You may know her as the twenty-five-year-old Aussie who chases down the world’s best nooks and crannies of the world, or you might just know her as a barefoot triple threat; Andy Kovszun is a writer, certified yoga instructor and Sydney-based model. Her feel-good blog “No Shoes No Worries” is dedicated to inspiring women to tap into their strength, bravery and sense of adventure. Get an inside look on how this member of our SG fam views and practices gratitude on a day-to-day basis.
You wrote one of our favorite blog posts of the year, touching upon the importance of taking a step back to appreciate the wonderful things we already have in our lives. How is your life different today than it was a year ago?
Wow – firstly, thank you! I really enjoyed telling that story. Secondly, so many things have beautifully evolved in the last year; I’ve grown as a person, as a business and as a yogi. My confidence, my assertiveness and my self-worth grew as well. I gradually have come into my own and made a statement that, “I am here, and here to stay.” I’m still slowly learning to get out of my own way but to still acknowledge all the hurdles and lessons it took for me to get to where I am. Whether it be the blog, writing or modeling, these are all things I do on my own terms and manage myself. I’m deeply passionate about everything I do and so have dedicated the time, resources and energy to each of them this year more than ever. If there’s something I want, I go out and get it. I know the value of hard work and understand that nothing will just be handed to me. I appreciate the work ethic I was brought up with. To answer your question, my life isn’t exactly any “different” I’ve just evolved and grown more into my own person and learnt to trust more in the process.
What insights are you grateful to have gained?
The beauty of being vulnerable. Being willing to share a part of yourself, away from the masks and personas; a simple, genuine heart felt discussion or shared moment. The ability to connect to people on a human level, to be able to share their stories, along with mine, in an all-inclusive community. I’ve recently opened up the blog to contributions where I encourage readers and followers of the No Shoes No Worries Community to share their stories and adventures, that I publish on the blog. It’s become this all-encompassing platform where people discover a passion for writing, traveling, yoga, photography… anything really! And they get to share it with the community. I am so incredibly grateful for every single soul that reads and visits. The messages I get of gratitude, inspiration and encouragement make all the work worth it. No money in the world could give me the sense of fulfillment I get when I read that I’ve inspired a young girl to start writing, traveling, a budding photographer to test his camera in the waters or an inflexible human to start yoga. It may not be changing the world, but I’m so incredibly grateful to have a platform that inspires people to change themselves.
What made you laugh or smile today?
A friend of mine told me a beautiful, personal story the other morning. Not to get into the details but at a time when she needed it most in her life, she was given a sign to let go, trust her instincts and let things unfold a little as they should. She’s a very dedicated, smart hard-worker. The universe tapped her on the shoulder and told her to chill out, and so she did. All for the better. Lastly, my housemates and boyfriend always find songs to play loudly around the house and have a dance to. We take regular dance breaks, always makes me smile.
What movie, blog, book or article affected your life for the better recently?
“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, is a book I read last year and it’s had a huge, huge impact on me. I love her concept on creativity and how the universe is always in play with us. Ideas are everywhere! They just float by and it’s up to us to grasp them and make them happen, or someone else will. Elizabeth has this incredible message that seems to have permeated my brain and ideas. It’s opened up a realm of possibilities for me, as a writer and blogger, and how I believe in every idea or thought that I get. A must-read!
My favorite blog has always been Goldfish Kiss. She’s just so real, I love how down-to-earth and DIY she is. She makes everyone feel like they can do it too, if they just put in the time and energy. Always makes my life better by reminding me that being relatable and being genuine are always the best formula.
What are you most grateful for?
The life I am so lucky to have in Sydney and the practice of yoga. I don’t know who or where I’d be without it, but I’d be a totally different person. Yoga has helped me so much in life, from being able to teach others and learning about myself. It’s the most beautiful gift I could have been given. It connects you not only to yourself, but to others. I don’t know how else to explain it, it’s just a shift in mindset and physical wellbeing that you wouldn’t get from anything else. No matter how crazy life gets, it always grounds me back to reality. It allows me to do the work, every time, and filter through all the bullsh*t. Whether I’m teaching or practicing, I always step out of the studio a better person then when I came in.
On another note, I’m also grateful for my lifestyle, my friends, the opportunities I am given. I know not everyone is able or has access to them. Even the fact that I have two legs to stretch! When you think about it, what an AMAZING gift! All these simple things are so singularly special, I never take them for granted. I’m grateful for the education I was provided, the experiences I’ve had that have shaped me into who I am today. Successes and failures.
Life has several ups and downs; how do you celebrate all the little successes in your life?
It’s all about celebrating the small wins! The big, large, whoop-di-whoop wins seldom happen. I’ve recently realized, especially with the blog, that success is a build-up of every little win you’ve had. Like building a house, one brick at a time. Celebrate the wins, however big or small! Stop and look back at how far you’ve come. We often don’t take the time to enjoy the view on the path we’re on, instead focusing on the final destination, that “view from the top” sensation. It’s a long way up, might want to consider a few pit-stops!
How can we be thankful for the challenges we’ve experienced?
I am so grateful for every single challenged I’ve experienced. The set-backs and challenges have taught me the most, they’ve helped me push my boundaries and grow. They are necessary in understanding and shaping your mental strengths and resilience. If everything were perfect, it would be really, really boring. I always think to myself “Never a failure, always a lesson” and move on from that.
Who do you appreciate and why?
In general terms, I always appreciate someone who recognizes that another person has done something for them or been there in their life at a time of need. I appreciate when people are present. I’m very big on gratitude, it’s the way my parents brought me up, to always say thank you, to acknowledge that someone has given you their time and consideration.
In a more specific way, I am grateful for my parents, they helped me morph into who I am today, they have supported me in every little way. I am grateful for the values they gave me. I appreciate my mentors, the few people who have been in my situation career-wise and have been able to guide me and advise me to the best of their knowledge.
My support network, the people in my life who truly matter and truly know me. I can count them on one hand, they know exactly who they are. I appreciate their unwavering faith in me, and the kick in the butt I get whenever I have a moment of doubt.
What’s your current mantra?
“I am open to creative ways of receiving abundance.” It’s a manifestation of sorts, which a friend gave to me a while ago, it’s always been my little reminder to sit back and understand that a lot of things are out of my control. Sometimes I say it out loud, sometimes I’ll just write it down, over and over again. Works every time, makes me feel calm! That, and “Fake it till you make it” has always been my go to, no matter how sticky a situation or challenging a moment, you just need confidence to rock it and get through it! Believe you can, and you will.
How do you practice gratitude in your day-to-day life? Any tips you find most helpful for someone looking to bring more gratitude into their lives?
I make sure to find beauty in the simplest of things. I live by the beach and I’m so grateful to be able to wake up and swim in the water or surf first thing in the morning. I become really mindful and observant of everything around me. The way the sun reflects off the ocean, the way the water feels on my skin. It’s pretty incredible, when you let it be. I get really happy about little things. Like a hot summers day or the fact that a friend comes to visit. That I’m healthy, and those around me are well. I think gratitude comes from noticing everything around you, what you already have, the people in your life, and seeing a little piece of good in every single one of them, however bad or dark it may seem at the time. Noticing and zooming in on the positive. Maybe you get to go to your weekly yoga class – how lucky are you to connect with yourself on a weekly basis, to have limbs to stretch? You’re stuck in traffic on the way to work – well, notice how you’ve got a job, and a car to get there! You can find gratitude in the fact that you love something enough to be passionate about it.
Whatever it is, there's always something to shine a light on.by Andy Kovszun