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Your Stories Don’t Define You, How You Tell Them Will

Nov 12, 2019

Awful, tragic things happen in life. When those things happen to you as a child, you get to a point in your young adulthood when you can choose to either be bitter about them and resent them, or to learn from them and grow into your resilience and character.

Oleg Lougheed made the choice, after spending a lot of time asking “why me?” to not only learn from those traumatic childhood experiences, but to share them with others to help them see their own potential to overcome, grow, and thrive, despite their circumstances.

In our conversation, Oleg shared some important moments in his story, particularly of his first few months in his adopted family in the United States. What I love about the stories he shared was how he presented the other characters, the supporting roles in his stories. From the classmate on the soccer field who managed to understand Oleg’s body language to pass the ball to him, to his adoptive parents who placed small sticky notes on everything in the house, wall, window, door, table, fork, couch, to help him learn English, Oleg can look back at his transition with gratitude for those characters. He looks for those parts of his experience to share the beauty of overcoming odds.

What will you choose to remember of your stories that will help build your resilience, your hope, and your ability to positively influence others?

Oleg Lougheed’s start in life was inauspicious. At 9 years old, he relinquished his parents' rights and entered the Russian orphanage. At 12 years old, he decided to be adopted into a new family, in a new country, halfway across the world, to start a new life. At 24 years old, he began his journey of helping others live the life they have always dreamed of, despite their hardships and misfortunes by allowing them to recognize the uniqueness and worth within their own story.