secure pension and a secure income. However, the income of a teacher will most likely always be lower than the income of someone in the open economy, however that’s not why you become a teacher. It’s because of passion.

I know that now, but back when I finished high school, it was all about the money for me rather than the passion. I wanted to become a CEO, a manager, and that was it. And, to a certain extend, I still love working with people, grown ups, and manage and coach/consult them. Now, you could argue, I am an adult teacher. Not quite, but kind of fulfilled two areas, e.g. being an expert in what I do, and passing that knowledge on to others. I couldn’t be a teacher, that’s for sure. In the UK, teachers are worse off financially than in Germany too, but that is another topic in itself. And me dealing with more than two children at a time isn’t my idea of fun either.

The point I am leading to, is that in life you should follow your passion. Which, to a certain extend, I did. I did it without the right reasoning. In NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), we differentiate between two motivational directions, e.g. moving towards something and moving away from something. In my case, I moved away from teaching for the reason of earning potential and moved towards consulting for the reason of earning more money and having a ‘career’. Coming to a point in my life where I am launching my own business, working with my own clients, I essentially realise I got the best of both worlds. I am teaching, training and helping people to achieve their goals. I guess I arrived at my destination, didn’t I?

Let’s stick with that thought for a moment. What if, based on what was mentioned above, I am already great and where I should be in life, then the next few years will be key to proving that what I am doing is successful. As you know, based on my podcast, success is defined by your own individual perception of success. So it could be money, or building something, or proving something.

For me, the next few years are about building a business that I can take with me, no matter where in the world I live, and which I can operate remotely too. This way I want to be Covid19 safe, and add value to anyone globally. I want to help people achieve their dreams and tell more people that I believe in them, and that they can achieve their dream. Things will always fall into place, no matter what.

And whilst I fear Covid19’s impact on the economy as much as the upcoming recession (or the recession that’s here already), and Brexit, and whatever else might come, e.g. a 2nd wave of Covid19 or another virus or global warming – for me it comes back to believing that anything is possible. I believe, despite fear and anxiety of the future, that we as humans will survive. We will find a way off this planet before we destroy it, or we find a way of not destroying it; and I find a way of making my business grow during a downturn. And, in the end, I want to look back in years to come and be proud of what I have achieved.

But I don’t want to be alone on the journey. I want to have enough time for my family, help them to believe in themselves. I want my friends, mates, coaching clients and consultant clients to believe in me, and them to believe in themselves. I want to help and give people confidence in what they do, and support them on the way. If I can achieve that, and make the world a better place in my circle of influence, I achieve success.

Now that’s something to live for.

And every time I think about that, there are people that come to my mind, people I met in Kansas, people I met in London and elsewhere on my way, that do not get it. People that tried to f* you over, that couldn’t be trusted, that treated you like sh*, and didn’t care. People I sometimes think about with compassion, sometimes with anger to be honest, how they could treat me, and a lot of other people, in a certain way. I don’t wish them bad or anything. I am not an evil person, just the opposite, I hope they find peace in what they do. And more often than not they were obsessed by either a wrong ideology or greed. Latter, mainly in the business sense.

My whole life I have and will always try to treat people with the utmost respect. Without prejudice. I hope that Covid19 will help people to see the human aspect more. With all the video calls, we look into living rooms, meet business’ contacts children and dogs. We are getting closer to each other, trying to help each other. That can only be a good thing.

I am a strong believer in Karma. That anything bad you do in life is coming back to you eventually. I also believe that anything good you do in life is coming back to you. The circle of energy, proven in my mechanics class back at university, the forces in any system need to be equalised for the system to be stable. Simple math really.

We are who we are. I am who I am, and you are like you are. Konrad Lorenz, who I read as a teenager, wrote a book called ‘I am here, where are you’ and ‘the so called evil’. I am here, who are you? How can I help you to achieve more? How can I help you to be more successful? How can we avoid evil? I enjoy helping and do that via my coaching. I love helping others to grow and do that via consulting. That’s what I do.

Yes, I could do with more business, but I am confident that once Covid19 goes, and we go back to a more normal business life, that things will continue to flourish. Where would humans be without optimism and belief?

It is key now to not give up. I know a lot of people who are looking for a job, or looking for others to help them. Let me know, I am happy to help you. I don’t have all the answers, but I have all the belief to move forward. Today I am positive.

And when I say today, then this means that some days are dark. Like for anyone at the moment, we have more time to think. Someone I know and lives in the USA, was debating whether to return to the UK. In our times, we have to make decisions where we want to live. How our outer circumstances define our living standards. Happiness, which is the topic of a podcast in a couple of weeks, is key. We, as humans, will always seek happiness. We think that by going somewhere else we are happier, and yet we might find out it’s not the case.

As many in these difficult times, we think a lot. One day this, the other day that. Stay or go. Whatever you are thinking about, you will notice that it changes all the time. And the reason is simple, we cannot plan at the moment. We think that by changing things we will be in a better place. That might or might not be the case, and our thoughts are a bit clouded.

The best thing is to sit down, and take stock. Write down what you enjoy/don’t enjoy, and what is important to you. Look into the future, taking into consideration that you cannot determine the future, and that it is likely to change too. Change is constant. Nothing is set in stone. You can only live in the now.

Then evaluate, talk things through with a person you trust, and wait until Covid19 has passed. Make a decision then, with a clear mind, a mind that can start planning a bit more. Don’t rush into anything that you might regret or didn’t think through, having less information and parameters due to the situation we are in. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make decisions.

At the end of the day we always need to move forward, whatever that means in your situation, and however big or small that step might be.

In the end, you have to believe in yourself and make sure you believe in others.

I believe in you!

My 2020 plans – what are yours?

I have been debating what 2020 has in stock for me. Of course we don’t know, and we will never be able to live anywhere else than the here and now. But if I had a wish for 2020, I’d like it to continue the way 2019 ended.

As people know, I left what we call a ‘permanent’ job in order to pursue my passion: working on projects I enjoy and where I am in charge, where I can make a positive difference. I found a few of them. One in the data space working with very talented data enthusiasts on exciting projects. This actually is the most enjoyable job in adtech I ever had.

My mindfulness journey lead me to work with another company called Moment Pebble. Their aim is to revolutionise the way we are being more mindful at work and life, reducing stress and becoming more skilful around mindfulness. This goes in line with my latest course I took. I am super excited to scale that business and bring more of the skills around our pebble to the masses, and I will deliver my first Workplace Mindfulness course from early January.

Lastly, I work on a few other projects, such as D:PULSE, a new conference concept for 2020/21 and supporting other companies on their business development efforts. I am happy to be able to split my time between so many talented businesses and people and work in areas I enjoy. This includes new areas too, being a trusted advisor and board member.

I was born to be a consultant, so if someone now asks me, I am a business consultant and trusted advisor. Within the trusted advisory ‘box’ you find executive coaching, my book on productivity principles which sold over 7,000 copies so far, principles for success, my podcast on success and mindfulness practise. It is all coming together, and it becomes an ever bigger toolbox with one aim: to support and help businesses and people to achieve more. Simple. And the real satisfaction I get, is to see people and business thrive on the back of my input.

In the meantime I am blessed for having a healthy and fun family. Anyone with kids around the age of 10 knows that those little people growing up very fast, forming their own character and challenge you. Every single day. It is fun though, isn’t it? I have been able to spend more time with them, more connected time.

So for me personally, for 2020, I want to learn more about health, and go deeper into that topic. Whilst in 2019, thanks for some external influences and people, I had to learn a lot about mental health; 2020 is about my physical health, maybe shedding a few more pounds. It has been over a year since my last marathon, so maybe….just maybe, but then there is food and drink. I have a healthy relationship with alcohol and that won’t change, but drinking less alcohol and eating less meat, becoming a more sustainable ‘element’ of humankind, that’s a goal worth pursuing. And if I learn how to cook some healthy meals, then this is a bonus. It’s an area I still want to be better in. I just love learning new skills.

That’s it for me. 2019 is almost over. 2 weeks of hibernation, editing podcast, preparing some work, good food and wine over Christmas, celebrations and gifting. And dwelling on what’s happening with this country moving forward. A topic we can cover some other time.

If you need help formulating your 2020 goals, need a shift in your direction or just want to have a sounding board, schedule a call on calendly.

Let’s have a chat and see how we can work together in 2020.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Volker

Smart Devices & why I ditched my Apple Watch (kind of)

I have been mulling whether to get the Apple Watch 4, or is it series 5 already, for a few weeks. And my decision has been to not get it. I looked at what I used the watch for, and realised it is all about fitness tracking. Quite frankly, that’s why I got it in the first place. It measures my heart rate, which I hardly check whilst exercising, and it gives me my measure of calories burned.

Now, I can achieve that with a Fitbit (recently bought by Google, what a surprise), and I can achieve that with a smart ring. So instead of ditching my Apple Watch completely, I keep it for my outdoor runs and added a smart ring to my gadget list. The ring measures my steps, my heart rate and my sleep. Actually, my sleep app on my phone is as accurate as the ring, but it never harms to have too many devices measuring the same thing, does it?

My overall aim was to simplify my life, not make it more complicated. Hence, adding a ring instead of a watch, makes my life a little bit easier. Whilst I cannot really charge it overnight, as I want to track my sleep, the charge of 90 minutes two times a week can be done whilst writing a blog post or doing emails for instance.

Then, I will add a new item to my list shortly. That’s a moment pebble, a device that naturally reminds me to be more mindful during the day. Not like the Apple Watch, buzzing me, but naturally just reminds me. Without any additional noise or at moments that are inconvenient for me. No doubt I write more about it in a few weeks time.

For me, any smart devices need to add value. From a mindfulness perspective, it makes sense to disconnect devices and being able to be in the moment. Not checking your emails or alerts but be in the here and now. That’s my ambition whilst still making best use of the technology out there.

When coaching my clients, it is important for me to establish first what they want to achieve, before coming with a big toolbox and show off what all can be done. If a smart device should add value, it is about what you want to achieve. And whilst the Apple Watch is a great piece of tech, to have one just to measure my heart beat and calories, seems a bit too pricey for me, as I need to replace it every 3 years at the latest due to the battery dying.

As with anything, let’s make it work for your needs.

Life is happening in the fast lane!

Yes, you might be surprised to find another update from me in quick succession. But life is happening so quickly, I want to make sure people know what I am up to. Also, I discovered my love for writing again! It’s not long until the summer holidays, and a well deserved break. Some of you might be thinking that I took some time off since leaving my last project, but far from it. I have been very very busy.

I took some new headshots, or should say my wife did. Hope you like them. Here is another favourite of mine, in the garden with my Buddha 🙂 Volker and the Buddha

Actually, when you are working on projects, you know when those come to an end. Sometimes you hope they get extended or last longer, and sometimes you are glad they don’t. So what have I done in the last few weeks?

I have been busy doing what I wanted to do for the past 20 years: It is easy in a way to set up a coaching business, as all you need to do is “to coach” 🙂 However, the key of being a good coach, is to position yourself and get references. There are people I have been coaching for almost 10 years, and others I have coached over the last couple of years. Given numerous qualifications and self studies, paired with my podcast and book on productivity, I have plenty of tools and experience to coach you. Soon, I hope to finalise the process and share my exact positioning with you. Focus here is key!

Whilst I am working on that side of the business, I am still in need of money. We all have our bills to pay. No project ever ends with a big payout, or a golden ticket. So I do what I do best and pitch myself to companies that want to build a presence in the UK or Europe, and need help to position their company, build initial sales, and grow their company, need business development. So if you are looking for some interim support, or a contractor/consultant to come in and give you a hand with sales, marketing or business development, corporate strategy, please let me know!

As for my own consulting business, I help Venture Capitalists (VC), Private Equity (PE) companies, HWI (High Worth Individuals), Fund Managers etc. to coach and consult with their start-ups and scale-ups.

I am a trusted pan European advisor to tech companies for positioning and strategic market development.

So that’s another way of how you can hire me. I have done that for many years, and I am very good at it, understanding the wider ecosystem, and where the tech fits. And as a VC or investors, you just don’t have enough time to do it all.

Thank you for your time reading this.

Needless to say that if you read this, liked what you read, and can think of anyone needing my gifts or talents, or you know of someone I should speak to, please reach out to me.

Personal Update – June 2019

Hi folks,

I haven’t posted for a while, but want to continue with my blog on a quarterly basis to give people updates what I am up to. Hence, this is my quarterly update for you 🙂

After leaving my latest project 4 weeks ago, I have now concluded to work for myself. For the past 3 years, and those following me know that, I have gone through redundancies due to acquisitions in the industry and worked on projects. I enjoy being involved in those projects, and quite frankly believe that I am born to work on consulting projects, helping others to achieve their goals. It lead to me deciding that the best way forward is for me to focus on this kind of work moving forward.

At the same time, I have been contemplating for many years to become a full time business and executive coach, mentor and trusted advisor. Whilst this is straight forward, given my qualifications and validation through years of experience in this field and my business experience, this area is a lot bigger in terms of positioning compared to digital marketing.

Volker Ballueder

I am on a fact finding mission, in terms of where I will focus the business. However, it is clear from my experience that I know how to position companies, how to grow companies, and can help people to understand how technology works and what technology can do for companies. Carving this out for owner managers or businesses executives and making it work, has been a passion for me for many years.

So without going into too much detail in this post, I will be working with businesses to help them grow….revealing the how and why in the forthcoming weeks. Very exciting, yet of course scary times.

In the meantime I work with some clients already, from a small business owner to a career mover. Hence, if you feel that there is a conversation to be had, or someone you know needs a business, career or life coach, please be in touch.

Also, I can reveal that I am close to publishing my 2nd book. After publishing my book on productivity a couple of years ago, it is time to reveal my book on success, based on the podcast which is going from strength to strength. I already started recording for season 3 which is going live from late August 2019.

Please subscribe to my blog and updates, so you won’t miss out any official launches and further updates in the forthcoming weeks.

Thanks for the ongoing support, all help and insights are greatly appreciated.

Best regards,
Volker

Sunday Column (216)

This is a post about change. The last week has been a lot about change.
We are living in times of change. We are living in times where the individual and the organisation need to find a common ground. If this isn’t there, we have to make decisions. Simple. Sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better.

I recently have spend a lot of time looking at business principles, spirituality and business and how we can improve ourselves, others and the environment we live in. I am passionate about that stuff and feel I have a duty of care. I am still getting sentimental when my almost four year old gives me a cuddle. I feel his love and be able to share my feelings with him. In those moments, and of course the same is true for his younger brother, I am truly happy and content.

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It is the love and mutual understanding we have. It is peaceful and happy. We have discussions sometimes when I don’t like what they do and they don’t like something I do, but overall we are getting along fine. That is worth a lot to me. I guess it is the same with any long term partnership, like my marriage for instance.

Life is a funny one as it comes up with surprises and it hits you hard. I remember losing a job due to the recession back in 2009 just before my first child was born, shortly after I got a new mortgage. You grow stronger through that and learn. You become calmer in the storm and you bring things back to its roots, to grow stronger and bigger.

When people lose loved ones, they either get miserable or raise to the challenge. As Anthony Robbins says, you either change out of desperation or inspiration. There are very inspirational people out there. I remember watching a video of a father who, because his disabled child (in a wheelchair) wanted to run a marathon, started training to run a marathon pushing her wheelchair. These things are amazing and are born out of the given opportunities. Opportunities presenting themselves in life for a good or bad reason, and the key is to raise to the challenge and to not give up.

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This week I spoke at a conference about the use of data and about how to use, analyse and utilise data to make decisions more effective and efficient. I love that stuff and that it seems to get more mobile focused and video/connected TV focused. The omni channel approach comes to life whilst each channel gets a new meaning by itself. Loving it 🙂

On Saturday I attended a free (sales) seminar by Anthony Robbin’s crew, Harry Singha, about unleashing the power from within. I might have not learned any new techniques but I did learn a lot and recapped a lot on what’s happening in our minds. How I can program my or someone else’s mind in order to help him/her or myself. Power is magic. I definitely want to spend some time learning more about it all. I know it a lot but on the other hand I need to analyse, refine and optimise.

This will be all for this week. Have a great week, start into May, and let me know what you think.

Best wishes,
Volker

Why consulting works!

I always wonder why  consulting works and people spend lots of money to get a 3rd party to advise them. Maybe there are 2 ways of looking at it.

1) someone does not have the internal resources nor the expertise

2) someone lost the site of things and needs a third party to look at it

Latter is my experience from last night, sitting as I like to do, on the Southbank in London with a good friend and have a couple of Ales. And whilst we talk about job, personal life and past experiences in jobs, he helps me (and sometimes I help him) to see things a different way.

He pointed out a lot of good things where I can sit down, have a think, improve and then hopefully come back stronger and better.

I will keep you updated.

Have a good weekend, Volker