Throughout 7-week cycles of our 7-Ft English Club, we discuss the key components of Successful Life Navigation. What do we need to thrive, especially when finding ourselves in a new country or environment?
Last week, we began with the topic of motivation. It’s essential to have the drive to succeed, as it acts as the engine propelling our ship forward. We explored the fuel for this engine: our needs and values. Which one has a greater impact on our motivation?
This week, we are diving into the concept of personal brand. We may think of our personal brand as the captain of our ship. It encompasses how we organize our cockpit, make decisions, and navigate through life to achieve success. There are numerous aspects to discuss within this topic, and today’s focus is particularly intriguing.
Before delving into the topic, I’d like to share a bit of my own story when my husband and I first arrived in the US. I started working at American River College, a higher educational institution. Then, I transitioned to William Jessup University, also in higher education. We might assume that higher education is the same across the board, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Many things were different, and I had to relearn various systems and processes unique to each college and university. Even within William Jessup University, I initially worked in the registrar’s office, where I learned about their system and helped students register for classes. It was a part-time position, and although I enjoyed the work, I longed for a full-time role. Eventually, an opportunity arose in the online department, which was part of the same university but an entirely different department. Once again, I found myself needing to learn and adapt to new ways of doing things. It was a challenging experience, and this was just on a small scale.
Now, imagine the magnitude of starting anew in a different country. It may feel like we have to relearn everything and leave behind all of our previous life. It may seem as though we have nothing to offer and are starting from scratch.
But here’s the truth: we bring a wealth of knowledge, experiences, and skills with us. Our lives are not wiped away; it’s an asset that can contribute to our personal brand. We have the ability to adapt, learn, and grow in any environment. Our journey may be challenging, but it also presents opportunities for personal and professional development.
So, as we explore the concept of personal brand, remember that we are not starting from scratch. We have to embrace our unique experiences and skills and let them shape our personal brand as we navigate success in this new environment.
Let’s take a look at things from a different perspective today. We’re going to dive into the topic of personal branding and explore the concept of transferable skills.
So, what exactly are transferable skills? Well, they’re skills that we can use no matter where we go. Whether it’s in Ukraine or in the US, in college or university, or in different departments, those skills stay with me. They don’t disappear or get lost along the way.
And guess what? Each and every one of us, as newcomers, possesses these valuable skills. It’s important to recognize that we have a lot to offer in this country. We’re not talking about hard skills that we might need to relearn, even if we’re an American. I’ve shared my experiences working in different departments within the same university to illustrate that life is full of changes and adaptations. But there are certain skills that we don’t have to relearn. They grow with us, and these are our transferable skills.
UNICEF, an organization that helps children worldwide, developed a global framework that highlights these skills. Let’s take a closer look:
First, there’s the individual aspect, which includes communication. We all learn how to communicate, right? Then there’s resilience, the ability to handle pressure and overcome challenges. As new immigrants, we all have a resilience score of 100 out of 100, don’t we? And let’s not forget about self-management. We start honing this skill in school and gradually improve it over time. I have a friend, Irina, who just joined our club, came from Odessa & she’s incredibly self-organized, a skill she developed as a businesswoman back in Ukraine. Even though she’s still learning English, her self-management skills already serve her here as she builds her new business in America.
Moving on to the cognitive dimension, which focuses on our thinking and learning abilities. Creative thinking is something we’ve been doing since kindergarten. It’s a skill that stays with us, regardless of the circumstances we face. Critical thinking and problem-solving are also skills that we develop through various tasks and experiences. Our other club members, Alexander and Dennis, have carried these skills from their work in Ukraine to their current endeavors.
Next up is employability, which involves learning how to work with others and make decisions. It’s about cooperation and negotiation, skills that newcomers like ourselves are already familiar with. When we enter a new environment, we need to collaborate with those who are already there and learn how to advocate for our needs. These skills are already within us, and they will continue to grow.
Lastly, we have the social dimension, also known as active citizenship. It’s about living and working together harmoniously. Participation and contribution are key aspects here. Our empathy for others, especially those who have faced hardships, is a valuable skill that we acquired as new immigrants. And let’s not forget about respect for diversity, which is what our 7-Ft English Club club is all about. We celebrate the fact that we may speak different languages and come from different countries, but we share the same values and needs. We can work together, learn together, and contribute to society.
The main message I want all of us to take away is that we have so much to offer in this country. Our transferable skills are incredibly valuable, and they haven’t disappeared or been taken away. We can thrive here, and our 7-Ft English Club volunteers are here to support our club members every step of the way. Remember, we all are truly valuable, and we have the potential to make a significant impact.