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The real truth about what I stand for and why you should adopt these principles too

Gabi Anderson-Courtney in corridor

(Or discover your own passion and stick to your own rules. Because if you have rules, you can always break them.)

Have you ever heard the word slashie? Yeah, neither did I till I attended an induction for a large international hotel chain around 2018, where they explained that we are all slashies; we are more than just our job, or relationship status, or pronouns; we are many things in crazy complexity.

So, they jumped around the room, with probably over a hundred people there and kept asking, who are you, who are you? You had to be quick on your feet when they put you on the spot like that. All answers were different, but similar. People quoted things such as wife, husband, mother, their job title, their hobbies (dancer, wannabe cake maker, etc.) and then the finger pointed at me, and I said, I’m the fucker in charge.

It wasn’t entirely untrue, as I ran the HR department for two large hotels. And the room erupted with laughter. And this is why I am still in touch with the top end running this hotel chain in Australia. I have never spoken to my direct boss after I left, or anyone else, but I keep in touch with the top guns. Because this is exactly who I am. The Fucker in Charge.

blonde woman at an event
Straight after I proclaimed to be the the fucker-in-charge

But of course, I am a lot more than just that. And so are you. So, who am I? And more importantly, who are you?

The quickest, shortest, and easiest way to round this up, is to have a look at your bio on any social media channel. Mine pretty much all says the same; CEO, Company Director, Writer, Wife, Mother (Travel, Events, Lifestyle). And fucker in charge (not quoted on social media for obvious reasons).

So, this got me thinking. Am I really what I’m passionate about? What defines me every single day?  

Besides being a CEO and a company director, I am a writer, I wrote numerous magazine articles, and I am in the process or writing a book. I’m a wife to my husband, which is very important to me, as in his life, I’m the first one ever who was worthy of this title.

But I’m also an ex-wife to my ex-husband, which also matters to me, because we are on good terms, and I value what we had, but also what we have now. I’m also a mother to an amazing daughter and this is probably the title I am most proud of. She is the fire to my soul every single day.

But hang on, I’m also a friend to some fantastic people, a blogger, a travel obsessed wanderer, a luxury lifestyle junkie, an events enthusiast, and a general pain in the ass, if you ask most people. The causes that are so important to me are animal rights and children’s rights (at one point I worked in the child safety space, and let me tell you, some things you see, you cannot unsee. Some things do break your heart.) So, we are still not defining who we really are, and the list is getting longer.

And then I thought, hang on, isn’t it our principles that dictate who we really are? Now we are getting somewhere! So, I got a piece of paper, and I wrote down what I stand for, and what I stand against. I will share my list with you, just so it’s easier to make your own. So go and grab that piece of paper and a pen, and let’s find out who you really are.


1.       Being authentic and not comparing myself to anyone, except who I was yesterday. You are unique, not like anyone else. Why don’t you build on your own strength and special qualities instead of trying to be like anyone else? That is never a battle that you can win. Build on your own uniqueness, inside and out. I have a strong accent, but I never tried to get rid of it, it’s part of what makes me special. (I bet you just heard me say ‘I’ll be back’ in your head.) I used to be a model in my early twenties and lived in Italy and the UK in the late 80s and early 90s shuffling my butt on the catwalk and in photo shoots, but I’m not on the super skinny side anymore, and I’m totally ok with that. Nowadays I value a pizza and a glass of wine more, and I stopped caring what anyone else thinks on how I should look. Isn’t it time to embrace your own uniqueness?


2.       Quality over quantity. This is simply not up for debate. You get what you pay for. Putting shit on the shelf will not make it jam. And stop hording. Do you really need that 23rd KMart shirt? Elegance is simple, quiet, and understated. Luxury is having the best you can afford and knowing that it will last a long time. It’s the best or nothing.


Louis Vuitton bag

3.       Exclusivity. Don’t let everyone has access to you. I have learned this a long time ago. I have a small circle of friends, but we are very close. We talk all the time. If one of them would call me in the middle of the night to say that she needs to bury a dead body, I would be in my car with a shovel without asking any questions. These friendships are special and I’m currently not taking any more applications for anyone to be in this circle. Of course, I know a lot of people, but knowing, or even getting together sometimes is not the same as your ride or die crew. Keep this in mind.


4.       Self-confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself, who can believe in you? Ok, I admit, I never had an issue with confidence, but I can fully appreciate that not everyone is like me. You are awesome. You have to believe in yourself. No one is coming to save you. You are the hero. When you believe in yourself, you are halfway there.


Gabi Anderson-Courtney in Cairo
18 year old me in Cairo trying to be Indiana Jones

5.       Finding my passion because it’s never too late. I had a lot of career changes in my life, tried a lot of things, some worked out and some didn’t, but I don’t regret any of them. Can you believe that I went to Egypt at 18 to become an archaeologist?  It didn’t work out, but I had a hell of a great time finding out that it’s not my calling. So, I’m one great adventure richer and will always remember what a great time I had there. A friend of mine and I embarked on our latest adventure and founded a company in 2022, when I was 53. Some might say it’s too late, but we are just getting started! Your age only matters if you are wine or cheese. Otherwise, just go for it.


6.       Having fun because life is too short not to. One of the last jobs that I have ever held before running my own company, I quit because my boss was drilling me at my performance review. Don’t misunderstand me, I was the best he ever had, but he was old and crusty and looked like he hasn’t had any enjoyment since 1725. I told him that I’m not having fun anymore and he looked like he swallowed a cactus sideways. I don’t think anyone has ever dared to say anything like that to him. He asked if this is what it was all about, fun? And I said of course, what else? Needless to say, I quit. So, if you are not having fun doing it, don’t do it or find another way. Life is too short for unhappy nonsense and regrets later on.


7.       Making myself a priority. Let me put this into perspective for you. If you don’t make yourself a priority, you will keep doing things for others and then you will burn out. If you burn out, you are no good to anyone. See my point? To be able to do things for others, you have to look after yourself first. Being selfish is not a negative trait. You have to learn to say no and do what’s best for you. Repeat after me: No, sorry, I can’t do that for you, I’m busy. If they pressure you, just repeat that you are unable to do it, and if they still don’t give up, simply don’t reply and let the silence speak. (Trust me, people get very uncomfortable with silence, it is one of my secret weapons.)


8.       Forgiving myself, no matter what. We all mess up sometimes. And even if others don’t forgive you, you have to forgive yourself. If you don’t, it will just keep drawing you back to that hopeless, sad feeling, wishing you would have chosen a different alternative. But all this is in the past and you cannot change the past. The only thing you can do is forgive yourself and move on.

women having fun


1.       Taking myself too seriously. Hey, none of us getting out of here alive, so start having some fun. If not now, then when? Learn to laugh at the ridiculous. Learn to see the funny side of everything. Because trust me, there is a funny side most of the time. I take the mickey out of myself most before anyone else. My husband says I’m the funniest person he has ever met and trust me, I see his point. Because at my age, we don’t care. It’s not my fault if I just speak the truth and he finds that funny..


2.       People who are users. These one-sided relationships must be terminated immediately. If you feel that you are getting nothing out of a relationship, but giving everything, it is time to say goodbye. I used to see a licence plate around that read ‘HISCASH’ or something similar, and it made me cringe every time I saw it. It only told me that this woman is pathetic, cannot make her own money, or doesn’t want to, and either using her partner as an ATM machine or took his money when they split up. How pitiful, no matter what the circumstances are. People as such generally like to demand respect, because they get none, not remembering that respect is earned, and if you have to demand it, you don’t deserve it.


3.       Trying to control anyone. It simply doesn’t work. You need to know that you cannot control other people. People will always do what they want to do, but if you disapprove, they will just do it without your knowledge, it’s simple as that. So, stop trying to run anyone else’s life and worry about your own. You cannot control what anyone does, you can only control how you react to it.


4.       Apologising a lot. Never ever apologise if it wasn’t your fault. Never apologise for other people. And don’t apologise if you don’t mean it. Hold your apologies only to the most deserving and only if it is really due. And there are many ways to apologise, it does not necessarily have to be a verbal apology. Also, there are people who mistake apologies for admission of guilt, so it’s best if you don’t. And as we know, guilt is the most useless emotion. You are feeling bad about something that happened in the past and you cannot change. So literally, you are just torturing yourself for no reason. Forgive yourself above all.


5.       Looking to the past too much. Learn from it, then move on. The past is where your lessons are, but you are not going that way. Dwelling on it too much and you will start thinking if you should have done thing differently and that leads to no good. You can’t go back and change the past, so move on and start thinking about the future instead.


Marleen Roch and Gabi Anderson-Courtney drinking cocktail
My friend Marleen and I after we both quit our jobs at the same company. Do we look like we care?

6.       Worrying about other people’s opinion. If you are reading this and you are still thinking about what others will say, you are in the wrong place. (By the way, what did they say?) Trust me, you will be a lot happier if you follow your own heart and instincts and don’t make any decisions on the basis on what others might say. Why are you even considering opinions from people you don’t know, you don’t care about, or you know that they don’t know the situation as you do? See my point? I only ask very selected opinions and only before major decisions, from only people in my most inner circle, and will be still very comfortable disregarding their advice if it doesn’t suit me.


7.       Hate. It’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It’s pathetic. I don’t hate people, I just cut them off and never think about them. Don’t let someone live in your head rent free. Someone comes on tv I don’t like? I simply turn the tv off. And there is nothing more pitiful than stalking someone you hate. Let me tell you, you will only find pain there. And if that’s what you do, you deserve all the pain that is coming to you.


8.       Cheap and nasty stuff in general. I think it was Karl Largerfeld who said, “If you’re cheap, nothing helps.” It is better to have less and quality, than a house full of rubbish worth nothing. Simply don’t buy fake and don’t buy cheap. Buy the best you can afford, and it will last you a long time.

So there you go, you have my list - are you making your own?



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