Tag: fire

Ballueder Thinks (10) – October Update

I am finishing this post as I unwind for the night. A busy day ‘in the office’, lots of zoom calls…but a good day, as most days are at the moment.

When I started writing this post, it was a week after my marathon. My columns here become more of a diary which I publish on an irregular basis. I hope you continue to enjoy them. Please reach out to me and let me know, so I can use your feedback to improve.

That in itself is an important point, if you don’t seek feedback, you never improve. I guess that’s why my coaching clients come to me, they want to be coached from an ‘outside-in’ perspective, someone giving them feedback and suggesting how to better themselves. It’s great to be able to do that, as I really enjoy doing it too. Reach out to me for a free consultation on how I could help you to achieve more in life.

In terms of my running, I recovered from my injury from the marathon and I am slowly going back to training again. For now, I decided I will take it easy for a month, focusing on weight loss, muscle gain and maintaining my fitness level. This means a split half marathon on Mondays, and a further 10K later in the week. That’s plenty to maintain the level for now. I never felt so fit before. Interesting enough, I noticed that I cannot cope with alcohol that well anymore. Even the ‘normal’ amount gives me a slight hungover the next day. Whether that is down to the theory that muscles which are well trained soak up any fluid in order to hydrate, and therefore cause havoc with alcohol, or if it is age, I do not know 🙄 So my beloved wine needs to be a weekend thing for me to continue to perform at my peak during the week. That is a good problem to have IMO.

What keeps me up at night is productivity and performance. You might think that’s a bit geeky but I have two interesting projects which both need high performance from me, for the little hours I have. The balance when working as a consultant. I hopefully add a couple more projects by the time I finished this post, and also add more coaching clients. As a matter of fact I added a voluntary role in the mindfulness space to the portfolio; more info and announcements next time, when things are officially formalised.

I also got approached for full time roles recently and have engaged in a few conversations. However, I am still not sure. But never say never. There is loads going on, and I shared 10 open positions on LinkedIn the other day that randomly appeared in my newsfeed. To be honest, I am very curious how I split my time in the months to come. All I can say is that I truly enjoy what I am doing and the people I am working with.

Things are moving, and are in constant change. Change is good. My podcasts are well received and I enjoy interviewing guests from a variety of topics. Watch the space for some really interesting, mind opening conversations I recorded.

That leads me to another topic. As a family we have been putting our thinking hats on too. From whiteboard sessions around the kitchen table to discussions how we want to live, and what is important to us. As some ideas and plans are shattered, other opportunities are opening up. Again, I am not sure how it all pans out in the months to come, but I am sure we will be fine. As a family we grow stronger, the boys are getting older and things are happening. And that is the most important thing. It showed massively when the youngest had to quarantine due to a Covid case in his school bubble recently. I am sure we see more of that to come, and I am worried about a second lock down tbh. Sometimes I fear the virus will never go away, so we just have to accept it and live with it.

Anyway, given the circumstances,

I am happy.
I am grateful.
And I am immensely positive.

I couldn’t wish for anything else atm. We have always been ambitious and positive thinking. This means we are ready to take on whichever challenge life throws at us, and I am confident we master it. And the boys are growing up with that attitude and learning from us to become more resilient.

This all goes in line with a lot of patience, resilience, and communication with a 9 and 11 year old, who of course see life from a different angle than ourselves. Life is challenging to be explained to some, and making decisions is what we have to do as parents and carers, and we hope we make the right ones. You cannot always please everyone which means, sometimes things just have to be done.

There is of course a negative side effect to what I do: I am working too much. I just love to. Whilst I am contracted by days/hours/projects, I often end up clocking a lot more hours and neglect the family or myself. The other week I realised I hadn’t left the house for 3 days! I made up for it with a session in the pub, and that felt really good! Just the other day I coached someone on work life balance, and how to separate life and work when working from home; from physical distancing to breaking up the day, carving time out for lunch, school runs etc. Don’t forget, we are all in it together, and a small change can go a long way. It’s like the discussion around wearing face masks. They don’t protect yourself, but protect others. And for that reason, unless you are selfish, just wear one. A small price to pay if you ask me.

Whilst we didn’t go out for a few days, we got some life admin done. It’s nice to feel to be on top of things, cuddling up with the boys, spending proper family time together. The fire was on, nice food was cooked and you are creating that home family atmosphere. Isn’t that brilliant? As mentioned above, we are still learning to become the ‘perfect family’ (define that how you want), but open communication and support for each other is key. How do we stop daddy from shouting? How can I trust you more? How can I get you to listen more?

It’s a bit like a board meeting. The application of leadership and management to small independent family organisations 🙂 I can see a book coming soon. As a matter of fact, a discussion last week sparked my interest to write a book called ‘what I learned now and would pass on to my younger self if he was listening’. But it’s true, I remember a friend of mine doing a whiteboard session with his parents a few years ago. It works, and visualisation and communication are key to any team you are working with.

Since I last published a post, there have been a few things happening. I got a new veggie cook book by Jamie Oliver which I love; I ordered the new iPhone (2 years upgrade cycle) and it will arrive soon. It is crazy to think how far technology has come, when I compare that with my first HTC smart phone running on Windows back in 2006. The connectivity or even the camera compared to my first digital camera at university. I am a bit technology geek, and I cannot wait for the machine to arrive. The pictures are soon available in RAW format, not that it means much to me, but this will be a breakthrough for professional photographers. In line with that, we are consuming more, and I got myself convinced to add Netflix to the mix. So between Apple TV, Prime and Netflix, we now have 3 subscription services. I am monitoring this closely, as I don’t really like to pay for many. We also pay a subscription for FreeTV which I happily get rid of. However, that’s just a hidden tax really.

Now, on the weekend of the 17th, I heard the sad news that my old manager and mentor, Andy, passed away. He was fighting cancer since 2016 when he collapsed in the office. I will re-publish a podcast I recorded with him at the end of 2019, in memory and in warning, somewhat, that we cannot escape death. Andy had cancer, an evil one, and we openly talked about it. He made peace with himself, and was ready to go – as ready as one can be. He leaves a lot of friends, a fantastic family and a legacy of a life behind. He influenced my life over the years, and those many others. It sometimes feels as if the good guys go to early. One just doesn’t know how much time is left on the clock. You must make the most of it. Life can be cut short.

On that note, if you knew Andy, please contribute to his chosen charity Garden House Hospice, mentioning his name. I will miss you and our chats.

No matter how many people die, it isn’t getting easier. The closer you are to them, the more memories you shared, the more it affects you. This year I lost two loved ones already. Many people died of Covid of course. It’s not the year to sit and wait. It’s those experiences that make us more determined, to spend more time with our family, to make more things happen, to work harder, yet make every moment count with your loved ones.

Andy and I shared a ton of memories, attending events across Europe, where we spend long days and nights, having lots of fun. We shared good and bad moments, and he will be truly missed. I loved working with him, and loved taking advice from him. Rest in peace.

I think this is a good time to end this column.
Covid, Brexit, life in general – there is so much uncertainty. As I am learning to embrace fear more and more, it doesn’t make it easier. I sometimes think I need a year off, maybe 2021, to reflect and do what I want to do. Lottery win my way please 😉

Give your loved ones a hug tonight. Reflect on what you have, and be grateful. Life can change in a heartbeat, so cherish the precious moments.

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world!
Volker

Living in a new world – Days at home (22)

Hey, welcome back.

The boys are still off school, and we can certainly say we have had a relaxing Easter. A couple of BBQs, a nice walk, some ‘body work’ on the beetle and yes, just some time to switch off, a fire, a movie, lots of nice wine, and a run. Wow.

Walks seem to be a daily occurrence now, so even the boys love them.

You almost think what’s not to like, but for me there is so much to live for. Yes, I’d love more freedom of movement and more opportunity to find an income source, but in the meantime we make do with what we have. There is plenty of food, we are healthy and that’s all that matters. Being thankful daily for what we have.

Below some impressions. I wanted to write more today, but it has been a busier start back than anticipated.

Sunday Column (269)

Oh yes. I started writing this post early in the week, as I normally do. For the first time in many years I had a good wash rather than a hot shower, however the boiler has now been fixed and we are back to modern times. A weekend passed at which we had a family bath: hot water and one by one got a turn. Youngest last. I also spent a lot of time trying the best method on how to make fire. This should be an instinct to men really, yet we are not living in a cave any longer.

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Someone suggested we should put a fire guard on the wall for the boys to stop playing with it. The thought never crossed my mind tbh, as the stove is that hot and we explain at length not to touch it. Actually, I showed Colin how to use matches and when we get our axe, he will learn how to split wood. Others might disagree. When I grew up I was so scared of fire but at the same time so curious. I made loads of them. On a building site across the road I set paper on fire, lying awake all night being scared the fire was out, and as it was forbidden, and I didn’t have any experience, I was scared to talk to anyone about it.

Education is key. Kids will be kids and they will play with fire, or will try cigarettes, or beer when they are under age. Of course the impact of fire can be horrendous yet I am a strong believer that they need to learn. And I don’t let them light the fire or move hot logs, open the door or leave matches lying around.

Whilst I am of course justifying myself here, I am also thinking of something else: the influence and comment on social media, which is to no offence to the above. I just read a chapter on productivity suggesting we are wasting a lot of time and listen to a lot of noise. This is certainly true, yet over the past three month I improved on a few things.

Firstly I don’t check my social media or emails at the weekend that often anymore. I am deliberately tuning out, also making it less of a habit during the week. Working in the space will certainly mean to not being able to completely stop checking in, tweeting or updating Facebook, but I am getting a lot more selective. Feedly is also being reduced again massively.

The reason is time. Learning how to organise, prioritising and making sure you put important things first, shows you how much time you waste, trying to be up to date on everything that happens. That in return means you might never really focus on the things that are important or important to you. A simple learning in time of information overload, learning to filter the information we get.

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Then there was my birthday. Nothing of overly importance and just a step closer to 40. Not there yet though. My wife treated me to a few goodies which was very nice and kind.

However the best birthday present came this weekend: a new couch and arm chairs. We now got our living room back. Less echo in the place, a place to come home to. A kitchen work top. A new espresso machine, furniture back in place and our spare bedroom back to how it should be. Yes, we finally finished the place. Still some smaller. It’s to arrive but the majority is done. Thank god!

The laptop replacement arrived and seems to be working fine. The boiler works. The aerial got repaired. I think it is all done now…fingers crossed.

I will post some impressions later in the week, just to give you the heads up on what changed. For now I am getting over the last symptoms of a heavy cough I had this week. I went to work on Thursday and coughed from train to conference to office until I decided to best go home. No sleep etc. but hey, you only get that when you have kids 🙂

I am better now.
Things will be ok.

Have a great week,
Volker