A lot of people sadly seem to say that beauty comes from inside an empty world. Others, more positive, argue that external beauty often comes from the soul. In the case of Maria Fotiadou, beauty and brilliance are evident externally but especially it is obvious that they arise from within her soul.
She comes from Thessaloniki and works as a Life Coach / Psychologist. Maria is Professor and Honorary Researcher at the University of Coventry. She studied and worked for years in Britain. She participated as the only Greek in the International Organization «This is Your Life Change» for people who want to make the society they live in and the world a better place.
Over 3,500 people from over 60 countries applied for a once in a lifetime opportunity to unleash their secret dream on Vorovoro, a remote 200 acre Island in Fiji. This number was then reduced to 50 semi-finalists who have been sharing their stories in local and international media, not to simply gain as many votes as they can but to gain support from their local communities, from business owners and from key influencers who could help them to achieve their goal, whether they make it to Fiji or not.
The response has been overwhelming with over 10,000 votes being cast from every corner of planet earth and now the decision of our Six Finalists have been made
Maria Fotiadou managed to be one of the 6 winners among 3526 applicants and 60 countries. In the group of six there are three Australians, one Briton, one American and our girl from Greece.
Let’ s see what she has to say….
I would really like to thank all of you so much for your worldwide support, enthusiasm and faith you had in me. All of it together was my support that I could finally make it. It's incredible how many messages I've received this time and I continue to receive every day.
Maria, tell us a few things about this Competition and the International Organization «This is Your Life Change».
I learned about the competition in early February. It was a difficult time for me and I was looking for new ways to work on my dream. The contest was organized by the Business & Life Coach Mark Bowness, from Liverpool and resident of Australia. The aim of the competition is to select six individuals who have a dream to make the world better through their work. They brought together over 3500 people from about 60 countries and I was first and happily selected among the 50 in the semifinal, and finally I managed to be one of the final six.
The 6 of us, 3 of the organizing group and 3 from the vote of the world, will go for 2 weeks on the island VoroVoro in Fiji, with Mark and his associates, Ryan Magdziarz, Businees Coach and Sofia Toumbas, Health & Business Coach. We will all work with the team intensively on our dream to make it successful.
So what is the dream of a Greek woman who manages to discern among so many others, and how could you in a better way be an ambassador of this idea all abroad and in the world?
I worked for about 10 years in the UK and I continue to work with people from most countries of the world, so my work and my thinking are based on principles and values concerning all people regardless of culture, religion or social and educational level. Moreover I think that cooperation and solidarity, the exchange of views and knowledge, the respect and love for our fellow man, are issues all around the world and can make positive changes alone.
So living in the last five years in Greece and experiencing changes in my country due to the economic crisis, I noticed that, along with the hope of anyone personally, began to weaken the strength and faith to his personal strengths. And for me personally, it was a huge change because I was accustomed to a completely different environment in England.
But I decided to see it as a challenge instead, to focus on solutions and to use my knowledge of the Positive Psychology, as one of my specialties. I wanted to create a page in Life Treasure Collector (www.ltcollector.com) where I collect positive stories, stories of strength, courage, optimism and love, reminding everyone individually what he has succeeded so far in spite of difficulties and urge others to do the same, do not give up because there is hope and limitless power.
The positive stories can change the world. Any type of energy transmitted, I pick through my job, I use it to focus on the positive and inspire the world. I have no reason to do otherwise. There are remarkable people among us that their stories can celebrate and inspire others. These stories do not want to be lost in any case. There are too many excellent people in our country that could be made unique examples worldwide.
Positive Psychology, Health and Positive Thinking are the sectors of your engaging. In this difficult times we are experiencing, some might say that this is simply a luxury. Would you like to tell us your opinion about that?
Focus for a long time only to the problem, instead of looking for solutions and put them into practice, is not constructive, let me say. It leaves us stationary and nourishes more negative thoughts and feelings such as hopelessness, helplessness, lack of hope. The Greeks are the first in depression in Europe and we still have lower levels of happiness. The science of Positive Psychology and Research has shown that individuals and societies that manage to overcome difficulties, whatever they may be, are those that maintain high levels of optimism.
This means that not only do they recognize the problem but they also bring different solutions to implement, maintain a sense of hope, believe in their own strengths, not frustrated, maintain positive emotions, associated with more clarity in thought and cooperate with others to best effect. They show perseverance and patience and know that they will overcome everything. Also respect, courtesy and honesty among people have been found to play an important role in most developed countries
We have two choices in life, one is to continue to think in the same way and continue to have the same results, and the other is to change our thinking, our behavior and learn new ways to handle problems. We build our dreams, instead of constantly talking only about what we lost and optimism. I think we deserve it and we can. Each change in society brings difficulties, especially when not wished themselves. But we have all the potential to succeed.
Your action refers to real stories that inspire people towards a better world. Would you like to share with us what made you the biggest impression?
All my stories have given strength and optimism. There are others more to be published. One of those that comes first to mind is Ilias Diamantis, who in the beginning of the crisis had to start again from scratch, because things in his job was not going well. He began to study people abroad who were already successful, to read, to make connections, to learn everything about his subject and to think outside the borders .
He managed in recent years not only to achieve more, but also extend to Athens and to build trust with people in Greece and abroad. Also stories of people with health problems that managed to become again strong, are stories that give me incredible strength and faith for what we can achieve.
What would you advise all young people who now, through all this, struggle to move on with their lives and want to make their dreams alive?
It is very important for you to choose to do what you really love. In order to succeed you need sometimes to make sacrifices, but our job will always be rewarded. Looking, learning, connecting with people who are successful in the area concerned, being ready to offer their best. Nobody and nothing can stop a person who makes big dreams, believe in the forces and tries constantly. And all the important changes come from people who believe and love what they do.
Your experience with other cultures and habits, other living conditions, are a lot and amazing, I suppose. In connection with all this, and in the sense of a universe that embraces, or at least ought to embrace the whole world, give us three words that will characterize Greece nowdays and other three words that you would like for Greece and for the Greeks.
3 words for Greece nowdays. I will dwell on the positives that come to my mind...
Three words that I would soon apply more to Greece and Greek
We would like to congratulate you once more and thank you for this warm conversation. We wish you all the best!
I would like to thank you as well and say to each one of you that what really counts in life is not how many times you fall but how many times you get up and go for your dream. When the flame in the hearts and dreams remain alive, everything is possible! Enough to keep the optimism and faith that we will succeed as long as you need! Dreaming and doing what you love!