Christian Stadil | CEO of Thornico Group & Owner of Hummel International

Christian Stadil is a man of many titles and talents. He is the owner and CEO of Thornico Group and Hummel International, the co-author of ‘Company Karma’. Company Karma is a concept Stadil pioneered which involves the belief that every action you company or business makes has a consequence or impact somewhere that will in one way or another return to your  company. Essentially, it involves doing good things for other people. Furthermore, Christian is also the co-founder of and lead investor in a number of especially tech-based upstart companies such as e.g. Tattoodo.com, the worlds biggest Tattoo platform. Moreover he sits on a variety of external boards and think tanks for example Big Future 2025. He is a philanthropist and has many on-going projects such as Hummel Internatianal having founded football schools in Sierra Leone, and sponsors the national team, who are trainers and role models. Lastly, he is an active lecturer and talks internationally about management, branding, creativity, innovation and self-development.


Christian-Stadil-1My Definition Of Success | I believe that what you often have perceived as a closed door, maybe even most of your life, relating to low self-esteem, complexes, neurosis or the likes, often is also what makes you core competent in other areas of life – closed door equalling open door.I have been and am very self-aware. At times extremely irritating, a closed door, but also a characteristic and trait that have enabled me to see not only myself but also my companies and brands from the “outside.“ In a different way and with different eyes, to see our companies’ roles and positions in a specific market space very clearly – enabling us to differentiate, add value and to have a hint of something unique.In hummel it has been about using our business philosophy “Company Karma” with its underlining promise of “Change The World Through Sports” to combine doing good with doing well.


I Am Driven By | A combination of low self-esteem and passion. That’s always a good combination. So on one hand, wanting to prove to the world that you have certain abilities and on the other hand being passionate about what I do. Passion plays a bigger part and it, to a certain degree is more important. Working together with good colleagues and teamwork and starting up new companies also forms part of what drives me. Today the biggest drive for me is that I’m very passionate about doing business.


The Difference Between Good And Great | This answer closely correlates with the question about what drives me. It’s that certain X factor, that certain thing that is required, that makes the difference. The difference lies in a combination of skill sets and hard work. This is also where passion comes in, because it really takes hard work to become more than just good, to become great at what you do. To become good at something whether it’s martial arts (which I like), or paining or writing books, or to do business – it all requires a certain skill set. It takes a combination of hard work and skill sets. There’s also the element of your environment, inheritance and upbringing. My father’s a lawyer who has also dealt with business, he was a mentor and an inspiration for me, My mother was is a former top model and top photographer, so my creativity comes from her.  Your upbringing can be an inspiration, or the kind of thing when you say ‘I don’t want to be like my parents’. It could also be a close friend of your family, or grandparents, they have also played a big part for me.


Christian-Stadil-2A Key Talent | I think it’s still passion, it may be a bit cliché but it’s really true, it plays such a big part in that. It took me some years to realize this. There’s some things that I’m very bad at and there some things that I’m semi-good at. There’s also things I’m good at, or even great at. If you know for instance there’s something you’re bad it, stop doing it. I’m not a very good administrator for example, so I am privileged to have a lot of strong CFOs working for me. It’s not to say that you can just do only what you think is fun and only what you’re best at, but try gravitate towards a position in a company where you use most of your time doing what you’re good or great at.


Dealing With Doubt | One of my friends who I wrote a book with called ‘Personal Karma’ which is a self-development book, she worked together with Anton Robinson for ten years and she has one of the biggest coaching companies in Europe and her mentor and Guru called ‘Gandaji’ always says “what’s the worst that can happen?’. We are so small as humans, we are grains, a piece of sand on a huge beach. So we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously, I think that’s always a good thing to remember when it comes to self-doubt. We shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously, because you know. John Cleese you know, the comedian, he wrote actually a great book together with a, a psychotherapist. There’s a section in the book where, where they look at the sky, they look at the universe and then John Cleese, ‘When I look at the sky it makes me feel so small.’ And then his friend told him, ‘I don’t need the sky to make me feel small.’ We’re here for such a short time.  If you look at history, if you look at the universe, we really don’t play a very big part. And I think that’s also important to remember, so we don’t become too full of ourselves. We don’t let the ego rule too much.


Christian-Stadil-3The Meaning Of Life | I’ve been studying for more than thirty years. It’s not a religion for me, it’s a philosophy, it’s a science of mind, it’s a psychology, it’s a toolbox in terms of how the mind works. I was very priviledged to have lunch with the biggest Zen abbot in Shanghai. He had just showed me their library and there was a huge section on mindfulness. Buddhism goes on the notion of reincarnation but for me it is not clear whether you know to take it literally. I think that it’s actually also misunderstood because Buddhism is not about getting reborn as another person, it’s more about that you return to where you came from, so to speak. For me, reincarnation can be understood in many ways, every day you wake up with a chance to become another person, that’s also a way of doing reincarnation. When you have children, you live on through them and that’s a really nice way of doing reincarnation. Just two months ago, on the seventieth day of the terrile bombing of  Nagasaki where we made a peace football match, where I sponsoured the Nagasaki football team and hundreds of people formed the word ‘peace’.We made a special jersey, a special limited edition jersey you know that, from the sales that we gave the money to, you know…people that had, had survived that, that tragedy and…Just one-and-a-half months ago in London I made a big er, peace football match together with an NGO called ‘Football for Peace’. So these projects, that’s you know…these projects that’s, hopefully you know it’s going to start a like kind of a positive momentum. You know it’s going to…change the…you know the, the…minds of people somewhere at least…some people, about how to, to do business in a different way. How to com…doing well, and doing good whilst doing business. So it’s creating positive change, and also creating change you know and…making a certain kind of impact on your kids and on your close ones, on your relatives, that’s also going to live on beyond you. And that’s kind of what I believe in.


My Future Dreams And Ambitions | I have a long bucket list and it’s getting longer and longer. Two years ago, my fiancé gave me one of the things from my bucket list, which was to attend a silent retreat. I have some mountains on my bucket list, I’ve been climbing a lot of Japanese mountains. I have a list of the hundred most interesting mountains in Japan that I would like to climb. One of my favourite places in the world is Kamakura outside Tokyo. It’s a mix between a surfing town and a Buddhist town, with more than a hundred Zen Buddhist monasteries. I like to both surf and meditate. So I’d like to buy a house there and maybe even live there. I actually have a lot of dreams and most important of them all is that my kids grow up to be happy and healthy, realise their dreams – which are much more important than my own dreams.