Tag: Kansas

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!

Living in a new world – Days at home (4)

This day was easier, for daddy anyway. Mummy was at home and took over most of the homeschooling, so daddy could get on with some work. That worked well actually.

With Rohan working off the iPad, we trying to circumvent some compatibility issues but think we are getting there. The exercise was fitted in today and we are getting more into a routine. Mummy and the boys went for a long walk. Daddy did some essential shopping.

It seems a bit like ‘normality’ sets in. The new normal, yet some tears of exhaustion and being fed up. We venture through. I am excited to have set up a video call for Rohan’s class tomorrow, that will be fun!

Rohan is working on a map from the USA, identifying states like Kansas. It takes me back 35+ years when I lived there as an exchange student. Time flies. Their motto: Ad astra per aspera – to the stars through difficulties. What a nice motto, valid more today than ever.

KS flag

Stay safe.

Sunday Column (232)

This was an eventful week. Where to start?

Let’s have a look into the past first.

10 years ago I did my Master Practitioner in NLP. Writing about it this week I realised how time has flown past. Crazy to think that I was about to embark on my MBA and just finished my engineering degree despite the fact I never really liked engineering as such.

20 years ago this week I moved to Kansas, USA, to a small farm town, to a big farm, and learned a lot about life in the forthcoming 10 months. I guess that is where I got the appetite to leave Germany, explore the world and live a ‘wild life’. Did it ever happen?

Life has changed over the years. I have changed. For my Rotary Club I need to prepare a presentation about my professional and personal life. What to add? What has been important? I might just share it with you here.

I could get philosophical now. My wife and family of course are important and have changed my life all over again. And I am still learning to be a good dad and family guy. But I want to speak about something else.

IMG_1826

No, not the teddy on the picture. This week we had a rough night with R waking up asking for his shoes. I wonder what he was dreaming about? C was sick. And that before an ever so important interview. Never mind. We grin and bear it. My espresso consumption has skyrocketed since May.

This week I launched my book. A long time in the making, several attempts over the past few years, I finally sat down and put my thoughts on Productivity of Life together. A holistic view on how I think life could be a bit better, more organised, more enjoyable and ultimately more successful for everyone. It is a scary thought to put your brain’s content out there thinking someone might want to read it. What if people don’t like it? What if they think it is useless?

Confidence! I have enough experience in the field and put a lot of effort into this book. Lots of references to further deepen your knowledge. I am sure you must like it! 🙂 Seriously, a book is one of those life achievements, a lot of learning and a result where I hope I can help people with.

Have I achieved it all now? The house, the family, the book? Far from it. I am only taking off in life. Every time I stop and reflect on where I am in life I think of the next leap. I am eager, ready to roll up my sleeves, get on with what I need to do and work on myself and my career, not forgetting my family!

I just mentioned to the boys this morning that would like to take them to India, the Taj Mahal, and to Lhasa, Tibet. Whilst I started crossing things off my list of things to do in life, I suppose I only just started.

Life life balance. There is enough for everyone in the world, they say. A nice analogy I heard this week, similar to “follow your heart” or “true beauty comes from within”, was that whatever you reflect on the outside doesn’t have to be your inside. For me that means you might be shiny on the outside but inside you still need to work on some issues. Who you trying to impress? Do what you like on the inside, be who you are, reflect it on the outside, be happier and impress that way. Is that clear to you? I am still thinking about it, but like this personal development thought.

Now to some future news. I accepted a job offer on Friday. Naturally I am very excited. I am starting next week. More to come next week.

So we had a good week. We had friends to visit and tried another place in the South Downs for walking and lunch, and we met with friends at a National Trust venue. We haven’t met them for 2 years. Time flies. But life is good. That is the main thing.

Last but not least, two things to mention. My attempt for Schweinshaxen or pork knuckles didn’t go too well. On the other hand we watches Planes in the movies. That was just great.

Have a great week!

Volker