As it happens to all human beings, during my process of development and growth, both personal and professional, I have experienced many ups and downs. However, it seems that the achievements I’ve had as an immigrant are particularly notorious and much more striking than the mistakes.
Why do I say this? Because my husband and I have heard from several people from different socio-cultural backgrounds, with different stories, and number of years living in Canada ranging from 5 to 20, that they are amazed by the results we have obtained in less than three years in this wonderful country.
This has made me think about why our story as immigrants seems to stand out from the common stories. Carlos (my husband) and I are two ordinary people, not wealthy (yet) and with not very different professional training from many of the immigrants we have met so far. So what sets us apart from the average? I would say the difference is that we live by the principles I list below.
Please note that my intention with this list is to provide you with tips to create your own success story.
- EVERYTHING that happens in our lives is the result of our choices. As humans we often tend to blame others for whatever happens to us. The problem with doing this is that we don’t learn from our mistakes and, therefore, we make the same mistakes over and over again. So my first suggestion is to pay attention to your decision making process.
- The degrees and titles achieved in our professional life DO NOT define who we are. Having this clear allows us to understand that having to start from a lower position –even if it’s much lower, is just a step in our success story. It doesn’t mean either that we do not have the skills or that we lost our value as professionals or, worse, as individual; which leads me to the next point.
- Being HUMBLE makes us greater beings. Many people believe that being humble means to give permission to others to humiliate them. That’s not humility, that’s low self-esteem. Being humble means understanding and assuming we do not know everything and therefore, we have much to learn from everyone around us, and from each experience. Opening ourselves to learn places us in a better position because when we learn, we evolve.
- Our focus should always be on the POSITIVE. When we focus on what we have gained, rather than incessantly looking at what we have lost, we are filled with energy, optimism and enthusiasm to move forward and overcome the obstacles that may arise in the future. Negative experiences should serve as learning opportunities only. Otherwise, we will not have the courage nor the strength to keep going. This is what I mean when I often say that we create our reality.
- Set clear and measurable GOALS. What do we want to achieve as both individuals and professionals? What do we hope to achieve on our new stage of life? How important is for us what we want to achieve? Why is it important? Having clear and precise answers to these questions and many others will give us clarity about where to head to and will facilitate our process of adapting to a new country and / or a new circumstance. When we know what we want, then we can align our actions towards our final destination.
- It is essential to have a PLAN. As professionals we know very well how important it is to design an action plan. Almost daily we talk about business plan, marketing plan, sales plan, strategic plan and so on. However, we forget to plan to achieve our personal goals. And when I talk about personal goals I also included our career goals. Having a personal action plan offers the same benefits offered by business related plans: resource optimization, performance measurement, make adjustments when things are not going well, clarity on the paths we should take, risk reduction, potentially higher achievement and last but not least, the joy of goal achievement.
- Be DISCIPLINED, but not rigid. Finally, being disciplined and persistent is key to achieving the objectives. However, we must be open and flexible enough to adjust the sails when the wind changes direction. This opening will allow us to take advantage of opportunities that arise and overcome the threats that may appear in our journey.
Of course these are not the only advices I can give you to help you to successfully adapt to a new country. However, I think they are the best steps to start with.
In the weeks to come I will elaborate more on these and other points that I think are very important for us to build the life we want.
Meanwhile I continue working on my book, which I consider to be a simple, but very useful tool to help you build your own path to achievement and self-fulfillment.
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