I want to leave my children a legacy they are proud of
By Nika Jazaee
Penelope Magoulianiti is an author and entrepreneur based in Cyprus, running two businesses. In order to keep sharing her ideas and create positive discussions, she created workshops and is giving many talks. Penelope is also one of the co-founders of YinAlithea Cyprus Women’s Conference, as well as the creator of online programmes.
One of your mottos is “Don’t be afraid to dream. Dare to work on your dreams and just take action.” Can you tell me about your dreams as a young girl?
As a young girl, I grew up wanting to become a teacher. I remember having my brother and two nieces sitting in front of a “teaching” board while I was delivering the lesson of the day. It was my big dream and when I’ve finally managed to achieve it by passing the exams and gaining a position in the university, I decided to become a banker instead! When I was 15 years old my family went bankrupt. My parents couldn’t afford to send me to the university so I decided to start working at a bank while working a second job during the evenings and studying at the same time. I got my degree in BSc Finance from the University of Manchester after doing this for eight years. I’ve never regretted following this root, because this is what made me become who I am today. And if you think about it, I have become a teacher; a personal development one and I am really enjoying it.
Why did you write the book “Women, Motherhood and Independence”?
When I became a mother for the first time in 2007 I used to live and work in London. Both our families, my husband’s and mine, were based in Cyprus, Greece and Cape Town. We were on our own, with no help at all. After giving birth, I’ve been struggling to adjust to my new life. I loved my child and I was so grateful but at the same time I wanted to go back to my career. It was like having two Penelope’s fighting with each other. The first couple of months I had what they called the ‘baby blues’ and it wasn’t until a nurse visiting me at home to make sure that everything was okay after the birth, asked me if I was considering committing suicide. In that moment, I understood in what bad mental shape I was driving myself into.
My child was restless, my relationship with my husband was deteriorating and I had “lost” my true self. I was becoming insecure, looking for re-assurance in everything I did. Up until that moment I hadn’t realised it, but after that conversation changing was a must. So, I’ve started doing the things I loved to do before motherhood; going for long walks, reading and listening to motivational speakers, going out and making new friends . . . the only difference was that I was doing all this with my child.
I wanted to share what I’ve learned with other women because all of us, at some point, may have found ourselves feeling lost, disappointed, frustrated about working for other people’s agendas and not ours, not feeling and believing we are good enough or simply taken for granted.
The book came six years after, when I had decided to resign from the bank where I was working and take full responsibility for my career and my dreams. For six years, I’ve been implementing the things I am talking about in the book and it helped me tremendously to create a balance that was right for me. I wanted to share what I’ve learned with other women because all of us, at some point, may have found ourselves feeling lost, disappointed, frustrated about working for other people’s agendas and not ours, not feeling and believing we are good enough or simply taken for granted. I felt this way for many years and it doesn’t have to be this way.
Tell us more about your work and what makes you passionate about it?
My mission is to empower women to step up, follow their dreams and create success based on their own terms. Life is too short and has an expiry date. Living each day as it comes is not the solution in feeling happy and fulfilled. We need to get in charge of our life and we need to stop relying on others to makes us happy. Talking about these subjects gives me great joy because not only does it give me the opportunity to share with my fellow women of what I have learned all these years, but I also want to be the best example I can be for my two children.
My mission is to empower women to step up, follow their dreams and create success based on their own terms.
I want to leave them a legacy that they are proud of, I want to teach them to follow their dreams no matter what happens. Never give up with the first obstacle, or with the first failure. I want to teach them to live life fully because at the end of the day, what really makes us happy isn’t the amount of money that we have in the bank but the experiences and the journey for achieving the things we desire in life.
How do you manage to create quality time with your family and balance it with your work life?
With focus, determination and good co-operation with my husband. Currently I am running two businesses; my entrepreneurial business and I am also the co-owner of Floral Image Cyprus. Having two young children, pursuing a career while devoting time on your relationship can be very tiring at times. I’ve structured my days in such a way that I can work for the things that I truly enjoy and spending time with my loved ones at the same time. It is easier when you can control your own agenda. To structure your day in such a way that it gives you flexibility and joy. The secret in all this, is to enjoy what you do. Structuring your day, staying focused on things that truly matter, cutting out the distractions, identifying the things you need to do to achieve the outcomes you want, are some of the strategies I am using daily. But I am also making sure that I have time to relax and re-charge. Working non-stop, paying no attention to our health, devoting no time to breathe and take in our surroundings makes us stressed and overwhelmed. When our mind is relaxed, when our body is rested, when our soul is at peace, we can achieve far more than running around 24/7. I have ‘working days’ and I have ‘rest days’, I also have date nights with my husband and I am also making sure that I have time with my kids. There are days that I may have to work more, especially when I am running a conference or I am organising a seminar, but I always make sure that after that I will have time to rest and spend it with my family and friends.
What does the future hold for you Penelope?
My dream is to influence one million women to follow their dreams and create the life they truly desire. For this reason, I have many plans and products in the pipeline. My book, Women, Motherhood & Independence, is translated into three languages (English, Greek and Spanish) and I am also in the process of gathering material for my second book which I have a goal of publishing by the end of this year. I have also created an online product called 21-Day Transformation
Program for a Balanced Life, where I am sharing techniques and
principles that I am using so we can create the right balance in our
lives while working towards achieving what we truly desire.
I am also running workshops in Cyprus where I work with a small group
of women each time to help them identify any obstacles that are holding
them back and dare to desire a better life for them and their loved ones.
My Mojo is to Dream Boldly, to Dare Courageously and to Do Passionately. I help women who are working with me to Dare to see their life differently, to Dare to take the next step, to Dare to recognise how precious and unique they are and to Dare to do something extraordinary, not just for themselves but for the people they truly love as well.