The Mindset YOU NEED To Overcome Fear When Changing Careers w/ Toni Koraza

May 16, 2022

Welcome to episode 48 of the Mindful & Driven podcast! It’s all about how to not lose sight of what really matters whilst chasing your dreams.

Episode 48’s guest is Toni Koraza. He is the founder of MadX.Digital. He’s had quite a crazy career. He started off working in embassies then he taught English for National Geographic in China but had to end that early when COVID struck. When he returned to Europe, he was not sure what to do with his life. He started writing and found out he loved that, merged it with his passion for business to create his marketing agency. 

Since this recording, Tony has become a good friend of mine.

I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation! I’d love it if you could subscribe, leave me a review and follow me on social channels. 

You can find all my work and socials here:


  • Introduction (0:00)
  • Amazing and relatable people (2:26)
  • It’s not one size fits all. (4:04)
  • The weird guy (7:14)
  • Fearful and capable (12:50)
  • Going completely clean (16:44)
  • Engaging more than stressful (19:41)
  • The idea of the lifestyle (23:03)
  • Managing your energy more than your time (27:18)
  • Managing your time (31:52)
  • Freeing your mental bandwidth (36:11)



Intro Music:

“Himalayas” by Mona Wonderlick —

Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0

Free download:




[00:00:00] Toni: Honestly, I’m appreciative of your enemy and then wishing them all the best. Even though it sounds counterintuitive, it just frees up so much of your mental bandwidth. It’s just like, it is a power move in your own head. It’s like, you are not controlled by anything. You’re not controlled by rage. You’re not controlled by this darker, you know, devices of your own existence. If you just wish them, like honesty to be happy and to sort their own life.

[00:00:32] Amardeep: Welcome to the Mindful and Driven Podcast, where we help you to not lose sight of what’s really important whilst chasing your dreams. Today’s guest is Toni Koraza. He is the founder of MadX.Digital. He’s had quite a crazy career. He started off working in embassies then he taught English for National Geographic in China but had to end that early when COVID struck. When he returned to Europe, he was not sure what to do with his life. He started writing and found out he loved that, merged it with his passion for business to create his marketing agency. Since this recording, Tony has become a good friend of mine and I hope you enjoy listening.

[00:01:08] Welcome to mind for driven, Toni. So, a pleasure to have you here.. You actually live about 10 minutes away from me, but today you’re joining us from somewhere else across the world. Where are you? 

[00:01:17] Toni: Hi, Amardeep. I am in Mexico, Playa del Carmen, which is the Caribbean side of Mexico, and it’s so funny because I do live 10 minutes from you, but I barely ever see you. And now like from Mexico, we’re like all over each other. So putting that distance kind of works. 

[00:01:34] Amardeep: Makes the heart grow fonder. 

[00:01:35] Toni: It does. Yeah. Again, super happy to be here at Mindful and Driven. I’ve seen that you’ve come a long way in such a short time span. Like I was listening to some of the episodes last night and I was like, just mind blown by the guests and everybody, I was like, Ooh, give me some imposter syndrome right here. There’s like, because everybody else was so good and like saw some great stories. How do you feel about it? Do you, or get like students who gain, like, you know, a big personality and you’re like, oh, am I even talking to this person. 

[00:02:05] Amardeep: I think there’s a mix. Some people, what I’ve realized is no matter who you talk to, they’re all just people at the end of the day, and a lot of the people who’ve got some of the most amazing stories, they also have very relatable stories too. And it doesn’t matter how much, if you’re a billionaire or if you’ve saved a million people’s lives, you still struggle with the same problems we all have. And even those people struggle with their balance. They overwork, or they put too much pressure on themselves sometimes. So I think that’s been quite refreshing is that everybody’s human at the end of the day. So it doesn’t matter how big you are, how famous you are, how many followers you have. We’re all human and we all have the same human issues. 

[00:02:44] Toni: I guess, yeah. At the end of the day, we’re all human and we can do human things. Yeah, it’s nice to feel related or relatable with somebody that’s up there. Like one of your guests saving women around the world. It’s like running away from war zones. And that kind of struck a chord with me because, you know, I was born in a war zone as a kid, and I don’t remember much of, much of it, but it does leave, you know, some baggage with you, especially you’re trying to go outside and it’s like, no! Bad, man is shooting. Just stay in. And as a kid, I was like, okay, cool. Guns and army. I’m going to be in the military. I’m not going to be in the military. But, yeah. And then like listening to her podcast and then listening to [unintelligible] after, like it was, it was refreshing. It was nice. 

[00:03:28] Amardeep: I guess that’s really interesting because if you’re growing up in a war zone and now you live in like central London and it’s a very different, obviously, atmosphere. You’ve probably seen different people give advice that don’t fit both worlds obviously. Have you ever seen that before, where someone’s giving you advice that you think isn’t quite working for you or wouldn’t work for lots of people. 

[00:03:51] Toni: A hundred percent. I feel like most advice is like, there is so like situation specific. It also like depends on where you are in your headspace or where you are in your life. I don’t know. I don’t think any advice is like one size fits all. Like it’s just not. Something that doesn’t work for somebody else can work wonders for you and coming through England, especially after living in China as well, which is another intense period of my life. It was just like all this extreme world, like views just colliding. And it was very humbling for me to just, you know, like settle out in London. So I was growing older, or I was just getting more and more grateful for, for life and being alive and having nice and wonderful friends. And so I don’t know why, but like, I’m getting less fussed about anything now just because like, I feel like I’ve been blessed through actually come to London in the end. And I did not actually enjoy this as much because previously I would come as a tourist and there’s so many tourist traps. It is one of the biggest tourist destinations on the planet. So like, if you are green and young, it will rip you apart and now living in central London or we’re like east, Northeast bit, I’m loving it. Like I’ve met so many wonderful people, business partners. Started two businesses in London. I love the climate. I love the people and I don’t mean climate in terms of weather, weather is another story, but I love just like, you know, the mental climate and the people you can meet. It’s such a hotspot and like just this melting pot of talent and intriguing stories. So it was nice to hear that you actually live around the corner, technically speaking. Yeah. You know, I, before even I moved to London, I was in Oxford, and I remember in one of your stories, you did mention a part of my work, and about my articles. I was like, oh wow, this is interesting. And then like, actually to meet you later on and to meet other people from Medium. That was, that was big. I don’t know why. I just felt like I’m in the right place. 

[00:05:56] Amardeep: It’s one of those crazy things. I think for me, a lot of my growth initially was during the pandemic and a lot of people were reaching out online, there’s lots of these conversations. That was cool. Whatever. But now that well, at times, the streets have opened up, we’ve been able to just go out and see each other. It just makes such a difference because I think when you’re able to talk to somebody face to face, you get a better sense of them. And I’ve had amazing conversations with people online and had the better [unintelligible], the luck to be able to talk to them and to learn their stories. But in my case, I always think there’s something different about being able to see people in person and you just get that deeper sense of who they are rather than the Zoom facade in a way. I think people relax a bit more in person. You talked about China there briefly. Can you tell us a bit more about that? Because there’s a story behind that you’ve told me in a pub before and I think it’s quite a good for the readers to learn. 

[00:06:52] Toni: It is a crazy one at that as well, because after uni, I got a job offer with a consulting agency in China, which I didn’t know at the time, like consulting in China is a bit different than consulting in Europe and the Western world, so I got there and they kind of just act as a hiring agent. So they just like move you further along the line, and I was quite lucky in that regard because I landed a job in National Geographic. It was like a Chinese instance of it. And for a like nine months, I was okay. I was just sitting around the office. I mean with just the normal office job, water cooler conversations, trying to learn the Chinese and then the pandemic hit and coming from the west, you have this sense of suspicion against media in general. So when they do report a story, you always always feel this sensationalized, it’s overblown, the reality is probably not as bad, whereas in the east, especially China, the media reports something, it’s going to be underplayed. So when COVID hit, I had that feeling of like, no, this is not a big deal. And I just went on a holiday because it was Chinese new year. It was the end of June, sorry, end of January, January 20th. So around this time, actually, And I went to Cambodia, had a nice trip. And like, you just hear like Corona virus, Corona virus, some like nasty videos with Circle online and WeChat and Chinese internet because it’s a completely different place. And then as soon as I got into the plane, I was like, oh my god. And then we landed back in Xi’an where I lived, and as soon as. Stepped out of the plane, you were welcomed by a medical quarantine. Everybody has hazmat suits, was a proper science fiction movie, and that kind of talk to like relay this in a story or words itself. It was just like this visceral feeling of unsafety where you’re just like, we got into a cab, in a taxi, and then we were going home and then we had these street barricades. On every barricade, they would stop to get you out of the car, and then nobody speaks English. And my Chinese is awful, so like, nobody really understands why are you even there. So like a lot of times they just don’t know what to do with you. And they’re like, okay, just move along, move along. But like, there’s 20 minutes. If you, like, you don’t know if you’re going to disappear in the next 10 minutes and nobody will ever hear about you anymore. And then I go back to my flat and then again, you know, the barricades and people in hazmats, armed guards in front of your door. And they were like, Okay, just stay put. Don’t leave the house. And I was like, how do I buy food? They’re like, okay, we’ll let you leave four times in the next month and that’s all you get. And then you have to report every day that you’re in the house. And then you have drones flying around, if you do actually leave. And it’s also guarded because a lot of people live in these gated communities. It’s quite normal. And then like in front of the gates, they would just put hazmat suits, with guns, which is like, guns are scary. Hazmat suits are scary, combined. It’s terrifying. And after like four weeks of just not knowing what’s going on, you just hear some photos, you would just see some photos of like, I don’t know. Some, I don’t know. Dead bodies piling up or something like that. And then I don’t know, I was just trying to get, get away because it was hard. And I made my way after a month, it was early March, I made my way to Oxford. And then I came here. It was like three weeks before a disaster. Nobody was like paying attention. People are having Corona virus parties, my girlfriend at the time, my girlfriend right now, and she was going to party that night, I was like, Hmm, I’m not quite on board with everything that China did there because, that was a bit overreaching, but I don’t think you should go to a party. I don’t know. I just, it felt like I just stepped into this different role than I was again, like an alien in New York, as Sting would say, like, I was, again, this, this weird guy. I was like telling everybody, please don’t go like, mass gatherings, outside. And like three weeks later, everything shut down. We went to Berlin for a weekend. They ran out of toilet paper and then we came back and we decided to, she has a house in Croatia in like near the Capital. So it was quite in the mountains. It was super nice. So we went there and that’s where I started my publication. So writing daily, I couldn’t leave the house. I stopped drinking alcohol altogether, completely dropped, which when I came back to England was that’s a different story though, but yeah. So I think in hindsight it was scary, but it’s also like, I kind of came forward with myself. I quit my job in China. I started writing every day. I was afraid for my life. So I was just like typing away at that keyboard. Like your fingers to the bone, just like blasting away article after article after, I just, I loved it, but I also fell that I have to make a living out of this. I can’t live on my savings forever. Especially now, there’s so much uncertainty. And I’m in hindsight, I’m so happy I did it because if I was in a nine to five, I don’t think that will work for me. I think this lifestyle just makes me happy or happier. It is challenging. It is intriguing. 

[00:12:13] Amardeep: [unintelligible] so there aren’t a change, even from the last few years, it’s quite crazy, right? Because you were working [unintelligible] in China. Then you’ve moved around a little bit and now you’re in London and you’ve got your own business and, you’re running that and you’re growing that and I know it’s doing pretty well. So how did that feel for you that you said imposter syndrome for coming onto the podcast, but going from what you’re doing to now, what you’re doing now, how did you get in the conference to make some of those shifts? Because going from writing to then owning your own business and hiring other people and to reaching out to clients is two different things. 

[00:12:50] Toni: Yeah. A hundred percent. And just going to writing, I think the step to writing was harder in a way, because most people, and this is, they probably have your best interest in mind or maybe they don’t, but like most people would tell you there is no money in writing. So like when I leave, when I left China I was to meet my girlfriend’s family for the first time and we were in a long-term relationship, and I met her father and the first thing the guy told me, he’s like, oh, do you know? There’s no money writing. I’m like, oh, I’m not sure about any of this. Like, I don’t need extra support for my fears. But yeah. And then, because it was so overwhelming, you just kind of zoom out. And I guess for some people that that anxiety would become like a crippling factor in their life, but for me, it was like, I just have to, you know, get out of my head and start producing, being more present and in a weird way, I felt more grounded. I felt humbled because like there was zero ego. I was just like striving to survive and that all sounds like so many beautiful things and aspects of my life and also makes you feel capable, but also fearful at the same time, it makes it feel like everything’s possible, but everything is also not perfect at the same time. You might fail tomorrow, but you might not fail tomorrow. So like this thinking about failure or not, just, I don’t know, it became redundant and that made me zoom out and zoom into whatever I fancy doing and, kind of connected with my core more, I guess I always wanted to be a writer and a business owner of sorts and I wanted to create value for others. And this came as a, you know, like when push comes to shove and you just have to do it. This was, this is like on a massive scale of biblical proportions. And I, and I took it as a sign to just go on and do my own thing. And a lot of other things like came out of it. I started sleeping better. I do believe that every human being needs at least seven or eight hours of quality sleep, not just quantity, just not any sleep. I started putting a lot of thought and effort into rest of, of how can I regenerate myself. That makes me feel better. That makes me happier. That makes my work more wholesome. Others thing is like I stopped drinking alcohol altogether, which when I came through England was mental because I don’t know, they feel the same way. It was like on every occasion past breakfast is drinking time. So brunch. Brunch like you have 20 hours zones, but everybody’s going to offer you a drink if you’re in a social setting. And I had to like, come up with excuses, like, why aren’t you drinking? Like, because I’m just not drinking wasn’t good enough. So it had to be a story and people are like, what’s wrong with you? I’m like, I just don’t want out cold right now. And people are like, are you sure you’re okay? And then another thing is like having to drink [unintelligible]. I like, if you’re outside, you’re going to order a drink of sorts, but I also don’t want to drink fuzzy drinks, then mocktails are just like, pretending. I don’t know. It’s still an odd one for me. Although I haven’t had a drink in like, I don’t know, 16 months, 17 months, something like that. So yeah.

[00:16:03] Amardeep: What was the trigger for that change to go completely teetotal? 

[00:16:07] Toni: So this is going to sound like a cliche. I do have a good run with new year resolutions. And I stopped smoking in 2014 after being a passion smoker for years, I kind of gave it in a new year resolution. For me it was like, I’m going to decide this and then I’m not going to, you know, think about it again. It’s like just the decision is made, so I’m not going to fuss about it. That’s how you wear yourself down. And if you start thinking about it too much, you’re going to go for the next cigarette or next drink then I, the drinking bit in, I think it was new years, 2020 to 2021 because I already wasn’t really drinking. I mean, for me, drinks were always like a social lubricant of sorts. Like when you go outside, you’d have a drink. I didn’t really want to start drinking in my own living room. That’s kind of felt sad or like at least it wouldn’t make me feel good. And also there is a habit forming habit. So I didn’t want to form that habit in the long run. And the third factor is like, it just wasn’t fun. Like, you know, and I wanted to focus on my own writing, on my own survival and creating my own business, so that’s kind of prevailed and I would find enough exciting, excitement in the business role. So I wouldn’t see it outside of it. If that makes any sense because like most of the times it was terrifying. You just don’t know if you’re going to have bread and money when you wake up the next morning. So the life was already exciting. So when all these three factors collided, I organically, or naturally, I wasn’t drinking already. And then the new year struck, I was like, I’m just going to make a kind of resolution. I’ll just continue doing what I’m doing. And now it’s been, another past new years. We went to 2022 again, so I made another resolution this year as well. I know they don’t work for a lot of people, but for me, because they are slight habits that you just kind of tweak or amplify. I think that that works in that regard. If I try to like lose 40 pounds by summer, I think that would be a bad idea or bad decision. And I’d probably fail, but if I try to you know, just amplify my already made decision, it works. 

[00:18:19] Amardeep: Hi everyone. I hope you’re enjoying the episode so far. I want to take a quick break to ask you to check in with yourself. There’s many people struggling with balance and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s tips that my guests might share can hopefully help you along the way, but if you already feel overwhelmed or burnt out, it’s probably best that you ask somebody for help too. For some, this might be a friend or family member, while others might feel like they have nobody they can talk to. If you’re one of these people, check out the link in the show notes, it’s for United for Global Mental Health. They’ve got health plans all across the world, with people willing to listen on the other side. It’s important to let somebody know how you’re feeling. Now, back to the show.

[00:18:55] Now, like in the life you’ve built now, so you’re doing a workation is the word you used earlier, which you then thought immediately ashamed about. But what is the lifestyle you’re trying to build at the moment where you have your own business and you’re doing writing as part of that business. What does that look like at the moment? How many hours are you working? Is it generally stressful all the time or are you in a good place. 

[00:19:15] Toni: I think I’m in a good place. It was, I would say engaging more than stressful. Of course there is you always have this stress factors, just any businesses is like that, you know. From your own internal wants to outside just other people being humans. So there is always a bit of that, but like, I kind of embraced it in a way that I do strive in those environments, maybe because of my upbringing, like it started rough and then it gets better, it got better over time. So maybe that’s a factor in it. But overall, I do like the place where I’m in. I’m grateful. I do feel a bit, I don’t know, like when I came to Mexico, especially this Playa del Carmen, it is overrun by digital nomads. Innovative ideas sounds awesome. Sounds spectacular. I’m just going to be back at [unintelligible] around the world. It’s very on point of the B generation of the sixties. And I do fantasize or romanticize that idea, but then I don’t want to live it, if you know what I mean. I am super happy to have [unintelligible] in London and then go for two weeks, and the part I’m really grateful, is like, I can take my laptop and I can work. Otherwise I would have to be stuck in an office or in a third place. And I would have to seek two weeks off and come. So in a way, this is not a proper holiday. But also, I got an opportunity to actually be here and see some Caribbean sun and enjoy, you know, after work, Coca-Cola at the peach because it’s no cocktails, so that’s nice, but like, I couldn’t quite want to live full time. And I feel a lot of people come here searching for something. You don’t really find on meaning traveling, which I like your, you obviously travelled a lot. I’ve seen a few places. And when you like in your early twenties, It is this exciting idea. And I think everybody has to do it, but after a while, it’s starts being, feeling a bit empty. It’s like innovators, like we still need a base. You need a home, you need something that you can build and something where you can come back. So just being with [unintelligible] 24, 7 for 10, 20, 30 years, and then speaking to those people. And when they’re in their fifties and sixties, I always felt there was like a big part of their life missing, which is, was back home, building an actual home, building a family, building something. So maybe this is a balance that you have to strike between being home and building and the lack of building. I don’t think one or the other to the extreme is ever good. So I, and I think that balance is the best it has ever been in my life because my early twenties were just travel focused and my late twenties are now, you know, more of like, I’m building something, but I’m also going to go on a workation and then an actual holiday as well, sometime this year. So it feels wholesome for the time being. But if that changes, I’ll be more than, you know, happy to embrace that change going in day by day. How is it for you? Like, do you feel like you want to go on a holiday soon? 

[00:22:17] Amardeep: It’s interesting because I did a lot of travel before I started doing my own thing. So I would have been to 50 countries if it wasn’t for Corona virus. I think I was when the lockdown came in, I was actually in Botswana and all the flights started getting canceled. The visa started getting rejected and there was a big, and then [unintelligible] and home and let’s say, where there was a legitimate worry that I’ll be stuck in Botswana for several months while not being allowed to be in Botswana technically anymore, because they said, cause they rejected, they said your visas are canceled, you need to leave the country. But then if there was a worry that if there’s a proper lockdown in the UK, like there was in Australia then I wasn’t allowed to be in Botswana, but also wasn’t allowed to be back home, but I got lucky, but that, that was, that was a little bit of a scare.

[00:23:08] Toni: Yeah. How did you get lucky? Like, did you just book a flight and just went to the airport and hope for the best or you have…

[00:23:14] Amardeep: It was really very, very hard to book flights at that time because everybody was trying to book flights to get out and the websites were crashing. The phone lines were overrun and it was when I got to the airport in south, so it’s like through South Africa to get home, and I got an email saying, oh, your flight has been canceled. And it was my original flight. So if I hadn’t got on the flight that I did, I would have been stuck. I would have had to try and work out a way to get home again. So it’s not quite as dramatic as your China story, but…

[00:23:46] Toni: No, it’s still like, it is like, especially like, we all deal with our own problems and they’re the biggest problems for ourselves, for us. So yeah, I can imagine, you know, It is being stuck in a, in a foreign place and you can’t leave and then nobody’s your friend. They’re like, it is a bit, it is a sketch. 

[00:24:07] Amardeep: Yeah. Then it’s, people say the same thing with me in terms of digital nomads, I’m like, oh, why don’t you just travel the world? And it’s like, I don’t like, I’m living the life now that I don’t need to escape from and that’s the thing I always come back to is that like mantras is that, build a life that I don’t need to go on another day. I didn’t need to travel because I enjoy what I’ve got here. Like, I’ve got a great set of people around me and I’m very grateful it’s them, hopefully some of them are listening today. And that makes a difference, right? Because a lot of people, I think, who are very attracted to the idea of digital nomadism is because they don’t have this, some of those that security or that safety that I feel where they live or in their home. And I guess what’s kind of different about me is that I, it’s like, you know, right. Like I really enjoy what I do, which means that I’m not needing to count down the days until I go on holiday, which might have been some occasions in the past. Now I still want to see new experiences and still to want to travel, but it’s a want rather than a need. And I think that makes such a difference mentally because it means that when I’m going somewhere, it’s because I really want to experience what’s there rather than I really want to get away from what I’m doing. And there’s this little mindset shift. I think it really matters. And a lot of people I know who were saying, oh, I would travel the world. I would do this, but have you actually done that yet? Do you know what that’s like? And like you said, it’s difficult. It’s not so easy to be in a different country, and before we started the call, Toni was complaining about how many mosquitos had bitten at his legs [crosstalk] You’re working from paradise and just moaning, but it’s true. There’s all these different factors that take you out of the zone, where you can produce your best work and, what’s really meaningful to you. And for some people they’d love that traveling lifestyle. They’d love that. And it’s working out whether it’s, whether you like the actual lifestyle, wherever you like the idea of the lifestyle. And I think for me before we select the idea of the lifestyle, rather than the reality of trying to find wi-fi and trying to find enough signal and finding a comfortable seat. It’s hustle right and trying to plan while moving and working. 

[00:26:22] Toni: It is. It is. And then you can’t really relax. Don’t produce your best work and all that. Yeah. I feel like you have to have that like purpose or like at least a sense of self first and then go on a holiday or on a workation because I prepared most of the stuff upfront. And then when I’m here, I’m like just managing stuff. And also this is, I think what I read from Benjamin Hardy, which kind of just like clicked in my head, guy’s a great writer on Medium, by the way. It was that you should manage your energy more than you manage your time. And I think I’ve fell in this fallacy so many times before. It’s just like, I’m going to block like three hours between three and 8:00 PM and 11, because I’m my own boss now, which is like something, it took me a year to be like, okay, you can’t really work when you’re tired. And then if you just do your own stuff in the morning, when you feel the most energetic or when your brain is in the right place you’re just going to like, enjoy your work much more. You’re going to produce more. And that’s what I’m doing right now. So my girlfriend, she kind of sleeps in most days, which is perfect for me. So I wake up at seven, go on and finish most of my day by 11, 12, she wakes up about 10:30. She’s more on a holiday than I am. And then like the whole afternoon, in the evening we can be out and about, which is, which is working well for me. And thank you Benjamin again for reminding me of that simple truth that it did, like create this massive effect on me because you just get more satisfied with your life later because leisure or relaxing afternoon just becomes your afternoon. You don’t have that thing in the back of your head, it’s like, oh, I have that 3 hours blocked in from eight to 11 and I, oh, but I want to do something else. And I think you did mention this before, you also feel that way. You don’t want to work your evenings. 

[00:28:06] Amardeep: I said, I don’t want to work my evening, that’s definitely what’s happening at the moment. So you obviously have the same thing is that most of my clients and most of people I work with are LA based. So I’m based in London, obviously. So to me, there’s eight hours behind. So they’re starting their workday, but I want to finish mine. And what I’m working on at the moment is setting those boundaries and setting those expectations in a way where I’ll be working while they’re asleep. It’s delivered to them in the morning and trying to set it around that mindset rather than I’m not going to reply it to you until the next day is instead of being like, oh, when you wake up, all your works been done for you and making them sit through that lens, which I hope will make them more appreciative. And part of it is, for example, I’m thinking of what I’m, going to do is delete my work emails from my phone, because it’s so easy for me to just naturally I’m out and about, and I just, refresh, let’s see, let’s just see if there’s anything there. It’s like, I don’t need to see if an exact, like, I’m not a doctor. It’s very, very unlikely that things are going to blow up, and needs my immediate attention, but it’s hard to let go, because I just said, same position as a business owner where it’s your baby and you, because you enjoy it, but then you don’t want to be, I don’t want to be spitting my mind where I’m with people that I wouldn’t be spending time with or, want to be present with, but in back of my mind thinking, oh, wait, I need to do that. Oh, I need to do that. Or I need to do that. Have you been able to do that? Have you been able to switch off when you are in leisure time? 

[00:29:22] Toni: Yeah. Most of I would, I can thank my iPhone. So I recently switched to iPhone full-time from being a Samsung user for so many years. And the little tweak iPhone has is do no disturb mode. So my phone is always, the ringtones off and it isn’t [unintelligible]. So I don’t get any notification. So like, if I want to go in, If I want to look at my email I have to physically click on it and then go through it myself. So that creates a little bit of friction where you don’t get interrupted by email, which was boring for me. I can just leave the phone in another room. And when I do want to handle my email, I’m just going to go and open my email. That is working well for me. For some other people might not, but just creating that extra friction for you. So like it doesn’t come up on your screen ever, and then it won’t ring ever. And good thing that comes from it, like also your phone doesn’t ring and your friends and family and everybody, they do start respecting your boundaries. Not at first, but like after a while they get used to it, and they are like, okay, I’m just going to text him and he’ll reply or call me at his own time, and that is working well for me. Another thing that I would just like to briefly add is a scheduling email. So what I do a lot of times, like I would schedule an email for 9:00 AM next morning, or I would schedule an email for, I don’t know, whatever time you need to schedule them in. So you kind of know that a lot of your email has been taken care of. And I would schedule it in my office hours or my work hours that I’ve predetermined. Usually in the morning, because I feel like I just, I’m the most productive at this time. And then in the afternoon I don’t have to slug it and I just kind of can go out and go out and about. 

[00:30:59] Amardeep: So I think my problem is because of the, the social side of things as well. So, and it’s for example, with like family calling and things like that. So my sister lives in Dubai. So the times that they call and I get to speak with my nephew, that’s one thing that’s really important to me. And I don’t wanna miss. But at the same time, like you said it’s quite disruptive because if they’re calling when I’m in the middle of something and it’s about priorities, right? It’s like, well, I don’t want to miss that opportunity to speak to them, but at the same time, it then puts more pressure on me in terms of my work day. And I don’t yet have the great answer for that with like, how do I balance that properly? And it’s something I’m kind of looking into, because if I’m ignoring calls from like to speak to my little baby nephew because I’m busy working, is that really the life I want to live? Is that who I want to be? But at the same time, I can’t bend all the time. So I’m in that gray zone at the moment where I’m trying to look at it better and sometimes I’ll have my phone in airplane mode. Do not disturb mode as you said. And then other times I won’t. So I have that availability. I think one of the problems, me and I don’t know if you have this sorted, I like talking, I like chatting to people. It’s something that I enjoy. Right. So then if I have my phone off all the time, then I don’t have that aspect. And it’s kind of like, it’s a weird personality trait, I guess, where I am quite active. I’m quite chatty. And generally have like, from the nature of being online and having a brand and things like that, I have a lot more messages than I can actually reply to, and I have to prioritize, but then there’s sometimes where a friend will send me a joke or a funny, something funny. And I want to see that straight away. I want to be able to laugh at that and like get involved in the joke and things like that. So, one thing I do for example, is I use like Archiving and WhatsApp. WhatsApp is my way that I talk to them, people that know me in real life and have got stronger bonds with, and it can be quite intimidating sometimes if you’ve got 20, 30 WhatsApp messages to reply to. And what I try to do is archive people, so that once I’ve replied to them, then they’re off my list. And then I can only see the people that I need to reply to because otherwise, some people are cut instantly, some people is, hopefully I’m not shooting myself in the foot here. Somebody’s listening to me right now and I haven’t replied to them for a few days, but you got to do that. Right. I’ve got to try and work out some people I talk to, and it’s a quick answer. I can do that easily. And then other people, it’s more open-ended question. It might take a few more days to reply. And that’s one thing I use for that is that archiving function. So I only see messages and I use the same this way in my inbox as well. In my inbox, only things that are in my inbox, I think that I actually need to do an action on. Everything else is archived in another place where I can’t see it, which makes it way less intimidating in the mornings when I open my emails, because only the new things there. It’s any of the things which I need to reply to that person. Or there’s some action that I want to take. I don’t see all of the other emails, and then after I like scroll down to find the ones that you need an action from me. So I find that helps me quite a bit in terms of just keeping my mind clear. 

[00:34:07] Yeah. That’s a good managing system as well, because as you said, when you become an online creator and as soon, if you are in the space for, I don’t know, 12 months, 16 months, you will start receiving a lot of communication from every direction. And at this point, I guess, for you as well, social media is just unusable. It’s like, if I go to my LinkedIn, I kid you not, I have like 200 messages in that inbox. So I’m not going to answer that because it’s so intimidating. It’s like, I can’t build through this. Like, I’m sorry guys. I’m like maybe, maybe one day. It just, it feels like it will take half your day and maybe that’s unfair to a lot of people. I did message you on LinkedIn and I am, I’m sorry for that. It’s just like, it’s physically almost impossible to just go through everything. So you do have to prioritize. And for me it works that I, when I feel social, I will go out and go, you know, text my friends or reply to my messages. They do pile up in your WhatsApp as well, especially if you’re in the groups. If you have a group of friends, that’s going to like pile up to a hundred messages in two hours, if you just like briefly don’t check your phone, like, boom, you have a hundred or something. 

[00:35:15] What is one shift you think people listening today could make that would make that positive difference in their lives?

[00:35:19] Toni: So this is something that has created a tremendous difference for my own headspace. It was wishing happiness to your enemies, or somebody that’s annoying you or somebody that you don’t like. It’s just like being, visual thing, of being like, honestly appreciative of your enemy and then wishing them all the best. Even though it sounds counter-intuitive, it just frees up so much of your mental bandwidth. It’s just like, it is a power move in your own head. It’s like, you are not controlled by envy. You are not controlled by hatred. You’re not controlled by this darker, you know, devices of your own existence. If you just wish them, like honestly, to be happy and to sort their own lives. And I used to meditate on that. I would practice it every day. I would just find like people I disliked the most and then for, it takes 30 seconds of your life, and you just wish them all the best in your head. You don’t have to call them or tell them, or be up front with it. Just for your own good, and I just, I just never felt happier after that. It just felt this, it was this mental shift that worked very well for me, because I feel envy is something that can consume you and staying on top of that, or hatred is insane on top of that, this was one of the coping mechanism for me. And also like the next time you actually see that person, the interaction is a bit better and you’re a bit less on your toes. You’re a bit less stressed out by their, you know, existence. So I think it wholesome, it will create this whole some effect. 

[00:36:51] Amardeep: It’s been a pleasure to chat to you today, Toni. Where can the people listening today, hear more about you and what you’re up to?

[00:36:56] Toni: So I’m basically present a Medium. or you can visit our agency, I just thought digital doesn’t have dot com or anything. It’s one of the new domains. So you can check out our work or my personal work. I do write a lot about marketing mostly, and business as a topic. So if you’re into that comment and check us out, 

[00:37:20] Amardeep: And then the final thing to end up on is, what’s one small thing that’s brought you joy recently?

[00:37:25] Toni: This new year’s resolution is like, I started meditating for at least five minutes a day. It’s one of those micro habits. 

[00:37:32] Amardeep: Do you mean meditating or medicating? 

[00:37:36] Toni: Meditating.

[00:37:37] Amardeep: Meditating. Okay. 

[00:37:38] Toni: Medicating for five, that’d be, that’d be fun. That’s like having a drink. Now I started, so I did flirt with meditation on an off sporadically, and I never actually got the benefit of it. You just do it for a longer term. And I know this comes as a cliche for a lot of people, but I just like, I would break, I break my afternoons now with like five minutes, like just detaching myself from everywhere. I have this app, it’s like a meditation timer that just keeps a streak and a score. And I’m doing well with streaks. I go an 800 Duolingo street and I’m having like, it is January 20. So I have 19 day streak of meditation and I do feel more grounded overall. And it also does break up my afternoon where I feel the low energy setting in. I kind of just go even lower with a five, 10 minutes. And usually the five minutes is the 15, 20, 30 minutes, which is, I guess, the point of having that micro habit. So that has brought a lot of joy to me.

[00:38:37] Amardeep: If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, I’d love it If you could leave me a five star review, it really helps get the message out further. Wherever you’re listening, it would be awesome If you could subscribe and share in your social media channels. If you want to see more of my work and advice, you can find all of the links in the show notes. 


Thank you again for listening and I hope you have a lovely day.

Amar's Letter

Real talk on driving impact as an imperfect human.