• 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’. 

    Celebrate
    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,


    PASSION PROJECTS…

    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…


    DID YOU MISS  MY EXCITING
    NEW EXPERIENCE?…

    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.


    INVITATION TO CREATE YOUR OWN…

    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,


    FABULOUS NEW EXPERIENCES…

    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! 


    INVITATION TO CREATE YOUR OWN…

    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

    WELCOME & THANK YOU…

    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!


    EXPLORE OTHER WAYS OF CONNECTION WITH FREEDOM44…


  • Stretching our comfort zones....
    Reflection

    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… 

    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…


    WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO…

    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.

    NEW DATES FOR THE NEXT CAREER CROSSROADS:

    • 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 .


    EXPLORE OTHER WAYS OF CONNECTION WITH FREEDOM44…


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  • Reflection

    Balance in unusual times…

    Words & Pics by Mandy Antzoylatos

    The other day my son and I ‘escaped’ to a very quiet and isolated beach for an afternoon break.  We ran, we splashed, we danced, we laughed… and then I chilled while he carried on splashing.

    I created this tower of pebbles which in a way represents many of the ‘odd-shaped’ roles I’m currently juggling.  It was a wonderfully meditative process… just what I needed to create some balance from the time at home, work, schoolwork etc.

    Balance is the theme of the moment… I’m hearing it from clients, seeing memes on social media, talking to friends, and still trying to achieve it in my own life!

    We are holding all our usual roles, and some of us are juggling additional roles placed on us during lockdown. Generally, stress levels are high.  Most of us may be experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the day, and on top of that we are ‘locked’ in one space together.

    We don’t have the usual release of popping into the gym, kids being at school, socialising with friends, and for those living in South Africa who enjoy a glass of wine in the evening (and you’re not stocked up) you don’t even have that! 😉

    When I mention balance, I’m talking about balancing my own needs with the needs of those around me, and the needs of our ecosystem, society as a whole, our Earth etc.

    Balancing the roles I have that are important to me e.g. my physical health, emotional well-being;   plus the roles that affect the people close to me e.g. being a mom, a sister, friend, a coach and consultant), and then the roles that directly affect my ecosystem e.g. being a caring and conscious citizen, maintaining a clean, healthy home and neighbourhood.

    When I was preparing for a webinar for one of my clients, I developed the following simple tips for creating a sense of balance while working remotely which I’d like to share with you:

    • Being honest with yourself is a good starting point. Identify all that is on your plate. Be real about what you need to be able to fulfil the different roles you hold. If you’re not honest with yourself about it, it becomes very difficult to address any gaps, prioritize or put support in place.
    • Prioritising is critical. What is really important to you? Especially right now! Consider what is important to you personally, to those around you.  If you’re working, what’s important in your professional role? Then prioritise how you spend your time and energy. Remember to prioritise rest! (Can the dishes be done later?)😉
    • Managing expectations of yourself and others. This may include some tough conversations with the people around you about what’s realistic, or where you’d like others to step up with support. It’s also about managing expectations of yourself… perhaps ease up in an area that is not one of your priorities right now? Be realistic and understanding with those working from home with children. Remember we all have different contexts at home – not everyone has a private office to work from.
    • Creating conscious shifts between roles. Sometimes a simple deep breath before logging onto a Zoom call can shift focus from your previous task to the present one. Allowing a hug or 5 minutes playtime between meetings can help your child to feel ‘seen’ and allow you to shift back to work. How might you create a shift from work into home time at the end of the day when both are taking place in the same space? A mini-dance party? A walk or run?

    So, when I think back to the beach visit, we were prioritising self-care, releasing schoolwork expectations, and shifting from ‘work’ mode into evening relax mode.
    The reality is however, we are unlikely to be in a permanent state of balance at any one time, and finding balance is a dance! A few steps forward, some sideways and some back.

    In as much as my pebble tower represented some of the roles I’m currently holding, it also represents the precariousness of balance… just a few seconds after taking this photo, a wave caught me, drenched me and knocked my tower over!

    Just as we think we have it all under control, life happens, and waves catch us… but how do we pick ourselves up, dust the sand off, and start the balancing act again?

     So, I’m curious to know…


    Where in your life are you wanting to create more balance?
     
    What support could you put in place for yourself?
     
    Where can you ease up on yourself a little? Or perhaps on someone else around you?
     


    I’d love to hear from you xx

    All the best,

    PS: When I went on to Facebook to post a pic of my pebble tower, there was a memory from exactly a year before of this pebble tower I built on a special beach in Greece…

    Hmmmmm, coincidence you think 😉?


    This course is ideal for you if you are…..

    Wanting to make conscious career choices

    Finding that lockdown and other circumstances have you wanting to generate alternative sources of income

    Wanting to make career changes that are more aligned to your values and lifestyle goals

    Or you just KNOW you want to do something different?

    • Foundation Dates:  15th + 22nd + 29th August 2020 (NB. these are new dates)
    • Times:  14h00 – 17h00 
    • Links for  all online calls with be sent via email
    • Plus followup sessions to follow in September 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? 


    EXPLORE OTHER WAYS OF CONNECTION WITH FREEDOM44…



    Read our latest blog …

  • Reflection

    Meditation has different forms…

    I absolutely looooove swimming, watching the sea, being in nature, reading, and taking time to be still. While I don’t always meditate formally, this is my form of meditating and recharging my battery.

    Sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.

    Pre-parenting I had plenty of time for this, and spent many long hours on the beach, at Sea Point swimming pool (for those not based in Cape Town, this is collection of public pools alongside our beautiful Atlantic Ocean), or meandering on the paths of Table Mountain.

    Sea Point Swimming Pool with Lion’s Head in the background.

    Nowadays, when I’m visiting these spots, it’s not quite as still as it used to be, and I certainly don’t get to relax and read as much as I did before.

    But there’s a new joy in the way I experience them, through the eyes of my son… climbing rocks is a new pastime; floating, kicking and blowing bubbles in the pool at one another; building sand castles; and walking a bit slower on the mountain… this means I see things in a little more detail.

    I’ve also been introduced to new interests and activities, such as:

    • watching helicopters (Cape Town Helicopters viewing deck is our home from home, they are the BEST!);
    • tracking building sites, so we can watch the cranes and diggers, concrete trucks and people moving up and down, sideways… each person clear on their part in the ‘human machinery’ of the construction site; and more (yep, I take endless photos and videos which we watch often!)

    My son absolutely loves spending time doing these things, and so it has become part of our special weekend time together. I’ve come to realise that in a way it is part of a new form of ‘informal’ meditation for me.

    We can watch quietly for looooong periods of time, talk occasionally about what’s happening, and my stillness is sometimes interrupted by J’s excited exclamations as his favourite helicopter takes off, or the bucket is gently lowered by the crane to be filled at the concrete mixer truck, but actually, it is a lovely time to be still and reflect. They are often quite noisy spots, which in a way, prevents too much thinking, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Being a working parent, it’s not often that I get alot of time to sit and be still.

    Meditation takes different forms, and yes, I could still create more completely quiet time for myself (the meditation purists in my circle might be cringing at this stage!), but I also get to share these experiences with my son, which is truly precious time.

    So I’m curious, and would love to hear back from you…

    How do you take time for yourself?

    Do you have a formal or an informal meditation practice and what does that look like?

    If you’re a parent, how has your meditation practice evolved?

    In the meantime,

    If you want to take some more conscious time for yourself, I’m hosting a Me-Time retreat on Friday 16 March, which will include some guided reflections and conversations, some pampering, some meditation (both guided and your own gentle down time 😉), and gentle movement. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll add you to the ‘first-to-know’ list with final details.

    Taking it to a deeper level, there is also the Power of Purpose Course on Saturdays 3rd and 10th March 2018. A surefire way to get in touch with your deeper ‘why’, to get clear on what you’re wanting, and be given tools to get you there, bumps and all! Again, if you’re interested, give me a shout… It’s 2 full days, with a week in between, and includes all materials, an audio recording which you can go back to any time, and access to a network of people who have also done this work.

    For now, though, I wish you a glorious weekend, and look forward to connecting soon.

    Love always,

    Mandy

    xx

    PS: Sometimes J asks for us to do a meditation together and we love the treehouse one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWOHcGF1Tmc or the butterfly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mX4JBBIcBk

    PPS: He also looooooves doing yoga (ok, for all of 5 minutes!), and his favourite guide is All Kids Love Yoga, by Gabriel Petra Becker. It’s available on Amazon in English and German, and I have a couple of copies available to buy locally. It is for kids of ALL ages, young and old 😉. Check out the reviews on Amazon. You want this, trust me! (great as a gift too)

    For those close to the Cape Winelands, try Jessica Louise if you’re wanting yoga classes in person for yourself, and/or your kids… she is amazing. Her Facebook page gives details for classes https://www.facebook.com/jessicalouiseyoga/

    xx