From Change Averse to Change Advocate
Dr. Alireza Sharifi, Moe Owner of Alta Training & Coaching, Certified MasterClass Trainer, Certified NLP & Timeline Therapy, Hypnotherapy & Coaching Trainer.
Review some of the pages
This book is a collection of success stories by Persian immigrants who all went through a wild ride to make their dreams of running a successful business come true in Canada. They dealt with severe blows, extreme shocks, earth-shattering incidents, and monumental roadblocks on their way to success. They went through not one, not two, but at least three major setbacks before they eventually achieved their share of success. And what never ceases to amaze the reader is that their story lines are very similar; whether they finally settled down as a body shop owner or as an NLP trainer, they had to overcome common challenges such as not being completely fluent in English, not knowing enough people in Canada, and having to go without income for an extended period of time before they finally found their way. You will notice in their seemingly different stories that they all took bold steps at decisive moments in their life after immigration. They CHOSE to move outside their comfort zone and DECIDED not to let the challenges defeat them. They fully accepted the fact that there is no royal road to success, and the path to their goals would be paved with bumps and holes. They came to believe that mindset is everything when you want to achieve your dreams, and that one has to take 100% responsibility for their thoughts, feelings and actions.Get inspired by these stories and learn that by believing in yourself, enhancing your self-awareness, and acquiring the necessary hard- and soft-skills, you will become unstoppable on your journey toward your desired success (and who knows, maybe someday, you get to share your success story in a book like this).
Could an extremely timid, anti-social, and introverted young boy ever turn into an expert who later teaches others how to build relationships and become more confident in their own success? That’s the story of my life, and I’m going to share it with you here.
I come from an overprotective Iranian family. Throughout my childhood, my parents were on a mission to keep me away from any potential danger. They didn’t want me to go out to buy groceries and wouldn’t allow me to eat in restaurants, since I might get food poisoning. They didn’t like me to hang out with my friends, lest they be addicts who would lure me into trying drugs. They seldom allowed me to join school field trips and rarely let me attend my friends’ birthday parties. Mind you, they were not morons of any kind. They acted as loving, highly educated individuals-my
dad a physician and my mom a university graduate-who merely tried to keep their child safe.
For this very reason, I grew up feeling rather anti-social. I struggled with low self-confidence and generally stayed very quiet. I didn’t feel comfortable mingling with people, and I made myself invisible in any crowd. Nobody took me seriously when I offered suggestions, and I never danced at family parties, for fear of being seen or ridiculed. I didn’t participate in any team sport at school, and I didn’t dare say “no” to anyone, since I dreaded the idea of being rejected. At school, I felt so afraid of standing or presenting in front of my classmates. In brief, I wasn’t confident in my abilities to do anything meaningful, and I never considered myself able to do something significant.
I remember the first time I went to the bank to deposit money on my own. I was in grade 10. This simple undertaking seemed so huge to me at the time, I thought I achieved a tremendous milestone by doing it.
Understandably, my shying away from the crowd robbed me of any power and influence over others. One day in grade 5, an election for the class representative took place. I became one of the nine candidates for the position. Of the thirty-two students in my class, everyone held the right to vote for three people. That day, out of the ninety-six votes cast, I received only one, my own. At the time, I felt my friends had betrayed me by voting for other candidates, but now I understand the real cause more deeply.
Jumping Out of the Nest
In the year 2000, I sat for the nationwide university entrance exam. This exam occurs once each year in Iran, and based on its score, the student may qualify to sign up for various programs offered at certain universities. After taking the exam, I began heavily researching all the options available to me. I finally chose business management, mainly because the experts and family friends I spoke with made me feel this was a great fit for me.
One particularly important influencer in my decision was a family friend called Mr. Esfahanian. This gentleman worked as the CEO of a big textile factory, spoke English very fluently, and truly exemplified successful management in my eyes. He was my very first role model, someone I aspired to emulate, a man that embodied everything I could imagine: confidence, power, influence, knowledge, language fluency, and independence. He motivated me to enter the world of business management and recommended a couple of very good books (Every Street is Paved with Gold by Kim Woo Chung, and The Path by Matsushita). From that very moment, I turned into a bookworm and have not lost the habit.
I vividly remember when Mr. Esfahanian recommended my pursuing business management. In this moment, I instantly visualized my path in the years ahead: I would complete a B.Sc. in business management, follow up with an M.Sc., and finally aim for a doctorate. I wanted to go all in, and I felt highly motivated and excited to begin the journey. I chose to attend the University of Isfahan, mainly because no great options existed in Kashan, the small city where I lived.
After receiving my acceptance into the program, I moved to Isfahan, and settled into the university dorm. Isfahan was a bigger city with a unique culture that I needed to learn and understand. I slowly morphed into an independent adult, although this meant significant change for me. The experience challenged me at first, having always been monitored and protected so closely by my parents. University life offered me precious opportunities to grow. I joined various student organizations, began playing the traditional Iranian instrument, santoor, in the university band, and became friends with many other students.
In the final two years of my university life, I became a member, and later the head, of our faculty scientific association. I loved every aspect of campus life, because, for the first time, I felt I was recognized and acknowledged by others. At a certain point, my dad offered to rent a room for me off campus so I could have a nicer place to stay. However, I refused, because I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to socialize and find friends, something I missed throughout my childhood.
At university, I found a chance to enhance my public speaking skills. I clearly remember the very first time a professor of mine wanted every student to give one presentation during the semester. It stressed me out tremendously. I approached him, begging him to give me other assignments as substitutions. He refused, then helped a lot while I prepared for my speech by recommending Dale Carnegie’s book on the art of public speaking. That book supplied me with a big confidence boost as I entered the world of professional presentation. In that semester, I successfully presented on the topic of active listening in front of a group of my classmates.
While a university student, I also spent time taking English classes and working on my language proficiency.
My main motivation again came from Mr. Esfahanian. He told me if l wanted to be a successful manager, I needed to be an amazing communicator and master of the English language. I invested so much of my time and energy in developing my English language skills that when my family and I visited the UK in 2003, I could communicate smoothly with the natives, which made me feel wonderful.
From Isfahan to Kuala Lumpur
After I finished school in 2004, a neighbor of mine, Peyman, came to my house and asked if I could help him with something. He held in his hand the brochure of a university in Malaysia called Multimedia University. Here was a man, only slightly younger than I, wondering if I could help him understand a university brochure. This simple interaction led me to embark on a journey that changed the direction of my life forever.
While I helped Peyman with his inquiry, I grew more and more interested in the Multimedia University programs myself. Eventually I signed up for the MBA program. As a young boy, I always wanted to go abroad to continue my studies. I thought not only could I improve my English much faster this way, I could also receive higher-quality education than that available in Iran. My younger brother studied in Hungary in 2002, and this was a further incentive for me. Besides, Malaysia seemed a reasonable option, compared to the US, Canada, or the UK, since both the tuition fees and the cost of living did not amount to much.
While I awaited acceptance from the Malaysian university, I worked as an assistant manager at a carpet manufacturing company for the next six months. This was a great practical learning experience. For the first time, I got to see in action