• Life Lessons

    Let the unfamiliar become the familiar…

    Words & Pics by Mandy Antzoylatos

    Hi lovely people,

    Welcome to my first newsletter for 2021!  It’s way overdue, but I’m so excited to finally share it with you.

     I’ve been wanting to write, for a while now, about some of the organisational work I do, how I work, and some of the methodologies and tools that I work with.

    One of the premises of my work is the understanding that our personal and professional lives are inter-linked, and often the patterns of behaviour in my coaching client’s professional lives play out in their personal lives too.

    We are not truly able to separate these parts of ourselves into two divided sections, and I think for years society has wanted us to.

    If anything, lockdown has shown us that it’s not really possible to sustain the ‘great divide’, and more than ever, we are seeing leaders within organisations and corporate’s recognizing this.

    I feel that when we leave a part of ourselves behind, there is a high possibility that the organisation is losing out on a part of the richness of our life and experiences.

    So, over the next few newsletters and blogs I want to explore this a bit more, and the different lessons we learn between our personal and professional lives. This one may be a little longer than usual, but hopefully worth the time xx

    What I’m going to look at today, I suppose is front of mind, with children having just returned to school, and many of us heading back into offices again as lockdown eases. 

    The topic was highlighted by a friend of mine when she posted on her Facebook page with a plea for her child’s name to be pronounced correctly.  In fact, she had even developed a little card to help her child’s new teachers pronounce her name correctly and understand the meaning.

    She did this because in the lead up to school starting, her child had been expressing anxiety about what the teachers may do to her name.  In the past, she had experiences of her name being mispronounced in ways that changed its meaning.  This young child was also asked by her teachers and peers if a different or shortened name could be used, and in general, experienced struggles with the mis-using her name.

    I am deeply struck by this and in all the years I have been practicing as a DE&I (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) practitioner, the issue of names as a sign of respect has been the very first step in our workshops.  I have been doing these sessions for nearly 20 years now, and it is still needed.  I am saddened and struck by this, as it is not only an issue in schools, but very much so in the workplace too.

    An article written by Tinyiko (pronounced Ta-nee-ko) which highlights this exact issue as one of the reasons for her choosing to move cities.

    In reality, we have many different languages in our world, but somehow, there seems to be more priority regarding the pronunciation of some vs others. In the South African context, we are often able to pronounce European or foreign names like Schwarzenegger, but do not always make the effort with names from our local indigenous languages.

    What we are speaking about here is hundreds of years of oppression where groups of people, predominantly people of colour, were given a “Christian” or easy-to-pronounce name.   This would often happen on the first day of school or in order to access economic opportunities like jobs.

    A perfect example of where a dominant culture had the ability to change people’s names for their convenience is:

    • Rolihlahla Mandela was given the name Nelson Mandela which was the custom at the time where all school children were given “Christian” names.
    Rolihlahla Mandela 
    Also known as Madiba which means Father in isiXhosa…a term of endearment used by millions of South Africans for this remarkable man.
    Photo credit:  Mail & Guardian

    So, if this resonates with you, or even has you feeling a little uncomfortable (perhaps there is a gift for you on the other side of that discomfort 😉), here are some tips that might help us all on this journey of greeting each other with respect:

    • When you first meet a person whose name is unfamiliar to you, write the person’s name down, making sure you are spelling it correctly. Ask if need be.

    •  Next, write their name in a way that you would say it… sound it out phonetically. If I’m going to be seeing the person a lot, I may even write it on my hand so I can glance at it easily, or on the top of a page I have in front of me. For example, my friend’s son’s name is Yasien which I would automatically pronounce Ya-seeen, but actually is pronounced Yaa-sien;

    •  Sometimes, a person’s name is not necessarily difficult to say, but unfamiliar, and so we avoid using it. In South Africa we are privileged to live in a very diverse society and even globally we have access to so much information.  So apart from practicing different names, I invite you to widen your circle of reading, listening and your social circles.

    •  Remember, in many cultures and languages, the same looking name may be pronounced differently.

    •  Language and pronunciation can change the meaning of a person’s name.  For example, the Xhosa name Nosipho (pronounced Noh-see-poh) means gift, but if pronounced with the English ‘f’ sound for ‘ph’, it would be said Nosifo which means poison.

    So, my plea to us as adults, first of all, is to consciously make an effort when using a person’s preferred name, and then secondly, pronounce it correctly.  When we ourselves are doing it, and our children witness this, they themselves will make the same effort and the positive shifts will start to happen.

    There is something quite precious when we do the ‘unexpected’ and connect with a person with respect. Even if it is a stretch outside of our comfort zone, it is profoundly powerful, and one day, I hope it becomes ‘the norm’ (whatever normal is).

    Names are such a core part of our identity, in both our personal and professional lives. You may literally see a person’s eyes light up when they hear their preferred name pronounced correctly and with respect.

    I invite you to start today.

    Let the unfamiliar become familiar…

    Wishing you a wonderfully connecting day, week, month and year.


    P.S. I would so love to hear from you, perhaps about your own experiences with your name, or how it goes with the tips we’ve offered above. 😊

    P.P.S.  If you’d like to have some individual or group coaching around this topic or any other diversity related matters, please give me a call or email me.

  • Life Lessons

    Fertilizer For Growth…

    Words & Pics by Mandy Antzoylatos

     I was chatting to a client recently about the parts of her job that she’s not loving, and I shared an insight with her that I’d heard from another client which I think is brilliant. 

    She said, “Sometimes the sh*&#ty parts of our jobs are the fertilizer for growth and the good to come…”.   So True!

    If you think about that statement, it really is about our own mindsets.  How we view the situation. How we choose to be present with it and what we choose to do.

    So, it had me thinking about some of the ‘fertilizer’ from this year.
    What might we want to release, and what may grow from it if we see it as fertilizer rather than sh%t… 😉

    Perhaps some questions to ponder on are:

    Where have you felt frustrated or stuck recently? Or what parts of your life are you needing to do but not loving?
    How has this stretched you to do something different and to make a change with regards to that situation?

    How could you use the ‘fertilizer’ from that frustration to nurture new growth?

    If you continued to fertilize and nurture, what might start blooming?

    For example, I have a client who loved her work but was really triggered by her manager.  Our first session was about the work messages she used to receive on a Sunday afternoon which just paralyzed her!

    The ‘paralysis’ made it so clear to her that she didn’t want to work for someone, and actually wanted to have her own business.

    That clarity helped her stay in the job (we did a LOT of work on clearing her resentment and irritations with the ‘boss’ so she could function on a daily basis) while she saved furiously.  At the same time, she learnt as much as she could about running a business.

    Fast forward a couple of years, and she and her husband now run a successful food business, and even opened a new shop during lockdown!!!

    She sat with the sh*#t for a while, knowing it would fertilize her dreams 🙂

    I’d love to hear what you’re planning on fertilizing and nurturing as we head into the New Year.

    Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and please stay safe…

    Warm wishes,

    P.S.  Thank you to those of you who have had, or booked the Mini-Retreat Reflection Sessions…
    Such interesting and meaningful reflections so far!


    If you’re wanting to invest in a friend or colleague’s well-being, perhaps some personal time with a life coach may help. 

    If you think they may connect with me and my coaching style, feel free to purchase them a gift voucher for a session or two. xxx


    We’re celebrating another successful online vision boarding session, with messages coming in the day after saying, “I met my artist friend last night and she’s facilitating a 6 week online art course starting January…so I signed up! ”  and then she said, ” Oh…..and I’ve booked in a new client!”.

    For groups of 6 – 10 people: R595 each
    Less than 6 people: R695 each Whoop whoop… let’s create more magic together 😉


    The honour of witnessing a mountain rescue in January 2020. P.S.  Just in case you didn’t know, Mr. J is CRAZY about helicopters!!1
    Our last day on the beach before lockdown in March 2020…
    The creativity of ‘early’ homeschooling…when it was still fun 🙂
    My view never got boring…every day the sunrise and sunset had a different story to tell.
    Suddenly we were allowed three hours of ‘outdoor’ time in the mornings.  I have never appreciated my ‘freedom’ as much as I did that first day!

    Mr. J has mastered the creating of the most magnificent cappuccinos.  What a treat for this to be delivered to me while I’m in an online meeting (many envious colleagues looking forward to one when they next visit 😉
    After so many months of being inside my apartment, I had a new found appreciation of the natural beauty we have in Cape Town as well as South Africa.  
    This is an early morning panoramic of the Camps Bay beach…one of my happy places!
    Community became a super-strength during the lockdown.  My neighbours have been an extraordinary support to us.  Thank you, thank you, thank you…you’re all magnificent!
    Blue sky, beach and bubbles!  A beautiful moment and special friendships to treasure.

    I want to say a BIG thank you for your support and connection this year. 
    For those who have holidays, I wish you “Happy Holidays” and all the best for the New Year!

  • Life Lessons,  Reflection

    Focusing Forward…

    A few years ago my son was taking part in a pre-primary school sports day. There was great excitement!
    When it was time for his race, I was cheering him on like the wild Greek mama I am (NOT quiet 😉!). He was doing so well, until he turned to look back to see where his friends were, and needless to say, he lost focus and slowed down.

    This incident came to me as I sat down to write to you all for this newsletter. I had serious writer’s block, and I realized I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting back on this year and our Covid-19 experience.

    There have been many lessons and insights… but to get myself to the finish line of the year, I need to focus forward too!

    So, here are some self-coaching tips I used on myself to re-focus forward, and perhaps they might be of use to you too 😊….it’s a short ‘run’ till the end of the year:

    Be selective
    Look at all that’s on your list and decide what you can let go of for now. Select one project that really excites you and gives you energy as you think about it (even gentle energy).  Consider what you can say, “No” to and what you want to say, “Yes” to.

    Hyper-focus, for small chunks of time
    Block time in your diary, clear space in your home, close tabs on your computer and give yourself space to hyper-focus on your top priority. Put your phone out of sight and gift yourself the gift of 100% presence and focus.

    Connect with your “WHY”
    Consider why this is important to you, and not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind.   Ask yourself why it’s important to you, at least 3 times with a deeper answer each time.   This will connect  you with the deeper purpose that inspired you to take a step in this direction in the first place. 

    When you sit down to work on it, reconnect with that deep purpose and it will feel less of a ‘chore’. 

    Pause and appreciate your completion of the small steps along the way.  Acknowledge yourself, and make sure to celebrate what you have achieved as you get to the finishing line.

     *If you want a celebration partner I’m always open to a glass of bubbles.  

    I’d love to hear what you’re choosing to focus on as we head to the finishing line of 2020.

    Oh, and by the way, the nugget of the school race was the winner turning around and running back to the start line again because he was having such fun!  And all the other kids followed! It caused complete chaos for the teachers but was a delight to watch 😊! 

    What a blast!

    I hope you get to make time to explore what inspires you to run back to the beginning and start all over again too.

    Wishing you all a wonderful week…

    Warm wishes,


    Photography is a true passion of mine….capturing sunrises, sunsets, the beauty that Cape Town serves on an exquisite platter on a daily basis, and of course the special people in my life.

    What are some of your passions?

    I’d love to hear, and who knows, we may even talk about it in one of our future newsletters…


    Just in case you didn’t see my last newsletter I’ve reposted a wonderful experience I had with a friend and colleague from Ireland, James Sweetman.

    One of my previous newsletters titled ‘Gifts in the Discomfort’  and  ‘Resilience & Growth’ (which describes my journey to creating the Career Crossroads course) caught James’s eye and he invited me to be interviewed for his podcast ‘Your Time’ with James Sweetman.

    James is not only a internationally recognized motivational & keynote speaker, but also a fellow trainer, writer, coach and lover of nature!  

    I had the BEST time!!! It was so exciting and a little nerve wracking, but a healthy stretch out of my comfort zone.

    We laughed, got serious and both shared some insights, tips and wisdom.

    If you enjoy podcasts, click on the button below to listen to the full interview.


    Invite friends, family or colleagues to do an online Vision Boarding session….such fun with amazing results!

    • Time requirement:  4 hours
    • Online with Mandy facilitating
    • Fee per person:  R550

    Copyright 2020 / All photographs are the exclusive property of Mandy Antzoylatos

  • Spring Inspiration...
    Life Lessons,  Reflection

    Seeds we have sown…

    Words & Pics by Mandy Antzoylatos

    I feel as if I’m coming out of hibernation…
    Spring has sprung here in the Southern Hemisphere, and me and my precious family are making the most of being surrounded by mountains, sea and nature here in Cape Town.
    It has been a real indoor winter, with staying in our bubble to stay safe from the COVID-19 virus.  So, now that shutdown is lifting slightly, we are making the most of being outdoors.

    Seeing the beautiful flowers blooming, veggies flourishing, and my houseplants thriving (having had plenty of TLC with all the hours we’ve been at home) got me thinking about what lifestyle seeds have been planted in our life over the last few months of staying-home-safe.

    Yes, this may be literal planting and harvesting if you have a garden, but there may be other ‘seeds’ you’ve planted that are now bearing fruit, whether you realised it or not…

    We don’t see every flower opening or green shoot growing, but suddenly there is a plant there.  So, a few questions to ponder might be:

    • What seeds have been sown in your life over the last few months?
    • What are you harvesting now?
    • What has been pruned or trimmed in order to enhance your life?

    Personally, as I look back over the last few months, I realise there have been a few seeds I’ve sown which are now seedlings or are starting to bear fruit.

    Being me, they cover personal, professional, parenting and coaching insights, all of which are integrated in different areas of my life:

    • Tackling small corners of my home that I’ve wanted to attend to for ages.  This has led to a greater appreciation of my space and has inspired me to continue enhancing our home.
    • Introducing small meditation practices throughout our day from early on in lockdown, and then finding my son meditating on his own on the balcony recently.
    • Regularly reminding my son about the importance of being a team in ‘housekeeping’ from the beginning of lockdown.  That process has him now playing his part in the running of the home as if it’s second nature.  Well, most of the time anyway ;). 
    • An investment in our emotional and mental well-being early on in lockdown which resulted in us getting through it pretty well.  Part of that was taking a pause from work for the first few weeks.  A risk, but worthwhile.
    • Shifting and tidying a bookshelf had me finding old favourites that I have been re-reading, and reminding myself of the wisdom they add to my coaching and facilitation practice.
    • Having more time for morning and evening chats (without the pressure of the school run) has made them such a part of our lives. Even now we’re back into the school run, they’re still a big part of our time together.
    • And then yes, taking cuttings from the garden, rooting them, and now having more plants around the home than we did before 🙂
    When climbing the steps towards the lighthouse at Cape Point, I was struck by this plant growing up the stairs…. Who knows how long ago, the first shoot grew onto the steps, or how long it has taken to get this far, but it will keep on going. Just like you (and me!).

    I’ll end off by gently reminding us all to:

    • keep planting your seeds,
    • nuture your seeds, yourself and those around you, and 
    • doing the small things that take you on the path you want to follow, with purpose.

    The benefits are sometimes unseen at first, but will come!

     I’d love to hear what’s growing and hopefully
    thriving for you at the moment?

    Or, if you’re hunkering down for winter, what are you taking from summer and spring to get you through?

    Wishing you all a wonderful weekend…

    Warm wishes,


    My previous newsletters titled ‘Gifts in the Discomfort’  and  ‘Resilience & Growth’ (which describes my journey to creating the Career Crossroads course) caught the eye of a friend and colleague from Ireland, James Sweetman.

    James is not only an internationally recognized motivational & keynote speaker, but also a fellow trainer, writer, coach and lover of nature!  

    James invited me to be interviewed for his podcast ‘Your Time’ with James Sweetman…..so exciting and a little nerve wracking, but a healthy stretch out of my comfort zone.

    I had the BEST time!!! 

    We laughed, got serious and both shared some insights, tips and wisdom.

    If you enjoy podcasts, click on the button below to listen to the full interview.


    Here’s to more podcasts on the horizon! 


    Invite friends, family or colleagues to do an online Vision Boarding session….such fun with amazing results!

    • Time requirement:  4 hours
    • Online with Mandy facilitating
    • Fee per person:  R550


    A big WELCOME to all the new subscribers to my newsletter!

    AND a huge THANK YOU to all my regular newsletter receivers…you are my inspiration!


  • Stretching our comfort zones....

    Stretching our comfort zones…

    Words & Pics by Mandy Antzoylatos

    The other morning, as I pressed “Share Screen” while on a team call with one of my clients, I had a flashback to my first wellness session with them where I was sharing my screen for the first time on Zoom and feeling quite flustered! They are an e-learning company… and I have techno-phobe tendencies at the best of times! 😉

    Yes, I’ve been coaching online for a while, but that was relatively easy as it was connecting one on one, and I only used online for people in other countries or outside of Cape Town.  It had been a little stretch at the time to move from face-to-face sessions to coaching via Skype or Zoom, but soon became easier.

    At the end of last year I ran my first online course which was a bigger stretch but still fairly gentle. All the people taking part had worked with me in other ways, and so were familiar with me and my coaching style.

    However, COVID has stretched me a whole lot more and encouraged me to be far more innovative with technology, and it has been healthily uncomfortable. 😊

    The quote above:

    “Your current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers” 

     …appears on my Linkedin profile and my website because in essence, this is what I encourage and teach my clients to reach for…to stretch themselves outside of their comfort zones and to seek the gift in the discomfort.

    And…it’s really important for me to practice what I encourage others to do.

    Some of the gifts I’ve discovered through my discomfort are:

    • Launching Career Crossroads (which I’ve been dreaming about for 3 years now!),
    • The co-facilitating of online corporate sessions on unconscious bias resulting in more inclusive workspaces,
    • The co-creation of an online course preparing young people for diverse work environments, by using a blend of tools including Zoom, Whatsapp, Social media and email… plus music along the way!
    • Attracting global clients for both individual coaching and Career Crossroads,
    • Connecting with other facilitators across the globe, sharing ideas and supporting each other.

    One of the prime gifts on the other side of my discomfort is a sense of Globa-bility… 


    It has given me the ability to connect with people from all over the globe, to partner and collaborate with other facilitators, and to extend my offerings to a wider group.  It has been rich!

    It’s not a new concept and has been happening for many years, but Covid-19 has created a context where the online space is more familiar to people now and actually quite necessary.

    I’m curious to hear from you? (and thanks to all who replied to my curiosity questions in previous newsletters 😉)…

    How have you been stretched out of your comfort zone these last few months?

    What gifts have you found through sitting in your discomfort?

    I’d love to hear from you!

    I wish you all a wonderful rest of your week, with gentle but delicious stretches out of your comfort zones…

    All the best

    P.S.  The gift often comes from that knot in your belly that tells you it’s uncomfortable, and when you move beyond you see the light.
    View from our window captured in the glass dome 🙂
    Photo credit:  Mr. J

    P.P.S: If you’re keen to stretch yourself with some support feel free to give me a call… we could work one on one, or you could join one of my upcoming Coaching Circles…


    Online Career Crossroads Workshops

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

    We are now online with Career Crossroads  and our Saturday sessions have been a great success!

    So much so, that we have received requests for another online Career Crossroads to follow almost immediately in September as many people could not make the dates.

    So, if you haven’t attended this August workshop already (or any previous face to face workshops), don’t hesitate!  There’s something special about looking at yourself and what you bring to the world, especially when it’s together with a group of fabulous people who are also after clarity and purpose in their career journey.


    • Foundation Dates:   12th + 19th + 26th September 2020 
    • Times:  14h00 – 17h00 
    • Links for  all online calls will be sent via email
    • Career Crossroads PLUS sessions to follow in October 2020.

    Please note: 
    Group rates are available for organisations
     that would like to offer support for staff who are going through retrenchments.
    Are you interested? 

    Click on the button below to reserve your place on the workshop, or ask any questions .


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