This is my Cyprus story.
“This is in large part dedicated to all my clients. You know who you are.”
I am South African in that it was the country that I was raised in.
I am Greek because this is the nationality of my mother. And I am Cypriot for this is the nationality of my father.
Prior to moving to Cyprus eleven years ago, I lived in a country where resilience was a trait that seemed innate to most people living there.
A remarkably profound place. Despite the factors that work against it most of the time, there is a pervasive sense of positivity that breeds amongst it’s citizens.
And this has relevance to this story that I write now.
You see, my move to Cyprus was not simply a physical relocation, it was a cultural transition that had an enormous impact on me.
I was raised Greek-Cypriot but I am inherently South African and from this multi-cultural upbringing stemmed the character traits that shaped who I am today.
In my time here, I have learnt to adapt to the quintessential idiosyncracies of the way of life. So much so that I finally realised on my return from a trip to South Africa this January that coming back to Cyprus was coming home.
But together with this realisation came something else.
Not mine. No. It was this almost tangible depression that seemed to eminate from many people around me.
And it is with this being said that I come to the crux of my Cyprus story.
It actually starts back in 2013, approximately 2 months after one of our biggest banks collapsed that I, in my glass half full state of mind, decided that this was the perfect moment to resign from what was otherwise a great job.
I worked for an awesomely cool company. Had a boss – George – who gave me the world and who I still hold in the highest esteem today. A manageress who I consider having been a privelege to work under – Sophia – a woman with a massive heart of gold and a wealth of knowledge that she was too humble to show off. And two epic colleagues, Styliana and Ersi, with whom I would laugh (and cry) to the point of tears practically everyday.
But here’s the thing. I wasn’t happy.
I had a passion and it wasn’t my job. It was actually this absolute obsession to be a writer. To write. About anything. And everything.
I’m a creative soul you see, with this craving for continuoal change. And writing satisfies this craving. Being confined to an office however was stifling to the point of suffocation. And so I left.
Many around me thought I had gone mad. Nuts. Truth be said, they thought I was a lunatic. Because nobody in their right mind would resign from a sure job in a financial crisis – right?
Somebody did. Me.
You see, I decided that this was my time. You know why? Because there’s never a right time to pursue your dreams.
Crisis or not, I knew it was now or never. Literally.
And so my journey to where I am today began.
And it’s been a grand journey at that!
Along the way I have gotten to meet some incredible people. My clients. Cypriots. All of them. Amazing individuals who have served as my inspiration and motivation to continue to do what I do. Because of their drive, their ambition – despite the economy.
Everyday I encounter more and more people who have this drive to succeed – in Cyprus. They are passionate about the idea that opportunity exists, even in (financial) crisis.
They are not bogged down by the political landscape that seems to push society as a whole into further despair.
No. They have a vision that sees Cyprus getting itself out of the slump it is in and becoming a kick ass hub where everything and anything is possible.
They arrange conferences, summits, events, to impart the knowledge and skills that they possess to everyone they can reach.
And without even realising it they are teaching a very valuable lesson which is easily understood in the words of Bill Walsh – “find something in your life that you’re great at and you love to do that serves a lot of people – that’s the holy grail of business”.
They want to see Cyprus succeed.
And these people – my clients – they are taking this want and putting a plan into action. Through their own actions.
They have opened my eyes and allowed me to gain an insight that I didn’t think possible.
Success is achievable by everyone. Because it’s a subjective achievement. My version of success may not be yours. But by attaining the goals I have set for myself, I have succeeded.
You just need to find your sense of hope.
The highest cost to a country today is not financial investment in technology as some like to believe. It’s the cost of its people losing hope.
Because with loss of hope comes this slippery mudslide that leads to a dark pit of misery. And when darkness is all one sees, how in the hell can you convince them that there is hope?
So I’m here begging you to open your eyes and actually see.
See that Cyprus is not going to sink if we all transform as a people.
We just need a shift in mindset. One that moves on from banging about what’s happened to get us where we are today – we know why. We need a new mindset that has as it’s pinnacle focus the ‘want’ to move forward.
Cypriots may be alot of things people but judging from all of those who I work with (and for) today, well, let me say I’m freaking blessed to be associated with them.
Because these are the people you need to be surrounded by. The ‘glass overflowing’ kind of people. Those who refuse to be kicked down or made to believe that our country can’t pick itself up again.
We just need to remind ourselves that with a little hope comes courage. With courage comes drive. And with drive comes the success stories that I know are just dying to be achieved.