About nvcwolff

Born in '75, married, father of 2 boys, leading a team of project managers, mediator and conflict consultant

One World, One Nation…

…and the British…

I am grieving. I am sad.


Personally, even though I consider myself a well informed person, I can’t even predict what this actually means now. Will it be “good” or “bad” for any economy? Will it be “good” or “bad” for some people, many people, anyone at all? Oh, to be sure, someone will get rich in money by this – someone always does. But all that does not truly trouble me, at all. So why the heck am I so deeply sad?

I believe that my sadness is due to that missing feeling of “togetherness”, the feeling (and maybe hope) that people are getting closer, borders and boundaries are merely left on maps. This great invention of “internet” had me believing that in times of Twitter, Facebook, Skype and all the other wonderful tools we are, indeed, one big nation of people – or at least that more and more people think that same way.

Brexit now shows me that the painful borders are those in the minds of people, not always those on maps – although we have seen in the last years that the physical borders that enforce those on the maps are very painful, as well.

I begin to think now, what is it that makes people want and celebrate that Brexit? Is it the missing need of belonging? Is that already the core, did “the EU” never manage to make so many British feel and understand that they belong to us, that we belong together? Will belonging to themselves give them the satifaction of having this need fulfilled? And for how long – probably until they discover that they don’t belong to the bigger picture anymore.

I understand that very likely for myself nothing will change much – I will still be able to read the blogs and g+ entries of some of my favorite tech Brits (shout out to Gavin, Steve and others), talk to Ray via Skype but you know what happens in my mind? In my mind they seem to be moving a few steps away – stupid, I know, but that’s what happens. I dare to say that if this happens in my well informed and open mind it will happen in other’s minds, as well. And then again, that makes me sad – I want people getting closer to each other, at least in their minds, not gaining distance.

One World. One Nation of People.

EU Flag


Something I wrote

It’s been a while again and today I found an entry in a notebook – no really, I’m speaking of an old-fashioned notebook with pages and hand-written entries. Just want to share.

“Here I stand with trembling hands and I look down a winding path. My knees are shaky and I can feel the ghust of cold wind in my face. I gather my armor, carefuly woven of both confidence and deep knowledge of my own needs. My only weapon will be the pure passion that I carry within.
Equipped with this I start my first steps down that unknown path. I carry in my heart the candle that will give me just enough light to sometimes see my very next steps. However small this light is, I share it so it can slowly light other fires where I walk. In the distance I see other little flashes of light moving, other daring knights willing to take on whatever mountain needs to be climbed, whatever troubled water needs to be bridged.
The enemies and obstacles that cross our path, we will not fight, but rather embrace them with our sole weapon – pure passion for the love and beauty of this world.
As we move on, together our candles will connect and form a brighter light that will shine down our path and enlighten all that surround us.

One day I will stand and look back on a winding path. My grip will be firm, my legs will be strong and my heart will be filled with the love for all I stand for, for those walking the path with me and for all other individual beings. The bright light that now emerges from within me will enlighten my surroundings and I still share it everywhere I am.
I will turn and look forward, I will smile, lead on and with my trust and believe bring courage to those young knights with their trembling knees that are just starting to walk the path with me.”

The things I do…

Last night and very early morning I once again felt energy, joy, power – aliveness, if you will. How come, you ask? Let me tell you…

A good friend of ours was confronted with the fact that her father unexpectedly died. He is Italian, living in Sicily. Our friend is a mother of 4 children, married and lives in Germany, close to where we live. She was told that the burial was to be today, which left her almost no time to get to Sicily.
My wife and other friends organized a quick fund raiser in order to pay for the flight (short notice flights are always expensive) and I said I would take her to the airport by car (about 1 hour drive).

What’s so special about that, you ask?

The feeling that I had about me helping out, picking our friend up at 3 in the night, taking her to the airport, seeing her thankfulness, feeling it. It wasn’t about the spoken words of thanks (which she and her husband, of course, gave me plenty of), it was about that which you can’t easily describe in words.

Trying to bring it to NVC (step 1- observation – can be found above) I would say that I felt great positive energy, I was happy to help, my body might have been tired but my mind was all awake, full of purpose and direction (step 2 – feelings). Thinking of what was so important to me (step 3 – needs) I would say that besides probably a bunch of other needs it was mostly the beautiful need of contributing to others lifes that was met in a way that I usually don’t encounter in my daily life (I am a father and husband, so some of it is always there).

Wait a minute, those of you who are not familiar with NVC might say – that son of *** was helping and all he can think of are his own needs? What a selfish person!
Well – yes, the whole idea of NVC is that every action and / or word is based on needs that are either fulfilled or unfulfilled and every person is responsible for their own needs. It just so happens that my need for contribution might make someone happy or thankful and therefore “make him / her feel good”. Ain’t selfishness great?

This experience gave me so much energy and power and encouragement that (step 4 – request) that would ask myself to please find more situations in my daily life where I can truly contribute to other people’s wellbeing / lifes.

Thanks for reading and comments are always welcome 🙂


Dear world

Dear world, what is happening in parts of Germany last night and the night before does not represent all of Germany, least of all all Germans.
70 years after the end of WW2 some several hundreds of people are on the streets, violently protesting against refugees and foreigners – and the police seems unable to protect those, that need protection most, those that have been through living hell the last months, when they left behind all they had and escaped with their lifes, and we all know that not all of them succeeded on the way.
I’d like to say that it’s only a part of Germany, only Saxony – but while that is true it does not make it better. Germans are violently fighting against foreigners.
I can’t quite tell you how much this hurts and is embarassing and I have trouble describing what this does even with my ample background in non-violent communication. I feel deeply sad, it truly brings tears to my eyes thinking of those poor people which are seeking for nothing else but some safety, calmness and maybe even a feeling of belonging together.
Maybe that is exactly my problem here – I do not belong to those Germans that raise their hands (and weapons and hate-speech) against refugees, I violently refuse to be named “German” in the same sentence as those.
Besides that sadness there is a good part of fury. Were I to decide at this second and had I the possibility I would probably take those people and send them onto some forgotten island to live by themselves. I know, that is not very non-violent, I should understand that those protesters likely also have their needs unfulfilled and that the actual problems are somewhere deeper and hidden – and have not been addressed by politics properly since 1989. I know that. I do. Still, don’t give me proper weapons at this time.
Dear world – I don’t know what else to say. What’s worse, I don’t know what to do.
Signed, André, earth inhabitant

Sotchi – Sotschi – Сочи – an NVC perspective

I has been quite a while since my last post.
I did want to write more but somehow I always felt, it has to be something “important” – until last week someone told me that my little blog is interesting and that this might be enough reason to go on, even without waiting for something “important” (thanks Jean-Marc).

So here it is.
Winter Olympics are starting today and articles are to be found everywhere: radio, newspaper, TV, G+ and so forth – but most of them not concerning the athletic events or the athletes, but rather Russia’s domestic politics, security or the threads towards security and – money.
I heard on the radio that 51% of the Germans will not watch the Winter Olympics (or at least claim not to) because of the massive money that was spent, the nature that was changed…and I thought – why not give it a try and find out why this reaction happens and find it out the NVC way. I will try to put myself in the position of someone who is “offended” by the amount of money that was spent and go through the 4-step-process with this in my mind (please again…those are not my thoughts, I am trying to empathize with someone who might think this way, try to imagine what is going on inside this person).

1. Observation: I hear in the news that 24 Billion Euros have been spent to create the needed surroundings for the Winter Olympics in Sotchi.

2. Emotions:  I feel shocked, I can’t even comprehend this much money. At the same time I find myself thinking “Don’t they have much poverty in Russia”? I feel myself getting angry, I tell myself the story that all this money could be spent much “better” and that all this is just a big show for the big man Vladimir Putin and a sign of Russia’s regained power towards the western world, towards us – towards me! Now I am getting angry at “our” politicians that they didn’t stop this, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that Sotchi was even chosen and also very very disappointed that this is happening and that seemingly nothing changes – money makes the world go around.
That’s a whole bunch of powerful and energy-sucking emotions…

3. Needs: So what is behind these emotions, what is it that I (that person) am missing so badly, that I wish for?
Well…I have several ideas.
Maybe it is my wish that those in charge share the same reality as I do in seeing that all this money might have well been spent for other investments that would help the common people of Russia. Maybe it is my need for beauty, the beauty of nature, the very special asthetics of that region that I feel unfulfilled by the erection of massive monumental buildings. Maybe it is my need for shared values regarding equality or constitutional and lawful democracy that I see not met. Quite possibly I feel a lack of happiness and ease towards these Winter Olympics that I usually feel when such an event occurs. Most definitely there is one big need that is not met when I think of the Sotchi Winter Olympics: Happiness.

4. Request: My request towards the press might be – please concentrate on the athletes and the sports event for the upcoming 2 weeks so that I can enjoy the happiness and the accomplishments of the athlets and with that my happiness and exitement. My request towards the Russian authorities might be – please make sure that the wonderful nature in the Sotchi region is being taken care of during and after the events.

I can think of several other requests all regarding to the needs described above – please, dear reader, maybe you’d like to phrase a request in the comments section.

This is the end of today’s blog.
With this I was trying to show, how even for such occasions the idea of non-violent communication might be used in order to understand what is going on inside a person. In this case a person who says, maybe even angrily: “I will not watch these Winter Olympics!”
Of course, strictly using the 4-step-process is not always necessary, sometimes possibly not even “good” but it can help to empathize with someone else even if that person has a different view than I do.

Warm regards,

André Wolff


When talking about compassionate communication (or non-violent communication) you will always hear about the 4 steps

– Observation
– Emotion
– Needs
– Request

There’s another part, though, which I find really important to understand and it just crossed  my path again some days ago.

I was invited by a married couple, where I have had face-to-face communication with each of the partners before. I was presented the following situation:

The couple decided to reserve a free day together every once in a while since they both work a lot and don’t get to spend much quality time together. That day had been the day before I was invited to this mediation and it didn’t turn out the way they had wanted it to be. Eventually they both were very disappointed with the outcome of their shared day and were fighting about who was to blame.

I will spare you the details here on what I did (-> I will answer to questions, though, in the comments) but get to the point of this blog-entry.
After both partners realized that the other partner was just as disappointed as they were themselves we went to the unfulfilled needs and to their great surprise we worked out that acutally both were missing the same needs for that day – they both wished for togetherness and rest.
At this point they were not only surprised but confused because if they both were longing for the same needs – how could a day like that happen? And here’s my answer:

They simply have different known strategies to fulfill these needs. Those needs have a different meaning to them.
A simple example?
If I want to fulfill my need for calmness, rest, peacefulness I might jump into my old Mercedes and take a ride, windows and sunroof open, no radio playing, just cruising. If my wife wants to fulfill herself the same needs she might get outside into the garden, care for some flowers etc.
It would be a total desaster if we were to assume that however we fulfill ourselves our needs is the right way to help others fulfill their needs.

The key sentence in my conversation with that couple was: “But honey – what we did really meant togetherness and rest for me, but obviously not for you.”
Once that was clear, the path for future days together was much easier, they worked out a mutual request to plan the days together and make sure that both of their needs are met by the plans they were taking (the strategies they use to fulfill their needs).

Everyone might have the same needs globally – but we weigh them differently, we approach them differently and we might even understand them differently. It is important to understand that my strategies to fulfilling my needs are just that – my strategies.

Warm regards

André Wolff