Tag: happy

Sunday Column (363)

This week was far from slow going. It started with the little oneโ€™s nativity play in which he was a donkey. I loved his outfit, yet his role was all but sitting around doing nothing. He loves acting and in years to come I see him taking on more prominent roles. Just the opposite from what his brother is like when it comes to performing.

On Tuesday I went to a meeting outside London for a big presentation, to come back to our official Christmas party. I stayed over in London, in one of the posher hotels, which didnโ€™t fail to disappoint. It is a shame how hotels in London get away with being so tourist oriented and less service oriented. Not good advertising for the tourists that come over.

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Never mind, we had a great night out at one of Gordon Ramseyโ€™s restaurants, amazing food and fantastic chats. It is always a pleasure to meet the founder of the company and talking shop. Having said that, it is nice to also not talk shop but about experience, family, and life overall. Working for smaller companies and start ups is great as there is a real connection between the top and the bottom. Not that I consider myself the latter, but speaking about it in a general sense ๐Ÿ˜‰

Not to say it was a rather calm night, but I was on my best behaviour. Some bug is pestering me for a while, and I have been โ€˜under the weatherโ€™ really. So Wednesday passed quickly and Thursday saw another Christmas play. This time it was the eldest play which I truly enjoyed. Off to work, a few meetings, lots of things to take care of and finishing off with a rather busy Friday. Wow.

It is a diary this week really. Not wanting to get into politics but this Donald Trump guy .. anyway, donโ€™t get me started.

More amusing, or not, is a video of myself. My old search agency I used to work for 8 odd years ago, asked me to talk about programmatic, about TV data and made the following video about me:

Volker talking TV Data.
Let me know what you think. I believe I need to work on my eyebrows and my paleness a bit ๐Ÿ˜‰

Saturday closed with a lovely Christmas party we hosted for a few of our friends. However, we went for a โ€˜Santa Runโ€™ in the morning which really was a 400 m run for the kids and they loved doing it and getting a medal. Having done my 20K this week (2x10K to be precise) on the treadmill, and the treadmill needing a repair, I took it easy at the weekend and didn’t join further running. We went ice skating though, and luckily to our earlier attempt last week which was more a lido than an ice rink, it was really good!

We are getting closer to Christmas. Most presents are bought, most things organised. Work is still very busy and will be for a while, but come the 24th, I cannot wait to sit back, raise a good glass of red and cheer to a very successful year. I consider myself lucky. I consider myself happy.

Happy Holiday Season,
Volker

Sunday Column (335)

We are back from a week off. Similar to Marissa Mayer from Yahoo, I believe that I rather take a week off, and that more often, than having a longer holiday. Particularly at the stage I am in life with family and job. As long as you don’t worry and don’t work that week at all, you can really wind down. And having a few ‘one weeks’ off a year suits us currently well as a family and also works best in my current work situation.

We went to Devon, glamping, glamorous camping, in a yurt. That was fun! Back to basic staying on an organic vegetable farm. The yurt was spacious, heated up during the day and was pleasant at night. The roof light made me wake up reasonable early, 6-7 am, so I fit in my exercise and meditation routine. The family stayed asleep.

The kids and even I slept 12 hours often, a real wind down, I am chilled. Back to nature, a roof light through which you saw the moon. The door opened to the East to get the morning sun in. A fantastic, peaceful setting. A somewhat miraculous space I have to say, and we could sit outside some nights enjoying the moon rise and a glass of wine. It was great. Unfortunately we had some rainy days too, so ended up driving home Friday night rather than Saturday during the day. However, this wasn’t due to dislike but a decision based on traffic, things to do and yes also comfort and weather ๐Ÿ˜‰

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The yurt experience was back to basics. Firstly, and most annoyingly, not even 3G coverage, no emails, no Facebook. Latter wasn’t bad of course but not being able to use Google Maps when lost, Strava for tracking your runs or looking at (personal) emails I found challenging. Yet it was a good digital detox. After two days I found a Costas, and then regularly free wifi in shops and tourist attractions to get my digital fix.

The toilet was wood chip based, or flushed, e.g. no water. The hand basin, both located a short walk up the hill, was ok to wash hands yet for UV filtered water to drink we had to walk down the hill to the farm. A power shower, solar powered lights and hot water were there too. Sustainable. That’s where we charged our phones, which batteries lasted forever not being used often, wifi turned off most of the time. That was a first.

It makes you think about rubbish, recycling and a self sustainable life style. A bit hippyish, sharing the communal space. We liked that. Veggies and fruit as much as we liked. Fresh eggs. However, we almost had a bad conscious eating our pre-packed chicken thighs and sausages from Tescos creating a lot of rubbish. Was there guilt?

Not really. They didn’t try to make us feel bad, it was us! What I mean by that is that one reconsiders. Could I buy things differently packed? In Germany when I was 14, so well over 20 years ago, they introduced a 5 cents (10 Pfennigs really) charge for plastic bags. We, in our environmental group, bought things in supermarkets which were packed a few times and unpacked them to demonstrate the amount of unnecessary rubbish. Nothing has changed but that I accepted the rubbish. Dropping principles I suppose, giving in to the money making machinery of supermarkets.

That makes me think. Did I accepted the fact that we pollute the planet, that I cannot afford individual wrapped sausages from the butcher, that I buy ‘convenience’ or that I, me personally, will not be able to change the world?
It is probably a combination of all of the above. I alone cannot change the world and life moved on, so I went the path of least effort and resistance. Why would I want to be the odd one out, trying to explain to others how it is done? I was never confident to do that, and also believe circumstances didn’t allow me to.

I would encourage it though. The hippyish lifestyle of our yurt owners is something to envy. The idea of living of your own land, sustain yourself, stick to your principles. And this is more a guess than me interviewing them about details. The bit to be a bit different. Hence it is nice to be back to basics for a week. Re-learning and letting the boys understand that not all packaged food has to be packaged and some food grows on trees. One can pick one’s own raspberries, beans, blackberries, salad…and collect fresh eggs. We try that at home sometimes too. So maybe we aren’t that bad after all. Maybe a week in the country side does help us to connect, connect with Mother Earth, in a very old fashioned hippy way. And it feels great, calming, soothing.

It almost feels romantic, giving something back to life, to humanity, to world peace maybe. Could I do it? I always used to say I am a banker and work 24/7 or a sheep farmer in the Australian out backs. Black or white, extreme. I am never going to be a farmer, rather a monk, and I don’t believe I will own a Harley Davidson driving through America either. No, I work more like the banker but with additional family time. I have just a usual life. Happy. Content in my own world. Probably just normal. Nothing wrong with it I suppose. Ordinary really.

That doesn’t mean I can’t dream or try. Every now and then escape. Being able to waste a day, being in bed doing nothing. Letting the kids roam ‘wild’ and enjoying the being in the now. Exploring the woods, nature and sitting on a wood chip toilet overlooking the countryside. Having a digital detox in a first world country.

It was a great week away.
We loved it.
A first trip of a journey back.

Love and happiness from my corner of the world.
Volker

Sunday Column (310)

lk rohan colin rohan volker geenee nanee goodis ome oallp croopesh volker ule volerstela and stooit kasdon and rcaila rosee lilee

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I guess that is Colin’s first blog post. Can you spot your name, Judith, Michela, Krupesh, Oma, Opa, Karsten, Stuart, Stella, Rosie, Jenny, Lilly…..and Nanny of course. Not only did he win a prize in football this week, his brother turned 4 (officially), our neighbours got locked out, I had a doctor’s appointment I didn’t like and also I got a new filling, had to go to the dentist. And the dog went crazy, work was challenging, but overall as I am sitting down to start writing this blog on Friday night, I am content and happy.

Why? I keep asking myself what makes me happy and content?

I guess it is about accepting the challenge that you cannot change things. Things like life plays with you. Whether that is the wrong label from Amazon or the flower delivery on Valentine’s Day. The minor things or the major things.

It is the challenges in the job and the progress I make on a daily basis. Really enjoyable work. A great company, exciting space and of course it comes with challenges. And I love them. And next week I will be travelling again, then every week until Easter break. Will see the family less. Yet, I look forward to it, evangelising the world for 2nd screen TV Sync.

On top of that I have a fantastic, engaging family. I worked from home a day or two, was home for bathing, got lots of work done on the days as I got less disturbance and wasn’t held up in meetings, and can balance work life. Work is dominant, of course, after all that’s 8 hours a day, yet being able to relax for 10 minutes, tickling your youngest, or having a coffee with the wife makes life and work nicer. A great benefit of our company.

lifebalance

Being able to live where I am, and how I am. I am managing my early morning, exercise before work, breakfast with the kids, walks with the dogs and long extensive country walks with the dog at the weekend. How can’t you love that? Helping the neighbours to break into their own house (as they locked themselves out), being able to light a fire, have a glass of wine and just relax and feel at home. I am very content and happy, can’t you tell ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, all of above of course comes down to personal taste, personal development and feelings. And there are things that throw you off that balance sometime. But one has to believe that things are good, don’t we. Own circumstances, external influences, love and connectedness, contentedness and knowing what you want. Shared love, values and a strong partner, valuing my wife for Valentines of course. Life takes its course, good or bad, and will continue. Being able to stop, internally, put the screens aside, the disturbance and breathe in, breathe out, enjoy the moment with the dog and the fire, the taste of a good red wine, a good book or movie, the escape or the push forward….all that is key. To a balanced, healthier life.

I strongly believe I have the best framework in the world, receive the best love I can ask for, have the right job and challenges, and seem to balance it quite well, with being in the moment.

Yes, I am just lucky. Why wouldn’t I be?

Have a great week,
Volker

Sunday Column (302) – Year review

Merry Christmas, or as close as a blog post can come to it. With Christmas now being a few days away, and me finishing off work on Tuesday, it is time for my yearly review. Having said that, this year was full of so many great memories, experiences and excitement, I just want to summarise a few thoughts in this post. Maybe I do another one or look back at a few events soon. All I can say is that this year passed quickly, in a good sense, and that I developed a lot as a father and person.

Let’s start with the most important thing: health. I have been constant with my weight, lost a lot of it and feel really fit. Two sick days and a healthy period throughout the winter so far (fingers crossed) make a huge difference to last year when I was ill months at a time. I am happier, healthier and fitter. And, I am grateful for this. Next year should see an improvement even to step up the game. This will include running with the dog I hope and maybe some different sports I could add to the mix. My recent visit to the physiotherapist gives me hope that I will be pain free on my 10K adventures. You never know, they might turn into 15 or 20K….

The next biggest thing in my life: family. One could argue family goes over health but what is the family worth without health? We were married 7 years this year, knew each other for 10. We got two healthy amazing boys and a lovely cat and now a dog. We are truly blessed with what we have and we both know and appreciate it. Without them, their love, trust and commitment I couldn’t do the job I enjoy and live the life we do. They give me both strength and purpose in life. I love you all!

The house got an overhaul and thanks to family support we got a lot of things done. One is never finished with a house but the next things are more cosmetic, so no rush ๐Ÿ™‚ Having said that, the outbuilding (shed), new carpets and driveway are all planned in my head at least.

My job is going well. 2015 might bring some changes and I hopefully find more time for personal projects on top. Overall I am in an exciting space of the industry where opportunities and challenges are close together. An amazing and exciting place to be. I am very happy with that.

On that note, tidWOWs gives me a focus outside work to pursue and build a reputation as a coach, productivity expert and personal development trainer. I will continue to write my articles and research topics for that blog. I enjoy it and it is a hobby which of course is very much work related.

xmas

One of my new year resolutions is to find more mentors, people that can push me to achieve more: A-Players. I still have a long working life ahead and realised when visiting my fraternity in Germany, that within the fraternities there are different attitudes to achievement and success. Most of the people there are achievers, great students and fantastic managers. Pushing the boundaries and succeeding. I look forward incorporating some of that work into my productivity studies, modelling other’s success.

There are things we didn’t do enough this year and there are things we want to do more next year. That is to spend more time together as a family, visit more friends and maybe going to visit Germany. Yet we are thankful and grateful for what we have and have achieved. We have been able to donate a few pennies to charity which fulfilled us with joy. We could help other people to achieve things in their life. I am looking back at 2014 thinking we have done well, we have been good people yet also think we could do so much more. The highlight most probably was our campervan trip. Proper family time, independence and sunny weather.

2015 is about refining for me on one hand – that will be around family and work life balance and managing my private interests. Yet on the work level it is about acceleration and reaching the pivotal point that should catapult me up and beyond from where I am now. Prospects are exciting and we haven’t even started 2015 yet. Things looking great.

I might have a short post next week, however please enjoy the festive season. Look back at the year and be grateful for what you have and thankful for what you have achieved. When feeling blessed and acknowledging what you have, what is happening in the NOW, one can move things forward, moving on.

Enough from me.

Have a fantastic Christmas and New Year.

Love with you all.
Volker & Family

Sunday Column (264)

Giving thanks and feeling sorry for others, or focusing on your own miserable self. That’s a question I asked myself this week. It of course was Monday and I contemplated to work from home. I try to go to the sauna on a Monday night and decided to have a meeting in town, yet leave on time to get home in time.

Being at Victoria station early I followed a friend’s advice to jump on the first fast train to Haywards Heath. Stuck outside Victoria station for 30 minutes we eventually got back and sent on a different train. The train broke down and the later, direct train, overtook us whilst we pulled back. The one we all went on then got stuck at Battersea station for about 30 minutes. By now I should have been home for about 30 minutes. A broken down train and two persons hit by a train in one night. Pot luck.

It was my choice to move to the countryside and pay ยฃ4,500 a year for my train travel. I chose to live a more balanced life. Yet, I didn’t sign up for a crappy train service, no value for money which comes up with bad excuses why things don’t work, or why there are delays.

And just as I write my anger off my chest I look around me. People with heavy suitcases on the way to Gatwick airport. People with light luggage on their phones trying to change planes. Mothers with children, elderly totally lost. No internet, no twitter to air desperation. They are worse off. Some might have more time yet need more help and lack of information makes people short wired. Latter is very typical for Southern trains, who don’t even respond on Twitter anymore.

Emotions are high on these journeys. I should be thankful. I made it home that night to a warm place. No, I didn’t go to the sauna, and yes, I had a glass of wine. I am lucky really. That all happened on the same day people found out that the Malaysian airline was definitely lost. One puts life into perspective.

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One has to be thankful for what one created and what has been given to someone. It is not about money. It is not about health. Sometimes it is about accepting that your situation cannot be changed and that you need to get on with it.

Life sometimes throws these big rocks in your path. You just need to get on with it and move them. Or you go around them. Or you find another solution. Either way, no point of worrying about it. Trust things work out in the future. Trust, as Steve Jobs said, that the dots connect moving forward.

Enough philosophy. Enough moaning. Life is good. Actually life is quite good and I am working through a few things that should even improve things further. We are getting there. Always things to improve ๐Ÿ˜‰ Always pushing boundaries.

On Friday I set off to a stag weekend to Edinburgh. I panicked when the flight which was announced as delayed on my app wasn’t announced delayed at the airport. I left late, got there in time, had food, and actually – whilst missing the family – also enjoyed some piece and quiet. My first trip away which wasn’t work related in a long time.

And if life was plain sailing, it would be boring wouldn’t it be? We wouldn’t even know what to do with half of our time. So let’s be thankful for what we have. And let’s give those that are less fortunate than us a helping hand.

In the meantime, enjoy your week,
Volker.

Sunday Column (213)

Happy Sunday!

It has been cold in the UK for about six months. I have had a cold and viruses for about 4 weeks. The family was ill. Not only did we change seasons into spring and turned the clocks back, no we also passed Easter with little sunshine. Maybe I should have immigrated to Australia whilst I had a chance? But then, I would most definitely be moaning about the heat.

The weather, one of the most discussed topics in Britain I believe. But 6 months of winter? That’s half a year in the shade, that isn’t typical. Some people predict a wet summer and another three weeks of cold winds. Oh how do I miss my Italy and Spain trips ๐Ÿ™

Anyway, this weekend finally saw some sunshine. We got out in the garden (pictures to follow tomorrow), and we went for a nice walk. Still cold but better!

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I started following a few new spiritual and motivational blogs. Looking at the quote – did you live today? Did you make a difference? Follow your passion? Your dream? Did you help? Did you or society make a step in the right direction thanks to your contribution?

In about a month time I am hoping to join a charitable organisation. The final decision is next week, followed by an application (or invitation really) early May. Subject to approval I would join a group of people that get together to discuss how they can serve. Serve a purpose, serve others and be of use to society. Isn’t that great? More to follow.

Hopefully towards the end of the year I am planning to join another institution to do good. It makes you reflect a lot. To serve. To do good. I want to contribute to society, help others, network and be part of a group of likeminded people. You gathered that I enjoy those things. Being a member of a German fraternity to serve society and business was my first step in a direction of personal development through club memberships, gaining valuable input from members with a variety of backgrounds. Mentors. I am sure you remember last week’s post.

On slideshare I uploaded a presentation with 10 principles for success.

I set myself the goal to write more about management, personal development and business principles. Currently, I am reading a few new books with new aspects of organisational skills, how to structure your brain and mind, as well as how to apply this principles to time and personal management. I find that there are new theories refining the old established principles.

For instance the 7 habits of highly effective people, of which I got a copy in 1998, which I then discussed and “dissected” in my MBA six years later, are still true; nevertheless the world has changed in the last 15 years and I believe that some of those habits, or other guides of being successful, efficient or productive, need a bit of a review or addendum. So watch this space for more updates.

A final note on updates. I have now started using Google+ a lot more. I find that LinkedIn is great for business relations and networking, and so is Xing to an extend, and Twitter is great for some noise and updates for the community; Google+ is nice for sharing essentials, public personal stuff that you don’t need or want to hide on Facebook, and it is good to join the debate in communities which I find lack in terms of discussions in the public Linkedin forums and to a certain extend on Facebook. The latter due to people not wanting to be “seen” in their private environment. Makes sense?

Anyway. A short and exciting week comes to an end.
Spring is in the air, or is it?

My parents came for a visit, quality family time. With my parents I managed to clear the loft, put the floor boards down, tidied some rubbish away and made lots of space. We also managed to get a night out in the pub and got on in the garden whilst having two baby sitters ๐Ÿ™‚ I sometimes wonder how life would be with family in close proximity. Also I made good use of the EUR-GBP exchange rate by stocking up on some wine. Happy days ๐Ÿ™‚

I am happy, are you?

Hopefully I can go back on the treadmill this week. I still feel a bit under the weather but a lot better than I have been. My energy is coming back and I am ready to rock ‘n roll.

Watch this space ๐Ÿ˜‰
Volker