Get excited for your challenge

You are standing close for that moment when the challenge is about to start; your test, a big fair, contract negotiations or sales deal you have been preparing for so long. You looked with criticism at your performance, made improvements, gained new skills or knowledge, tested these in other settings and tweaked yourself if needed. All that to be well prepared, you are fit, determined and ready to go or are you? The same applies to teams, all year preparing for the final hurdle, the big test, launch of the prototype, or something similar that required a significant amount of preparation and dedication.

What to do?

To both individual and team, I want to give the following advice.

  • First of all, if the pressure gets too big, rely on your basic skills, in other words: make it easier. Make it simpler what you need to do and prevent yourself from increasing the stress even more. Also, rely on your colleagues, they prepared just as well as you did. Trying to control them will only make it more difficult for everybody involved.
  • Secondly, in whatever you are doing, have fun!. Relax, do what you prepared for as well as you can, and concentrate on your assignment. If you can keep focus, you will enjoy yourself and perform well. Remember, your opponent has to do the same too.
  • Thirdly, and this is sound advice from an expert in the field. Say you are excited rather than nervous. Simon Sinek explains why in the video. Embrace the tension that is part of the competition.

Have fun, be excited and concentrate!

Balancing act

A book that inspires me in my search for success is Covey’s “7 habits of highly effective people”. In it, he describes the phenomenon of the emotional bank account. Interesting, because I never considered such a thing to exist. It appears that in any relationship we have, you make deposits and withdrawals, and to be or become successful you need to balance both sides. I translate this into that you should receive as much as you give, or give as much as you get. By doing so, you will make it of equal importance (or fun) for both sides to be in a relationship. And to be honest. It is the concept I still haven’t mastered yet. One of my challenges is to lose that modesty and claim the attention I want. Due to my efforts to be more pro-active, It is getting better, but there is still room for improvement.

Balance in teams

This concept concerns us all and is also interesting if we look at team play. If you are part of a tram, you will need to find the balance between personal interest and team interest. It can not and must not be that your one interest always precedes the other. If your personal interest is more important than the teams all the time, you do not belong to that team. If you put your team interest first on every occasion, you are not helping yourself and your team. You will become that lovely colleague whom they can always count on, for the sake of the teams and your success you need to find a balance between both interests.

My challenge

What did I do? It seems I made more deposits than withdrawals: supporting my friends, colleagues, neighbors, and goodwill organizations by buying their books, CDs, records, gift cards, concert tickets, wine, cakes and cookies, stamps, lottery tickets and the like. And if a balance would exist they all would do the same in return (alas, not until now). I want to change this, and therefore I’ll be pro-active, and I’ll give everybody a chance to make their deposit too. If you would like to do so, the easiest way is to buy my ebook and tell all your friends, colleagues, family and neighbors about it.

I wish you lots of balance.

Finding your mojo

Last week I celebrated my birthday, my first here, but more importantly the same time one year earlier I decided to move to Vienna and become an expat. That gave the anniversary an extra twist. As it’s difficult to consider all consequences and risks, a decision like that takes many reflections. Although I traveled a lot and lived in other countries before, this step is a whole lot more challenging. It requires me to build up a new existence entirely on my own. Now, as another language and culture surround me, I experience surprising occasions and new challenges, and I’m on my own and free. It rejuvenates me, and to put it in marketing terms, prolongs my product lifecycle (as it went from maturity back to growth). It will come as no surprise to you, that I love every minute of it. Even more, about a month ago, I made a short hockey trip to my homeland, the trip went very well, and although very exhausted, I was most of all glad to come home to Vienna again. It seems as, here in Vienna, I found my mojo back.

You want mojo too?

Austin Powers is the living proof of a person who has mojo, of which I’m sure he didn’t only mean it funnily, and I believe we all can find our mojo. By the way, what I didn’t know, is that mojo can mean a lot, from a voodoo charm-bag to a comic character, a spicy sauce, to a magazine, a game or even as slang for libido or morphine. The word is used in a fantastic variety of meanings and explanations and is also often used for branding, hence proofing its importance. To me, it is a state in which I am both calm and excited, confident, reassured and anxious about the future, but most of all flexible and energetic. A state in which I know I can create my success and manage my plans and meet good people. Can you have this too? Yes, I’m convinced you will find that mojo, as I interpret it. It doesn’t necessarily require you to move to another country or another job. Find that place in which you can prosper, be pro-active, make your plans and do what you want to do. Be confident and challenge yourself, be open to feedback and other opinions and rely on yourself.

I wish you lots of mojo., enjoy!

This is how you pay a compliment

It is something I talk about a lot, giving or paying compliments. If you do not know how to do this correctly, then listen to the master himself (from his live recording in 1972). His concert is a masterpiece performance never to be forgotten and deserves a spot in the top 10 albums from the 70’s.

Neil Diamond, Hot August Night at the Greek Theatre

Compliments tot the musicians
Hot August Night

It is at a hot night in LA when Neil Diamond introduces his musicians (his team) to the audience and shows a proper display of respect, which he serves with humor and good taste. I can heartily recommend hearing the entire album, and if you listen carefully, you’ll notice that giving these compliments pays out. The incredible performance of Neil Diamond is made possible by his musicians, their timing, and skill, the nuances, and power, it all adds up to an incredibly strong team success filled with gifted and supported talents that together make magical music.


Check and listen to this link

Pushing the bars

I find it a beautiful word and often talk about it, performance. As quickly as one can say it, as difficult it may be to do and achieve. Because it is not just getting a result, it is a process; it is a consequence. Let me clarify what I mean with performance. Anybody can have a good effect, victory, sales deal, contract, anything like that. That’s very nice, but one good result is not my definition of performing (well). Performance requires dedication; e.g. no person was able to play Liszt’s “Totentanz” on the very first day, it took time, repetition, pain, structure and will. Therefore, performance to me is a process in which persons or group of persons dedicated their will, energy, motivation to a structure and discipline to getting better and continuing that process. It is an incremental process that consists of little steps where you raise the bar time and time again. You have a goal and to reach it you have to engage in the process of getting there. While it is structured, it will lead to a series of excellent results to eventually achieve your top performance.

How to get better?

How to perform the things you do at work, your tasks? Set your goals, work together, ask feedback, work with a leader and most of all show discipline. Be committed and show your dedication, which means, know what things to put first. If anything goes wrong, find out the cause, improve that error and never repeat it. Learn your lessons from the mistakes you (are allowed) to make. After some time, it will get easier for you to do the difficult things at work, you’ll need less time or make fewer mistakes, can explain your job better, get higher returns. And one big tip, don’t judge. You may make your observations about what you have been doing, and also your colleagues. But judge neither your actions nor your co-workers. Then you will keep it positive and stay on the track to success. And in sports? It may be easier to set your goals, describe your ambitions in sports but the process of getting the results is the same. To athletes we say, you need 10.000 hours to develop yourself from a talent to a good athlete (and more to become an outperformer) But that is not all, you also need to be strict for yourself. Demand yourself that you initiate efforts, even if it does not come true, require yourself to be fully committed. Accept mistakes, respect other opinions and learn from everything you do.

How to become an outperformer?

pushing the bars - your way to performanceUse your willpower, or if it is not there yet, grow it. By doing as I described, you’ll raise your own bars little by little, push your pain threshold and find your second breath. Never forget, the power of your motivation, your desire to succeed, it is precisely this willpower that will make it come true. Train or work hard, celebrate your successes and treat it as a stepping stone, a step on the road to the next even better performance!

If you need any help with this, contact me.

Regain your power

For most of us, stress has become a daily routine. It is part of our lives, and that’s not o.k. Children, at the age of ten, already experience stress at school. As they are supposed to make home assignments and at the same time, they have many other obligations. Because of this, they hardly have any playtime left, some pure kids fun, like, running in the woods or inventing a new street-game with kids on the block. When can they unwind? It doesn’t get better, young adults (in their 20’s) have to have a career or to be successful in their studies, have many hobbies, interests, friends, and travel. And at everything they do, they have to be the best. It impresses me, with the many things they need to do, they manage to remember them all. For other generations, stress merely is part of the deal, at your work, and at your private and social life. There are so many things you’re supposed to do, so many obligations to fulfill, that is hardly impossible to take just one day off.

Are you perfect?

What we see is that due to developments in the society, but also the pressure of our peers, we get uncertain whether we do things right and try to control this by being perfect at everything we do. Imagine, you would have the time to be flawless in just one thing, how hard would that be, and does this make you better at the things you do? Is it possible to be perfect, of course not? Mistakes and errors are part of the deal, of the process of your individual development. Do these mistakes and errors make you a lesser person, of course not! All this pressure leads to, as I call it, “ineffective behavior” It means that with the same input you produce less output. You are so focused on the processes you produce less, or there are so many things to consider, you just cannot get started. It also means that if you work together, the cooperation will underperform, (in either quality or quantity) only because you are continually distracted.

Stay focused – circle of attention

focus on you inner circleWhat happens, is that, with all the right intentions, you start to forget or neglect your power. Your talents no longer prosper, and you get confused and lose your base. All this makes you more vulnerable to unexpected developments or unwanted events. If something like that occurs, you no longer know what to do. Luckily, I have the solution for you. It is something I learned at the hockey field and is called circles of attention. Before I elaborate on that, please remember that your talents don’t make you a better person than somebody who hasn’t got these talents. You are another person like the other one has different abilities. So what you want to do is to focus. Focus on your talents, on the things you do, your tasks at work or school and manage these. Ignore distractions and be proactive to what you are doing, for these decisions you are responsible. That is your inner circle of attention; this is the realm you can control. Everything that lies outside this is not of your concern; you cannot control it, you shouldn’t let it distract you. Focus and regain your power. Of course, I can help you with this. Contact me and I will.

Loose your cool, paying and receiving compliments

In English, we pay somebody a compliment, whereas in many other languages you give them. The English language has a point. The value is too high to give it merely. However, critics will say, can you buy anything with a compliment? No, in a direct sense no. But in the long run, yes definitely. If compliments are so potent, so valuable, why is it then we don’t accept them? I don’t know, but very often I am confronted with somebody who refuses to do just this. Like it is not polite to get one, maybe it is a cultural thing. At those times, it feels like that person is throwing a valuable gift away.

What is a compliment?

you are beautiful, potent complimentLet’s look briefly at what compliments are. According to the dictionary, a compliment is an expression of praise, admiration or commendation and increases morale. Or it is a formal expression of respect, regard, or civility. Like being a good host. Or it is a respectful way of greeting or even a gift. All very good reason to accept. Why wouldn’t you want to receive any of this? Because you do not know how to show gratitude because it is not cool, because you don’t want to reciprocate? At least, I will be happy to receive any compliment.

How to pay a compliment?

First of all, whenever you feel like it; when it is both possible and justified. Secondly, make sure the compliment is honest and sincere (you mean it) and also personal (say the recipient’s name too.) Furthermore, elaborate on the compliment, either by explaining or adding a statement. For instance, once somebody complimented me on my clothes and added: ”that I have a refined taste.” That’s is excellent elaboration. Or another one, which relates to the context. I arrived ten minutes early for a business meeting at 8:00 am, and my customer expressed his appreciation for my punctuality, by saying I was “Überpünktlich” in which he included my name and titles. These are presents never to forget.

How to receive a compliment?

Think about it, how often does it happen that you say something kind to somebody else, you are happy with what he or she did or said, and you pay a compliment. What happens next? The other person starts explaining why this is a regular thing, why you shouldn’t be so lovely, or that it is somebody else who you should address. That is a real pity, just reply by saying thanks and if you like add by paying a compliment too. The most beautiful compliment I can receive is when somebody tells me I inspire him or her. At such a moment I take a deep bow (virtually) and reply only by a “thank you” with all of my heart.

Compliments are a powerful tool for team building or talent development, want to know more about that? Contact me, and I will be glad to explain.

Halfway to success

It has been a good week. Months of preparation paid out, and the hockey tour to Eindhoven, the EHL, and other venues went very well. Looking at the faces of all participants, I’d say the entire enterprise was a success, which they also confirmed. As I said earlier, talents need to be surprised, challenged and also to learn from many people. Teams need to be pulled out of their comfort zone (still safe though) to become one. Exhausted but satisfied, I was happy to be home again on Tuesday early morning when the city was still asleep.

I had several goals in mind for this tour: Educating players, increasing knowledge of hockey and its newest developments, and networking, in these we succeeded. Another goal, to prepare my complete selection for the second part of the season, did not. Unfortunately, some players were missing, which meant that we could not get everything out of our four matches and so with only two goals scored, it is fair to say we could have done better. But overall, we managed to improve our game, tested a new game plan, young talents got the time to gain lots of experience, and together we have been able to give this team a boost and an optimistic vibe. If we can spread this over the entire team, then this goal is achieved after all.

Ladder to success

It was an exhausting tour and the days after I could understand Agassi’s feelings towards tennis. At the moment, as I am still recuperating, I scheduled to continue writing my book, Chapter 6, next week. Meaning that I passed the halfway mark, just as I did with Dostojevski’s The Brothers Karamazov, although I’m far from even comparing my first novel with his masterpiece. Is it fair to compare the development of my team with the progress of my book? No, I believe that at the moment the latter is trailing.

On the road – to Holland

I’m happily filled with road rhythm blues, because, tomorrow I am allowed to take a big part of my hockey club from Vienna to my home soil for an intensive hockey weekend, in Eindhoven, Oss, Soest, and Rotterdam. Rather than searching for Easter eggs, the AHTC players get trained by internationally experienced trainers, face fierce opponents and visit the EHL The next days are going to be very festive. Other talents challenge talents, and teams develop by inspiring circumstances. To top it off, on the way home a stop in Gladbach for a final test match. What a great way to spend Easter, my first time back since I moved to Vienna last July. Thanks to Uschi and Poppa for their support, without you, it wouldn’t have been possible. I’m sure that all teams and players will learn a lot during these days and will make AHTC successful for the matches to come. Long live AHTC!