Family, Friends & Their Roles In Your Success


The holidays are meant to bring families together. During the months of November and December, I typically like to reflect on the victories and defeats of the past year as a means to set new goals for the coming year.

Because the past few weeks have been about families and friends for most of us, I think it would be wise for all of us to comb through all of the lessons that they have taught us in 2015 and beyond.

2 Things My Parents Taught Me About Success

Before I started focusing on my personal and professional development, I found myself completely lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. My family came to the United States as refugees a few years before I was born. My parents had limited educations because their birth country erupted with war and turmoil during their adolescent years.

While growing up, I wasn’t exposed to many people whom American society deemed “successful” and I didn’t know which direction I should take in life. I wasn’t sure about much, but the one thing I knew with absolute certainty was that I would become successful.

I knew my parents couldn’t teach me much about which college to attend or which career to choose, but what they taught me through their actions was so much more valuable. A few of the lessons I learned are as follows:

1. Always believe that you can achieve greater things in your life and strive for them, even if these things happen slower than you expected.

My parents were in awe at the homes, cars and businesses that they saw when they first arrived in the U.S. These sights were so shocking to them because prior to arriving, all they’d ever seen were poverty and war.

With limited language skills and education, I’m proud to say that my parents were able to achieve a level of success that they never could have imagined previously. It may have taken them several years but they did reach their goals. They never felt compelled to outdo other people. They were instead focused on running their own race and knew that someday they would reach their finish line.

As a developer, there have been many times where I found myself frustrated because I wasn’t able to learn a new coding language as quickly as I had hoped or wasn’t able to solve a complex coding problem as quickly as others around me. Be persistent, stay positive and always push yourself to become better than who you are today.

2. Find mentors to guide you on your journey.

Mentors are everywhere and they are invaluable if you want to get ahead in life. My mother has a magnetic, charming personality. Although she wasn’t able to speak English very well when she first arrived in the U.S., she managed to find mentors who supported her throughout her journey.

I noticed that people in our community who had attained a certain level of success would always give her advice and guide her while she and my father learned more about American culture. They helped form her views on ethics, success, and what was truly possible here in America.  

Most of the successful people I’ve encountered love to see others succeed. Initially, I was having difficulty understanding why mentors would take an interest in my family or me because I assumed that we had nothing to offer these people. What I finally realized after observing how my mom would interact with successful people is that they appreciate genuine friendships as much as other people do.

If you approach them with the mindset that you want things from them like money or status, they will be hesitant to mentor you. However, if you are genuinely interested in them as people and demonstrate that you can add value to their lives they will be more open to mentoring you.  

If You Want To Get To Where You're Going, Look Back To Where You Came From.

My family was interested in becoming productive members of society and learning from everyone in our community. Small things like teaching our friends and neighbors how to cook Lao/Thai food or being available to listen when someone was upset were all we could really contribute to our community early on but I realized that small gestures like these were all that it took for potential mentors to become engaged in our cause.

The New Year will present similar challenges as the last. Be thankful for them, as they will be the catalysts for your growth. Always seek knowledge and advice from those you trust and remember that some of the best advice you will ever receive will come from your own home.

Let's make 2020 an excellent year.

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