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“As a Coach, I Practice What I Preach”

In this interview we chat with Tomas Svitorka about his morning routine, what led him to becoming a coach, and his day to day work.

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12 minutes

    By Tiffany

    Tiffany studied Language and Economics, and now likes to write about business topics and conduct interviews with interesting people. She spends her free time looking after her plants and with her dog.

    Tomas Svitorka is a productivity and life coach. He's taken his passion for learning and improving to help other people achieve their goals, and create happy and fulfilled lives for themselves. Today, he chats with us about his morning routine, what led him to becoming a coach, and his day-to-day work.

    Hello Tomas, it’s great that you took the time for this interview with us today! Thanks for that! We’re looking forward to learning something about you, your story of becoming a coach, and your daily work. Let’s start with our „Fill in the blanks“ questions that we always start our interviews with.

    The first thing I do in the morning is … ?

    ... my morning routine. It’s something I’ve been refining for years now. When I get up (6:10 am), I drink some water, and then I meditate with my MUSE meditation headband for about 10-15 minutes. After that, I make my DolceGusto Americano. Then I stretch for about 10 minutes while my coffee is cooling down a bit. After that, I read for 30 minutes (while sipping my coffee). Then I write or learn something for about 20 minutes. And finally, I go for a run or exercise. 

    This whole thing takes about 2h+. It makes an incredibly positive difference to my day because by 9am I’ve done so many good things for myself and the day is just starting. 

    The best thing about my job is… ?

    ... to quote Joe Rogan: “I like seeing the human spirit manifest itself in spectacular ways.”... and being part of it. 

    My professional role model is… ?

    ... Elon Musk, even though he’s gone a little rough lately. But I guess it’s not easy containing one’s genius. 

    The best business trip I’ve ever got the chance to go on took me to… ?

    ...the Philippines. I ran workshops for a ManCom of a huge company. I made it a mixture of work and holidays though. 

    I hope to spend my retirement… ?

    ... learning and creating. There’s so much I want to know and learn. I’d read all day if I could. I want to stay active, working, creating. I think I’ll also do some whittling, aha. I’m very hyperactive and I cannot sit still, so my absolute nightmare scenario of retirement is going fishing. 

    Thanks for these great responses, Tomas! Now let’s get some insights on your story of becoming a coach! I read that you were in your 20s, selling sandwiches to successful business people when it clicked and you decided to change your life. What was it that happened inside of you at this moment?

    Yes, these were the days, haha. I lived in a very small bubble. In my early 20s, I worked for a catering company as a trolley boy, making miserable money. But I thought making £1000 p/m was normal. Perhaps when someone was a manager or CEO then they made maybe £2000 (I’m laughing at this now). But, understand, I’m from a little village up the hills in the Czech Republic. Moving to London and making £1000pm was a big thing for me. 

    Then life “slapped me awake”. This “awakening” happened because of a combination of a few things. I love learning about and getting to know people. I happened to befriend a few successful people in and outside of the bank and got an insight into the work they do, the impact they are creating, how hard they work, and also how much money they make. I remember vividly this moment when someone I befriended in the bank was extremely upset because of the Christmas bonus he got. It turned out to be about 10 years of my full-time salary at the time!!! (My Christmas bonus was £200 and that included an employee of the month bonus). 

    At that point, I realised, I’m doing something wrong. 

    There was no way of un-knowing that and I couldn’t just ignore it. 

    My quest and obsessions with personal development began. 

    And how did this process of changing your whole life go? What steps did you take?

    It’s been the most exciting journey I’ve ever been on. 

    Hitting a ceiling in anything or “it is what it is” is my nightmare. 

    But there is no ceiling or end to Personal Development. I cannot express in words how much joy it brings me to know there will always be something to learn and improve. 

    But of course, it wasn’t always easy. 

    How did I start? 

    I started studying successful people in my life, from books, and what did they do to get to that point. It all was pointing at skills, audacity, perseverance, bravery, connections, etc. In summary, no superpowers or god-gifted talents. That was great news because I wasn’t aware of having any. 

    It will sound simple, but I realised that I can learn many of these skills through which I’d become better and more valuable. Plain and simple, I found the growth mindset

    Many people “know of” growth mindset, but very few truly practice and live it. And the difference is profound. It’s like the difference between knowing that exercising makes you healthier and actually exercising. 

    What steps did I take? 

    • I became obsessed with learning (and I still am) and getting better. 
    • I cut out or distanced myself from negative and toxic people in my life. 
    • I ran everything through the filter of “will this help me improve?” and “Would the person I want to be want this in his life?” if the answer was no, I did not accept it. People, environment, and things you surround yourself with will dictate the standard in your life. 
    • I studied human behavior, evolution, psychology, neuroscience, and all things personal development like goal setting, time management, etc.
    • I started planning every day and reflecting and course-correcting on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. I still do it. It’s one of the most valuable habits I’ve ever developed. 
    • I’ve developed an incredible ability to be resourceful. I’m like a solution-seeking missile. 
    • In more practical terms, I pushed for promotions and better jobs. 
    • At 25 I went back to Uni to do a degree in Psychology. I believe it would be the way for me to “do” personal development and help people as a profession. 
    • After I finished I needed to do it on my terms. Coaching seemed to tick all the boxes for me so I’ve done a tonne of training and started my coaching business. 

    What was the #1 goal that you were chasing when you changed directions in your work life?

    Having more freedom, meaning, and money in my life. 

    In my heart, I’m an entrepreneur. That makes me unemployable. Not in the sense that I’d be a terrible employee, in fact, I’d probably outwork most people, but I’d never be happy working for someone. 

    I need to know that what I’m doing is making a difference. I don’t need to be changing the world but I want to make people’s lives better. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I’m earning my place here. 

    I’m coming from a middle class family. Money was always a source of tension and anxiety in my family. I don’t need a golden toilet seat, but I don’t want to worry about the bills. In my early 20s, my definition of being wealthy was to be able to go to the restaurant and not choose by the price. 

    (Or taking my date out praying for her to not order a lobster as it would mean baked beans for me for the rest of the month, haha. True story). 

    What a story, Tomas! Today, some years later, you’ve become an acknowledged coach with a degree in psychology and plenty of master coach certificates. Your coaching slogan is „OK is NOT enough“. Are the people who are coming to you and asking for advice struggling with a life that is only „OK“?

    In most cases, yes. ‘OK’ comfortable, and that’s why it’s sticky. It’s the path of least resistance that we slide to and stagnate in. People’s OKs are very different, but they have one thing in common. It’s the unshakeable feeling of knowing you have so much more in you, that you could do much better, if only you knew what it was, knew how to get it, or frankly, pulled your finger out and worked for it. 

    Many people let life slide even lower, to the zone of “Tolerable Discomfort”. 

    That’s when life sucks, but it just doesn’t suck enough to do something about it. 

    It’s a bit like sitting on the couch, watching TV and needing to pee. But it would mean getting up and all that. So one sits there, uncomfortable holding it in, until it reaches a critical point. Then they get up. 

    I work with people who don’t want to be just OK and live an OK life, because then they will be much happier and much more fulfilled. And frankly, I believe that the world will be a better place if there are more people out there who are trying their best. 

    I'm sure, you're right! On your website, I saw that you put together a report on „7 Mistakes That Keep You Stuck In Average“. This paper is based on your experience of working together with hundreds of clients. Could you give us an example of one of those mistakes, and how can it be avoided/ resolved?

    I think the second BIG one (after Self-discipline, more about it later) is: Perfectionism. 

    To most people’s (unpleasant) surprise, perfectionism is rarely about high personal standards. 

    In most cases it’s really just the fear of being judged and criticised by other people. 

    To break free from that one needs to realise this:

    1. It/they will never be perfect for everybody. 
    2. Nothing rather than imperfection is not a win. 
    3. The people who criticise are rarely in the position of “know-how” and “done-that”. 
    4. People don’t really care that much. 
    5. Prolific beats perfect (As my mentor hammered in me).  
    6. Strive for making progress, not to be perfect. 

    Let’s dive a little deeper into your coaching services. Would you please tell us about the areas that you’re coaching in?

    The key area is PERFORMANCE. 

    I help business owners, CxOs, and managers to perform better by helping them improve their productivity, focus, mindset, and confidence

    Because of my business knowledge and experience, I also work with many business owners and solopreneurs helping them with their business strategy. 

    But when I put my “coaching hat” on (rather than being a mentor) I can help people with anything, and anything does come up in my coaching sessions. I work with people and people have human problems. 

    If a CEO comes to a coaching session with “I had a massive argument with my wife, can we talk about that?”, then that’s what we do. I’m not a shoulder to cry on. We approach it strategically with a solution focus and we resolve it.

    Just now in October, you’ve started your coaching program „Self-Discipline Bootcamp“. Wow, sounds intimidating. What is this boot camp all about, and what kind of people are taking part in it?

    Yes, I’m really excited about this project. It’s been a long time in the making. 

    I’ve created this program because after having coached 400+ 1:1 clients and worked with 1000s of professionals and entrepreneurs, I could see clearly that it is self-discipline that separates the most successful and those less so. We often search for the HOW or blame the lack thereof, (or external factors). Yet, very often we know quite well what to do, but can’t get ourselves to do it.

    For that reason, I’ve created The Unbreakable Self-Discipline Bootcamp to help people not just learn the best methods and ways to build their self-discipline, but to actually start ‘becoming’ someone who is disciplined. 

    You see, being disciplined is not natural. Our brain (instincts and emotions) favour efficiency and comfort. Discipline is none of that. We need to learn how to override the resistance towards doing what we don’t feel like doing. On the other side of it is (almost) everything we’ve ever wanted. 

    Lack of self-discipline doesn’t discriminate so I have a variety of people going through the program. Business owners, influencers, professionals, housewives, and people of all ages. My youngest participant is 23 and the oldest is 89!!! The feedback on the program has been beyond my expectation. People feel empowered and changed. 

    Sounds super-interesting, Tomas, thanks for telling us about it! I saw on your website that you’re super-disciplined with yourself as well. For the last couple of years, you’ve been sharing your yearly goals publicly, so everyone can see whether you’re accomplishing them or not. Why do you do that?

    Yes, there are several reasons why I share my goals publicly

    Initially it was to create a leverage on myself in the form of public accountability. I have 1000s of visitors to my website and 50,000+ followers through my social media so, as you can imagine, that is a lot of accountability. I knew that would remove the “do I feel like doing xyz?”, and it sure did.

    But I also do it because I want to show people that, as a coach, I practice what I preach and that I’m not some theoretical, read-in-the-books-never-done-it-though kind of guy. I’d like to point out that I’m not 100% and don't always achieve everything. Mind you, my goals are quite ambitious (this year I’ve set over 60 goals for myself. Some of which are goals like: Launch the Unbreakable Self-Discipline Bootcamp, run 1500km, publish 24 articles, etc). I guess I’m truly living up to my philosophy of ‘OK is NOT enough’. 

    Another reason is that I want to inspire people. Over the years of me doing this I’ve got 100s of emails and messages from people about how it inspires them to set new goals, push themselves harder, or even share their goals publicly as well. This alone makes it all worthwhile.  

    Now that the year is coming to an end, what is your conclusion from it? What were the goals you needed to make the biggest efforts for? And did the pandemic have an impact on your results?

    It’s only the end of November, we’re on the third lockdown, and a group of archeologists just dug out and opened some tombs in Africa, so I don’t dare to conclude anything quite yet. 

    Needless to say that the world’s got quite a beating in 2022. Many things have changed and those who adapt the fastest will find a lot of opportunities in it, and those who cling on to the old ways will struggle. Adaptability has been the most powerful weapon of our ancestors. That’s why we’re still here. They’ve got through tougher times than this. I’m sure we’ll be fine. 

    As strange as will sound, my life has changed very little because of the lockdown. I work from home and I love it. I’ve moved my business completely online which is something I’ve been wanting to do in the future anyway. Over the years of studying and practicing personal development, I’ve developed the habit to look for the positive side in everything and 2022 is no exception. 

    Because of Covid-19, many people are struggling with anxiety and distraction. Do you have simple productivity advice that can be followed by everybody who feels overwhelmed and stressed during this time?

    It’s the seeking of a “simple advice, quick strategy, the best tip, the one thing” that is the cause of many people’s problems. I have people asking me this sort of question all the time. 

    I ask them back “why simple, quick, or easy?”  

    Whether they admit it or not, the answer is: Because I want it easy and I want it quick. 

    Nothing worthwhile gets accomplished by “quick and easy”. 

    The problem is that such questions will prime their mind to “quick and easy” and when things stop being “quick and easy”, and they will, people are likely to quit. 

    If someone is struggling with depression, anxiety, and being overwhelmed, (which is terrible and has a destructive impact on one’s life) then the mindset should be “whatever it takes!” 

    What I do when I feel overwhelmed is: I plan. 

    I sit down with a pen and paper or my Notion app, and I organise all the things I need to do. 

    Getting things out of your head and putting them on paper is calming and relaxing. 

    You can then see it in front of you and get a different perspective. Things look much more manageable that way. That is the best way to start. 

    Last question Tomas: Do you already have your goals set for 2022? Would you tell us about one or two of them?

    I don’t actually. This is my big second half of December ritual where I set aside a few hours and reflect on the past year and plan what I want to accomplish in the coming year. 

    For now, there are several courses I want to accomplish and a long list of books I want to read. One of the more “out there” ones is that I’d like to run a 50km+ Ultra Marathon.
    Oh god, I can already see it’s going to be a long list again! Haha

    Thank you so much for the interview, Tomas! All the best to you!

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