I had the pleasure of getting some answers from Tom Grbich, a well known “Results Specialist” as he calls himself. Tom founded two companies in New Zealand, one of which was sold to a much larger player and the other is now in the top three in the country in its field. As a salesman, Tom made the top 1% in the world, with a 12 month close rate of 91% (all profitable) in the security industry – one of the most competitive industries in the country at the time. As a coach/trainer, Tom has directly contributed to increases in revenue of 300% (in 3 months) in a multi national company, 500% in 9 months in New Zealand’s largest company, and an increase in the performance of a single individual of 800% in 3 months. These achievements Tom says, come from looking at almost everything differently.
“If you do the same things as your competitors and your staff are trained by the same people who train your competitors – you will always be just another ‘one of the competition’ in the eyes of your prospects” – BE the competition – BE different!
In his company Leading for Success, Our mission is to bring accountability to the fields of consulting, training, and coaching by applying measurable outcomes to all that we do”.
What’s your name? Tell me about yourself.
My name is Tom Grbich and as you will notice – the spelling of the surname is weird. In fact my Grandfather’s English was very poor when he came to New Zealand and each of his sons got their names spelled differently on their birth certificates. Throughout my life, people have forced vowels between the g and the r, or the r and the b so you can imagine the variety of names I have had to deal with over my lifetime. The best though, was an invoice addressed to Mr. G.R. Bich when they put periods in there instead. My children’s surnames have been spelled Girbik on their birth certificates which is how the name is pronounced. I am a very ordinary person – albeit with some extraordinary capabilities. I see “energy” in things, and people, and I have constantly dumbfounded medical institutions here and in New Zealand over the speed with which I can heal myself.
I have been married for eighteen years in my second marriage, and have two incredible teenagers – a girl and a boy. Music is one of my favorite things, I quite like ballroom dancing, and taught myself to play the piano accordion, guitar and keyboard (none particularly well unfortunately).
My favorite TV is nature documentaries, I love the bush – waterfalls, the mountains, mountain streams, and the ocean. I’m a pretty good cook with my own recipe book of about 120 original recipes and about 200 modified recipes, and I have been teaching martial arts for more than 35 years.
I love motorbikes and cars, am an all-round handyman – building, plumbing, electrics – whatever, but most of all – I love people. The one right I believe every person on the planet should claim – is the right to happiness and if my book can do anything to promote that,
then I will know I did something really worthwhile with my life.
Why did you write this book?
There are many reasons why I wrote Live The Life YOU Want. Ultimately though, it was because a host of people in both New Zealand and Canada finally convinced me that what I teach, and how I teach is different enough, that I really could help many more people by creating what to me until then, would have been “just another book.” So I guess it was to help people in a way that they have probably never been helped before.
What is the primary point of the book?
The primary point of the book without a doubt would be that if you stop looking for things to “blame” and are willing to change the way you think and act – you absolutely CAN change everything in your life.
Give me an overview of the book.
Essentially, Live The Life YOU Want is the story of how I turned my life from rating myself at about the level of an amoeba on the scale of life, to achieving every personal and business goal I have ever set for myself. Because I rated myself so lowly, I didn’t feel I had the right to ask others how to change my life and so I did it the hard way. In doing so, I was so grateful for every tool that I learned that helped me on the way, that they became permanently engraved in my mind. When you read the book though, you will notice that I am not the focus – the reader is. While I do talk about some of my real life experiences, it is only to emphasize the reality of the information being provided.So the reader gets to learn about all the tools and especially – they are provided with examples of how to use them. It takes you through all of the elements that impact most on the lives that we currently live, and gives you the opportunity to change how you view those things. You see – until you change your picture of life, you can’t expect to change that life in itself.
What moments from your life are most memorable?
- Wow – what a wonderful question! There are so many things but perhaps the most memorable would be as follows…
- it still intrigues me to bits that even in the worst times as a kid, in my dreams I was always Superman – out saving the world.
- leaving Hong Kong after completing my martial arts training – I had learned that my whole life had been based on a lie (that I had been born useless) and that anything you have been taught – you can be taught to change. That was absolutely huge for me.
- my moment of “surrender” to the spiritual side of me in February 1998. Physically, I had gone about as far as I wanted to go but my emotional and spiritual aspects I had avoided like the plague. The discovery that I wasn’t born useless led me to begin exploring my emotional side, but I had not done anything at all about the spiritual. That took place after my “moment of surrender” and set my life on another wonderful journey.
- being granted the opportunity to “come back” after dying momentarily in hospital in December 2005.
What would you want the readers of your book to understand from reading your book?
I would want them to understand that life really is theirs to grab and if they truly apply the learning that the book contains, there should be nothing to stop them from living it.
Take any section from your book and share your thoughts about that?
If readers buy the book and are only prepared to read one chapter, that chapter should be the one on ego. Absolutely everything that stands in the way of our truly “being” in this lifetime can be traced back to the ego and no amount of time spent learning about the ego and how to deal with it, will ever be time wasted.
Who would benefit most from reading your book?
I truly believe there is no “class” of person who will benefit most from reading this book. The people who will benefit most are the ones who really want to change their lives and it doesn’t matter if you are a farmer, a homeless person, or a multi-millionaire. If you want to change your life, whatever that life is – this book will help you to do it.
Who has helped/influenced you or shaped your way of thinking?
In reality, I didn’t get a lot of help over my life – mainly because I didn’t ask for it. Two people who did influence me tremendously though were my martial arts Master, and Walt Disney. My Master was the wisest, most incredible person I would be likely to meet in a hundred lifetimes and it was he who put hope back in my life. I admired Walt Disney for his courage in pursuing a dream that no one else believed possible, and for bringing more smiles to more faces, than perhaps any other person who has lived.
If you could give to others only one word of advice what would that be?
It would be the same word – at least three times – believe, believe, believe. Believe in yourself, believe that the life you want really is waiting for you to claim it, and believe that you can.
What do you value most in life?
I believe that would be learning. They say knowledge is power, but it is learning that sets you free.
Do you believe that people are inherently good or bad?
Now that is a controversial question. I think some are born inherently good, and some are born inherently “bad” but most people by far are somewhere in between. The reason I say this is that I remember in particular, a family that lived not far from our farm who were known to be as bad as they came. They were heavy drinkers, thieves, and they would fight any person, any time – over just about anything. I went to school with the older brother and sister and it was hard to say who was the meaner. And then the youngest brother started school – brought up in the same family, treated the same way, and yet he was the nicest, most scholarly young person you could ever hope to meet.
I’ve also known families who were totally the opposite – as nice as could be and then one of them would become a murderer or whatever. By the in betweens – I refer to most people who can be tempted to the “bad” side – but only to certain degrees. There are some things that they just cannot be persuaded to do.
What is your greatest regret?
You know – I really have no regrets but if I had to pick something – it would be that I didn’t find out 30 years earlier that not only was it totally “Ok” to have asked for help, but that there were so many people out there wishing that I would. I can’t honestly say I regret that though because it is the combination of both the “good” and “bad” things in my life that has made me who I am today. And I am so very proud of the person I am today.
What do you see as your greatest achievement?
I think that would be not turning out like my father. Before getting married for the first time, I told my ‘wife to be’ that she needed to know that I never wanted to have children. My reason was that I had bought into the belief that if you were a beaten child you would become a beating parent and I would rather chop both arms off than turn out like that. When I married for the second time, my wife told me she was having children with or without me and I decided “with me” was probably a better solution. So I have two teenagers of my own and to hear them tell me time and again that I’m “the best Dad in the world” brings tears of gratitude to my eyes every time.
How do you deal with someone you don’t like?
Politely. If it is possible I avoid them and if it is not then I let them know what it is that I am uncomfortable about, and we either agree to work around it – staying out of one-another’s way as much as possible or we just agree to disagree.
What do you feel you are entitled to in life?
Absolutely nothing – except perhaps the oxygen I breathe. Everything else I believe should be earned. There is no gratitude for that which comes as an “entitlement” and that is why we abuse the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, and the land that feeds us, with massive pollution.
What’s your favourite song?
My favourite song at the moment (from the point of view of the singing and the music) is Daniel O’Donnell’s “Christmas Long Ago.” My favourite song and lyrics are “The Rose” by Bette Midler.
What are your feelings regarding ‘God’ and religion?
I believe God and religion are entirely separate entities. The “God” of religion – I really don’t like, but the “God” that I experience, is indescribable. Unfortunately, I believe religion is man-made and was created to divide and control. Only in religion do we ask God to take sides, and the God I know would never have created an imperfect being, and then punished it for turning out that way.
How do you personally define “Right” from “Wrong”?
For me – “right” is anything that does not harm, deprive, or needlessly embarrass another person or living thing, and “wrong” is anything that does.
Your favorite virtue?
Without question – that would be honesty. I just don’t know how to live any other way.
What is your motto?
My motto is that if I can put a smile on somebody’s face – I know I’ve done at least one useful thing today.
What are your goals in life?
I only have two goals – one is to be the best I can be, in everything I do; and the other is that no matter how unexpected my demise might be, I would like to think that I was doing the best I could under the circumstances, with the information I had at the time. Because I have no way of knowing when my time will come – it means I have to live every minute of my life that way. Neither you nor your listeners or readers will ever know how fulfilling it was when I “passed over” in December 2005 and was able to answer that question with an honest “Yes.” It was the most satisfying moment of my life.
What keeps you on track with those goals?
Every morning when I wake up – I ask myself:
- Was I the husband to my wife in the last 24 hours that I would like to think I am, and
- Was I the father to my children that I would like to think I am?
Whether the answer is a “Yes” or a “No,” I then qualify why I deserved whichever the answer was, and ask “What could I do to improve on that today?”
Every night when I go to bed I ask:
- Did I do justice to my business today
- Did I treat my customers in the manner in which they should be treated today, and
- What can I improve on for tomorrow?
Then at random intervals I check in with my wife, kids, and customers to see if they also agree that I have been the person I would like to think I am. It really keeps my focus on the important things in my life and there is always something to improve.
What is your favourite compliment?
Many years ago, a young boy in New Zealand joined my martial art class with his father, and my friendship with his Mum and Dad eventually extended to include him as he grew up.
Then I moved to Canada in 2000 and he followed about two years later and stayed with my family for two years while finding his footing here. During that time, he gained employment with a company that I was doing some troubleshooting for, and for a seven month period, I also became his boss.
Then one day in a conversation, he said “You know – the thing that amazes me about you is that the person I thought I knew as a teenager in your class, was the same person who became my friend, was the same person who I lived with for two years, and was the same person as my boss. You never change who you are, no matter what the circumstances.” That remains my favourite compliment because that told me more than anything else, that I truly am the genuine person I want to be – what you see really is, what you get.