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Ania Lichota - Motivational Speaker
Business Speakers, Inspirational Speakers, Adventurers and Explorers
- Dealing with change and personal motivation
Ania is multi-faceted; she is an author, a mountaineer, she has managed complex, multi-functional and multi-cultural change programs, setting up, growing, liquidating and ‘pruning’ businesses for acquisitions in 16 countries in 4 languages. Ania has worked in shipping, construction, retail, commercial and investment banking where she was involved in business development, sales, process improvement, business integration and turnaround. Ania has four degrees and is currently a chairwoman of a large charity in London and Global Change Leader, Middle Office at UBS.
Ania climbed the highest peak on every continent - the seven summits - including a solo ascent of Mount Everest. In her book ‘Why The Hell Bother? How climbing the Seven Summits changed my life’ Ania tells how the adventure totally changed her perception of the world and the way she experiences life.
Ania’s topics include:
• Why mountaineering?
“I strongly believe that the only way to grow as a person (professionally and personally) is to get yourself out of your comfort zone, beyond the familiar and practiced routines, schedules, people and circumstances”
• Leadership – Authentic Leadership in Turbulent Times
“A top leader has to unlearn what he knows; the principles that worked in the past won’t work now. One has to have a new, fresh perspective every day and learn to respond to what happens, rather than automatically react in the predictable, pre-prepared, practiced manner. “
• Career Development – Climbing the Mountain of Leadership
“Maturing through the organization means negotiating, influencing, working smarter, being comfortable with the uncomfortable, establishing respect and thinking about yourself as a senior manager. It requires a mindset change."
• Accelerating personal growth – True Value of Extreme Adventure
“On my return, people congratulated me on the great thing I have just accomplished. From my perspective, I just took millions of small steps..”
• Women in high places (female audience)
“A determined, congruent, self-aware woman is like a black panther - feminine, delicate, strong, centered, elegant, surprising, forward thinking, well balanced, fully in the present then when the opportunity arises, she shares and is caring, loving, carefully balancing between her strong and serving nature. Depending on the circumstance she adapts, she can be a kitten and a wild cat in one.”
‘Tonight my view on leadership shifted. Ania’s ‘lessons learnt’ are weighty, thought provoking, transformational … and she communicates all those unbelievable achievements in such a modest way. Superb talk.’
‘She is a phenomenon, listening to Ania’s story from whatever angle you ask yourself: am I really living big? What else could I be doing? Her story provided a perspective to what I call problems … I felt humbled and compelled into action.’
‘This talk was highly inspirational – Ania – a normal person, like me but doing extraordinary things in a second language and away from home! If she could go through the discipline of all of that, anything is possible for me! It’s an awakening.’
- Dealing with change and personal motivation
1. Who or what was your motivation to keep going in your challenge to climb the seven summits
My motivation was to raise the money for charity, to provide water for kids via UNICEF, build a school in Nepal - to make a material difference. At some point it stopped being a physical challenge and became more about personal development and growth. The experience changed my communication style and made me re-evaluate my perception of problems. I became fascinated by people and what limits them, I wanted to inspire others with my new found feeling of liberation. Climbing the summits provided amazing space to consider life in a completely new light.
2. Why is it important for businesses and organisations to motivate staff in a recession?
Organisations boil down to individuals and it’s vital to keep motivation up on an individual level especially when there is a down turn, we need to immunise people against the bad news.
3. Were there times you thought you would not survive?
The decision to climb Mt. Everest was made with the knowledge that 5% of people don’t return, actually it was 10% this season. I wanted to make sure that I was OK with this probability together with my family/friends. Through meditation I stopped being afraid, I moved away from instinctive reactions to full awareness and managing and minimising risks. It all gave me a new perspective, I became a calmer person. I am so strong that I can be weak. It takes a lot to upset me now, I am in zen constantly!
4. What achievement are you most proud of?
When I overcame fear it unlashed my creativity to a level that I thought did not exist. When you’re not afraid of circumstances, the opinions of others, you can try anything. I was born dyslexic and made to believe that this would inhibit me – I could not write, however I can now speak four languages and have published my book in a second language. I can stand up on stage in front of 1,000 people and share without inhibitions. Extreme adventures have given me an amazing integrity. I’m careful with what I promise as I stand for honouring my word.
5. What makes a good manager or leader?
a) Humility – and humbleness, if you approach the world with ‘I don’t know’ you open up possibilities to find out, you open up others
b) Perspective – you have to have the big picture and not micro manage in order to realise the full potential of staff and to allow them to flourish
c) Projection – It’s vital to project your energy to inspire, motivate and energise others
6. Why do you think it is important to book an external speaker?
An external speaker allows people to obtain an external perspective, whether it’s from a different industry or a different walk of life. External person is not afraid of the politics and can challenge the audience in a totally different way. I would always allow Q&A as it brings different things out, that’s the value add. Internally organisations struggle to find a role models, an external speaker can provide that.
7. Was it difficult to leave the security of your job?
Yes, for a long time it was difficult to make the decision to do this and then finally when I made it, it was a big relief.
8. What attributes do you think women leaders have over men?
I don’t want to judge. Women have a completely different style; they are more patient and less competitive, more collaborative and calmer. Women don’t have to go out and hunt for problems that we then resolve and become heroes. We are designed to look after things before problems arrive. The most efficient teams are diverse teams.
9. What is your next short term challenge?
Complete career change from corporate world into helping people and teams eliminating their limiting beliefs, boosting dogmas and inspiring others to doing things they thought were not possible. I am going into training, coaching and public speaking.
10. What is your medium to long term plan?
In the medium term I plan to continue to associate myself with people who are best in class, I am buying a coaching licence. I’ve identified a consultancy group, called Vanto, who I would like to work with, I am currently in discussions with them about the future.
11. Who was your biggest influence at school
The Pope, I remember him talking about ‘the ultimate love’, this left a lasting impression. I also remember that he visited the gunman who has shot him in prison. I took a lot of inspiration from that.
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