Our Stories - Lukáš Liebich

January 2012. Back in my management consulting years.

It was 7:50am and I was making a tough choice: To play or not to play another online match of Starcraft II.

You bet I wanted to. I loved that game. The problem was that it took me almost an hour to get to the client's office where I was supposed to be at 9am - and a match of Starcraft II could take anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes.

The job itself was cool. The one I always wanted. But somehow, I realized that there was a drastic difference between my enjoyment from analyzing spreadsheets in the office and wiping-out human bases with my Zerg (alien) armes in Starcraft II.

On that morning I switched my computer off, got to the metro and arrived on time. But I realized I was facing a question: “Is it okay that I'm not that crazy about my job?” Following the line: "Follow your passion", should I drop my career in management consulting and follow my passion, go play Starcraft II full time?

If you're hoping I went for playing Starcraft II full-time... Sorry to disappoint you. 

The world of pro gaming is fiercely competitive, most players starting at very young age. Realistically speaking - I would have no chance. At that time, I made a different choice: Stick around in consulting to get better at it. Drop Starcraft II altogether. Find a brand new hobby that would be enjoyable - but also useful for my career.

That's how I joined Toastmasters. A group of 20-30 people who met every two weeks in a so called "gym for the mind" to practice the craft of presenting and gain confidence on stage. I thought that would be an easy thing to do. I signed up to deliver a speech in two week's time, delivered it - and sucked. Luckily for me, the people in Toastmasters said they wanted to hear more from me (like they would say to anyone - they are nice people). Encouraged, I signed up to give another speech. I got hooked - and from then on, filled my free time with speaking in clubs, attending speaking conferences and reading books about effective presentations.

Fast forward 5 years: 2017. I joined MSD in the meantime. At work, large portion of my time was still dedicated to preparing reports and analyzing spreadsheets, while my one hobby was now delivering presentations. But some common denominators began to appear. MSD's Prague IT Hub has its own Toastmasters club. And so my coffee- lunch- and afternoon-snack-breaks were filled with discussions about speeches, contests and plans to improve the presentation culture in MSD with my MSD Toastmasters colleagues.

By that time, I was already delivering workshops in different parts of Europe at Toastmasters weekend trainings and conferences - but still as a hobby. In the office, one day, I heard one of the directors of Prague IT say to a colleague: "These external trainers are crazy expensive. Our budget can’t cover all the requested trainings!" Before getting back to my desk, I went directly to our trainings department - and offered them to deliver a ready-made training on Creative Problem Solving.

Now it's 3 years later and trainings and workshop facilitation are a large part of my working week - and that's a fact even now in the “online times”.

It looks like, even though I'm not earning any money by playing Starcraft II today (in fact, I haven't touched it, since 2012), I am getting paid for my hobby.

I just had to pick the right hobby in the first place.

- Lukáš Liebich