Tag: meditation

Ballueder Thinks (6) – is it 2021 yet?

Hello again.

This post was started a few weeks ago, as I am reflecting on the first half +1 month of the year. Is it 2021 yet?

Whilst I am not someone who wishes time away, this has been an awful year so far.

I joked with the boys the other day, imagine you go to sleep and wake up, and it is 2021. The world is back to normal and Covid19 never happened. Now, discussing this with other people, there were those thoughts of sleeping pods, where you go in and time travel to the future. Why not?

We still don’t know if the virus was man-made, escaped a laboratory or if it was deliberately released. There are numerous accusations from the US to China, from UK to Russia, and the more I look at it, the more bored I get. Is this virus the result of a modern war fare, a new nuclear bomb, paired with ‘virus’ hacker attacks. Is that showcasing how world war 3 might look like? I am not sure, no one knows, and certainly I won’t. And if anyone in politics is reading this, I just want it to go away and have a more liberated life again. And I don’t give a toss about all those conspiracy theories quite frankly.

What came out of it for me? What did I learn?

I found work wasn’t too disruptive. But I am in working in a digital native industry, a lot of video conferencing and phone calls were the norm before the outbreak. Less face to face meetings are not too bad, and less of a commute too. That means, that we might see a decentralisation of the UK and other countries, as more people move to the country side? That would be good in terms of balancing house prices and all.

It was of course disruptive to my job. I managed, just, but a lot of people were out of their jobs, furloughed, or are still looking for their next adventure. Luckily I am a self starter – falling down 7 times, getting up 8 times – and I have pushed and pushed and hopefully will announce more contract work shortly. Do I still consider full time work? Yes, I wouldn’t not consider any options at the moment, but maybe that’s for another time. I also work on some other exciting ideas. So stay tuned, as always, there is never a dull moment in the Ballueder World.

Getting my hair done the other week was great. My first massage post lockdown was amazing. There are things I missed, and I am very grateful for having them back. And next week I am getting reflexology. My egg deliveries every two weeks are back, and enough delivery slots from Tesco.

But are we out of lockdown yet?

At time of writing, the PM announced that there will be less easing of restrictions, as the virus is spiking. Of course, look at the beaches and pubs, what do you expect? Why would a country suggest to start wearing face masks from a time in the future, if it is safer, it is safer now. Anyway…

There is a lot of talk about a second wave, and another lockdown. There is talk of changing measures. More face masks, more social distancing, but no restrictions going to the pub….our government, IMO, has failed massively in having a clear and concise strategy. I am more than disappointed with the Torries, and the way they handled the crisis. Again, I don’t like to get involved in politics, but it needs to be said.

When Boris first came to power, I hoped it might be ok, him as a CEO pulling the strings of very competent people. The problem is, the people around him are everything but competent, and Boris is directed by Dom Cummings. It makes me angry to see this country going down the hill, and IMO it will get worse with Brexit next year.

It’s like sitting in a car and driving down the road of 2020. As you start worrying about the wall ahead of you, let’s call it Brexit, the wheels of the car come off thanks to Covid. The driver is not able to control the car, and we are about to crash the car = country into the wall. I am frankly scared of that.

We are now in August. We are more than half way through the year. August is a quiet month, so from a work perspective, not much will happen. People are away, working from home or the garden, taking it a bit easier. I thought people would be working harder to make up from things missed during lockdown, but people are tired. I am tired. We need a break, recharge our batteries to recharge the country. That’s what it is.

I have been busy still, up to now, I revamped Ballueder Partners’ website, worked on my positioning, edited meditation recordings and so on. Never a dull moment. I have recorded videos, scheduled content on social media and written thoughts. I have been busy, and will take some time off soon. Even if it is just a day here and there.

To be honest, I have been taking a little bit of time off already. Here and there, a half day here, a day there. I will take more time off during August, as I am recharging. I already repositioned, and it is a constant change out there, and decision making is happening every day. Leadership, walking the talk, and making things happen are what we do. And opportunities are out there. The more I talk to people, the more opportunities I discover. I cannot sit still and do nothing, and I am always seeking to BeBetter.

That’s what I do I suppose. Or as Vishen from Mindvalley says, try to be better by 1% every single day. Just 1% better. That’s 365% in a year. If you can keep that up, you enter 2021 on a high, ready to conquer ‘your’ world.

There is something else to consider with Covid. And this nicely leads me on to some fundraising efforts.

As you might have seen, I am getting closer to the £2,000 for which I run the marathon distance in October – regardless if the London Marathon is on. If you haven’t donated yet, please do so here:

PLEASE DONATE FOR THE RNIB

I wanted to share some facts people might not be aware of, as we taking our sight for granted. Due to Covid19, and I have heard that from a few people that are blind and had difficult experiences:

  • 66% of blind and partially sighted feel less independent now, compared to before lockdown.
  • 80% said the way they shop for essentials has drastically changed, with the number of blind and partially sighted people who feel confident to go shopping independently, reducing by half.
  • 74% are very or quite concerned about getting access to food and 21% have had to ration food.

I have never been blind, and forbid this will ever happen. But if you think for a moment to socially distance in a shop where you are not sure where things are in the shelf, asking for help….. I’d be terrified. And it seem that this is true for people that are used to not seeing too. It must be hard not to go to work, not being independent enough to go to the shop and get what you want. What about bumping into people? The concern for food is even more worrying.

I want to support the RNIB for all of the above reasons!
The RNIB does such a fantastic job supporting those people. And I am committed to support the RNIB to support those in need.

That’s why I went for a gruelling run on Saturday morning; I went early to be fair, avoiding the above 20 degrees. I didn’t feel it and yet went longer than anticipated.

PLEASE DONATE FOR THE RNIB

And if the London Marathon gets postponed, I will run the marathon distance that weekend of the 3rd and 4th of October, and will try to raise even more money for next year. So please give generously.

They deserve it so badly. But I do need your help.

There is so much going on in my life, in anybody’s life. I spoke to someone earlier, that it’s been a weird year, obviously, and that we are all in the same boat. We will get through this and finish 2020 on a high. We must.

We also said that mental health is key for us to bounce back. Anxiety, Depression and other mental health issues would have flourished during Covid and lockdown, and this is scary to think. But the stats from the RNIB are probably true for a lot of other groups too.

Keep it positive, and keep the positive energy going. I am a firm believer that you fall down and get up again. Fall down 7 times, get up 8 times. My life’s motto. We will be alright in the end, and if we aren’t alright, isn’t ’ the end. Giving up is not an option.

That’s why I continue to work on my projects. My podcast is returning in September with a new logo. We are in season 4 and I start recording from next week. I am excited about the guests we lined up so far. People that can help you to make the most of the situation you are in. Coaches, Consultants, Health experts. I have them lined up and will keep you posted.

I am pumped. I am worried, but I am more pumped than worried. Because we, as a nation, as humankind will survive and get through this. Like I get through my marathon running and we will make things happen. Always.

With those words it’s time to stop.

Have a great August everyone,
Volker

Mindfulness: Reducing Stress in the Workplace

When I introduce myself as a mindfulness trainer, most people assume that I meditate. That’s correct of course, but for some people meditation is still a bit ‘fluffy’ and the ’stuff that the monks in the orange robes’ do. Mindfulness goes beyond that, and the focus on the workplace is key for my programmes.

I set out to meditate almost 15 years ago. I learned from many mentors that through meditation you would be more balanced, more focused and it helps you become successful. That was my reason really. 15 years later, and I have a 20 minute daily meditation routine. I then add some mindfulness exercises throughout the day, to destress during the day and refocus on the task at hand. Sometimes it is a short mindfulness break, sometimes a deeper going breathing exercise, or the three step breathing space I talk about below.

How do you define mindfulness? It’s about being in the moment and being self aware. Similar to Emotional Intelligence (EQ), it is about self-awareness and awareness of others. Being mindful. For mindfulness, the NHS uses the example of consciously feeling the banister when you are walking up or down the stairs. Being able to take yours surroundings in, non judgementally, just being very mindful. It is to observe your commute or taking a different way to work to change your perspective, that is of course if you are commuting to work at the moment.

In 2019 I did a training to become a Mindfulness at Work trainer through a spin off from the Mindfulness Centre at Oxford University. It was important to me that I get a good scientific based training plus a training that focuses on the workplace. It followed two other mindfulness educations earlier in the year.

One of my recent clients in the legal space achieved great results by feeling less stressed and overwhelmed by the end of the course; their happiness and wellbeing improved by 60%. See the case study of Jameson Legal here. On my website you find another case study too!

As a result we ended up doing more ongoing work, where we looked at productivity improvement and how to incorporate a three step breathing space exercise into a daily routine. A quick reset that takes not longer than 30 seconds or up to 3 minutes.

Download the guided meditation here and try it for yourself.

The improvements we are seeing through our 6 week long courses , and of course we can tailor for shorter or longer or bespoke ones, are the following:

  • Improved employee engagement
  • Less stress
  • Reduction of healthcare costs
  • Less costs for sickness
  • Improved productivity
  • Improved leadership skills

Particularly the latter can have a hugely positive impact on an organisation. Compassionate leadership for instance and being able to communicate with employees better are just one of many positive impacts.

No matter how small or big you are as a company, we find the right programme for you to reduce stress, improve focus, and make your company a better place to work.

To find out more, contact me – I teach mindfulness, but also do individual and group coaching sessions with focus on productivity improvement and mindfulness of course.

Ballueder Thinks (1) – Covid19 Column

Hello.

The regular reader knows that for over 10 years I have been writing a Sunday Column. I kind of replaced it with my podcast, now with some videos on Linkedin. But that’s just not the same.

Let’s face it, I do love writing. No question about that. In my strength coaching profile, ‘writing’ was a number one skill. I am not sure if that is due to my academic background, or due to my intellect. And I am not saying that in any arrogant fashion, but I love thinking about the world, and making connections of how things work.

Just this weekend, I listened to a model called ‘disruption mapping’. Any input that clarifies thinking, any model that helps you to simplify trends is great. More about the mapping soon on my podcast in season 4.

Anyhow, after a few weeks pause of writing about my life, I am back on it. I am not promising a regular column. But if there are a lot of things going on in my head, I kind of need to get them out. And I like processing things that are on my mind through writing. Yet, whilst I write a daily gratitude journal for myself, I want to share my thoughts with you in form of a column.

What I am thinking at the moment? Black lives matter. I am actually speechless that in 2020 people are still thinking that there would be any superiority of one race over another. Whether that is white over black, or one belief over another. This is just something totally incomprehensible for me. Again, earlier this weekend I wrote an article about mindfulness and how it might not fit with a ‘male stereotypical picture’ – again it is totally wrong to think about those stigmas. But, of course, we grew up with that. It reminded me of the movie ‘Philadelphia’ where the ‘white collar, old grey haired lawyers’ sit in the sauna cracking jokes about gay people. This used to be acceptable, but in my opinion is now out of fashion. At least in circles I socialise. So let’s hope that this will once and for all put this inequality to rest, and no more lives will be lost. I am disgusted.

I am also thinking of Covid19. For me, having the Aufbruchstimmung, or in English the Spirit of Optimism, I think it is over. We should get back to work, even if it is 99% remote, and that we need to move on, make decisions and get back to work. Maybe I think it is too easy to do. But what stops us from doing so? Some industries, hospitality for instance, will have difficulties, but some other industries should easily be able to work remotely and do business in a remote fashion, powered by Zoom. Btw Zoom, their share price jumped 90% on going public, good on them. But yes, let’s move on.

And what about my job. Oh….there is a lot I can tell you about. There is this fear of a recession and then Brexit and all. But again, we must think positive, stay fearless and move onwards. It is about making decisions and moving forward. I am in the process of launching something new, adding a new contract to my portfolio and continue with coaching and mindfulness trainings. So I am keeping busy. I will of course share some more news in the weeks to come. But I am very excited. With every fear and downturn, there is an opportunity! To my knowledge, this is what crisis means in Chinese.

I couldn’t give up. Falling down 7 times, standing up 8 times. Let me into a secret. As soon as the tattoo shops will open, I am on there to get this tattooed. Silly? Mid-Life crisis? Maybe. Whatever you fancy, just go for it.
Earlier this year I had some transformational therapy to rid myself of some limitations and limiting belief. I couldn’t recommend this more. I have tried a few over the years, this one was great. There is nothing like experimenting with different forms of therapies. Yes, I have to say that my best therapy is meditation, which I practise daily. Without meditation, and without the love of certain people, I don’t think I would have achieved what I have achieved. Life takes turns, my industry has been full of redundancies and change, but I have mastered it. Without mental health issues. But, looking back, and as explored in a recent podcast, I think I have been sailing very closely to the wind. I sometimes think that my meditation is like a sail that helped me to stay on this side of the storm. Hence, I am so passionate to teach people about it.

And then the lockdown. We are all struggling. Juggling home schooling, family, jobs, progression in jobs, interviews, zoom calls, and the earlier evenings which leave more time for drinks. I have been keeping fit, with 3 half marathons so far during lockdown. I do my weight exercises and added more to the regime, hoping to rid myself of the Covid-Stone. A term I coined for the additional weight I have put on. It’s just too easy to snack all day long. With the return of school runs, I am getting more walking time in again, which is good of course. And, personally, I think it’s a good thing that school returned.

Fingers crossed we are out of the worse and Covid19 will disappear, just burn off over the summer. That’s what I am hoping for. And will we learn anything?

What have we forgotten over the past few weeks?

Brexit.
Whilst the topic is slowly coming back to us in the press, let’s keep a close eye on it. I am still not a friend, but we have to live with it I suppose. A friend of mine posted something awful about the background and intention of the Tories behind Brexit, which I a) don’t want to repeat and b) hope it isn’t true. If it was, I would think this country is going down big time. Let’s hope this isn’t the case. We handled Covid19 very badly from a political and preparedness point of view, so if we handle Brexit the same, this is going to be really bad!

Dom Cummings.
Is he still the Chief Advisor to our PM? This is so bad. Sorry, I am speechless to think that he gets away with it. Not having a backbone to step down and admitting that he f* up. That’s what I don’t get with leaders. I learned early in my life to owe up to mistakes and apologise and trying to make it right. It’s a fundamental lesson I teach my children. For me this says it all about our government, prime minister and political situation. I am actually becoming a big fan of Kerr Starmer, the Labour and opposition leader. There is hope! There is always hope.

And what about ocean pollution?
Will we think about recycling still when Covid19 is over? And how to clean our oceans? Or is that all forgotten? Will we, post Covid19, go back to normal and just pollute our planet, take unnecessary flights, treat others with disrespect and carry on? I hope not. There is always hope.

Over the weeks and months to come I want to pick up more regular writing again. I would enjoy hearing from you what you think. I’d like to hear what your opinion is, so feel free to reach out to me by whatever means works for you.

I enjoy writing.
I want to share.
I want to get you to think.

Thanks, and please stay safe,
Volke

Living in a new world – Days at home (59)

Hey, happy world meditation day. Below my message.

I think more businesses should take on a mindfulness at workmindfulness at work scheme and get taught through me. I am delighted to have more clients signing up and the interest slowly but surely coming through. We must look after our mental health and those of our employees.

In other news, our daily walk was split today. Colin and I had a fantastic walk at 7 am, chatting what father and son chat about. It was great. Nice to have 1-on-1 time with the boys, and reassuring them about the whole Covid19 mess. And that’s what it is, it’s a big mess in terms of schooling, work, income, planning, holidays…..yet we will get through it.

With my daily posts coming to an end this week, and my oldest going back to school, I am curious what happens come June. We will all be ok.

I hope you are ok too, and stay safe.

If you ever need to feel the need to reach out, please do so. I am happy to chat, mindfulness or not, coaching or not, just a chat and a friendly word of advice, or just to listen. I am here to help YOU!

Thanks,
Volker

About Principles for Success (4)

I have a few more chapters I want to share of my book Principles for Success.

So if you haven’t bought and read my book, have a look at it. And feel free to tune into stories of success on any podcast outlet or www.storiesofsuccess.fm

We discuss life-life balance, realising that work-life balance doesn’t work, given we are spending more time at work than with our family. Maybe it is just a phrase but the underlying thought is that you only have one life. Why divide it between work and life, if you can combine the two. My prediction is that the way we are working is changing in the future.

And we discuss visualisation. Did you know that the brain can’t necessarily differentiate between the real experience and a good visualisation? This is a huge thing for athletes who go through a run or a swim over and over again. Just to get the brain and body to think you have done it. I did that for my marathon and it helps. Try it!

You would have guessed that mindfulness and meditation foster success, whether that is through journaling, reflection or whatever it means for you. I found that most of my guests had some means of finding calm in their day to relax their brain. With the information overload this is super important, and it helps productivity.

The values and culture, similar to the team and trust, are key to a successful businesses. Are you authentic. Is the team a team or a group of individual? What does your business stand for? What do you stand for as a leader of the business.

Be yourself, follow your dreams and make it work. You only got one life, so make the most of it.

Thanks for supporting me by buying the book Principles for Success and joining me on my podcast www.storiesofsuccess.fm

Mindfulness @Work

I recently put my first proposal for an 8 week mindfulness workshop together. What I learned by doing this, is that a lot of mindfulness is ‘meditation’. But is it? Actually it is not, it is a good mix of EQ (Emotional Intelligence) and Meditation.

Also, listening to a recent EQ (Emotional Intelligence) webinar, I realised that one of the core messages (see also last week’s post on here) is about being in the moment, being present. So the lines of EQ and mindfulness are a bit blurred in some areas.

Apple Watch

So what does mindfulness at work mean for me?

First of all, I would define mindfulness as being kind and curious, paying attention to the here and now, the present moment. If we want to translate that to the workplace, we are looking at being present, being in the moment, and not disturbed by other means. An example could be to not be on your phone or laptop during a meeting, but paying attention to the presenter/speaker, and listen actively. Ask questions, be engaged and don’t get distracted by another email in your inbox or another whats app message. Pay full attention to what’s happening.

How does that translate or transform into productivity coaching and meditation? It is about being self aware (EQ) and being able to notice that you are stressed, or overwhelmed. Being able to then focus on your breathing or go for a walk; or to meditate, take some time off. And to be aware of others too.

So Mindfulness at the workplace translates into awareness and techniques to tackle mental discomfort in a way to make work a happier place.

Feel free to reach out to Ballueder Partners in order to find out more, or how we can cooperate to bring mindfulness and EQ to your workplace! Because that’s part of our executive and productivity coaching programme.

Principles of Success – Journaling and Meditation (9)

Journaling and meditation lead to a balanced mind and reflection fostering SUCCESS.

The last principle touched on routines. Part of my routine is to meditate for 15 minutes every day. I have been doing that for over 3 years. But did you notice what my podcast guests are telling me?

From deep breathing, cold showers, reading novels to martial arts. A relaxation routine, a meditative habit. However you want to call it, meditation and regular relaxation will help you to transform your mind and the way you deal with things. You learn how to control your thoughts. Loads of research has shown how the brain changes over time to cope better, concentration goes up and you are more ready to handle unexpected things that come your way.

There is scientific research suggesting a lot of good things re meditation. I personally find that by concentrating on nothing and reflecting on things, and yes sometimes my mind still wanders, but that’s ok too. What matters with any routine, and that includes meditation, it needs to work for you. If your meditation is a long walk with your partner at the weekend, or taking the dog for a walk, so be it. That’s right for you.

People often underestimate that everyone is different. I believe it is important to set time aside on a daily business to calm your mind, to reflect and to make sure you are able to cope with a lot of input; because inputs are accelerating. More emails, more demands, more of everything. Information overload, less time, too much work. So just be sure to find a way on how to cope with it, relax your brain and train your brain to be ready for it. Mediation is a wonderful thing to achieve just that.

Download a free copy of Principles of Success!

Sunday Column (493)

Life is about creating experiences. It is about shared experiences where you bond with your children and others of course. So looking back over the last week, I have done a lot of those, with my children/family but also with friends and colleagues. It has been a great week, and started off with an inset day on Monday. Due to one of my projects being delayed, I spend most of the day at home with the family sorting out some errands and preparing the week ahead, finalising some bits and bobs. It was an admin day as I like to call it, ending in the pub on a Monday after an interesting data related meeting. Life can be wonderful 🙂

But I want to go even further back. After a birthday party on Saturday night, we managed to get up early on Sunday to drive to Kew Gardens. My wife and I haven’t been there for over 10 years, and the kids have never been. We spend the whole day running around, walking and looking at plants, dragons (display), ate ice cream and enjoyed a hot summer’s day. I am honestly not quite believing how much luck we had with the weather over the past few weeks, from BBQ to BBQ’d pizza to building a Zen garden to playing football, to walking around in Kew Gardens for a whole day. We all enjoyed the experience, yet were very tired at the end of the day. The boys coped very well, however fell into bed at night being absolutely exhausted. Those are the best days I find, even I was in bed by 9 pm, sound asleep shortly after.

On another note, I want to find more clarity and focus in terms of prioritisation in life. This sounds philosophical but whilst a few years ago I would have been all about work, I now realise how much time I should spend with the boys and where other focus lies, e.g. writing my book or getting a hobby car or recording my podcast. Instead of focusing on too many things, there needs to be a clear priority and balance between work and non work related things. Even if the podcast, the book and most of my time is somewhat related to the work I do. It is about time to clear cut more of what I do, how I do it and why I do it. This week I recorded a podcast with someone who has a similar attitude to work as I do, working 10 hours a day, and she said ‘it is what I enjoy’ but she also was clear about the balance in life with her family. That’s what it is, I love work and my career, yet it is also about balance.

And then there was a trip back memory lane. I met a fraternity brother from Germany who I had never met before, a new generation. It was very amicable, as you would hope and expect, and I found out that there is another frat brother living in London. So it is time to have a Franconia reunion at some point. I am getting old, remembering another frat brother living in London as long as 12 years ago. Blimey. Those were the days. Life is too short to not make the most of it, and it is as if a circle is closing. And I find it interesting and pleasing to see that after 125 years our fraternity is still going strong and attracts people due to our heritage, our commitment to growth, personal development and being the best one can be. So whoever is a member will have similar values to yourself, and hence it is so refreshing to see some of those being close by. It is, after all, a life long bond, never to be broken.

Timely, Dire Straits ‘Brothers in Arms’ was part of the last episode of the series ‘The Americans’ this week. I love that series, so if you haven’t seen it, get it on Amazon Prime. Watching the last episode during a 10K treadmill run and listening to Dire Straits made me reflect. What could life have been like, in a parallel universe maybe, or how would you engineer it if you could start all over again?

Life is what it is. I never lived it as a spy, and never will. Yes I left my fatherland, and similar to the story of the Americans, I don’t think I would ever return home. I am very happy with what I have and where I live. There can always be more, but there could also be less. We are blessed and I don’t forget about this, appreciate it daily. Someone with a small time input but a huge impact on my life passed away this week. I remember speaking to him in 2006 when he said ‘Volker, you have to start meditating, it will change and improve your life’. I recently found the letter (!) he sent me explaining how it all works, this ‘meditation thing’. It took me another few years until I started meditating and have continuously been meditating for over 3 years. Daily! And he was right. My thoughts are with him, his family the positive impact he had on others, including myself.

Have a good week. Appreciate what you have, and what you have achieved.

Buddha bless.
Volker

Success Stories – first quarter summary.

Dear listener (and readers of course),

You have been likely to listen to my podcast Stories of Success over the last few months. I have been going for 3 months now, and I figured it was time to write up a solo episode which I then decided to put into writing rather than ‘reading it out’ or podcasting it. Again, thank you for staying with me over the first quarter and we have some existing guests coming in Q2 this year. Please rate my podcast if you like it and also, please subscribe on your favourite podcast outlet, as this will help me to increase my fellowship and amount of listeners.

I started the podcast in January to explore how some of my friends are successful, some aren’t as much and what it takes for some of my mentors and industry leaders to climb up the career ladder. This was triggered by a) me looking for a job and looking for inspiration but b) also to build more of an expertise of what it takes to coach people to become (more) successful. So a lot of my learning is based on their learning and experience. Naturally, as it is in adtech, we are a male dominated industry which sees a lot of male leadership. However, I have since managed to get a few women onto the podcast and there are many more to come. Also I have been venturing outside the industry a bit. It is and has been an exciting journey with me having a lot of fun recording the podcasts, meeting new people and digging deep into principles and habits. Thanks for sharing your stories! I appreciate my guests’ time and effort and patience.

What are the main learnings? I think the main learning for me is that most of the successful entrepreneurs and leaders aren’t feeling successful because they earned money. Money seems to be more of a measurement of success in the USA, whilst overall for most interviewees success is all about achieving a goal, being on the journey of achieving things and ideally making the world a better place. Making that famous ‘dent in the universe’ Steve Jobs spoke about, and money usually follows. Follow your passion of being in the moment, create experience with others, and help others achieve their goals. Rise with the tide and lead from the front. Success as a term seems to be very objective, and further is not really the same as happiness.

Is it that simple?

Yes, as a summary maybe. It is also about a lot of hard work and clear cut prioritisation. On the back of that, work life balance seems to be key for most Europeans, and a key part of the success story. From what I gathered, this is because you work very hard, you sometimes neglect the family a bit, but you will make up for it as and when you can. And sometimes that means to put family first, and turn off emails or calls for a while. That is dedication on both ends, and a bit ‘black and white’. Preparation and being thorough is key too – whether that is to prepare a board and investor meeting or just to organise your thoughts. The focus on the bright sparks in your brain that move you forward, focusing on positivity rather than negativity.

Not that I want to quote Steve Jobs too much, but a lot of the success is due to serendipity, and that means, that the ‘dots connect looking backwards’. Being at the right place at the right time – but how do you know? You don’t until you had the success or you are on your journey of achievement.

We also spoke a lot with my guests about routines and habits. I have, as most of you know, a 5 am routine. That means for me to get up at 5 am, exercise for about an hour, meditate, shower, breakfast, out of the door. That’s what works for me, and it wouldn’t work for everyone. But I noticed that a few of the guests I interviewed had a morning routine, to achieve something before everyone else does; or you had, similar to myself, a journaling routine, a planning routine or to take time off on a regular basis to do what David Allen would call a ‘brain drain’. And those habits are sacred, and from what I learned more instilled in men than women, given the way our brains work. However, I have heard of fantastic morning routines from females, so not all black and white after all.

Meditation is a common theme and really relaxing and focusing on things outside work, which could be reading or building models, or just family as of above. It is the focus and drive, the razor sharp prioritisation of the right things that make the difference. The yin and yang of work and life.

Another topic and theme I explored was upbringing. You would expect upbringing having a huge impact on your life. Whether an entrepreneurial family breeds an entrepreneur or quotes and mantras instilled into you from a young age. Or the influences you had from a cultural point of view. A lot of success is related to self awareness, being emotional intelligent (EQ). In contrast to that I found that the connection across the globe was mentioned and people being more connected through smart phones and social media. That in return leads to loneliness and as one guest (episode with Chris) pointed out a higher suicide rate. Is greate connectivity really leading to more loneliness? This is an area I would like to explore more, yet it is a bit outside the scope of a success podcast, more of a view on the social development of the world. I do have an opinion on that of course but maybe that’s for another time. We often drifted into different topics and got philosophical, which I found interesting and the listeners appreciated from what I heard.

And as we found more and more philosophical terms and discussions, we learned about visualisation and how there seems more energy in America to push things forward. The law of attraction (LOA) was discussed without many using the term of it. The visualisation of what is going to happen and how life will plan out. However, some cultures hold themselves back or express their energy in a different way. But we all move towards the same connectedness and realise the potential of coming closer together. Like failure used to be a stigma in the German culture but now is more and more recognise to lead to success – as long as you learn from failure I suppose. The more mistakes you make, the more you avoid those same mistakes in the future.

Another trend I noticed is that we find more coaches and mentors being present in the Anglo-Saxon world (US/UK culture) and this is a trend that continues into the rest of the world. To have someone you can trust with anything, you can share your fears with and also to speak to like a mother or father. But someone who understands the corporate world and the values that are important to you. They are helping with being persistent, with helping to move forward. I do this coaching too, so if anyone has an interest in that, please feel free to reach out. Nothing like someone that can help you develop and understand the situation you are in. Someone you can trust.

Yes, as we are looking at some of the key drivers above, we notice one more theme: don’t take yourself too seriously and make time for a laugh with friends. Life isn’t all work. Play it well.

I am looking back at an intense and amazing quarter of podcasts and discussions around success. Some philosophical, some flowing, some less flowing conversations. Some I listened in awe, others I got right in. It has been a lot of fun, so thank you for your time and input.

Please if you get a chance, subscribe to my podcast on your favourite podcast outlet, and please rate me 5 stars if you think I deserve it of course. If you can share this post or the podcast with friends, that would help me too. This project is going to continue for the foreseeable future and please let me know who else I should have telling me their Story of Success.

If you are looking for the books that have been recommended on the podcast, please got to my recommendations page.

Thanks for listening, and please leave me feedback (just email me)
Volker

Success – Positive Giving

After interviewing a good friend and successful entrepreneur on my podcast Stories of Success, he sent me an article and a link to the positive encourager website, which I read with great interest.

Success, so far looking at only a few definitions from my podcast’s guests, has to do with encouraging people positively during our time on this planet. I phrase this a certain way on purpose, this is for the greater good of human kind, and NOT about short term financial gains. It’s about the great unconscious (Carl Jung) and the bigger picture.

It is about finding people’s strengths, develop practical strategies and achieve their picture of success. THEIR success, is what THEY want to achieve. To be loved, live in peace, achieve a career, or whatever it might be. The same, according to Mike Pegg, who is the man behind the positive encourager, can be applied to teams and organisations. So in that context, we are looking at superb work, forming good habits (see my book), to provide a good service, achieve goals, and finish those activities successfully?

As I go through Mike’s website, and I encourage you to do the same if you are interested, I find lots of material on positivity. It is a person’s choice to be positive, to create and take responsibility. As human beings we are in charge of our destination by making decisions, making choices between options.

Looking back at my experience, I have been looking to stay positive more than once in my career and life. When I started meditating, and letting go of situations I couldn’t influence, I learned to deal with situations differently. I was even told I come across of not caring, which isn’t true, but I am a lot more chilled out. Being able to prioritise your feelings and your reactions towards a situation is important in my mind. If you cannot change a situation, monitor it until you are able to make a positive difference.

The LOA (Law Of Attraction), which hasn’t yet been mentioned by any of my podcast guests, is about energy. The way I personally describe it is that you put a lot of positive energy and thoughts into something, and you get the same positive energy back; same of course with negative energy. So by wishing your competitor all the best and hoping the best for her, will in return win you a similar contract even if it isn’t this one. Patience is key to understand those principles and practising them continuously. You wouldn’t notice a difference with one thought only, so persistence is key too.

Following the positive path will lead to gratitude. Essentially this is what I described above. Also, from this path you gain more confidence as the world seems to conspire to help you. You will have more success on the back of being more positive. When writing this article I am looking at a few presentations from Mike Pegg which are published on his website.

Meditation not only allows me to choose when but also how to react to a situation. This is particularly important when you are in board meetings, heated discussions and deal with emotionally involved people. That’s when having a mind like water (David Allen’s expression of being able to have enough computing power in your brain), paired with experience and the ability to retain your thoughts, comes in handy. Self Awareness and Emotional Intelligence. Meditation taught me to let go, stop thinking and to not contribute to a discussion and wait until things sort themselves out naturally. It works, try it out!

On the topic of energy and heated discussions. How often do you find people that drain your energy? They talk about themselves, are selfish and don’t share the same positive attitude. Those people are challenging and don’t bring you forward. Try to help them bring themselves forward and if that doesn’t work, let them go. They shouldn’t be part of your life, should they? Make room, time and space for people that give you positive energy and provide you with fun, and enrich your life.

Following discussions and looking back at my NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) training many years ago, I was remember of the long term goal. Imagine you are on your death bed, looking back at your life, what would you have wanted to have achieve?

If you believe in Steve Jobs’ last workds or not, someone published them on Facebook as the following recently:

I have come to the pinnacle of success in business.
In the eyes of others, my life has been the symbol of success.
However, apart from work, I have little joy. Finally, my wealth is simply a fact to which I am accustomed.
At this time, lying on the hospital bed and remembering all my life, I realize that all the accolades and riches of which I was once so proud, have become insignificant with my imminent death.
In the dark, when I look at green lights, of the equipment for artificial respiration and feel the buzz of their mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of my approaching death looming over me.
Only now do I understand that once you accumulate enough money for the rest of your life, you have to pursue objectives that are not related to wealth.
It should be something more important:
For example, stories of love, art, dreams of my childhood.
No, stop pursuing wealth, it can only make a person into a twisted being, just like me.
God has made us one way, we can feel the love in the heart of each of us, and not illusions built by fame or money, like I made in my life, I cannot take them with me.
I can only take with me the memories that were strengthened by love.
This is the true wealth that will follow you; will accompany you, he will give strength and light to go ahead.
Love can travel thousands of miles and so life has no limits. Move to where you want to go. Strive to reach the goals you want to achieve. Everything is in your heart and in your hands.
What is the world’s most expensive bed? The hospital bed.
You, if you have money, you can hire someone to drive your car, but you cannot hire someone to take your illness that is killing you.
Material things lost can be found. But one thing you can never find when you lose: life.
Whatever stage of life where we are right now, at the end we will have to face the day when the curtain falls.
Please treasure your family love, love for your spouse, love for your friends…
Treat everyone well and stay friendly with your neighbours.

Wow, wow, wow, which I thought were his last three words, but it tells you something. Even if it is a story that is partially true, the message is simple. Life isn’t about money but about having a positive impact. About sharing the love and enjoy every moment. It is about learning and love, success and fun at the same time. I encourage everyone to go through the exercise and decide what your life goals are. I am sometimes wondering if I have set mine, yet they are dynamic as we go along. The reason is simple, as I get older and wiser (I hope so anyway), I end up having a different focus and changing priorities. The sports car in my 40ies might be less important in my 60ies or 80ies, yet my health is much more important now than when I smoked like a chimney back at university.

People seem to forget that life is a journey and is changing. So is success as you start defining it differently as you grow older. Your life changes with life stages including marriage, kids, building a house, career progression and parents dying. The circle of life is ever present and influences your thoughts and objectives, definitions of life.

Coming back to Mike’s approach on positivity for a moment, he writes about vocation. What is your vocation and can you match your purpose in life with a job that matches it? What can make you really happy? What activity gives you this inner satisfaction? And if you cannot get it at work, where can you get it?

I am embarking on a journey where I started to examine my strengths. A mentor of mine, not the same that pointed me to Mike’s theory, coincidentally suggested to me a test to examine where my strengths lies and which ones I need to develop. Which are my weaknesses? I have done the test and loved the results. As we move along on the journey of life, I would love to offer this as a service to companies and individuals to understand their personal profile better, to understand which areas need to develop for them to achieve their individual success.

Once identified the strengths, find yourself some mentors. Jim Rohn said you are as good as the 5 people you spend the most time with. Who are your 5? Which 5 people do you spend the most time with and which 5 people do you ask for advice. Find yourself some smarter, more experienced people who are willing to help you on your journey. Importantly, do the same for younger, less experience people. Give back what you receive, and close that energy loop!

I hope you took something out of this article, and please share it on other sites. This is an important milestone for me to bring a few thoughts together early from my podcast but also from discussions around my job search. I am not sure if this gets me closer to the meaning of life, but it shows the energy flow and the practises that work to put life in perspective, figuring out where you want to go and how you want to approach life. Isn’t it exciting to fail and adjust, to try and succeed, to make decisions and go along with things. Identify your strengths (contact me for details) and make yourself better, every single day.

Volker Ballueder