Tag: NLP

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!

You can’t give up. Ever. A personal look at life.

After an inspirational podcast recording the other day, my guest ask me if I ever thought I’d have a burn-out, given all the stuff I am doing. I wanted to pick that question, because this is a passionate topic of mine. I have always been work focused, enjoyed work and love being busy. I could never imagine not being busy or doing something. It’s an inner drive I have, however …

I am no King, but I like a laugh
I am no King, but I like a laugh

Reflecting on my work life, I have gone through seven redundancies in my career. That’s more redundancies than some people had jobs at my age. But, I haven’t given up. And, I have not had a burn-out or struggle with mental health problems. Given ‘blue Monday’ was last week, I have been reflecting on how lucky I am. Whilst I have to deal with anxiety when I hear the words of ‘restructure’, as it just has this negative association with redundancies, given my history, I believe that is fair enough.

There is something to be said about being able to get up 8 times when you have been knocked down 7 times. What I struggled most with was that people didn’t see the value I added, or if they did, they were bound by politics and ‘that’s the way it has to be done’, e.g. following ‘bullshit rules’. Redundancies are never personal, and once you understood that, it helps you to deal with them.

I am freeing myself from those bullshit rules more and more, in life and work, and focus on doing a great job. Simple. And the jobs I am doing now following a theme and passion of mine.

At the moment, I still maintain a foot in adtech, in an area I absolutely love and adore (data!), and which is changing massively over the next few years with Google’s recent announcement to abolish the 3rd party cookie; additionally, I work with companies that I can help and that can help you! I am excited by both sides, which is why I now work for myself.

I offer Mindfulness Trainings for instance to improve mental health, and to improve resilience and therefore productivity in the workplace. My start-up Moment Pebble is working in a similar area. I have been training Mindfulness for myself since 2006, and I believe that it made me more resilient, and therefore I never had a burn-out or struggled with mental health when taking redundancies or faced the challenges of life. Unfortunately, I know too many people who weren’t that lucky, and I want to help them, and help others to avoid that experience. Does that make sense?

Productivity, resilience, mindfulness – all of those topics have been part of my life for many years, as I have always had a focus on ‘live to work’. I love achieving, whether that is to write a bestselling book, or have a can do attitude at work. I am a doer (manager’s quote) and I get shit done. Simple. That’s who I am and I absolutely love it. Striving, but not over-striving, resulting in not having a burn-out or doing too much. It’s a fine balance, but you can learn it. For many years, I have optimised my approach, refined my productivity (remember I wrote a book on it years ago), and tried to be better, running a more optimised life. And it has paid off, multiple times. The constant improvement, holding yourself accountable. That’s self-coaching, and yes I had help from external coaches and mentors too. Thank you!

And, with me being trained in Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and other techniques, it means that I know when things get too much. I realise that when I am juggling too many balls and have to put one aside before I drop it and it breaks. I know when people around me struggle and I know how to help them. And, I discussed that with my podcast guest too, I never turned down a favour to help people. I never asked for more than I give, and always pay a favour forward. I believe in the greater good and the good things in life, the good people, and that the majority of people are genuinely nice people and are in this life to do a good job and achieve the most for others first, then themselves. This has always been my motto for many years, as I believe as a good manager, you rise with the tide.

Hence, in conclusion, I know where I can add value and whether I can take on more work. Yet one thing is changing, and that goes in line with what I preach: I start to live my life more in a way that family will always (!) come first, and that I work more around family commitments; ‘working to live‘ rather than ‘living to work‘. It’s about choice and balance.

This won’t impact my output or productivity, the opposite is true, it will make me even more efficient; with my 5 am routine I am already doing that, but it’s about balancing life, prioritising, and making sure all parties involved are happy. It’s not about slowing down, it’s about channeling the energy in the right way, applying focus. Maybe what I read in the One Thing finally comes to fruition.

Giving up isn’t an option.
Changing the way you do things is.

The most important thing is to be happy, enjoy what you are doing, put focus and effort into what you are doing, do a good job, and be good to people who surround you. It will always pay off in the long term.

Have a wonderful week.
Reach out for comments or contact me for a chat, I am always happy to help!

Volker

About Principles for Success (2)

Today I wanted to share a few more chapters of my book Principles for Success.

Thanks for the overwhelming feedback and ‘likes’ on social media so far. Please continue to share the book and buy it of course :-).

I have had, and many of those I interviewed, mentors all my life. From early in school to business. They help you to achieve your success, and similar to coaches, give you an external opinion. They are trusted advisors.

Having mentors and guidance in building a business, helps you to be more successful. Learn from those who have done it before you. Learn from other people’s mistakes. Good coaches know of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic-Programming), allowing for modelling behaviour. This can really accelerate things.

But also learn from your team, be good in delegating, a good team player and trust in your team and people. Be a compassionate and empathetic leader, someone with a high EQ (Emotional Intelligence). Trust is such an important topic.

One want to trust the leadership to get the business where it needs to be. Or, as Jim Rohn says, and I mentioned this in most episodes, surround yourself with the right people, as you are only as good as the 5 people you surround yourself the most with.

Who are your 5??

Enjoy season 3 of the podcast which is live in your podcast outlet now, or feel free to get yourself a copy of the book to find out more, what success means.

Human Needs – High Performance Basics

10 years ago I wrote about Anthony Robbins’ six human needs. You can see, I have been involved in personal development for a long time.

Now that I more actively opened my executive and productivity coaching practise in Brighton, London and internationally, I am revisiting some of the theories to keep them fresh in my mind.

Human needs are fundamentals. Basics to achieve high performance. A base for productivity. Why?

Simple really. In my opinion the basics have to be met in order to build on it. Like the foundations of a house. If the foundations of a house are not done properly, the rest of the house will be wobbly, potentially falling over.

When working with my clients, I spend the first session or two discussing the fundamentals: What do you want to achieve? What are your goals? How do you think I can help you? How do you define success? How do you define failure? Where can we go together? Where can we end up on your journey? What would be a good outcome?

Basics. Understanding their motivation. Looking at human needs is helpful. Is the coachee motivated by security or insecurity (adventure)? Do they feel significant, connected/loved? How can we move them to a more growth and contribution state? Self Actualisation based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Is that the desired outcome?

Coaching is all about identifying needs, and being able to direct the client, offering tools, objective views and working with the client to alter stages. Asking a lot of questions. Listening actively. I found that my NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) background helps a lot for the change work. Modelling successful behaviour and teach it. Strengths coaching for individual and teams helps to identify unrealised strengths. Building and working to realise them and move productivity and performance up a notch.

Whichever tool I use, it is about the desired outcome, starting with the basis for a high performance in the future.

Want to find out more? Contact us today!

Hedonic Well-being – What is it?

In a recent podcast recording my guest spoke about hedonic well-being. Since I didn’t know too much about it, I thought I research it and clarify it in a post for anyone who is interested.

It seems that well being has been derived from two general perspectives, extrinsic and intrinsic.

One is the hedonic, more extrinsic, approach. This approach focuses on happiness and pleasure attainment, pain avoidance. So moving towards pleasure and happiness, moving away from pain. That makes a lot of sense to me, and would probably make sense to most people.

Hedonic motivation

However, there is a eudaemonic or eudaimonic, a more intrinsic approach, too. This is about self-realisation and well-being is defined by the degree to which a person is fully functioning.

Positive Psychology has a great article summarising what eudaemonic well-being means. It first was mentioned by Aristotle who thought that true happiness is found by leading a virtuous life and doing what is worth doing; realising human potential is the ultimate human goal. Stoics play a role here, who stressed the value of self-discipline, others argue that happiness is pursued through prudence.

For me, most of the time, happiness comes down to your own definition. Similar to success. Success can mean happiness, but most podcast guests argue it’s not the same. A philosophical rather than a psychological question I suppose.

As an executive and productivity coach I often use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs or the six human needs by Tony Robbins to look at happiness, fulfilment and level of need fulfilment. If you are not familiar with the models, or need further info, feel free to give me a shout. They are simple, yet powerful frameworks to use in order to establish one’s motivation.

Also the hedonic approach is based on some simple motivational directions I learned during my NLP Master-Practitioner: moving away from something or moving towards to something. A vision pulls you, and therefore has usually a stronger, more positive motivation, than something you don’t like. Yet fear is also known as motivator, mainly to move away from.

Principles of Success – Visualisation and Success (6)

Visualisation of what you want to achieve and focus on creates SUCCESS.

It was Spencer Gallagher who first mentioned visualisation. He came from humble beginnings and kept visualising how things would be better in the future. They would be and he never forgot where he was coming from.

I have experienced similar for myself, and in the wider personal development community, this principle is well recognised, that thoughts and pictures create who you will become. The Secret is the most famous application of it all.

From Mahatma Gandhi to Jim Rohn, Darren Hardy to Anthony Robbins. Most personal development trainers suggest to stop your inner voice that tells you that you will fail. They say to turn up the positive thinking and develop a growth mindset. That is what it is. You start with the voices in your head, and this might sound quite peculiar at first, that tell you that you cannot achieve something, and ignore them or turn them off.

Leading from positive self talk and a can-do attitude, you start visualising how to achieve success. You amplify the positive voices. What would it mean for you to be successful, what would it look like? How does it feel? Over 15 years ago I learned a re-framing exercise in my NLP Master Practitioner which taught me how to make the picture of a negative outcome small and black and white in your head, even make it go away; on the other hand, you increased the positive pictures, the colourful positive outcome in your head. Focus on the positives, very simple.

But for success you can go further. You can visualise what success might look like. A lot of sports people use visualisation to play better and improve their skills. There is a study suggesting that in order to program the subconscious brain for success, you actually achieve success. Visualising that you score the goal in the premier league final or that you win the Grand Slam. Whatever it is, concentrate and visualise the positive things and the successes. You will get there. Believe.

Download a free copy of Principles of Success!

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

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

Sunday Column (156)

It’s my wife’s birthday weekend. I am off until Wednesday, so a very long family weekend. I am loving it. Starting at the back of the week, we had friends over for curry and beers….way of celebrating the birthday 🙂

This week I got more positive feedback re my blog, Buddhist thoughts and coaching skills. Wow, I am getting a bit scared how many people read this blog, know me, and I might never find out. Just really nice to get acknowledgement. So thank you guys!

However, there were some sad moments this week too. A commuter died on the train I was on. We got delayed and I later found out that the ambulance that arrived couldn’t save the woman. I found that weird. Weird to think that you are just on your way home from work and for whatever reasons, it just hits you. Just like that. And your partner waits at home and you never get off the train. Isn’t that sad? Is that the life we are living?

Whilst not knowing the circumstances it makes me think what is important in life. I do that anyway. Having had the chance to spend more time with the family and kids lately, I can clearly see where my priority is sitting. Every minute I engage with the kids I gain more from it, and enjoy it more. And gaining is not so much about “personal gain” but that I enjoy the engagement and see how much they are me, and how much I can help them learn and grow up. I really want to be the best dad ever! I want to be good in anything I do, so becoming a great dad is on the list!

Whilst I sometimes regret that I didn’t enjoy the first few years of Colin, I just had to get used to things. Typical man I suppose. And I still enjoy travelling and being away as long as I make my time I spend with the boys worthwhile. And I will. And my boss is understanding to combine family with work. I don’t think I could be happier at the moment.

Just to chip in some more miserable thoughts, the Guardian published an article about the top 5 regrets of people dying. I would summarise it as “I should have spend more time with my family and friends instead of working my ass off and not focusing on happiness” – of course this only applies to people with a bad work life balance, and for people that don’t constantly reflect their life.

On Twitter we discussed whether you should act on it. If you feel like any of those things are true in your life, of course you should. If you don’t enjoy working hard, and get the reward, or if you think it interferes with your private life, then get on with it and change your life! Change your work for that matter. But anyone of us, and us refers to people like myself that want a career, know the trade off. And, as aforementioned, put priorities down. And I am still learning. And learning. And mastering. Slowly but surely. At this point in time I wouldn’t even consider any of those reasons as a regret. It is more about “not enough exercise”, “too much food”, and “being too excessive”.

Latter I suppose was true again this week. Not in regards to booze but more in regards to food. We took a few clients out for “media lunches”. Steak, more steak, lovely peanut butter shortcake, ox heart, sprats and dover sole. Wine, beers, and good company. Nice lunches, and good chats over lunch.

To stay with the theme, maybe I should quickly refer to Alastair Campbell’s Panorama episode this week. A fantastic 30 minutes about “the middle class” alcoholics. The ones that drink on a regular basis at home without giving it too much thought. Definitely worthwhile watching it on iplayer. It makes me think once again.

I suppose I came full circle tonight in my blog. Having more time this weekend made me reflect more. Two more days off. More time with the family. I will enjoy them.

Looking also at all of those topics above I realise that using NLP and coaching on myself I constantly benchmark what I want, how I want it and where I want to go. And whether life fits in with the greater goals in life. I am hoping to help a few more people with that in the next few weeks. You can make it all happen if you wish!

I wish you a great week. A safe week, a safe commute, not too much booze and some joy with your family and friends. Make it worth it.

Love and Happiness,
Volker

Leadership & Great Companies

I recently revisited the book Good to Great by Jim Collins which I read a few years ago studying for my MBA. Now, with the TED talk about inspiring leaders and its affinity to both NLP and DBM, it was time for another post.

“It is your Work in life that is the ultimate seduction”, Pablo Picasso.

In NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and DBM (Development of Behavioural Models), you drill down on actions by asking:

– What do you do?
– How are you doing it?
– Why are you doing it?

With more modelling this goes deeper, however focusing on this three questions, and looking at the TED talk, we are looking to answer the question what a successful leader is made of, and what are successful companies made of:

– What does s/he do?
– How is s/he doing it? How is he leading, managing and setting example?
– Why is s/he doing it? What motivated the leader and makes him so good in what he is doing and how he is doing it.

The latter seems to be key to a lot of discussions around leadership. Hence in Jim Collins book it is about “good to great”, the “level5 leader”. As of the graph above, the level5 leader builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. S/he differs from the effective leader, e.g. level4, through the input of personal humility and professional will: the main difference is the personal involvement and drive rather than “just following a vision and stimulating higher standards”.

Now my first question that comes to mind is “incentive”: why would a leader be like that? What are the incentives for that?

It seems to me that most examples of level5 leaders are either owner managers or they seem to have a big share package 🙂 Some of course just want to do it for the recognition but let’s be honest: does anyone really care if you have build a great company over a period of 5 years and you didn’t see any financial rewards from it? I don’t think so.

Of course there are personalities that focus on the larger goal of building a great company, and their ambition drives them on to be above and beyond themselves and only think and work for the organisation.

Another principle Collins introduces is the hedgehog concept, e.g. waiting and being on top of things rather than being a fox that tries all possibilities. Maybe not the best summary of the concept, but I am personally not convinced that this is the best analogy in the first place. It is about “focusing on one big thing” rather than diversifying (too much) and having not real focus.

Let’s have a look at the circles:
– What are you passionate about?
– What you can be the best in the world at?
– What drives your economic engine?

Anyone having achieved a Master Practitioner in NLP and has worked with coaches, coached people or is interested in personal development knows what s/he is passionate about. The fundamental will to live and what makes you tick and cry, what makes you feel complete. What gets you out of bed in the morning. Collins however looks at the company perspective here.

Same with the next circle, from a corporate perspective it is all about: what you are good at? Don’t try to build an engine if you don’t know anything about engineering and don’t try to be a doctor if you cannot see blood. What is it you are good at? What are your skills? This could be something your company is currently not involved in.

Now the economic engine: money and share options? Maybe if you look at this model from a personal perspective but Collins refers to the ROI of your business, how do you measure economic success for the company.

Let’s reflect for a moment: the circles don’t only apply to corporate success but can be equally used to look at personal success. Then, once modelled for the individuals of a company, or maybe founding members of a company, transferred into a model for a successful business. As one of my managers used to say: “I recruit people that I trust and I can work with, I can then teach them the details they need to learn” – personality plays a key role in who we work with and how we (and a company) become successful.

Reading the Collins book, he goes on and describes the use of technology and its importance for further greatness of companies. Definitely a must read book for any manager and aspiring leader.

And the latter is then responsible for keeping the momentum going, or as Collins calls it the “flywheel effect”. Once a company is going, and growing, one needs to look at the results, energize the people and build the momentum to drive the company forward. Not too fast, not too slow, and always looking at the underlying processes. Companies without the right processes, monitoring and feedback tools are prone to fail as control is everything. If you don’t know where your profits come from or whether you make money, you are doomed straight away, becoming a fox.

This sums up the key principles of successful companies by Collins and shows the resemblance between successful personalities/leaders and companies. Maybe another pointer to make a company “more personal” and look at it from a different perspective. What do you think?