Fake It Until You Make It

As part of our wellbeing series we speak to the bubbly Andy Kovszun from No Shoes, No Worries

Andy you come across as really bubbly, full of confidence and a beautiful person inside and out. Was it always that way for you?
First of all – thank you! Secondly, no, it wasn’t always that way! I’ve always been a pretty happy person, most people who know me well can attest to that, but the confidence is something that I’ve built upon. Through trial and error, experiences, realisations, and doing a little internal work. Many factors in my life have contributed to the person I’ve become today. Your confidence comes from believing you can do it, and the only way to believe you can do it, is to go out and do it! Prove it to yourself first, then others.
Even today, there are some days when I don’t have the greatest confidence in the world. I compare, I nit-pick at my faults, my weaknesses. It’s so natural and human and honestly there isn’t a magic formula to make it go away!
Sounds a bit corny, but most of the time we surprise ourselves, actually achieving things we think we’re incapable of achieving. We most definitely have the capacity to do what we really, really want in life. It might take a lot of work, but I 100% believe you can do it. A lot of the time, you end up being the only person standing in your way!

How did you turn things around to make things work to your advantage?
I realised that no one was any better or worse than me. We were all given the opportunity to be on this planet, to make the most of it. I moved to a whole new country by myself, and made a life for myself, almost from scratch. There were ups and downs, but the fact that I got through them gives me a huge confidence boost. I started a blog and built a business, I became a yoga teacher. All because I believed that I could. I couldn’t see anyone better or worse than me. I just knew I was as capable as the person next to me. If you really want something, you create the confidence and the belief to make it happen.
I think doing things for yourself that really matter can help build confidence. Things like travel, learning a new hobby, trying a new sport, meeting new people. It’s all about believing you, have everything it takes to make it. No different than anyone else, no better or worse.

Do you have a mantra/motto to live by?
“Fake it till you make it,” has always been a big one! One I keep telling myself, whenever I’m unsure about something. Nobody really knows what they’re doing, in the end, we’re all figuring it all out. BELIEVE you can do it, or at least act like you do, and everything else will follow. Also, “Everybody poos” is a good reminder to never feel intimidated, and to keep it real!

What were you doing before you started No Worries, No Shoes and when did you feel the time was right to go for it?
I was working as an editorial writer for a digital lifestyle magazine, then moved on to be social media manager for pro surfer Sally Fitzgibbons. All while finishing my uni degree. I learnt everything with my past jobs, and I am very grateful for them. I’m lucky that I had amazing bosses and mentors. Certain things fell into place (namely me losing both jobs) that made me realise I was pouring a lot of time and energy into building things for others, when all I wanted to do was build them myself, my way.

There really never is a right time to start a blog. I realised this after toying with the idea of No Shoes No Worries for a while. It first started as my personal Instagram back in 2013, and only became a blog in 2016/2017. That’s a lot of time to think about whether or not to start something. There’s no big fat sign saying ,“okay, NOW START!”. You just need to start somewhere. Looking back, I’d just wish I’d started sooner. But I needed to learn and experience the things I did. One morning I bought my domain name, the next I signed up to Squarespace. I started building the blog, wrote a couple posts here and there. In due time I started fine tuning, learning, and adjusting. It’s all trial and error, hence no perfect time.

What’s your top tips for overcoming your fears and being brave?
Stop thinking. Just go for it. Fear can be good! It reminds you that you’re excited about something, it can help you gain perspective, it’s there to question your comfort zone, to expand it. I was once told the fear of not doing something can be greater than the fear of doing it and failing. At least you tried! And that’s often how I see a situation I’m scared of. A lot of it comes from overthinking. Sometimes, you just have to stop, drop the thoughts and just go for it! That’s the main message I try to convey with all the stories on No Shoes No Worries. The purpose of the blog is to Inspire women to be strong, brave, adventurous and elegant in everything they do. Through the stories I tell, I always try to encourage women and girls to be fearless in the pursuit of their dreams and make themselves their #1 priority. The blog is a platform to tell stories, my stories and share those of others, so I’ve recently decided to take on contributions. Girls from across the globe have written to me about a journey or experience they went through. If they feel like sharing, I publish it on the blog for the community to read. It’s built into a community of girls who are inspired to write, and to support one another on a real, genuine level. They’ve all been so brave in sharing.

How does this help you when you’re in the surf? 
Whenever I paddle out, I try to catch a wave within the first 5-10 mins. If I start overthinking, waiting for a wave, or paddle and pull back, that’s where my confidence starts to waiver. If I catch my first wave within moments of getting in the water, I get the pre-jitters out and an instant confidence boost. The longer the wait, the longer you have time to talk yourself out of it or think “I’m not getting any waves today”. Just GO! Be it surf conditions or a new project, I don’t want to wander “What if? What if I had tried and it actually wasn’t all that bad?”. There’s nothing worse than the feeling of regret for not having gone for it. In the surf, I’m aware of not putting myself in conditions I wouldn’t be able to handle. There’s a fine line between the fear of pushing your boundaries, and the fear of actually getting hurt. With something like the ocean, you have very little control, so I always understand my limits. Being fearful of falling or getting tumbled is always there, but in the past I’ve made sure I build up my confidence. From surfing beach breaks to reef for example, or small to medium, medium to large waves. Like I said, stop thinking, just go for it.

What kind of waves do you like to ride and where do you surf mainly?

I love longboard waves. Big, fat, slow and crumbly. I’m not competitive at all so when it comes to surfing, I really enjoy cruising, laughing with friends, enjoying the water and making it a fun experience. I sometimes see really serious guys on short boards in 2ft. waves, and can’t help but laugh. Where’s the enjoyment?! This sport was made to make people happy, first and foremost. Lighten up, loosen up, have a laugh and share the stoke! I mainly surf out front where I live, in Manly, Sydney. A lot of the beaches in Australia have really fun waves, there’s always something for everyone.

What benefits does yoga bring to you?
Yoga is everything to me, there are so many benefits, I don’t know where to start! From my mental wellbeing to my physical health, yoga hits the reset button for me, every time. I have so much gratitude for yoga. Not because it’s a fancy way to take photos, or a means to stay fit, but because it gives me a reality check like no other. No matter what kind of day I’m having, I know there’s an hour of my time I can dedicate to myself and forget about the outside world or my problems. I always feel better after a practice, as if I’ve let my mind and brain sort themselves out. It’s about focus, breath, and being connected to your body. It has given me my biggest confidence boost, whether it’s practicing or teaching, because it’s taught me to get out of my head, out of my own way. As humans, we overthink – A LOT! We worry about things that don’t matter in the big picture. Yoga makes you humble, it makes you understand your place on earth and that you really can do anything you set out to do. This also translates when I’m surfing, I’ve learnt to stay calm, with breath control and a positive mental mind set in the water so I’m prepped for sticky situations.

What tunes are on your playlist?
My yoga playlists are always a favourite, a mix of deep house and weird obscure indie/chill electronic bands. They always put me in a good, calm mood. I have a soft spot for Flight Facilities at the moment, I’ve always loved their dreamy tunes. There’s also some Bob Marley in there (Being from the Caribbean, I love my Reggae! No Shoes No Worries comes from the song “No Woman, No Cry”). And of course, the classics, like Norah Jones, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John … I’m very eclectic.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Simultaneously: chocolate and binge watching The O.C, (or whatever TV show I’m into at the time, The O.C Is just my classic go-to) . It’s okay to veg out, relax and do nothing once in a while.

If you have a superpower what would it be and what would you use it for?
Tele-transportation would be a nice one. So I could travel and get to places in no time. One of my pet peeves is spending time commuting — in cars, buses, trains, boats… there’s many options to get around Sydney but it would be a great time saver if you could just snap your fingers and just be somewhere else. And breathing underwater – it would make surfing 10 times easier, ha,ha!

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