Interview with CEO Andrea Tkačuková
Andrea Tkačuková co founded the company Foreigners.cz during her university studies. After a few years, the company won 3rd place in the Company of the Year competition organized by economic newspapers and mobile operators. Foreigners mainly provides relocation services for expats in The Czech Republic - Europe.
Happyence: You write that you don’t need any outside reasons to be happy – just inner peace. Then what do you mean by “all goes as I want”?
Andrea Tkačuková: It means that when I am happy inside, all things and problems work out. It is so natural, plans go smoothly and there is no stress or unhealthy pressure.
Happyence: Does well-being really equal happiness to you?
Andrea Tkačuková: Yes, the definition of a well being is: the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. For me all of these things equal the same thing - they support each other.
Happyence: Are you more spiritual or logical in your approach to happiness?
Andrea Tkačuková: I guess more spiritual. I agree with the philosophy that happiness comes from the inside.
Happyence: Can you say more about the reflection of the inner world to outside? How does it work to you?
Andrea Tkačuková: We all see the world with our own eyes and this view reflects how I feel inside. When I am angry, I often get some angry reactions from outside. When I am shining and smiling, I am meeting such people as well and the so-called “bad day” doesn't happen in such a moment. I believe that I create my world so I am trying to create it as a good one in my mind so that it can reflect to the outside. I have to say, I am meeting really awesome people.
Happyence: Your method to achieve happiness is personal development. Is it about overlook, knowledge or do you perceive your mind as a “machine”, which you try to understand better and take control?
Andrea Tkačuková: I see my mind as a machine that should work for me as a being, but it doesn't often work like that. When I calm myself down, the thoughts start to pop-up and I don't want them to do so. Sometimes it is hard to push them away, and that is the time when my mind has control over me. The real me is overloaded by tons of programs and softwares in the mind that are not necessary. I always wanted to take control over them or somehow clean them. But at the same time it is about the knowledge because if I understand myself, my reactions, my feelings and why they are happening like this, then I can do something about it if I don't like it.
Happyence: You decided to be happy as a small kid. Until now, what was your strategy to stay happy? When and how have things started to change?
Andrea Tkačuková: I've always had this happy attitude even though I was not very happy at home when I was small. I've always worked hard to get something and thought that it had to be hard in order for me to deserve it. I think it started to change in 2013 when I joined a group of women in the project “Moudré podnikání žen” (Wise business of women) and I would say that this programme saved me from burning out. From there on I learned about ayurveda, yoga and different types of therapies that work with my mind. Then I started the journey of more spiritual growth and removal of the patterns that were destroying me and not helping me to become a happier, healthier person.
Happyence: Do you have any recommendation or idea for children and adults who have a similar experience with violence and parental problems?
Andrea Tkačuková: Hm, interesting question. I think it depends on the situation. At some points in my life I wanted to run away from home but I didn't do it. I think that might be an option in some cases, but in my case, I was escaping to my awesome grandma in Ostrava every summer and enjoyed a lot of hobbies. I knew that this was a trauma that I would need to solve when I am “big” enough. Again, let's say that it helped me to become who I am now because it pushed me to find ways to become independent.
It is definitely important that these people have someone to talk to about it. If I had such a person, I would have left the 2nd time he did this to me or my children. Then I would try to find answers to questions like why this was happening to me. I would work on changing the patterns in my mind.
Happyence: What kind of personal development pushes you towards happiness the most and what was “dead end” for you?
Andrea Tkačuková: One of the communication trainings (8 days from 9 am till 9pm) changed my life and I think that there was no “dead end”. I took a piece from every training I've experienced and all seminars and workshops I took part in. I can even attend some trainings for 5th time and there is still something in it for me.
Happyence: About your motto: Is happiness more about the decision itself or actions based on the decision to be happy?
Andrea Tkačuková: Well. The decision is the first thing you have to do and then you do actions to be happier and happier. For me it's evolving in time. But of course, there are people who are happy everyday just because they have decided to be.
Happyence: You are sure about your life meaning. Is it an important condition for your happiness?
Andrea Tkačuková: Definitely. Why would I get up every morning? For the small things I wouldn't need to know my life meaning but if we talk about happiness in general, then yes it is an important condition for me.
Happyence: How did you find your meaning?
Andrea Tkačuková: I just followed what I wanted to do and fortunately my family didn't prevent me from doing so. They had no expectations for who I should become and what I should do in the future. I am very thankful for this. When I look back, I didn't have much support but at the same time nobody was telling me what to do and what not to do.
Happyence: Please, could you share it?
Andrea Tkačuková: It is simple. To help people in my own way. To make their lives happier. To create a better environment around me so that people can feel safe about being themselves and fighting their patterns. This is for my family, friends, the team at our company and anyone I meet for a meeting or in a tram.
Sometimes it is not easy, I am not always in the best mood, but I am trying as much as I can to be an asset for the society.
Happyence: How do you deal with negative thoughts?
Andrea Tkačuková: I just acknowledge them and send them away. I don't pretend that they are not there, especially fears but that's the work with the mind and control which we have already mentioned above.
Happyence: You built your company from the ground. That had to be a lot of work. Have you always been as happy today as you were during that busy season?
Andrea Tkačuková: I was happy because I loved it but there was a lot of pressure that I couldn't handle. I allowed some people to enter our team that I should not have. Looking back, that didn't make me happy. I let them destroy me and my team. I always thought that every person was good and I wanted to show myself that I can help anyone. But after realizing that some people want to destroy things, groups, and teams, and experiencing this multiple times, I realized that I can’t help everyone. So now I am saying that almost all people are good inside :)
Today I don't push myself into relationships (friendly ones but also clients or business partners) where I don't feel good vibes and see similar visions.
Also today I know that things can work smoothly and it doesn't mean that I have to be working for 16 hours. My power is in finding the balance and sometimes saying “no”. I also know how to see the wrong person in our team and kick this person out. It sounds tough and it still is.
Happyence: How do you combine business life with mental health?
Andrea Tkačuková: I don't know how to answer this :) I work anytime, as I want or as it is needed because of some new projects or problems in my team. And I also plan when I will go for my trainings to make myself even more capable. For the last 5 months I've spent almost 2 months in trainings. But even during trainings I can work online and get things done through my awesome teams.
Happyence: Can you recommend book, movie or any other source of information, which was deal breaking for you on your way to happiness?
Happyence: If you want to say something at the end, this is the place. Thank you.
Andrea Tkačuková: Thank you for your questions. I think each of us has their own way in finding happiness in our lives. If anyone has any questions related to mentioned topics, I will be happy to answer. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.