Greek thought leader Dr Nancy Mallerou shares her secrets on how anyone can find their happiness, even in a post-Covid world.
In the current climate of widespread international uncertainty and instability induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, acclaimed coach, motivational speaker, university professor and media personality Dr Nancy Mallerou sets out to prove that life strategy skills can be more useful to the community than ever.
Celebrated with the “Iconic Women Creating a Better World for All” prize by the Women Economic Forum in March 2020, the Greek pioneering life, business and executive coach says she has noticed a moral uplifting of Greek society amidst the pandemic crisis.
With more people turning to entrepreneurship and the quest of additional sources of income for financial security than previously, Dr Mallerou shares her tried and tested tips for self-confidence, which she contends to be the source of all success in life.
From self-coaching to group seminars and workshops, life improvement starts the moment that one seeks to become happier and make progress, she says.
– Dr Mallerou, how did you switch from a successful corporate marketing career to coaching? What triggered this career change which turned out to be your calling?
My story is just like that of any other person who keeps searching and passes from one thing to the other. It wasn’t planned. My career in marketing came a full circle and I decided I needed to do something else.
In the interim, I suffered a clinical burnout which was very pivotal. That was the moment when I realized that I would have to handle my life differently, maybe even change profession, which is what I ended up doing.
I went back to school at 34 to study coaching, for two reasons. First, because it was helping me at that moment in life, and second, because I saw it as an exceptional business opportunity.
Once I discovered what it was, I was sure that there would be a demand for this. I also felt that this was for me. It was something I had always done for my colleagues and my friends, even without knowing the techniques or what it was called.
– During the past year, the Covid-19 pandemic forced most people’s short- and long-term plans into collapse. Would you agree that adaptability is a necessary life skill, today more than ever?
Humankind has proved that we can indeed adapt. Over time, we haven’t survived as a species because we are the cleverest, but because we are the most adaptable.
It has been particularly difficult this year, but we have managed. I was impressed at how quickly we adapted to things that we would have never imagined, even in the public sector.
Certainly, things are not the way they used to be, and I am not sure whether they will ever go back to that, but I admire the flexibility that people demonstrated; their mental and physical endurance; the extent to which they came together in order to help each other.
– So you noticed behaviors change towards more solidary and tolerant rather than towards more suspicious and erratic?
I am sure that both exist, but I tend to see the former. It might be my job conditioning, only seeing the things which I want to align with, and because I speak with people who are on the same wave length as me.
So, I saw solidarity. For instance, the coordinated applause for health professionals from our balconies. This is something that has stayed with me, how we suddenly united to applaud people who we had never noticed before.
And now, during the festive period, noticing that charity still exists, even though charity galas and bazaars are banned. I was a bit concerned that charity response would drop since those occasions would not be taking place.
On the contrary though, people have been using social media to still gather help for those in need. Although we might be at an emotional low, we have been morally uplifted.
– Does this apply to collective thinking too?
It is true that collective misery can be present, but that is not my “tribe” of people. There is also a collective drive, apart from that misery, and there is a will to improve, to go further, to do something bigger.
I now notice more emulation than harsh competition. Like a boat that is stuck in mud and together we are pulling it out into clear waters.
Also internationally, although I don’t have a full picture in the same way as I do for Greece, I feel that people are more easily mobilized.
– What is the commonest problem that your coachees seek help for?
People’s problems are numerically very limited, although there are many hues to them. They are related to their relationship with themselves, with others, with their jobs and their development, their self-rule.
That is, if they want to be happy and to make progress, which is not something that is true of everybody. The people that it does apply to, will seek coaching.
And it always has to do with our self-confidence, our self-image, our faith in ourselves. A big part of it this past year is entrepreneurship, either starting something new or expanding what we have and generating more income.
I have the impression that, 5 years ago, these things concerned fewer people. Now, as insecurity grows, more people seek new sources of income and become mobilized in this direction.
Τhat requires a change in mindset, courage, specific knowledge, and self-confidence. It all comes down to how much you believe in yourself and what you are willing to do. Consequently, this is the most usual problem, both for men and women.
– How can someone who has never had tried coaching, or who is currently not in a position to pay for it, help themselves?
There is plenty of knowledge and inspiration available out there. My mission is to offer value.
If someone wants to follow what I do, I have my podcast, Kalytera Ginetai (It Can Get Better) on Spotify. My YouTube channel, which has 60000 subscribers and 5 million views, offers a new video every week.
I also do live broadcasts on Instagram and Facebook which remain available as content. So there are actually hundreds of free episodes to watch, addressing topics that followers have asked us to analyze.
Another great tool for self-coaching is my full year diary, issued for the 8th year in a row. It is a hybrid personal diary, with reading and exercises, for writing down not what we have to do, but what we want to do.
In that way, we will watch our “wants” progress day by day, week by week. There are also texts to read with a different topic each month, which help us improve our lives within the space of one year, if we dedicate 4 weeks to each of these topics. We will notice a big improvement, easier than we thought.
And you can act as your own coach. Access the knowledge, apply it through exercises, write down something more, dedicate time to yourself, be more mindful. That’s the essence of coaching, only without a coach.
On top of all this, once a year, I run a big seminar, also in its 8th year now. It is free to attend, and we used to run it at a 500-capacity venue in Athens.
Pre-pandemic, we switched to online for the first time, to give access to people who couldn’t travel to be with us, and then we reached a thousand attendees.
This year, under the new circumstances, we ran it online again, and it became the biggest Zoom meeting that ever happened in Greece, with 3500 attendees. It was mind-blowing!
– How about business coaching, which is a big part of what you do?
During the pandemic, we created the Business Bootcamp. It is an 8-week online course, over which time I become the coachees’ mentor on how they can start something new or improve what they already have. Increase their sales, their clientele, and do their marketing differently.
They have access to a content of over 40 pre-recorded videos and a huge workbook, plus I am with them once a week. Our feedback says that the investment pays back within 4 weeks, which makes me exceptionally happy.
Next week, however, I am offering a free 10-day Business Bootcamp, running from 11-20 January, for those who wish to have a dynamic start to 2021. It will be in Greek, and everyone can register.
– Since you are multilingual, have you thought of making your content available in other languages?
I have, and I must admit there is a certain charm in the idea of bigger audiences.
But I feel more connected to Greeks in recent times -and by Greeks I mean both the Greek-speaking residents of Greece, and the Greeks abroad -who I have a great fondness for, because I understand how they miss Greece and their language while they are away.
So for the next couple of years I will be focusing on Greek content -I can’t really comment on later on.
– What do you believe that things will be like in a year from today?
I believe that we will have got over a lot of obstacles.
We will be celebrating with our loved ones, and we will have partly recovered from the financial cost of this phase, but I think we will still be cautiously trying to map out our path.
On the other hand, we will have greatly advanced and learnt much – as we already have since March, when all this started.
We have learnt much about ourselves, the world, and our jobs, and we have acquired new skills, so I think that we will be much wiser and definitely better prepared.
Most of all, we will have learnt one thing; to never take anything for granted. We will have the ability to do more things, but also to better appreciate them.