We Are D95: Stefan Zahov

How much do you know about our District Club Growth Director Stefan Zahov? Do you know his secret middle name? or what was the moment zero of his life? Well some time ago he and I met to talk about Toastmasters, life and fun things.
Stefan subjected himself to my 20 rapid-fire questions and through her answers we get to know a lot more about the person behind the title and know who we are in D95.

Stefan jumped right into the interview full of energy just like I expected, and still he managed to surprise me with some of his answers. Here are 20 rapid-fire Questions and answers with Stefan Zahov, District 95 Club Growth Director for this Toastmasters year.

What is your name and what do you like being called?
My full name is Stefan Emilov Zahov, and actually because I work in many countries in my job, for Toastmasters and in my private life and this is why I love how everyone pronounces it according to their own country. Germans call me Stefan, in the UK they sometimes say Steve, so just use whatever is the common way in your country and I’ll be happy.

What are some common misconceptions about you?
Most of the people believe I’m very extroverted, it’s not quite wrong but it’s also not entirely correct. When it comes to very deep feelings and very deep beliefs I am a complete introvert and there are many things I would tell no one.

What is something that you believe that other people think is insane?
I believe in the power of personality. When we try to develop or be better at something we look for improvements outside ourselves via trainers or books, but I believe that you already have the answers in your personality, you just have to ask yourself and use the power of your subconscious to be your best teacher.

What is an unusual habit that you have?
Actually I have a lot of usual habits… but I love to sing in my car. I love driving my car because as a freelancer I spend one to two hours in my car every day so I love to listen to music and to sing, it’s so relaxing.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
I love straciatella ice cream.

What is the book that you give or recommend the most?
I absolutely love one book Tony Robins, called The Power Principle for Endless Energy, in which he describes the way to gain energy from what you do instead of losing energy. When I read the book I realized half the principles is something I already do and the other half sounds great and I need to apply it.

What is one irrational fear you have?
One irrational fear I have it to going up and speaking to girls I don’t know.

The most useful thing you’ve purchased for under 50€ in recent memory?
The application Evernote because it gives me great structure. It allows me to add notes and pictures and even write with my finger on the screen and organize it according to different criteria. I think it is a great tool to give me more structure in my life and my ideas.

What is the funniest thing to happen to you recently?
Well I laugh for nothing so funny things happen every day. Three days ago I had a reservation to be team leader in a pharmacy for another pharmacist, and then in the middle of the night I realized this person has two pharmacies in two different cities and I had no idea where to go. So I sent a whatsapp message in the middle of the night and everything was answered in 5 minutes. I was so lucky pharmacists never sleep.

When you think of the word successful, who is the first person that comes to mind and why?
I think about the Formula1 driver Nico Rosberg, because he worked very hard for many years to become world champion just like his father was champion. And after winning he resigned. I love the idea of reaching a huge goal and then to resign.

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, getting a message out to millions, what would it say and why?
A powerful picture and the short text “Just believe in yourself”. I really think that’s the key to everything.

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
Just like the billboard, believing in myself. That is really the key for success.

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success?
I love failures, I believe when we make failures we learn the most. For example, a few years back I was extremely in love with a woman but I was disappointed and it was very painful in the end, but that was the point when I had to ask myself “Is what I’m doing correct? I don’t really believe in myself and the result is really painful”. So this was the point when I started personal development and it was the moment zero, when my life started.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?
First it’s very important to realize this is the case, because sometimes I don’t realize it. Then what’s important is to stop and take a short break, either with music or doing nothing. Then, analyze the situation, figuring out what’s the biggest problem, the second biggest problem, the third biggest problem and set priorities to solve them or remove them, and that works really well.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
A bad recommendation I hear every day is to stick to your 9-5 job because it’s secure. Actually I believe this is the most secure way to be unhappy and there are people like me who do other things in the time when they are not in their 9-5 and eventually reduce that job.

What is the song that you can’t help but sing along to?
It’s a remix of two songs, Teletran – Get Tropical (Daft Punk + La Roux)

How did you discover Toastmasters?
One day I discovered a bunch of youtube videos of people giving very good keynote speeches, and I felt a connection to those people so I went to one of my colleagues and asked how could I become a better speaker but not just through a seminar for a weekend but on regular basis,  and he said it was very simple, just go to Toastmasters. I went to Toastmasters Dortmund and it was a great experience which is why I signed up on the first day.

What’s your favorite role in a Toastmasters meeting?
My favorite role is Table Topics speaker. At the beginning I was very afraid and unable to say something interesting. Now I just trust my first thought, just like in this interview, and it works perfectly, so I can discover new things about myself through Table Topics.

What’s your most used filler word?
I love the filler word And: and this, and that, and yes!.

Can you teach me something new in one minute?
I love the power of the subconscious so instead of brainstorming on a white board, write a question on the white board, ask yourself this questions a few times and then go do something else for a few hours. Then come back to the board and depending how deep an important the questions is you can repeat this multiple times. After some time, you will have a very strong and powerful answer without having to brainstorm on paper.

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