Bold. Edgy. Passionate.
insights into my life
It’s not that easy to describe myself with just one word, because I’m constantly wearing so many hats and my head is always full of different ideas, so that I sometimes struggle with focusing on what’s really important. But when I look back, there is one constant in my life: change. The urge to question the status quo. To let go what used to work and boldly try out new ways of doing things. To live a life based on my own terms. Change and transformation are the red thread that have always accompanied me through the various phases of my own development and more than once have been the reason that my life was heavily shaken and turned upside down from one moment to the other.
During my civil service – for the first time ever – the work with mentally and physically disabled children showed me that there is more to life than just the same old faster-harder-stronger. However, I wasn’t spending much time in the classroom, because I had so many awesome jobs. At the age of 20 I left my hometown of Lübeck (yes, I am Nordic by Nature) to study economics with a focus on marketing in Greifswald, Mannheim and Hamburg. However, I spent more time on student jobs than in the classroom. I worked as a translator for a Texan construction company, drove through Mecklenburg-West Pomerania with Nigerian business people to buy gravel pits and armored limousines there, was a business development manager for a software company and wrote business plans for start-up companies in the new economy.
Family first – Business secondAs much as I liked the retail business (and I still do), as time went by, I discovered my real passion: To work with the people. To inspire my employees, customers and business partner to use the power of change to grow and get better. To understand how people tick and how they make their decisions. And in March 2008, in a traffic jam on the Autobahn, I made a choice that should change my life like no decision before: I quit my safe job as a corporate executive and started my own company. Since then, I have published twelve books that have sold hundreds of thousands of copies and been translated into many languages, have given hundreds of keynote speeches for amazing clients around the world, and exciting personalities have trusted me as a personal coach for years.
In individual work, I support entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and executives in leading a life based on self-determination, freedom and meaning. I help organizations and companies to establish a culture of change that is characterized by shared values, diversity and meaning. And even if my team and I are celebrating the 10th business anniversary in 2019 (and I still enjoy to work hard and a lot), my family always came and will come first. They are my safe harbour and constantly give me strength and inspiration. But foremost they are my strong why, the rational and emotional reason, that reminds me every single day, what drives me and why my big goal is to change the world – one person at a time.
Challenging the Status Quo Since 1975
This is what drives me
- Play golf (HCP 10.6)
- The HSV (yes, really!)
- Black coffee (a lot and often)
- Fritz Cola without sugar
- Single malt whisky
- Big hearts
- Blues & Rock music
- Travelling around the world
- The humour of Loriot
- The energy of New York and the chilled atmosphere of Los Angeles
- The coolness of London and the inspiration of Cape Town
- A good cigar & BBQ on the patio
- The books by Ayn Rand and Thomas Mann
- People who never give up
I do not like…
- Holding on to what used to work
- People with no opinion of their own
- Ready made meals
- Political correctness
- The cold winters in Berlin
- Emotional Blackmail
- Coffee with milk
- Having no sense of humor
- Problem thinking
- All “Tatort” episodes after Manfred Krug
- Saying one thing and doing the other
- Whining and complaining
- Fake it ’til you make it
- Just talk, don’t act
- Giving up too early
- Civil Service at Universitätsklinikum Lübeck: Work at a integrative facility: Taking care of disabled, handicapped and slow learning children
- Various part time jobs, e.g.: Translator for American and Nigerian Companies, Barkeeper, Business Plan Writer, Start-Up-Consultant, Business Development Manager
- Studies of economics at the Universities of Greifswald, Mannheim and Hamburg: Marketing, Economic education and organizational theory. Certificate: Diplom Kaufmann
- Store Manager at Karstadt, Hertie und Wertheim: Responsibility for a total of ten department stores in Lübeck, 2 x Hamburg, Kassel, Mönchengladbach, Frankfurt/Oder and 5x Berlin
- Project manager “Outlet Center” for Hertie
- IKEA Store Manager
- Lectureships at the HWR Berlin and SRH Hochschule Berlin
- Author of 12 books
- Founder and host of the Change Awards
- Founder of the Solopreneur Club
- Startup Advisor
- Keynote speaker, lecturer and management consultant
Myself in numbers…
- 47 years old
- 190 centimeters tall
- 1 wonderful woman
- 2 beautiful daughters
- 1 house built
- 4 trees planted
- 12 books published
- 1 passion: to actively and self-determinedly shape the future
- 1 goal: Let the winds of change blow through the companies of this world
- 1 claim: do it well or don’t do it at all.
- 1 message: Make change happen
- 1 motto: Rüm Hart. Klar Kiming.
For journalists, influencers and meeting planners: Everything at a glance
Everything you might need. Ilja’s press kit contains his introduction text, biography, speaker’s kit, images and AV requirements that you can easily download as a PDF.