“I am sorry, but your baby girl is unlikely to survive.” I was in my early 20s, a young mama who just received the worst possible news after being in excruciating labor pain. My then husband was miles away. I had to make a decision about my firstborn – fight or accept this fate. Stubborn me, I refused to accept doctors’ forecast and decided to do whatever it takes to save my baby. WHATEVER. IT. TAKES. While other mothers enjoyed spending time with their newborns, I couldn’t even hold her in my arms until I signed off the release document and took her home under my own responsibility. She was one month old….
This was one of my biggest life-defining moments.
My next defining moment was a decision to leave the country of origin. You see, I was born and grew up in what used to be called USSR – a place where personal freedom, legal system and respect for human rights didn’t have the same meaning as in the US. Massive corruption, discrimination, and lack of respect for personal dignity made me feel suffocated. I didn’t see my future in this country and decided to leave, somehow. My desire for personal freedom was bigger than fear of unknown. We left EVERYTHING (family, friends, home, bank accounts) and traveled across several countries without passports and money (that’s’ what soviets did to those who challenged them).
This was indeed another life-defining moment…
We traveled through Austria and Italy, surviving with odd job here and there, until we received a visa to come to the US. My first job in the US was a minimum-wage florist assistant. I was soooo grateful to be able to support my family while learning English. Then I decided that I want to work on Wall Street. It seemed like impossible goal at first. But the compound effect of many small steps, determination, and patience led me to a prestigious professional career, working for major Wall Street companies.
But corporate America is not a good fit for independent thinkers and self-starters. You are expected to conform. I started to feel stuck, feel like I was dying inside… My work lost meaning to me and a comfortable 6-figure salary was not enough to compensate for the emptiness inside. I reached the tipping point… and left. And not only I left my work but my 22-year marriage as well. Was I scared? TERRIFIED! But strangely, I also felt EXCITED that I finally could create the life on my terms.
These 2 decisions – to leave my marriage and my job – happened at the same time and were yet another defining moment in my life….
You know that a road to success is always under construction. My road to success was still uncharted. After I graduated from the prestigious business school, I couldn’t find a job (at this time, it was an economic crisis in the US) and struggled financially. I started an investment company and failed miserably while managing my business partners’ investments. But that was not all. I became depressed and felt like a total FAILURE. My identity was linked to my job/business, marriage, my social status and all of it was suddenly GONE. I felt ALONE, BROKE, and BROKEN. I didn’t see any future for myself. The only option left was… to surrender.
With all the other challenges that I had in my life, this one was the most painful. Yes, I can say that this was THE Defining moment. It became my awakening experience – I had to embrace my humility, my flaws and imperfections. I’ve learned to appreciate stillness, choose what to focus on, pay attention to my thinking patterns. I’ve done a LOT of inner work, became more loving and compassionate. And yes, once I became more connected and aware, I finally created my financial independence.
This brings me to my final (most recent one) defining moment – a decision to become a financial empowerment mentor for women. I chose to use my story – both failures and successes – and compiled all my experiences into a winning strategy that I call The Millen-aire Method. I now share this 4-dimensional Wealth Building strategy with other powerful women who are not willing to settle for anything less than extraordinary lives.
That’s a short rundown of my life’s defining moments. As you can see, what you have and where you are now doesn’t define WHO you are and WHERE you can be.
How about you? What is YOUR most recent defining moment?
Until next time… Stay Empowered!
With Love and Gratitude,