Monthly Archives: April 2018

Fall Down And Rise Up Again

If everything seems to go down and lost, we have two options: Give up or start once again. Sounds banal, but proves to be right every time.

By Jens Kügler

One of the darkest days of my life was… when the woman left me? … when the tax office demanded unaffordable additional payments? Both no. Much more painful was this late summer morning at the schoolyard. I was 18 – and like all the cool guys in my class I knew only one topic at that time: traffic school and driving license test. When’s your turn? … and: passed?

Although my driving instructor had repeatedly confirmed that I was a safe and good driver, everything went wrong on the day of my test. I was the loser the next day in my school clique! I was ashamed!! And even more the the second time when I failed again!!! I didn’t tell anyone about my driving tests number three and four. When in December I finally arrived at school for the first time by driving my mum’s car, the relief was great. I became a good driver: And I finally learned how to deal with examiners and my nervousness.

A friend of mine became self-employed as an insurance broker a few years ago. He proudly inaugurated his first external office with a party. His business flourished. Everything went great for four years—until the day the office burned down. All his contracts? Victims to flames. Much worse: He had stored all customer and acquisition data, his tax documents and much more on the hard disk of his PC—which was beyond saving. There was no cloud then. And all the data backups on DVD were burned as well.

He was not to blame for the fire. But for a long time the insurance company refused to pay compensation to him, even though he was one of their brokers. Who wouldn’t have thought of giving up in his place? Re-starting his company would take years and money that he hadn’t until it would be profitable again. He made a virtue out of necessity and let one of “his” other insurance companies hire him as a salesman and clerk.

But the longer he thought about it, the clearer it became to him: He actually always wanted to be an enterpreneur. He wasn’t really happy as an employee. So he decided to start once again. Initially he built up his own business on a part-time basis, supported by his employer, who also benefited from his insurance sales “in his spare time”. Eventually, he won the lawsuit for fire compensation and once again ventured into full-time self-employment. Today, his brokerage firm is in a better position than ever.

In other words: Every human being and every entrepreneur makes mistakes or is simply unlucky at times. In any case, we learn from it and start smarter the second time. Just as I have become a good and safe driver, he is a successful entrepreneur who has secured his business better than at the first start. With a reliable fire and burglary protection policy. And with data on the cloud.

I know that in the USA, with their founder mentality, they regard people like him as a kind of heroes. People who fail, stop and get up again because they don’t give up their dream. It’s a pity that, here in Germany, people who fail have a stigma.

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Ride To Work By Bike

Regular cyclists are healthier and more motivated employees. More and more employers recognize this and promote the way to the office by bicycle.

Written by Jens Kügler

There is nothing better than a half an hour bike-riding journey in the morning – through the parks and gardens of your city to your workplace. And the same way back in the evening. It is not too demanding from a sporting point of view, any healthy person can do it. It’s faster than any other means of transport. You are not squeezing into an overcrowded subway full of sweaty passengers. You are not in an annoying constant traffic jam. You don’t have to walk to the train station and wait. You don’t have to spend hours looking for a parking. In a big city there is no better and more efficient mean of transport than a bicycle.

Half an hour twice a day. This is the ideal sports program without powering up. Especially for people who spend their working days just sitting at their desks and PCs. Moreover, there is no more environmentally friendly way to get from A to B. You can only do that in summer? No. It’s all a question of clothing. With a functional T-shirt, a fleece sweater, scarf, gloves and cap, you can easily cycle through autumn and winter, too. Especially in the cold season many people lack movement. And those who stay active outside are proven to be more resilient.

So let’s raise the question: What does all that mean for employers? A whole lot. According to a recent study by the University of Bonn, staff who regularly come to work walking or by bicycle are two days less ill per year than car drivers and public transport users. Yet they are not only healthier, but also happier and more motivated. The journey to work is compulsory and so it offers the best opportunity to integrate health-promoting and environmentally friendly behavior into everyday life. Bikers combine that perfectly. And who can deny that after half an hour of cycling through parks and gardens anyone comes to work fresh and wide awake?

More and more entrepreneurs in large cities in Germany realize the benefits of being a “cyclist-friendly employer”. The National Cyclist’s Organization ADFC awards corresponding certificates. The advantage? Bicycle-friendliness can be integrated into company health management. Employers who promote occupational health management are also considered more attractive in recruitment. They will find motivated employees more easily. Health promotion includes “bicycle-friendliness” in addition to sports programs such as yoga, swimming or a group contract for the gym.

What does bicycle-friendliness mean? Let’s start with safe, dry storing. Bikers do not only want to park but also safely lock their bikes—if possible, under a roof. Ween the bike is safe, the employee can devote himself to work without worrying about his Bianchi or Cannondale. Ideal are possibilities to change clothes, for example lockers for bike-shirt and helmet. If you can offer a shower to particularly sporty cyclists with a long journey to work—all the better.

Some companies already maintain their own fleet with leased bicycles for their employees. Some offer top-brand bicycles instead of money as bonuses to award successful employees. And who of these awarded people would not like to ride through the city with his company’s logo on the frame? You don’t have to invest much to be bike-friendly. But it pays off.

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