Interview with Michael Anderson | I only work with people who want to change


Hot day and hot topic in hotel 88 rooms – Business of you lectured by Michael Anderson and organised by Prototip events. Ten participants gathered in order to spend 4-hour-time for learning different approaches in understanding themselves and themselves in businesses.

1#  First of all, congratulations for a  successful seminar. What was the interaction with the audience during the two workshops?

– I really enjoyed our group. Everybody participated and everybody was vulnerable and I thought we had great conversations.

2# You are an IT entrepreneur and also a life coach. Did life coaching teach you how to be an excellent seller?

– I don’t do a lot of coaching, I am more a trainer and speaker. I do have a  Masters in Spiritual Psychology which gave me 2000 hours in therapy, but I’m not a licensed therapist. Actually, I was pretty good in sales before I started with all of this. I really understood and knew my product and its value.

The interaction

3# You are working with the leaders of great companies such as Microsoft, Uber, SAP etc. What are the problems they are dealing with?

– This is really interesting because almost every leader that I really got to know feels like a fraud later in their career. Leadership is scary by definition – one set of responsibilities, one set of tasks, we have to work hard to get a promotion and we start a business and suddenly have more responsibility. We feel like people are looking at us through a microscope to see how we do. We don’t get training; we don’t get any support so we get self-conscious and our defences go up. The biggest fear is that we are gonna get found out that we don’t really know what we are doing. It’s all crashing and crumbling down after that. That’s really a common thing to successful people and they keep faking that once they make some amount of money and get some sort of power. It always gets worse because of the stress.

4# “ I read The Experiment because I wanted a different approach to finding joy in my work life—and this book gave me exactly that.”, which is one of the reviews for your book. Can we say that your job is to make people happy, no matter what they do?

– My job is to show people how to make themselves happy. Also, to give them faith, hope, tools and a system to do that. It’s not magic; it’s something they really have to work on.

5# Let’s say that my schedule is overcrowded; I’m working with many people in my team and together we are handling very stressful situations so when I get home I have no energy or time to spend with my family. What can be the right solution?

– People are overloaded. The first thing I would do is to encourage them to look at their tasks. They write down everything they are involved with and what they have to do first. Normally, a third or a half has to be taken care of right away. We are addicted to this busyness and we say “yes” to things we don’t need. This problem is called FOMO (fear of missing out) instead of living simple lives.  People think if they spread what they are doing around something’s gonna work out. They really need to focus. You are valuable if you do one thing really awesome!

6# “Soul-Centered Leadership” was published this year and it is already the #1 best-selling book in business leadership training. Honestly, do you tell yourself “Wow, I did it again!” in those kinds of situations?

-It is nice from an ego point of view, I cannot lie. Soul-Centered Leadership is a very unique book because it is a mix of leadership with spirituality in a practical manner. Sometimes I think people will reject this book with words “Nah, I don’t believe in that” but, you know, that’s not happening. I am blown away by how it is accepted. It took a lot of courage and it worked out. I am really trying to empower people to build great things by positivity and optimism.

The interview

7# Entrepreneurs in Serbia have many difficulties with opening and keeping their businesses. Do you think that a smaller market has its comparative advantages or are entrepreneurs in America in a better situation?

-There are so many ways to look at this. If you have a solution to a problem, you are on a  good shift. There are so many advantages to being in Serbia – small labor market, IT skills. You are very resilient and strong and generally I see Europeans and Serbian people as very strong. It is interesting because of laziness and strength at the same time. Don’t worry where you are, worry about providing value. What I see in entrepreneurs worldwide, sometimes especially in Eastern Europe is that they don’t listen; they don’t ask a customer; they don’t do focus groups – they think they know what customers want. To be an entrepreneur you have to be so self driven and to push forward even if people are giving you different messages. You have to listen to people, a market, and mentors.

8# You are CEO of your own company and have been working there for 5 years. Can you tell us the advantages and disadvantages of working as an entrepreneur? 

– The word entrepreneur is so over glamorised these days. People see a lot of fun, us making a lot of money, me as an important person, and all this glamour. Being an entrepreneur sucks! If you are doing it to make money, to be powerful – don’t do it. You’re gonna be disappointed. You’re going to work 60-80 hours a week, probably for three or four years. If you aren’t willing to do that then don’t do it.

Participants with Michael

9# You studied for your Masters in Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica and it seems that your education is never going to end. What piece of advice can you give to all the students who are struggling with their studies?

-Just do shit – things for free such as volunteering. I had a student group work on a   project and one of the guys came to me and said: “I would like to work for you for free for six months. You have a lot of experience, you are a good mentor and you know a lot about marketing”. He worked for us for six months and now he has great career. I wanna say to all youth not to get stuck if they dislike something!

10# What is the hardest thing you had to forgive in yourself?

– A lot of alcohol and drugs. I’m not judging myself for those years, I didn’t know any better. In fact, I’m the same person as I was before that. It is like when someone says to me: “I’m stupid”. You aren’t, you are just the person who did stupid things. And I think about myself the same way-I’m a person who did alcohol and drugs.

Marija Tomić

Photographs: Snežana Subotić, Prototip events