I will start my story by inviting you on a journey into my childhood, just when I was 14 years old. This was September of 1998 when my parents have made a decision to leave everything behind and move to the United States from Ukraine, where I was born and raised. We left our friends and family and moved into the new world and new life that we did not know anything about at that time.
No one in my family knew a single word of English, let alone attempting to create logical sentences or attempting to understand others when they were speaking with us and, I guess, expecting a response. Of course, my parents had to quickly find a job which did not require a knowledge of English. I had to go to school in order to continue my studies, therefore, my parent took me to the Junior High school close by our house after approximately two weeks of us living in the United States.When I left Ukraine I was just starting in the 9th grade, therefore, I started in the 9th grade at the Junior High school I was now attending, with approximately 6 months left before transitioning into the High School.
In order to understand what what asked of me in school, more specifically homework, I was spending every night with my translating gadget and was translating every single word in order to understand what I was being asked and to complete my homework assignments. I might have slept 3-4 hours each night before it was time for me to go to school again. I can't even start explaining the daily struggles that I was experiencing in school, such as: leaving for lunch and registering for a completely wrong class and then having to un-enroll, due to now knowing how school system was working in the United States. There fore no opportunity for me to make any friends due to my very limited knowledge of English at that time.With strong persistence and a lot of hard work I was able to obtain all required credits to graduate High School and actually graduated with honors in May of 2002.
While I was in High School I had to earn the money in order to pay for the things that I wanted and to put gas into my car. Therefore, I had to work in the evening at the grocery store as a baggage clerk, since my knowledge of English was still very limited, and all I knew what to say was "paper or plastic." Because I was not satisfied with my level of language knowledge, I was constantly trying to start a conversations with my customers and my peers even though they did not understand half of what I was trying to say and were correcting almost every word that was coming out of my mouth. But because I was determined to succeed and overcome language obstacle, I kept on trying to engage and start conversations and learning about better and correct ways to create complete sentences from the feedback and corrections I was receiving from others.
After few months working as a baggage clerk I was able to apply and be promoted to a position of a cashier, believe me that was a big deal to me. Now I was able to hold productive conversations with my customers and continue to enhance my knowledge and understanding of English language. Very soon I was training new cashiers as they were hired and explaining them processes and procedures of being a cashier, as well as showing them ways to create great customer experience.
Several months later I transitioned from working in the grocery store to selling portable consumer electronics in one of the major consumer electronics stores. By that time I felt very confident about my English language knowledge and it was also the time to submit my application to go to college. I've made a decision to go Baylor University, and after completing necessary paperwork and completing appropriate testing I was accepted to the university of my choosing.
At the university I got involved in the professional business fraternity and that is when I became very interested in the field of leadership, business, and personal development. Everything that I had leaned in college regarding the field of business and leadership I've been applying in the real life working situations since then. Additionally, I had a pleasure to be responsible for organizing many professional speaking events, while serving as VP of Professional Development in the professional business fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi. By being part of this wonderful professional organization, I have received an opportunity to speak with some of the greatest leaders and people who are successful in the field of business and leadership. So, here I was, someone who did not speak a single word of English 5 years ago, and now attending one of the best universities in the nation and meeting with very successful individuals in the field of education and business.During my time in college I had a pleasure to hold other positions in the professional business fraternity, met many great people and made many wonderful friends.
Since then I have managed and have developed many people by helping them uncover their true potential and the leader within them. When you see people that were reporting to you grow professionally and personally, to me, that is the greatest reward that I can possibly receive, and that is my definition of true success. In my professional career I have managed groups and teams of various sizes, and I have also seen many of them growing professionally and becoming good leaders in their field of business or work.
When someone tells me that something is impossible or hard to reach, I tell them my story, which helps them to see that there's nothing that is impossible. It really depends on how much you really want something and how much work you are willing to put in in order to get there. Leader never stops learning, therefore, there is no stopping point. One can always learn something new daily and continue to expand their knowledge and leadership library. There are so many tools and information available to help people who inspire to become better leaders, that sometimes it can be overwhelming. That is why I have decided to create www.heartandmindofaleader.com website and blog in order to share my experiences, my knowledge, and other very important information learned through various resources with people just like me, who are not satisfied with status quo and are always looking for an opportunity to grow and develop themselves and others personally and professionally.
If I can do it, I know that you can do it as well! Follow me on my journey of becoming great and successful leader and allow me to help you to reach your goals and lifetime dreams. Follow me on www.heartandmindofaleader.com blog and podcast for new and fresh contend added weekly.