Interview with Ilja Grzeskowitz

Ilja Grzeskowitz

Ilja Grzeskowitz is a successful keynote speaker, change coach and author of several books. He offers quality coaching for big companies and also private persons. This way, he daily inspires many people to change their lives to the better.
Today, he speaks to FollowYourDream giving insights into his work and personal journey.


What are you currently working on?

My head is always full of ideas, so my hardest task is always to focus on the important stuff. At the moment my three main projects are:

1) My new book (which I’m planning to release late 2016 / early 2017)

2) Development of an online change community and

3) My Keynote Speeches, which I work on daily.



What were your key learnings on your journey to becoming a successful Change Coach?

As a Change Coach, I help organizations, business leaders and entrepreneurs to deal with the massive changes around us. I do that with my keynote speeches, with my change seminars and also through my various change programs (I offer one day strategy coachings, 90 day programs and a 12 month mentoring programm).


On my journey to where I am today, I had three major learnings:


1) You have to walk your talk. In my opinion it’s not possible to teach people anything, that you have not experienced yourself. Change has always been the central theme of my own life, my own carreer and my own business. Therefore all the content in my books, speeches and coachings is from real-life-experience, and no cheese motivational theory.


2) The perfect moment will never come. You have to start, even if you don’t feel perfectly prepared. So many people miss the greatest opportunities, because they wait for perfection instead of taking the first step. My advice: Start with what you have, take calculated risks and learn on the way!


3) Dream big and then act small. You have to have a big, strong and emotional vision. Something that gets you going and wakes you up in the middle of the night. So you should always dream big. And then act small. Making one big change won’t do it. You have to take action on a daily basis and create new habits. One of my favorite mantras: Your vision gets you going, but your habits take you to the finish line.



If there was one advice you could give someone who wants to be successful: What would it be?

It’s something one of my former bosses told me, when I just started out as a very young store manager in retail. He said: „Ilja, whatever you’re going to do in the future, the most important thing is, that you dare to be yourself.” And I thought: Well, that’s simple. But it took me over ten years to realize what he really meant by that. Because when you start to express your own personality with everything you think, say or do, great things start to happen. You no longer try to live up to the expectations of others, but to your own standards, your own values and what’s really important to you. You are no longer a bad copy of somebody else, but a special, unique personality yourself. I think it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who once said: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.“ And that is so true for our businesses, our relationships and our family lives. The more you dare to become the best version of yourself, the more you grow as a boss, a leader, a parent or as a friend.



What are the biggest sources of joy in your life?

My children. Playing Golf. Travelling around the world. Single Malt Whisky. Great food.



One central aspect of your work is about having the right ‘attitude’, you even wrote a book on this particular topic. What made you pick this subject and why do you think it is so important?

I always found it fascinating, that some people have huge successes in various areas of their lifes, while other fail, even when they started under the exact same circumstances. And here’s the reason for that: It’s never the one with the best abilities who gets the best results, but always the one who is well prepared, takes massive action and changes actively. Because under the same circumstances it’s always the attitude, the mindset, the company culture that makes the difference.


In business and in life, it’s always about attitude, about that special combination of your values, your beliefs and the seven keys of success (which I describe in great detail in my book). And the best thing is: You can train it deliberately. But so few really do. And that always breaks my heart, because so often I meet people who are extremely unfulfilled with their lives. Who complain about the circumstances, their jobs, their relationships or their health. But instead of actively using their attitude to change something, they’re using a passive wait-and-see-approach. They are willing to rather be unhappy, than make the necessary attitude adjustments. Instead they talk a lot, tell you what they are going to do, and then they do nothing but looking for excuses: The time is not right, they think they aren’t ready yet or they tell you that their website is still in the making. They are so occupied waiting for the perfect moment, that they’re missing out to take action. But like I said before, that moment will never come, because there is always something, that will get in the way. But there comes a time when we have to stop waiting and start transforming our ideas into specific results. And there is only one way to do that: Using our attitude to take massive action and focus on execution.


And that’s what all my work and my mission in life is all about: In my books, my seminars and my keynote speeches, I show people that they really can change. If they are willing to switch their focus, dare to go new ways and take massive action. Because after all, if you want to have different results, it’s not enough to think different. You also have to act different. And that’s why using your attitude, your mindset and your company culture is so important.


Thank you very much, Ilja, for the inspiring interview.

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