For our quest for the business hero, we asked Gábor Marton how he would describe it and if has ever met one.
Gabor Marton is a Peak-performance coach who works in Finance and Business.
He was our host for the interview for the quest for the business hero. We spoke about our three central values: ethics, sustainability, and creativity, the qualities that a business hero has to approach.
In the interview, Gabor talked about his business journey, how it started and going on, what a business hero is from his point of view and if he has ever met one.
We invite you to nominate one or more than one person that you think has these qualities. The nominations will be open for the whole summer at this link.
The prize for the winner is the Atlas Award, the annual price since 2019 for the competition winner.
We also interviewed Michele Orzan, President of EuCham, Gàbor Levai, Co-founder of Green Brand Hungary Alessandro Farina, Founder of ITL Group and Luigino Bottega, coach and author of “IO – how to win the game of life”.
1. Please introduce yourself (who you are, what you are doing, what your profession is…)
Hi, my name is Gabor Marton. I call myself a peak performance coach and entrepreneur. I have spent ten years in banking in different positions; I was a risk manager, then I was also a salesman, and I was Head of corporate innovations at Unicredit Bank Hungary, and five years ago, I made a big leap into the business world, becoming a full-time entrepreneur, and since then I am working together with companies, I’m helping their business grow, primarily I’m focusing on IT-related business and start-ups and also small and medium-sized companies inside and outside of Hungary. I’m also working with executives and managers who like to step to the next level in business and their careers. I’m also involved in a start-up creating an agricultural revolution in vertical hydroponic farming. So this is me in a nutshell! If I would like to leave a coffee mark on you, I would say that I love to work with people and collaborate with people who love to create more value to society, create more value in the business world and really, shift and transform the present business world to be more empowering, more sustainable, more ethic-based and filled with lots of creativity.
2. Let’s start with an easy game of word association. What comes to your mind when I say “business”? And what comes to your mind when I say “hero”? There are no wrong answers!
For business, the first word that comes to my mind is journey, as simple as it is, and for hero is transformation.
3. Now, let’s combine them together…what do you think is a business hero?
So, I believe a business hero is a person who would like to transform something. It can be a nonprofit organization that you’d like to transform; it can be a business cause, it can be a social cause. And meanwhile, when the person is developing, creating more and more values through creativity and this business hero is a person that likes to collaborate with other business heroes, combining their forces, because business heroes are not lonely wolves; they are more like a tribal wolves, who are basically helping the others to grow, sharing their values and their knowledge to other people.
So as summary, a business hero is a person who is not just transforming themselves, but also transforming others surrounding him/her and also collaborating with others to create something very valuable based on their previous experiences based on their values, so creating something extraordinary at the end of the day.
4. Every business person goes through a journey: when did you hear your call, and how did your journey start?
I have always had a certain feeling or a certain ambition to create side projects.
It also started during university because there were certain subsidies that we could take part in, so they gave us a small amount of money, a couple of thousands of euros at that time, to find our company, because with two friends of mine we wanted to create a small company, which is helping middle school students to grow, so we would do different pieces of training for the time management, personal efficiency, communication training, so it was our aim. So basically, when I was 21, I was already part of a small company or a small business. Since then, I have taken part in different industries; I have tried different multi-level marketing businesses, and I tried to find my way in that sense, so I was trying out lots of things. I was exploring many business ideas, I was exploring investments. Obviously, during this journey, I really spent a lot, I also invested a lot of money in my own education, I went through many business development seminars and personal development seminars in many countries… US, London, Madrid, so I really traveled a lot and invested a lot of money into my own education.
And I was driven to explore my network as fast, so I was connected to many entrepreneurs back then, and it was really like a catalyst for me. Back then, most of my friends were already entrepreneurs, so some already had medium-sized businesses, and some were already very successful businessmen. This kind of environment was a great catalyst and touched my calling, and re-calling came, and I was around 29/30.
This was when I was putting aside money since I was working in banking, but I was putting aside money as a safe spot. So whenever I leave, I would have 6-12 months of “reserve” if anything goes wrong as an entrepreneur. So, back then, this was my aim, and when I was 33 years old, five years ago, I started my journey, and this was the time to leave corporate work. Even though I enjoy being ahead of innovations in the corporate division, I had a small team, but we were working on exciting projects. I liked the community as well in banking, but I really felt a different path, a different calling, and I wanted to explore my potential, what is inside me, what can I create, and with whom I could collaborate with, and this is the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.
5. Which obstacles did you encounter during your journey?
I can say there were plenty of obstacles, especially in the first couple of years. Since I had many failures before that, I was used to disappointments, honestly speaking, I’ve found ten thousand ways of how it won’t work, so it was a good sign as well. The biggest challenges came from my close environment because none of my parents were an entrepreneur “spirit” in that sense, so they really wanted to protect me from the failures, protect me from the environment, and this was one of the biggest obstacles, even if they had the best intentions. It made me a strong person mentally because I wasn’t giving up even though they asked me many times in my first couple of months like, “okay it was a nice fun journey for these months, but when you go back, you apply for a new job in the banking industry”, you know, but I kept moving forward cause I believed this calling is a real calling, so I wanted to make it happen.
This was basically one of the biggest obstacles, but it really shifted when my parents saw my results; we could talk more openly about that, and it shifted.
Also our relationship improved, which was also a good side effect of it. The other obstacles were internal obstacles like how much I believed in myself, how I could improve when I was discovering what were my blocks emotionally, what are my blocks mentally, in terms of business, in terms of money, in terms of taking action because I was a big procrastinator at the beginning of my journey even though I knew what it has to be done. Still, I was very lazy at the beginning. Later that I discovered that I had specific patterns which needed to be shifted, so I went to coaches and a psychologist, I went to different pieces of training to get over this one or to release this kind of block, and the significant support from the other hand is very important to talk about this one as well as having a friendship base who are supporting each other, I was taking part in multiples masterminds, for four years we had a men’s group.
Every Tuesday, we met and discussed business and personal issues every two Tuesdays, so it was a great catalyst to grow as a person.
So I would say that the main obstacles as a summary were: firstly, my circumstances, like my family background, viewpoint, and belief about business. The second was more like internal ones cause external ones are coming from internal ones; there’s not much to discuss.
6. Did you find a mentor or inspiring leader to help you go forward?
I was meeting many mentors in my life. I found out that some of my friends were basically like mentors for me, who were even higher executive corporate life, so I could see what challenges they had. Still, there was an exceptional person of mine I can call my “business father” in that sense. He was the leader of our men’s group. His name is Itay, and he’s a businessman helping us a lot because he was mentoring us. Every month we spent at least half a day together at his house, we discussed a lot about business, he helped us with negotiation, how to look at life, how to grow as a person, how to grow as a partner in a relationship in a long term relationship, so he was helping us a lot. I’m grateful until the end of my life, and I’m thrilled that the universe, or life, brought us together because we didn’t just learn a lot, but we grew as a person and became terrific friends as fast. So our relationship, even though it’s a mentor-mentee relationship now, is more like a brotherhood, like a family relationship, which I highly appreciate. And also, I would like to mention how vital my friends were in this type of setting, the men’s group. I highly encourage everybody to join a men’s group, a female’s group, or a mastermind group because these guys really became my brothers in arms in that sense; we can trust each other’s life. In that sense, we are also like a special force team in the business. And I found it also kind of that we were mentoring each other and helping each other. So I believe it is crucial to have people on your journey that are like full-time supporters of yours. It doesn’t mean that this is fluffy and everything is all nice about your actions. Still, it also gives you harsh critics on what they see in you, what is limiting you, and what is holding you back, because this kind of honesty sometimes hurts, and honestly, sometimes I cried a lot during these four years, but let’s say that this cry is very transformative and without it I wouldn’t be the person who would give this interview with you here.
7. What important lessons did you learn, and what is your contribution to society?
There were many learnings during this journey. It’s challenging to describe one, but I will do my best to get out some of the biggest lessons right now.
Let’s start with one: trust your intuition because you are the one who knows what is best for you.
It’s good to get external feedback because we have a limited viewpoint on things, especially if you are not an expert on those. So find those people, those experts, who are also experienced in that field. Consume the information; maybe you would shift your viewpoint, maybe not, but consider this one and then make a decision on that one.
And the decision, this is the second one, it’s much better to decide between just being in one place, it’s fine to analyze things, it’s also OK to look around things and do your research, I highly encourage that. But there’s a certain point where you have to make a decision, so make a decision, because otherwise, based on my experience, we get stuck, and it’s better to make a wrong decision at a certain point than not making a decision. I only learned it the hard way, so I highly encourage you to make a decision; this was the second one.
And the third one is to find a base to collaborate. Collaboration can mean working together on a particular project; this is one collaboration. But it also can be a collaboration as we are doing this interview; we are collaborating, sharing each other’s contents, and supporting each other. This can also be a collaboration. But always find something to work together with others. There are multiple reasons for that. One of the first reasons is that you learn a lot during the process. You get to know lots of people and opinions, and you grow up as a person. The second one, since you are also contributing a lot with other people, you will get to know more and more people you can collaborate with. So it’s extending your network, and there is also a significant point that you create a network effect, so if you drop one rock into the ocean, it would create a small wave. Still, if simultaneously many rocks jump into the water with your stone, it would start like a giant tsunami in the ocean because it would resonate together and grow together for a big wave.
So it’s also if you would like to create a more significant impact, always search for someone who collaborates with you, and maybe the last one is that sometimes you cannot collaborate with someone, maybe it’s not time for that collaboration, maybe you are not good feet to each other, but it’s also fine.
So my life lesson is to find those people with whom you have an excellent feeling of collaborating. When you have this 10/10 feeling, it is a hell yes that I would like to collaborate with this person. If it’s only an 8 or 9, think about why it’s just an 8 or 9. If you can get through it, make this collaboration; if not, maybe it’s time to put it aside and wait for the right moment. Perhaps the right moment will come, or maybe not, but at the end of the day, focus on those people with whom you can collaborate at the moment.
8. Atlas World is looking for business heroes with an Ethical, Sustainable, and Creative approach: can you think of someone that embodies these qualities?
I believe many people in Hungary attain these three essential crucial points or characteristics of business heroes: ethics, sustainability, and creativity. Many of these people, I believe, are working in the shadows, under the radar, because many people work for nonprofit organizations that are contributing to something bigger, something sustainable, even just thinking about the creativity of how to raise funds in a very ethical way, stuff like that.
So I am pretty sure many people could be good candidates for that. Also, many business people working in the business world are attaining these three essential characteristics. And I genuinely believe whoever wants this trophy would be in an intense competition.
I love competition because we are competing for something bigger, something valuable. After all, this trophy can mean a lot and show the impact of how important it is to look at life, sustainability, creativity, and ethics levels because these three attributes are very crucial to have in our own lives and I live based on these principals. And also create an extra curriculum or an extra value and impact in our society. I truly believe that many people working in the business and nonprofit sectors can obtain ethics, sustainability, and creativity combined. I genuinely believe that this trophy, or this ambitious mission, has lots of attraction, lots of people we get attracted to because it’s a unique approach to how we look in life and how we look at the business itself.
9. Do you consider yourself a business hero?
It’s an excellent question. Honestly, I feel I have ethics, I’m looking at how to be sustainable, and I believe I’m creative. But truly, I don’t want to nominate myself for this kind of thing because I don’t find it ethical to nominate myself. I would be thrilled if someone would nominate me, but honestly, I’m still on my journey to become a business hero because I figured that I have lots of impacts, which I would like to make before getting these precious nominations.