• 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

  • Lessons from Life
    Life Lessons

    Are you cutting off your nose to spite your face?

    Words & Pics by Mandy Antzoylatos

    “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face!”

    Oh my gosh! These are words that ring in my ears from my childhood…my Gran said them to me so often!

    And yep, I find myself saying the same to my son 😉.  You know that feeling when suddenly we find ourselves ‘being and sounding like’ our parents?

    My moment was when we were at a Freshly Ground concert at Kirstenbosch Gardens, and they were playing Mr J’s all-time favourite song ‘Doo Be Doo’, but because I had said something he didn’t like, he spent the whole song curled up in a ball at my feet!

    We were literally 3 rows from the front, almost able to touch the gorgeous Zolani Mahola, but he missed out on seeing her sing his favourite song …right there… on the stage… in front of him!

    Ok, luckily, at the end of the concert, Mr.J got to meet and greet the incredible Zolani.

    I didn’t really understand this saying when I was a child, but when it ‘clicked’ and I understood what it meant, it made so much sense…

    These days, if we see someone doing something that makes a situation worse just so they can hold onto their self-righteousness, we might feel frustrated for them, label it as ‘self-sabotage’, or have a good laugh at their expense.  But how often might we be doing it to ourselves? Particularly in our very polarized political climate that we are experiencing right now.

    Yep, it got me pondering… where might I still be doing this in my life? Where might I have blindspots without having my gran to point them out to me?

    How about you?

    Are there areas of your life where you get upset about things and react to them with high emotion at a cost to you, or ‘cutting your nose off to spite your face?’

    So, if you’d like to ponder further with me, here are some thoughts…

    • Where are you insisting on being right at the cost of an important relationship? For example, not apologizing to your significant other, best friend or colleague, or not hugging your angry teenager?
    • Where are you not following up with a potential client because you are too proud?
    • What biases are you holding onto because it’s too uncomfortable to acknowledge you might be biased at times (or racist or sexist, whether unconscious or not)?
    • What situations are you staying in, even though you know it’s not right for you anymore, but you’re being stubborn about ‘showing them’ you can do it! It might be at work, in a relationship, your sports club, studies or even a place of worship?
    • Where might you ‘collude’ with others laughing at sexist or racists jokes in order to ‘fit in’ but actually it feels ‘off’ in your belly, and costs you your integrity?

    These are just some ways in which we might ‘cut off our nose to spite our face’…

    Can you think of any others?

    I’d love to hear from you because I may be doing it too, and I’m always open to feedback on my blindspots.

    I hope you get to uncover some insights, connect more to yourself and to other important and precious people around you.

    Thank you for listening 😊. This is lifelong work xx

    Warm regards

    PS: Stay home if you can, and please stay safe.

    P.P.S:  If you’re keen to work with me here’s some of what’s on offer:

    • Professional online coaching – both individually, or in groups,
    • Inclusion and unconscious bias facilitation and coaching,
    • The Career Crossroads workshop is now offered online, and can be adapted for the workplace, particularly where retrenchments are taking place or are imminent,
    • Lockdown support to individuals, work or sports teams.

  • Life Lessons

    How Life Has Prepared Us For Today…

    I had a crash course in infection control when my baby was in Neonatal ICU (more commonly known as NICU):

    • There was no entry to the ward without full blown hand washing (at least 20 seconds and preferably up to your elbows),
    • We practiced social distancing before it had a name, as in “don’t go near ANY babies other than your own”,
    • D-Germ hand disinfectant was our friend.  We sprayed it on our hands regularly and definitely before touching our preemie babies,
    • If we were feeling even slightly ill, we didn’t think twice about wearing a surgical mask,
    • We got used to disinfecting everything, especially vessels for food (okay, breast milk 😉), 
    • And we relied heavily on our front-line workers… Those amazing, essential teams who work on the NICU ward. The nurses were like second mothers.  The infection control staff who are often unseen, but are actually the heroes in protecting our little ones, and the doctors who related to me with such respect.  In my book they rule the world!

    And then 3 and half months later we came home…

    • We quarantined!
    • No one was allowed through our front door unless they were in 100% good health (along with everyone else in their home),
    • Strict protocols were in place… instructions to visitors as they walk through the door were to not touch anything until their hands have been washed for 20 seconds and then sprayed with hand disinfectant.
    • Some people stayed away.  There were some friends who we didn’t see for many months and I am so grateful they didn’t take it personally xx

    So, it’s all feeling very familiar right now…

    I gained so many lessons during our time in NICU (there’s a book in there somewhere!) but I have a sense that for many of us who lived this journey, we were a little more prepared for what everyone is going through now… staying safe during the Corona Virus Pandemic.

    I am vigilant about maintaining our ‘bubble’, and some might think I’m paranoid, but having held my child while on a ventilator before, I will do everything in my power to prevent him from being hospitalised – especially without me alongside to comfort him.

    So a gentle reminder that no matter how we are responding to being at home, it’s okay. We are all doing the best we can, for now. Before we judge another person, perhaps remember we never know their full story.

    What has happened in your life to prepare you for today?

    I would love to hear… 😊

    Best wishes

    P.S: Please stay safe. Take care of yourselves and those within your circle of influence… taking care of each other is critical right now xx
    PPS: In case you’re wondering, we’re doing okay in our bubble 😊