President – Peta-lyn Foot

I would like to introduce myself as the Ladies Circle South Africa National President.

When I was asked to introduce who I am, it got me thinking on how I should put myself forward versus who I really am.

For so many of us we are always trying to put our “best” foot forward and on some level be what we think we are expected to be. I know I certainly have been one of those people in the past but over the past few years I have tried to be more myself unfortunately not always with the results expected of me. It has sometimes put me in a situation where I start to question not only myself but what I am doing and for whom. This is something I am sure each and every one of us has,  at some point in our lives experienced.

The one thing I have learnt over the years is never to live in regret and never to look back saying what if, no matter what the consequences. We all make decisions in the moment believing that they are the best decisions at the time. Regardless of what happens later we live with the consequences yet still enjoy every moment of the decision…and for me that is what life should be about.

I have had numerous challenges over the years, a number of them that have set me back and I always “kick” myself in the end of how I let them affect who I really am.

So getting to the point of all of this… Who am I really???

I am 43 years of age born and raised in Johannesburg. I had the privilege of going to a really good all-girls school which I loved. It was an environment where we were pushed to be the best we could be whether we were a part of a sports / drama team or not, whether we were average or not, we were always encouraged to be whom we were. From there I went to WITS University where I obtained an Honours degree in Occupational Therapy. Since then I have worked at a couple of different hospitals working in the field of Psychiatry, eventually moving into my own practice. I am currently working and running my private practice whilst doing work for a Private Psychiatric Clinic. I have over the years specialized in Addictions and recently moved into Eating Disorders. This often scares people away as they are intimidated not only because I manage these units but they believe I may judge them but also because of working in these situations I have developed very strong boundaries.

I am actually at heart very “soft and sensitive”. It is very easy in my profession to build up boundaries that keep people at bay (only as a necessary protection) but in actual fact I take a lot to heart. As a result I love my alone time….time to do the things I enjoy but being around people is what really drives me.

I have an amazing group of friends that I feel like I have known my whole life (some actually) and spending time together really rejuvenates my soul.

The other thing that I live for is the bush. Spending time in the bush gives me back so much more than time at the beach or any other place. It really is my happy place. It is a place where I do not have to think, where I can lose but gain myself. Quiet time away from the humdrum of everyday and just let go.

As I am sure you have gathered by now I have become quite an independent person. Having said that I have really found my Heart in Ladies Circle. Within Ladies Circle I have found a family. I have been involved in Ladies Circle since 2007 and over the past 11 years have had the privilege to meet some amazing people,(some of whom I am privileged to call family). The people I refer to are not only those directly involved in Circle but the people I have met along the way through our Charity Projects and fundraisers. The feeling you get when you meet these people has just been something that is really heard to describe. Ladies Circle for me is about giving back. I have always wanted to give back and when a friend of mine introduced me to Ladies Circle I found the space I could make a difference in a bigger way than I ever thought I could.

No matter how big or small, everything we do as Ladies Circle is important. There is such a need in South Africa, and more and more through Ladies Circle I am seeing it. The fact that each one of us is prepared to start somewhere shows how much we are willing to try make a difference. For me it is all about heart and the magic we are prepared to share in whatever works.

I can talk all day about Ladies Circle, what we do and how it drives us but the reality is we are who are and life goes on.

We are all constantly faced with life and the challenges that it brings us. So often we feel let down by life but the one thing this year has taught me is that despite the challenges and no matter what happens we are connected and there is always support. Through Lades Circle I have found a strength, hope and magic that is hard to describe.

It is because of all of this I have chosen my motto for my Presidential year to be…”Embrace Your Magic”!

What does “Embrace Your Magic” really mean??

It means … we all have potential, it means that no matter the obstacles we all have something to offer, it means we all have something “magic” within us, and that the potential can be endless. With the MAGIC we have, we all can do anything.

All we need is a willingness, a hope, a belief and a drive to find something positive that will keep us moving forward. No matter how small it all means something.

So… Lets find the MAGIC!!! And EMBRACE IT!!!

Yours in Circle