“I was recently given three months to live. And it was about facing one’s own mortality and working out what matters in life and when I came out of surgery I just thought I should do things that matter from this point forward.”
This switch of focus saw commerce lawyer Petris Lapis go from saving multi-national corporations to people’s self esteem. This saw her become a professional of many titles – Master Results Coach, Master Performance Consultant, Master NLP Practitioner and Mindfulness Practitioner. Helping others break through their personal barriers is a challenge that Petris finds incredibly rewarding.
A renewed zest for life finds Petris exuding a heightened motivation that bodes well for whom she mentors. And what’s close at heart are the programs she runs for teenage girls that self-harm, giving back to the future generation of women. “Now I make as much money in a month that I used to make in a week but I’m doing something now that has far more purpose.”
Above all else, Petris is a super mum of two. Both her children have gone through a rowing program for Brisbane State High School, an incredible discipline which Petris has taken on in full stroke.
“At one point, I worked out I was spending 28 hours a week at rowing sheds for kids. I was the breakfast mum and camp mum and the person in charge of catering,” recalls Petris. “Each week I would spend time making 300 pancakes at a time and what we see from these kids, despite the fact they get up really early and they suffer extreme pain, is just the love for the sport. So I wondered why they do that and if I would enjoy it if I tried it, so I did. And now I really get why they love it.”
Petris relishes tackling new challenges, every year finding a personal satisfaction from the growth they provide be it learning a new musical instrument, and taking up a martial art. Now, still on her quest to overcome, Petris takes to the water over five times a week from 4.30 am for a two-hour workout with a passion.
“I have never felt better or found more peace,” she says. “You row down into the city and you’re right beside coronation drive, there is something absolutely serene like you’re in a cocoon in a boat in the water at that time of the morning and in really simple language you get to partake in the day before anyone’s had a chance to shit on it,” quips Petris.
“There’s a focus and mental concentration you go through and you can’t think about anything else when you’re in that head space. It’s like a meditation in action. And that’s why I like it. And the people who are rowing are just amazing.
“It doesn’t matter what you do for a living – I row with surgeons, engineers, an international women’s leader organiser, bio-medical researchers, all sorts of people who never talk about what they do they just talk about ‘how is the water, how was your row’ and it’s like a psychic connection of human beings without ego and that bit for me is really lovely.”
Petris competes as part of the Brisbane & GPS Rowing Club and at this year’s Pine Rivers Regatta, with her teams, took silver in the Double Sculls, bronze in both the Women’s Masters Four and the Quad Sculls but it’s the accolades she has collected from her peers of which she is most proud.
“I got the Most Cheerful Person at the Club award and the one they gave me which (the club) think is very funny is the Captain of the Swimming Club because I’ve fallen in so many times,” adds Petris with great laughter.