Dec 12, 2019
Interviewing Andy Nobbs was an honour. Andy and I worked
together, and I always enjoyed his management style. Down to earth,
a very active person, a family man and full of life. I am not only
saying this. He used to go sailing and running, and his whole
family was involved. On the other hand we went for long media
lunches, had fun in Cannes and at dmexco. He was razor sharp from a
business perspective, the prize always in mind. We had so much in
common, and we still do, and shared so many experiences.
Please note, due to some technical challenges, we had some
audio problems in this recording. It gets better as we go along.
Please accept my apologies for that, but I don’t think it takes
anything away from the actual story.
Today, Andy has a life-limiting condition, and recognises that
he will die sooner than he should. This is his story, and I am glad
he shared it with me, so I can share it with you. It is a powerful
story about life, and death. About perspective, personal choice and
One day in 2016 I came back to the office after a client
meeting and Andy was gone. He collapsed in the office earlier, and
everyone thought he'd had a heart attack. He was taken to hospital
and the doctors found out that he had a brain tumour. Totally
unexpected. It was, as he said, as if 'someone hit me over the head
with a baseball bat'.
In this podcast he talks to us about his experience, and how
this has changed his life and his outlook on life. The definition
of success has changed massively for him. Unfortunately, many
people don’t want to talk about cancer, so I am more than grateful
for Andy to do so, and share the awareness of what it means to
discover one has cancer, and how quickly it can change your
Andy is both a mentor and a friend of mine. At 53, still
young, his life changed. The cancer came back, he had a relapse and
got a virus of the brain. He survived all that. In late
October his latest brain scan showed the tumour had not
returned. Another few months till the next check up. What
does that mean for someone?
The question is not if he will die, and I suppose we all do,
It might be next year, or in 6 months or in a few years time.
He was told that the cancer will return, It changes a man, any
person, when you think your time might be up tomorrow.
Andy was a work-driven person, going to the US a lot on early
morning flights, back and forth, and I have known him as very hard
working. Goal driven, successful. For him that has changed of
course; from a career person to surviving, setting himself shorter
term goals. Holidays he enjoyed in the past, like going to Vietnam
or sailing, living an active life, are just not possible anymore.
Things he does are different now. He doesn’t have to achieve things
anymore, so he says.
His balance is very poor, so he struggles to walk, let alone
go skiing. It’s about making the most of your life, seeing your
kids more often, and spending quality time with them. The way
success is defined in Western culture is bizarre, he thinks. The
radical change in his life makes him philosophical, reflective. He
became a better person because of it, as the cancer put things into
perspective. From every bad comes good. Even with his condition he
shows a strong will to survive and achieve things, never giving up!
Andy is truly remarkable.
He respects what he has and wants to enjoy the time he has
left on earth. It is about every moment, bringing quality to every
bit of his life. Andy believes his condition is down to life’s
lottery. He praises his wife and started to bring his house in
order. He has prepared his funeral, transferred his assets, ready
to go any minute. Yet Andy still has plans, and enjoys seeing his
kids grow up. He worries about them, and what the future holds for
mankind. Climate change, politics.
Andy praises the NHS, the doctor for their support and
I can logically understand what Andy said but emotionally I am
very detached from what he is talking about. This is his story, but
it hits my empathy. I guess I cannot relate to it, I have
never been in the situation before; however, we can only imagine
what he and his family are going through. My thoughts are with you,
Andy, and of course your wife and kids.
If you want to get in touch, please reach out to Andy via
This podcast is hosted by Volker Ballueder (Ballueder Partners
), a trusted
advisor and business consultant. Volker wrote a book on
productivity and life improvement #BeBetter
He launched his new book Principles
, based on the interviews on this podcast, in
If you are interested in working with Volker Ballueder as an
advisor, coach or consultant, please reach out to him via email
From January, he offers mindfulness courses for the workplace
too, so please be in touch!