I had the honor to attend the 4th Creative Women Conference in Cyprus as one of the speakers among the famous journalist Baria Alamuddin, actress Keira Chaplin, art expert Rebecca Riofrio and many other amazing women from all over the world. It was an amazing weekend filled with networking and creating synergies and new projects. I wanted to share with everyone reading my blog my motivational speech since I wanted to share my knowledge through personal experiences and pass the message that for us women ‘NO’ is never the right answer!
Enjoy reading and if you wish, press on the link to watch the video that my friend Maria Levina took while I was kind of performing while kind of giving a speech! Who say’s you cannot do both?!
“Who the heck is she? Well, someone worth knowing! Someone who has something to say! Someone who believes in creative women and empowering women around the globe. Someone who if she collected a penny after every NO she got in her life she would probably be a millionaire by now.
Someone who takes no as an answer and shoves it in the bin because she responds to that ‘Sky is the limit and I am gonna make it happen!’
That is what I said the first time I was not chosen to participate in the ritual for igniting the Olympic Flame of 2000 for the Olympics of Sydney! I cried so hard, I was only 20! But I did not give up! I went to my choreographer – who had already worked with Maria Callas and all the famous actresses of Greece. I was studying acting at the National Theatre of Greece back then. So I went to Mrs. Maria Hors and I told her ‘I am going to be in the next ritual and you are going to make me an Olympic Priestess because you know I have what it takes!’
What did it take? Passion, love for Greece, devotion, dedication, being able to practice for more than 10 hours daily outdoors in Ancient Olympia in rain, hail, frost or heat… listening to the drum… listening to the counting again and again… waking up at 5 a.m to go to make up, to have your hair pulled out to make it into a nice bun…and to go out there in front of the entire world to light the Olympic Flame… and before that to hear every single time ‘Priestesses get ready to lift Greece on your shoulders… once again!’
And we did… do every single time!
And every time that cloudy cold sky moves its clouds away and allows the sunrays to come out and light the Olympic Torch! This is one of the most important things I have done in my life, after giving birth to my son in 2011. If I sat down and cried … I would still be crying and I would not write history for me and my country as the only Olympic Priestess from Cyprus ever.
‘I want you to be able to sit on a table with important people and have the freedom and the knowledge to speak from politics, to culture, to sports to whatever ingredient made that recipe successful… and I want you to promise me that you will see the world…’
Who puts the limits anyway? Nobody but us!
Yeah dad, I have seen pretty much a lot of the world because of my job… jobs…
As an actress I do travel to perform around the world! And I am so proud about this …(pulls out the United Solo prize) well… I did not actually get to frame it… yet… you know I was so busy… ok ok, its not my thing! Mom loves framing stuff! But on the way to New York, I told my director ‘I am going to New York to win United Solo and I am getting that prize back to my country! And I did! Melina: The Last Greek Goddess was awarded the Best International One-Woman Show 2018. This year I am going back, this year I am going back as Maria Callas! Do you know how many people discouraged us from taking part in the world’s largest monodrama festival? Well, let’s say that if we all count our fingers in this room, including toe fingers we would still need some more! ‘Where will you find the money? It’s Broadway for Christ’s sake? Who do you think you are? You are on TV already isn’t that enough?’ NO IT IS NEVER ENOUGH! I WANT MORE! YOU WANT MORE! YOU WANT THE SKY AND THE WHOLE UNIVERSE BECAUSE WE DESERVE TO HAVE IT ALL!
What I am trying to say is this… Nobody can put limits but us! I had a beautiful tv career as the 8 o’clock newscaster on national tv! I was dating the hot cute guy who was my colleague and we had the house, the kids – well his kids- I was 26 and a stepmom, I was a cool stepmom, not a Cinderella kind of stepmom. And the owner of the tv channel was dreaming about the wedding of the year when I … left! Yes that’s right! I left for USA to fulfil my dream… my ‘Sky is the limit, make it happen’. I was choking as many of you probably felt many many times and I sat down and thought… spoke to the people I loved and I took that audition, nailed it, took the part and travelled in 17 states in USA performing. It was a year that was all about ME! Finding me! A YEAR I WILL NEVER FORGET!
Oh, what happened to the guy? Well, he proposed before I left, in such a romantic way… and three months after – I was in Houston Texas, he got engaged to the love of his life! At least he had the honesty to call me and tell me how happy he was! When we arrived in Portland my suitcase decided to go missing in Atlanta for 2 days! It was the perfect opportunity to stay in, order room service and cry my heart out! After that I was fine! I went on stage and performed like a pro!
Things happen all the time! Things and people who will mess up our schedule nevertheless our lives! But out of every situation we need to find the positive and make sense as crazy as it might look!
Pay attention to that little voice inside you! She is right you know most of the times! As much I tried to ignore mine when she was warning me about my ex… well that is why he is my ex nowadays!
You did the maths, you started your career, you had your dream wedding or dream divorce or whatever but one thing you should not do is get ‘stuck’! Do not get into those comfortable shoes by Aldo and sprint in the hallways of your work. Wear those Louboutin stilettos and ran a marathon with a smile and an impeccable hairdo!
Because this is who we are! We were born to create, we were born to fight, to evolve and expand our horizons thus it is in our hands to make this world a better place… ok now I feel like a UN peacekeeping ambassador.
Read… study… take another course if you have to! If you feel that you want to do more! You cannot imagine how many opportunities are out there waiting for us! Not to mention how many scholarships that you could be eligible… that is how I did my Masters in International Relations and my Diploma in Law. Knowledge is a great weapon and it makes your smile even brighter when you go ‘Yeah, based on article such of paragraph such in the United Nations Chart of Human Rights… I believe…’ and you have heads turning! Be aware of yourself! Be aware of your own beauty, of your own body, of your own aura! You came to this world to serve a cause! You are here today for a reason! Make heads turn for all the right reasons and leave the best of impressions every time you depart from an event.
Take care of your body, mind and soul… when these three are working together like a well-oiled machine then nothing can stop you… except from an annoying cold like mine which can cause you a lot of sneezing!
I am sure most of you here always get the – now annoying question – ‘How do you do it? How are you on top of everything and you are in such a good shape?’
Well first of all I am not on top of everything! Don’t make me share with you when I actually dated someone!
But now…most of the times we are on top…literally and metaphorically speaking!
Maybe it is because I want to be the best of me in every aspect and especially for my career and in the correct weight?
Or maybe because I have made it a ritual to get up at 5 a.m every morning, workout for 50 minutes, hit the shower, have my coffee, prepare my son’s lunch box, wake him up, get ready and hit the road Jack, actually his name is Constantinos.
Having rituals in our lives is something I would advise. These rituals, either they involve workouts, food or meditation are important because they keep us on good balance… because they are the ones that will help you stand out from the crowd. Yes, you will occasionally miss a few parties or stay up all night if you child has a fever but the next morning, you will nail that presentation and you will shake hands for that collaboration even though you might have sneezed five times in a row or have some Calpol left on your sleeve! You will go out there and make it happen! The sky is right there and it is absolutely yours!
‘Always choose friends who are better than you, more successful than you because in that way you have more to learn…’ yeah that was my dad again… well for a sailor he is a wise man I have to say!
Be inspired by the people you admire! Lead by example and set your own path to be an inspiration to follow! Enjoy the journey not just the destination! Be open and kind to people! Remember to show your gratitude because it pays off trust me! Never forget who you are and where you started from because there will always be someone in a meeting, remembering the time that they lent you their jeans to go to a party, even if you are now driving a bloody Lamborghini. Use your stories and empower other women to break limits and walls that others or themselves put so as to be able to say ‘Sky is the limit, make it happen’.
And we will be around to help, to push, to change the flat tires on the way to see it and make it happen! In a world that is evolving constantly and the decision makers are mostly men, we need to be the architects who will promote the ideas and make them happen, because the future is in our hands and we need to realize this. I know men have realized it already and that is why they are panicking! Do you all think that all of the sudden they became way too sensitive? Ok, this is a discussion for another time!
At the end of the day I want to say that I am very proud that I am here, among all of you talented and creative women! Remember that when that curtain comes down and you hear the applause you will know that the audience is applauding for you… because you left something behind in their hearts… a piece of you that they will always remember and it will make them smile and feel like their own life has changed for the better.
Dare to be that person who puts in action ‘Sky is the limit… make it happen…’ and let me add to this, for those who might still be in doubt:
‘I can. I will. Watch me!!’
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