David Ziltener, from Switzerland, works at a co-working environment for a company called Tribotron in St. Gallen. He has been self-employed for nearly 13 years. He set out with the vision to create machines that would test the damage to a surface by the human hand. Now, 13 years later, he fulfills his passion for a living.
What is your passion?
My passion is my job actually. We make instruments for material and surface testing and we develop our own machines, meaning that we oversee everything from the basic idea to the finished machine. I love my job. Of course, the passion I pursue in my spare time is sports; I like all kinds of sports from jogging to tennis.
Would you say you fulfil your passion for a living?
Yes, I would say I am fulfilling my passion for a living. Although I do not make any money off of sports, I do try to combine the two. When I go for a run, play a round of tennis, or go for a ride with my bike,it allows me to sort out my ideas and figure out what I want to do with these ideas. I guess you could see it as strategic thinking. It can sometimes be difficult to be creative and set my mind straight in the office.
How did you manage to make a career out of your passion?
It started off with me going out there and doing! One thing led to another, and I ended up having my passion become my job. I became self-employed 13 years ago and started consulting in Nanotechnology. Naturally, I went through a difficult phase. Not everything progressed as I had hoped in the beginning. But, perseverance paid off and new ideas starting popping up, and that is how the company got to where it is today. What really kept me going throughout this difficult phase, I guess, was my passion which drove me further, but also coincidence. I think you need to be in the right place at the right time if that makes sense.
- How you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition of it?
Success, for me is when I can live my life the way I want to, and be happy with it. Everyone has their own definition of success, and you cannot compare yours with others, because it all depends on the person. Some people measure success in terms of how much money they make. Some people measure success in terms of how large their family is. It really depends on the person I think.
What tips would you give someone trying to live his/her passion to the fullest?
Just try it out, no fear! There is nothing to lose, most of the time at least, haha. You will only find out what your passion is if you keep on trying and testing new things. I guess that is the best tip I can give.
Does your activity involve travelling or meeting people from around the world?
Our sales area covers a relatively large region: central Europe to Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and France, so naturally, I travel all around these countries. Also, once a year there is a sales meeting in California US, which the company in Europe attends. I do travel quite a lot, but I wouldn’t say I travel extensively. I always enjoy it, though. The people I meet are usually our customers and partners, so obviously they are passionate about having us test the surfaces out for them. Regarding their individual product, I think they are as passionate as myself and just as enthusiastic. They come to us with their problem and ask us to solve it for them. And so when we present the solution to them we are basically fulfilling a passion from both sides. Then again, if you have a problem you cannot really say it is a passion, it is more of a pain in the backside haha.
How much do you value travelling? What does it mean to you?
There are two sides of travelling. The actual act of travelling, which can be frustrating, annoying and tedious, but then there is the side where you get to meet new people, which is usually very pleasant. I definitely enjoy meeting new people and seeing new places. If I have time off, I like to use that time see new places. I try to combine business trips with “leisure” travelling of course, but if I go cycling for a week it is evidently difficult to combine the two haha. But if I have to go abroad for my job I try to combine the two great passions of mine: my work and travelling.
At LocalBini, we believe that people you meet are what you remember the most. They are the ones that turn your trip into a memorable experience. Who are the people who have had the greatest impact on you in your previous travels?
It was last year, I believe, when I had the most memorable trip to Paris. We did an installation and I had the chance to meet very nice people. I remember the people I met very well, in fact, we still keep in touch, They were our customers, and so it was through my work that I was able to meet new people, interesting people, whilst travelling. It was great!
So there you have it. Combine your passion for your work with the passions you pursue in your spare time and you will find yourself nurturing both. Indeed, channeling your “leisure” passion can go hand in hand with your occupation. You can even enjoy your work by having it feed into your passion. If you find yourself being envious of the fact that some people are lucky enough to make a living off of their passion, remember there are no rules stating you cannot do that too!