Oleg Lougheed has a very interesting story of how he turned the, adversity, of his birth in Russia, living in an, orphanage, from 9 years old and then being adopted by an American family at 12 years old.
I love stories, right now I’m like almost addicted to Oprah’s master class, because all she does is ask these influencers and stars to share their story and it always starts with their childhood. Oprah spends an enormous amount of time on their childhood story, because your childhood is what shapes into the person you are today.
Listen to the full interview here:
Introduction to Oleg’s story of Adversity
The memories made in the first 12 years of my life were painted with shades of, poverty, loss, and a dim hope for a better life.
A hope that acted as my only survival method.
A hope that got me where I am today – 5,500 miles across the world – 5,500 miles between myself and the life I was destined to live.
I said goodbye to my birth Mother at the age of 12, not realizing that I would never see her again. I never met my Father.
I learned early on what alcoholism was, what starvation felt like, and what sacrifice meant.
For me, it took leaving the place I called home to find a better life in America.
It meant saying goodbye to my Mother, Sister, relatives, friends, and saying hello a new family and new friends.
At 12 years old, I was adopted from an, orphanage, in Chebarkul’, Russia to a family in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Adoption, changed my life.
Adoption, opened a door into a new world and forced me to close the door to everything I had ever known.
I am here today to tell my story.
The story of how I overcame my own odds.
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Turning Adversity into Opportunity
One of the reasons I love your story Oleg is because you’ve used your, adversity, to propel the, opportunity, you were given by being, adopted, by an American family.
Oleg says, adoption, changed his life which you know sometimes, adoption, is good and sometimes it does not take. I am also an adoptive mom so I can identify a little bit with your story.
I was born poor myself in, Guyana. I did not encounter starvation. or alcoholism and I was not, adopted; but my maternal aunt sponsored my mom and her three kids to move to Canada to live a better life.
My first question is, we’re your adoptive parents able to heal the pain you experienced the first 12 years of your life?
Oleg – Before I share about my, adoption, let me give you some context into my own background. I’d like to acknowledge the fact that stories do play a critical role, overcoming adversity. Everything revolves around the story we tell ourselves. Our internal dialog.
My world shifted from, adversity, to, opportunity, when I stopped being the victim. As you had mentioned being born in Russia and living there for the first 12 years of my life and having experienced quite a bit of difficulty and, adversity, and tragedy.
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The Mindset to see Opportunity
I began to realize I did not have the mindset that I have today. Back then I did not have the resources; I did not have the knowledge that is found in the book “Think and Grow Rich” and other great books.
So, for me it was about figuring out from day to day how to survive. It is funny that you mentioned Oprah because Oprah had a similar impact on my life. I once watched a video of Oprah sharing her story and there was a segment in that story where she spoke about her childhood and the trauma that she faced when she was a young girl.
One of the ways that she was able to, overcome adversity, was by believing in a better future or a brighter day. That is exactly how I survived as a child, by believing in a brighter future. Thinking of a brighter future, when I was nine years old, I was faced with the decision to either continue living with my mom and my sister or go and live in an, orphanage.
I chose to go live in an, orphanage, not realizing that meant not seeing my mom and sister again. I was adopted at 12 years old. I was able to come to the United States and hit the restart button. I think, adoption, has really helped me recognize that my life of, adversity, leading up to it was a dress rehearsal for the, opportunity, that lies ahead.
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Adoption as the stepping stone to Opportunity
After I was, adopted, I remember I was looking back upon my past and I lived in, victimhood. I lived in, victimhood, because I looked at all of those previous circumstances and asked, “why me.” I began to realize after a couple years that I could turnaround, adversity, into, opportunity.
That is when my life started to shift once again. I started my desire and passion for personal growth and personal development. Started seeing, opportunity. I did not just read books anymore I became a part of those books.
Myrna – My circle back question is “Do you feel that your, adoption, was Successful? Were you able to adapt to your new family and be not being able to see your birth mother?
Oleg – Before I fully answer that question, it’s important to identify what successful, adoption, means to me. One of the biggest reasons why I choose to look at my, adoption, experience as successful as my parents were and still are tremendous human beings. They never raised their hand on me, they’ve always kept an open mind and open heart regardless of what the situation and circumstances I presented as a teenager.
Teenage boys not all; but some do not always make the best decisions, especially those who had a painful past from, adversity; but that is one of the beauties of my parents, even though we went through the ups and downs. We went through the multiple years of therapy both individually and collectively as a family. What really made this journey was beautiful that they continue to be there for me every step of the way.
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How Adoption changed my life
Myrna – It was an, opportunity, which is why we’re talking about turning, adversity, into, opportunity.
Why you think, adoption, changed your life?
Oleg – For me, adoption, one of the changes in my life was because it gave me a second chance in life. It gave me another, opportunity, to live the life that I once upon a time dreamed of. After going through, adversity, from a very young age and then after the, adoption, I chose a different story.
I started to ask the question “what am I here to learn”? What is this, adversity, here to teach me? I started to pair each one of those, adversities, with a lesson or a takeaway. My perspective became completely different. I was no longer letting the circumstances define me; but rather I was looking at those circumstances as something that I can learn from to move forward.
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Reframing your adversity into opportunity
Oleg – I started to tap into purpose. I was able to approach that initial question of” why me”? through the lines of if not you then who. I started to experience this sense of energy that was flowing through me from the, adversity, of my birth. I asked myself, what do I channel this energy into? I wanted to create a space for people of similar experiences such as those who are, adopted, or have gone through the foster care system. Create just an open space for them to share their experiences to be able to embrace and accept all aspects of that journey.
I wanted to highlight all the, adoption, and foster care stories because, how can a prospective, adoptive parent, know of the other side if they’re only being presented with the side of the social worker.
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When I started this, I received quite a bit of criticism, but I just started to create a space for people to write in comments or share their story. Eg my, adoption, was terrible because of x y z. I would just say “why tell me more.”
I was recently reading a book by David Goggins Can’t Hurt Me
Myrna – OMG I love that book!
Oleg – There’s a section in the book where he talks about judgment. Goggins says why judge anyone if you can still remember the feeling of being judged yourself. I started to realize that one of the reasons why I chose to not only respect myself; but respect those surrounding me is because in a way I’ve experienced what it was like to not be respected or
not be taken seriously.
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Overcoming the Odds the Podcast
Now have a podcast called “Overcoming the Odds” it is all about creating a space for other people who lived through, adversity, to be heard and to be seen and to be appreciated through their stories.
I am a huge believer of choosing to lead from within so if I haven’t experienced it myself, I’m probably not going to go into that area.
I am not going to speak from an experience that I haven’t gone through.
I remember when I was first starting to explore the possibility of having a Podcast, I listened to podcasts like the time Tim Ferris show, Lewis Howes School of Greatness and Tony Robbins podcast. I noticed that. many of the guests were Influencers or stars, I realized that I wanted to do something different.
I wanted to shine a light on humans because I truly do believe that every single person has value to offer to this world, not only those who have made it or are successful but those who turned, adversity, into, opportunity. Our society is only interested in the stars’ stories and podcasters are only interested in interviewing these stars because it builds their podcast.
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How can our listeners and those watching on YouTube connect with you?
Listeners can connect with me on Linkedin. That’s where I spend the majority of my time. Part of the work that we do is we host events that focus on different themes and elements of the personal narrative. Our event this January is called “Survive to Thrive Attitude of Gratitude”
It’s really about tapping into, gratitude, but not solely through the lens of who or what you are grateful for; but digs deeper.
You can also connect with me through our website “Overcoming Odds” and you’ll be able to find us through Facebook and other social media channels @oleglougheed
I want to remind you to subscribe on the Transform Your Mind YouTube channel. To listen to the full interview of my conversation with Oleg head over to iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts and remember to leave a review and subscribe.
I would like to also invite you to join my Facebook group called life coach. We have a lot of Life coaches in the group who share inspirational messages every day including myself.
Until Next time Namaste
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