This week I was told that I would be sued if I published my memoirs... I wrote the book to give God the Glory and show that He performs miracles; to inspire people to tell the truth and that they should persevere through life…
I will publish certain chapters / short stories here....
I begin with the first few pages...
“This is more than a book and more than a random collection of stories; this is a manifesto of a renaissance woman who refused to allow any setback to handicap her destiny. She has the gumption, backbone, intellect, and a velvet chain saw to cut to the heart of the matter of any situation in a nanosecond. If you are lacking in fortitude, faith, and the favor of God, by the time you put this book down, you will have a fire lit within you that will burn out any doubt in yourself or anyone around you.” Simon T. Bailey CEO of Simon T. Bailey International. Dedicated to teaching individuals and organisations how to be brilliant in an average world, Simon is the creator of the Shift Your Brilliance system and former Sales Leader of Disney.
“'Stories have the power to heal, encourage, uplift and give hope’. Tina declares this while sharing her lifetime experiences full of love, hate, betrayal, entrepreneurial risks, heart-churning declarations, resilience, integrity and ethics. God-loving Tina with her unwavering faith talks of her struggles and joys in life. I salute her for all the achievements and especially for bringing up her very talented son Nicholas. Hats off to this precious lady who’s made a huge impact on many and will keep on doing so because that’s who she is! An awesome ‘can’t put it down’ and ‘lessons to learn from’ book.” Namita Krul-Taneja MBA, Financial Analyst, BNG Bank. Social Entrepreneur, Founder of New Yardsticks, Co-Founder of WORK+SHELTER
“Tina inspires us by her capacity to overcome the intolerable. The depth of her boldness and courage are rare qualities. Like her, we have to be bold enough to take tough decisions in our life when needed. Tina’s remarkable ability to share her deepest truth reminds us that only by being honest with ourselves can we ever be honest with others, no matter how uncomfortable honesty can be. Consequently, as is validated by Tina’s life, truth leads to personal joy and inner peace. This book has been enlightening at many levels.” Christine Asiko, Founder and CEO of Strive International.
Dedicated to my son Nicholas…
Writing one’s memoirs is never easy. Thanking those who lived through the moments, days, weeks and years with me, and who made it possible to stay sane and to write the memoirs is much more difficult.
I know I have left out many precious memories and I have not shared many of my stories here. Forgive me. I’d like my family and friends to know that I have not forgotten a single one of our treasured moments. I may pen them at a later date? Mere words can never express how much I appreciate you. You have supported me through my life thus far and I know I can lean on you in the years to come.
Cousins Bonny, John and Dimitra – through my darkest of days, you gave me a home and you fed me. I am eternally grateful. Bless you!
My cherished brother Lucas - thank you for always encouraging me and for reminding me, through your own determination to overcome, and that we are part Spartan and part Ithacan; warriors and more than conquerors!
My beloved sister Nicolette, aka, Catie - thank you for your fervent prayers that sustain me, for keeping our family values and traditions alive and being loving, always. I appreciate your God-given talents and love the cover of my book.
A special note of thanks to my darling Lisa. Not only do you put a twinkle in my son’s eyes, but you graciously offered to edit my book and painstakingly marked the manuscript and offered wise advice. With a sophistication way beyond your years, you amaze and delight me. Thank you Lisa for also creating my website.
My adored son, Nicholas - I can never communicate my appreciation and love enough. Thank you for your unconditional love and for being my reason to get out of bed each day, to thank God and to smile.
WOW…is the only word to describe such a passionate, real, and heart-wrenching book.
There are people who come through your life for a reason and a season, and then there are people who come into your life for a definite purpose. Tina Thomson has been a friend and colleague of mine for more than a decade, and I can honestly say that I am a better man, thinker, and business leader because of her brilliance.
I started reading Good Souls, Bad Souls and Assholes and couldn’t put it down. The ups and downs of the birth complications with Nicholas—her pride and joy—relationship drama, and the rawness of her story had me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. Her passionate words, filled with a mother’s love for her bundle of joy, transported me to the very moment as if he were just born yesterday. Listening to her describe miracle after miracle of his will to live and her resilience to survive despite the odds against her was riveting.
At times throughout reading her book, I felt her pain and then suddenly starting cheering her on as an executive coach in her many roles as CEO in a male dominated world. My favorite story is when she said…well, I can’t give it away. You have to read the book. It’s just that good. Here’s a hint, she flipped the script on the men in the boardroom and ended up receiving double her salary. Ballsy…very ballsy. Bravo, Tina.
This is more than a book and more than a random collection of stories; this is a manifesto of a renaissance woman who refused to allow any setback to handicap her destiny. She has the gumption, backbone, intellect, and a velvet chain saw to cut to the heart of the matter of any situation in a nanosecond. If you are lacking in fortitude, faith, and the favor of God, by the time you put this book down, you will have a fire lit within you that will burn out any doubt in yourself or anyone around you.
This is one of the most important books you can ever read. My daughter is fourteen, and I want her to read it. I realize that it may be way over her head, but I believe she will get it. I want every man and woman I know to read this book. It’s just like a fine wine—it will only get better every time you reread it.
Tina, I raise my glass to you. This is a masterpiece and maybe one day we can see it on the silver screen. Thank you for giving us the permission to recognize the good souls that help us, call out the bad souls that block us, and use every asshole as a steppingstone to a brilliant tomorrow.
Simon T. Bailey
Simon is CEO of Simon T. Bailey International. Dedicated to teaching individuals and organisations how to be brilliant in an average world, Simon is the creator of the Shift Your Brilliance system and former Sales Leader of Disney.
To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but what he aspires to.—Kahlil Gibran
I’ve lived a full and colourful life. Those who know me, know of my life-long love affair with theatre. My life, thus far, has had all the drama of ancient Greek Theatre, with all its comedy and tragedy.
“Tina you haven’t lived long enough to have experienced all that!” These words often echo through my mind. They were the words of a dear old soul, Jenny, who was in my Bible study class in 1990. I had shared some of my experiences in the safe space of the group. I wonder what she would say to me now, twenty-six years and several significant experiences later?
Soon after my son Nicholas’s birth in 1981, I knew that I had to tell his story. I knew that I had to let people know that God does answer prayer. I had to give God the glory for the many miracles that saved the life of my beautiful son.
However, life rarely goes according to plan. It has twists and turns. It fills up with duties and struggles and opportunities and people. And, so, I kept postponing writing my book, even though I had had several prompts by the Holy Spirit to move forward with it. Over the years, I often told my family members that I needed to write a book. As the big events in my life unfurled, they would say, “Well, there’s another chapter for your book”!
My physician implored me to write a book on my recovery from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), commonly referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. He said, “Your story will give others hope, Tina.” I did want to share my recovery so that others can recuperate as fully as I did, but then I realised I had no more than a single paragraph to write. The only advice I could give anyone was to eliminate as much stress as possible, go on the Candida diet, and get on your knees and pray, believing you will be healed.
Then in 2005, I met Simon T. Bailey in South Africa. “You have a fascinating story and should write a book”, he said to me. “There are many people who would benefit from reading your story”. He went on, “Record CDs, make videos, get your story out there!” At that stage, many of the stories included in this book hadn’t even happened yet, but the story of My Miracle Child was remarkable and needed to be told. Simon also had listened carefully as I had shared some of my business and leadership stories, and he encouraged me to also write a book on leadership. Stay tuned…
I’ve often said truth is stranger than fiction when referring to my life. I’ve had the title of my book, Good Souls, Bad Souls and Assholes! for many years. In 2008, I shared the title with Karen Cook, my director at Mindcor. She was astounded when she heard it and said that one of her friends in Cape Town, a metaphysician, had used those exact same words when he spoke to her about a paper he had written. This alarmed me and I said, “No, Karen! That’s my title”! Karen arranged for me to speak with her friend and we had a fascinating conversation. When I told him about my book title, he gave me his blessing and said, “That’s fine. Use it. I’ve never officially put those words into print. Use it”.
Late 2010, I decided that I would write a book on the intriguing characters I’d met on my world travels. I had already travelled extensively, but in that particular year, 2010, I’d been away from home for almost eight months and had visited sixteen countries on six continents. I wanted to tell the fascinating stories of the entrepreneurs and incredible philanthropists I met, along with the cultural faux pas I made. When I started to write, I realized that I needed to tell my own story first. Also, I was preparing to leave South Africa to join my son in New York and I wanted to write to ‘end that phase’ of my life. I wanted to let go of my divorces, my whistle blowing and my heartbreak of Nicholas relocating to the USA. When I began to write this book, I instinctively felt that the timing was not yet right. Revealing the truth at that stage would have had serious, negative repercussions. So I waited.
Then something happened that made me begin writing in earnest. In 2015, I had a health scare. It was May and I was desperately unhappy. I was two months into a new job, which I hated. The job drained me and, as I became more and more depleted, I got ill. When I miraculously pulled through, I knew that it was time to write the book and share with others that there is always hope, because God is mighty.
Additionally, over my years of coaching others, I realised that sharing stories is very powerful. Stories have the power to heal, encourage, uplift and give hope. I knew that every time I shared one of my stories in a coaching situation, it made a positive difference. I also noticed that just listening to people and then offering ways in which I had coped with similar circumstances in my life enabled them to say, “If she went through this and survived, so can I”.
If even one person who reads this book is encouraged to fight through life’s challenges and become resilient, then I have lived on purpose. And who knows? Maybe more than just one reader will be given hope.
I trust that both the humour and pathos of my true stories, shared here in short chapters and not in chronological order, will give my future grandchildren a glimpse into who Yiayia Tina really was—Photinee Sikiotis, a Greek South African woman who stood up, looked up, reached up, spoke up, and held up!