Exclusive interview for LDaily with Vyacheslav Sukhomlinov, ideologist and co-author of the project LIVE.LOVE, coach of GTD, ex-CEO of Tarantino Family restaurant holding, talks about sport as a way of life, personal effectiveness and his unique sports community
Once having discovered a running process, the CEO of a large company, Vyacheslav Sukhomlinov realized that it was sport that made his life full and successful. He left the traditional business and founded the project LIVE.LOVE, whose main goal is to show people a different reality that exists outside the walls of their offices and apartments.
LDaily: Vyacheslav, you were at the project LIVE.LOVE, which allows people to get closer to the sport. How did your sport story start?
V. Sukhomlinov: It all started with my first 5 kilometers, which I ran in 2013. In fact, my main motivator at that time was the love of technology. Then GPS-trackers became popular, mobile applications and other sport items. I bought sneakers with trackers from Nike and started with the first distance. It was very difficult for me, despite the fact that I used to do sport and was in normal physical condition. Running is a completely different thing; it is, first of all, endurance. But most of all I liked the emotion at the finish. You are born again somehow.
Six months later I ran another 10 km, then a half marathon, and then I wanted some big challenge. So I bought myself all the necessary equipment, hired a coach and began to systematically prepare for Half Ironman.
Amateur sport is not really a habit, but a way of life. Just once you have decided that for you this is a part of the existence, as for someone reading books, yoga, relationships with other people
LDaily: Intensive workouts plus hard work in the office. How to combine it? Is there an imbalance?
V. Sukhomlinov: When I first started to work at the position of executive director of Tarantino Family, I experienced constant stress. I came to the office before the secretary and left when everyone already left except the guard. Negotiations, meetings and again negotiations … sport helped me to get rid of this tension. In the morning I was charged with cheerfulness and good mood, and most importantly – I developed endurance. A person, who at the beginning of the day runs 10 km, can work productively in the office for 8 hours. It was necessary, of course, to change habits. Before going to bed, it is important not to sit at the computer.
LDaily: How do sport achievements bring money? What is the secret? What is the connection between those two things? Does it open the chakras? Does it sharpen the creativity?
V. Sukhomlinov: I think there is no direct connection. Quite frankly, if all sports achievements would bring money, professional sportsmen would a priori become successful businessmen. The chakras will be revealed to those who have the ability to do things. However, there are certain points of contact between sport and business.
All business negotiations, tenders are the same sport trainings, monotonous, somewhere routine, requiring endurance and patience
Winning a tender is comparable to a sport competition, now you need to produce a result that you promised, to get your reward at the end. In sport it is a medal, and in business it is money.
Business and new horizons
LDaily: Why did you decide to leave the traditional business?
V. Sukhomlinov: The first reason is that I’m tired of corporate life. Another thing is that there were some differences in views with investors, in spite of which our parting was very civilized and simple. And the third reason is that I was already engaged in a new project, which brought a good additional income. The thing is that 9 years ago I learned about the methodology of GTD, created by David Allen. This is not a time management, but a system that allows the subject to effectively cope with their own affairs. According to this methodology, there is no sense to keep the task in mind. It must be written down, the next step to be determined and a reminder to be made when this step is completed. If you implement this simple algorithm with respect to all the tasks that you have, you get clarity and motivation, the head is not overloaded, because it does not store information.
LDaily: Did you use GTD in your personal life?
V. Sukhomlinov: Yes, I have been practicing it for years. I tried a lot of mental models, for example, how to prioritize or how to return to voluminous the information. GTD is such a big map that will indicate what you do during the day of the week, a month, a year, provided the notifications that you are correctly using it. Having understood it thoroughly, I began to teach others and opened my own training company.
LDaily: Did you regret that you left Tarantino Family and started your own project?
V. Sukhomlinov: I would lie if I said that I have never regretted about it. But now I understand that it was not a pity, but rather a fear, because being hired is foremost safe. The CEO does not take risks with his own money; he does not take risks in anything at all, except the status. One day you have to make a choice: you can either work for someone and give at least 8 hours a day to the development of another person’s business, or spend the same time on your own business. However, financial indicators are more difficult to achieve. If you came out of some good position, it’s not a sure that you will immediately earn the same money. Here you need patience.
LDaily: Vyacheslav, LIVE.LOVE for you is a sport or a business?
V. Sukhomlinov: LIVE.LOVE is definitely a business, and it plans to develop and grow in terms of the number of people and services. It cannot be said that this is a startup, because the model immediately manifested itself. We paid back our primary investment for five months. And today LIVE.LOVE fully pays for its development without additional investments.
LDaily: How many participants are there in the project?
V. Sukhomlinov: Active participants who are currently engaged in running, swimming, dancing, 150 people. Graduates – more than 300.
LDaily: Does LIVE.LOVE have graduates?
V. Sukhomlinov: Our project is not a classical program. We have a setup – a person must achieve a specific goal, for example, run 5 km in 8 weeks, a half marathon after 16, a marathon in 24 weeks. We have programs of different duration, each one chooses his own way.
LDaily: How many people did LIVE.LOVE start with?
V. Sukhomlinov: We had 20 people in the first running group, which we literally collected from friends (laughs). I was faced with the fact that people had to be persuaded to run. But I liked to watch how they are transformed, not only externally, but also internally.
We have the President of the Investment Group UNIVER Taras Kozak. He is 47 years old. He joined us on the first set of the swimming program “Swim your first kilometer”. And, when he found us, all of the groups were already filled. He said: “Do whatever you want! I must be with you! “. We did it and we are glad that he is with us. And Taras has already run the Marathon in Vienna, crossed the Bosphorus and dreams to pass Ironman with LIVE.LOVE.
LDaily: Is the number of project participants growing? Are there any of those, who come by the recommendations of friends, acquaintances, neighbors?
V. Sukhomlinov: Most people come just like that, “by word of mouth.” This is the most simple and trusting channel. We have participants who came to us on the first program and are still engaged. There are people who came to run, reached the result and changed it to swimming. We swam and took up dancing. We create a system in which we always have something to offer for moral and physical realization.
LDaily: Why just running, swimming and dancing? Why not boxing, for example, or something else?
V. Sukhomlinov: Our main task is to achieve a real goal that can be assessed and felt. In running and swimming – this is the finish on each new distance, in dancing – a public performance. The ultimate goal of boxing, roughly speaking, is to beat someone, but we are still focused on positive emotions. At the same time, we are open to new non-standard directions and, moreover, we are not going to limit ourselves to sport only. For example, you can realize yourself in singing. Perhaps someone dreamed of singing on the stage for a long time, but did not dare. It is necessary to create certain conditions, to give support and motivation.
LDaily: How many trainers are in LIVE.LOVE?
V. Sukhomlinov: 3 running trainers, 2 dancing ones and 4 swimming trainers. The latter are the most, because each person is engaged in swimming with his group of 10 people. To do this, we rented tracks in the pool for 5 people each. Everything is arranged so that the training is comfortable and nobody disturbs anyone.
LDaily: Your program is not cheap; therefore all participants are successful businessmen, authoritative managers, right?
V. Sukhomlinov: “Cheap” or “not cheap” – everything is learned in comparison. The average bill for lunch in the restaurant is 200 UAH. Five visits to the restaurant a week – this is 1,000 UAH. For the month it is 4,000 UAH. A person spends only on food in a restaurant as much as he could spend on sport. Yes, and in general, I would not talk about the price here, it is rather the question of value – for whom it is more important.
Participation in the LIVE.LOVE program is the constant support of coordinators, business communication, which revives the community, the emotions that people experience in competitions, trips outside the city and other countries. Our program is more than buying an ordinary subscription to the gym. The price for it cannot be described
Therefore, the willingness to buy it is more likely to come from people you have called. They think I have everything in my career and business; it’s time to be engaged in myself.
LDaily: Is there an ultimate goal for LIVE.LOVE?
V. Sukhomlinov: Today there are 300 graduates in LIVE.LOVE, there are 4 million people in Kiev. There is no final goal (laughs). In fact, we can create such communities in other cities and countries. The possible business goal of LIVE.LOVE is cooperation with major sport brands that are now more likely to sponsor amateur sports than professional athletes.
At this stage, we realize a lot of intermediate goals, the achievement of which makes the project wider. These are trips, competitions, training programs, certification of trainers and much more. LIVE.LOVE is something like the Ministry of Sport, only outside the state.