Martin Teichmann (Germany), trained engineer, turned passion-preneur is the Founder and CEO of SUP TRIP. He is also training young olympic athletes. Leading his own company he now enjoys the freedom to live his love for water every day: You can find him on any kind of board on the water. Surfing, stand-up-paddling, competing in international races and connecting to peers all over the world. Talking to him and seeing him in action with his energy is pure motivation to live one’s dream. To me, Martin is big inspiration and lights a spark in me to do the same. Oi, and he is also an alumn of The Arc Lisbon 2017. Here’s his story.– Interview by ANNIKA PÄUTZ
The Arc: Martin, you were called the viking in the The Arc Lisbon. Can you explain to our readers what this nickname means to you?
Martin: *laughing* I was given this name, so you should probably ask the people who gave it to me. But at the same time I accepted it immediately and gladly. It fits, because I shine the most, when I can spend my time around water with people I like. After all, Vikings were no lonesome fighters, but surrounded by a group of people who developed their power together. That’s what being a viking means to me: Exposing oneself to the forces of nature and having fun together.
The Arc: What happened that you took this massive turn from your rather technical studies to being a viking?
Martin: I had the first eye-opener during my studies where I realized that my fellows imagine themselves working as an industrial engineer when at the same time I could not picture myself there at all. It used to confuse me back then. Now looking back it makes sense: I am and I never was an industrial engineer. I studied to have a degree in order to meet society’s expectations and I enjoyed studying.
Now looking back it makes sense: I am and I never was an industrial engineer. I studied to have a degree in order to meet society’s expectations and I enjoyed studying.
The second big eye-opener happened when my business crashed. After my studies I decided to be an entrepreneur, founded a business and learned a lot in the following two years until my business partner left me from one day to the next. At the same time my relationship broken apart and I struggled with family quarrels. Everything that was my life crashed which felt like running really fast against a thick brick wall. I knew: all right, I have to change something here. To get out of the dead end. To see what I had left behind on my way. I realized that I had gotten lost on the way in starting up a business. I wanted to prove myself and do 10 projects at the same time, which ended up in 10 people complaining that I am not doing the job that I promised. Honestly, I was afraid of focusing. Terrified of letting go of several things and focusing on one. My thinking was: a lot brings a lot. My life showed me: that was not the case!
Everything that was my life crashed which felt like running really fast against a thick brick wall.
After this crash I decided to become a trainer and started a trainer education program where I found out, who I am and what I like to do in my life. The red line was that I’ve always dealt with people and liked to take care of people. I was class speaker and the student representative at uni. If others had problems, I took care that they find a solution and reach their desired goal. My wish to work with people emerged gradually. That’s how I get my energy. When people reach their desired outcome, I get back all the energy I initially invested into them. That’s the thread. I do feel indeed like that viking and I cannot imagine being in a technical job. I have to be surrounded by people.
The Arc: You have built your own business against all critics and voices who did not believe in you. What kept you going throughout the tough times? How did you manage to steer the wheel and push through?
Martin: Headwind from the outside does not really interest me. To me that’s motivation: If everyone believes that it is not possible, then someone has to prove that it works. We all know the example of the marathon runners: before the marathon was run under four hours, nobody thought it was possible. Once the record was broken, other people broke it about 20 times that same year. People always limit themselves until someone else manages to show that this limit does not exist.
People always limit themselves until someone else manages to show that this limit does not exist.
I try to believe nothing, and instead ask myself: What is the actual reality? How does it feel? Can I go on here, can I not? In my case nobody could prove to me that the Stand Up Paddling Business cannot be done because it was too new for that. And we live in Germany in a country with total protection, so the absolute worst case would have been that I was a social case. Okay, I already had been 3 years relying on the social system in my first business. It is not so terrible, just a lot of bureaucracy. My goal is worth a try. And through this thinking my resistances and fears are relatively quickly nullified.
I try to believe nothing, and instead ask myself: What is the actual reality?
Little side note: If the whole world really says it’s not working, you should also stop for a while and not run further into the resistance because other people have experience as well. But if there is one person who supports and challenges you, who asks the right questions, let’s go and do it.
My actions to make it happen and stay on track are probably pretty simple: keep going and fostering the right relationships around me. In the early days I had a very small circle of supporters and always felt that without them it wouldn’t work.
A one-man show does not work. Complete isolation just isn’t possible. I need other people. People who truly support me. Support means: asking me difficult questions that are uncomfortable. Questions that are difficult to answer and where I think: is what I do useful? That’s a very important point. Supporters are not the people who pamper me all the time and find everything okay as it is. Supporters are the people who ask unpleasant questions, but then also have the openness for the answers. “Apple-polishers” do not help me anything. They serve my ego that wants to be petted, but does not get me moving anywhere.
“Apple-polishers” do not help me anything. They serve my ego that wants to be petted, but does not get me moving anywhere.
The Arc: And what would you tell people who want to live their passion and make money with it – how can they make it happen?
Martin: Just do it! Take action. Don’t talk about it. Every step you take leads you to new information and thus to an adaptation of the way and your actions. If you do not do anything, you’ll tread water while having only a blank theory in your mind. It gets you nowhere. It rather throws you back even more, because you start doubting. And the more you think about how to get to your desired outcome, the more arguments against it will come up – especially if you are in uncertainty (which is the status quo if you start something new) For me it is like this: the quieter I am and the less I do to get started, the more doubts come up and blur my mind. So I rather take my enthusiasm and do something. When I get going I get new information, which leads to more encouragement & mechanisms that support me. Plus, I can test my assumptions, which will help me to find my way.
Doing nothing means I get lost in my world of thoughts.
The Arc: You participated in The Arc Lisbon 2017. Just out of curiosity, what role (next to labeling you as a viking 😉 ) did The Arc actually play in your breathtaking journey?
Martin: I was not enough for myself. Now I know what I’m doing is enough.
The Arc came just at the right time. After a tough and very busy summer season that pushed me completely over my mental and physical limits, I started to doubt my life choices and behaviors. The full season with SUP Trips that absorbed all my energy showed me: I do not want to live like that. I want to spend time with people again and not just with my business. The Arc was the right choice to question everything I am and what and how I want it.
The Arc was the right choice to question everything I am and what and how I want it.
It inspired me very much. The time with the people at The Arc was the most intense week that I ever experienced. And at the same time the effect still influences me now. During The Arc I have thought a lot and recognized a lot in me but the most valuable aha moments came afterwards step by step when I put the insights into action. Now I truly understood: “Hey, I was the problem!”
The time with the people at The Arc was the most intense week that I ever experienced.
The crucial thing that changed for me: The Arc has made me look after myself again with the effect that I can also handle my fellow human beings differently. What I believe: You treat people how you treat yourself. For me that meant: when I went beyond my limits and was exploitative towards myself during the high summer season, I expected and demanded the same of my employees. On the one hand I made sure that they do not come to work being sick, that is forbidden after all, but on the other hand it disturbed me like crazy if something was not well thought-through, made properly and not perfect. I imposed my unhealthy working style onto others. Only when I understood myself I realized that I am actually running in a wheel. This behavior was fueled by the deep inner belief that “I am not enough. I am only useful if I do something and I need to make sure I am worth something.”
The crucial thing that changed for me: The Arc has made me look after myself again with the effect that I can also handle my fellow human beings differently.
Through the impact of The Arc I started to acknowledge that I am enough and what I am doing is sufficient. This lead to a huge change in my behavior towards myself and towards my employees. I became a different boss. Tension arises so much less often, and we talk a lot and enjoy working together. Amazingly I can laugh about things even though they are not funny at all; for example right now my laptop and my car broke down – definitely a low point (you can not beat it) and I laugh! That was The Arc: I found a way to handle life situations much easier. Instead of complaining or asking myself „Why did this happen to me?“ I ask myself: „What can I do now? Which change do I want? How would it feel better?“ AND: „Which high comes now?“ Each low is followed by a HIGH and I anticipate the high because it is never permanently bad or permanently good. There are always these two poles in life and eventually one of the poles influences me. I enjoy the HIGH phases and in the LOW phases I am glad that the HIGH will come again.
Through the impact of The Arc I started to acknowledge that I am enough and what I am doing is sufficient. This lead to a huge change in my behavior towards myself and towards my employees. I became a different boss.
The Arc: Last but not least: In 30 seconds – who do YOU dare to be and which IMPACT do you wanna stand for?
Martin: Making people laugh. Showing people how they can make themselves happy, how beautiful that is and how to enjoy high as well as low phases in life. Living exactly where I am right now: BEING THE HAPPY GERMAN VIKING OF THE LOVE BOAT. I dare to find love. Also in the outside: To have someone next to me living this creative life.
The Arc: WOW! Your love is radiant! We are officially LOVE with YOU! Thanks so much for the interview!