My Transformational Story
Growing up as the youngest child of seven living in a government housing development project was not without challenges. Both of my parents migrated to Canada to seek opportunities and an overall better life for our family. My father was factory worker and my mother was a seamstress who mainly worked from home. My parents were extreme opposites in their approach to their vocations, my mother was a visionary entrepreneur not afraid to take risks and my father was a dedicated and hardworking labourer that was content with the status quo. Despite the fact that both my parents were very hard workers, supporting seven children put a very hard financial strain on our family. We always had the basic necessities provided to us but it was often difficult to being surrounded by crime and violence.
My mother worked hard as a seamstress but did not always have enough work to provide a stable income. She was entrepreneurial so she tried many different business ventures from opening convenience stores, restaurants and even buying and selling real estate. Unfortunately, she could not devote enough time to developing good business plans for these ventures and all of them failed putting even more financial and emotional stress on her and our family. Due to this ongoing stress and other health complications, my mother suffered a fatal heart attack and died at the age of 52.
My father also worked very hard as an appliance factory worker. He worked for the same company for over 30 years since he came to Canada. He was dedicated to his job, loyal to his company and never looked to advance within the company or look for opportunity elsewhere. With the onset of the NAFTA free trade agreement in 1994, the company closed its Canadian operations and moved to Mexico where the labour was less expensive. Still years away from retirement, my father was now unemployed and unable to find work. After some time my father became severely depressed due to his situation. He later was diagnosed with cancer, refused proper medical care due to his depression and shortly after died of his illness.
Both my mother and father died within 2 years of each other. As a child, I was always keen on education as I was interested in learning more about the world around me and also this provided and avenue for me to escape from the reality of my surroundings. Upon finishing high school, I was top in my class and was accepted to all the universities I had applied to. Unfortunately, I could not afford the tuition for university and needed to take out loans as well as find employment to pay for my education. I worked 30 hours per week managing various retail stores while enrolled full time. My studies focused on business and economics but I also took many courses in sociology and philosophy to feed my curiosity to understand people and the environment I live in. I was always a competitive person so I used this to achieve my educational goals. My attitude growing up can be paraphrased by, “me versus the world”. My mindset was negative in nature as I never really reflected on my experiences in such a way as to learn from them. I later graduated from University and used my education and retail experience to gain full time employment in finance.
While on my career path, I left a fairly large company with a stable position and accepted an opportunity with a start-up company. Although this was a risk, I thought it was well calculated because my career growth would have more upwards potential. While at the company, my father passed away and a little over a year later, the company closed and succumbed to bankruptcy. During the years leading up to the company’s bankruptcy, I could see myself becoming more and more depressed. I would sometimes reflect back on what had happened to my parents and think about all of the negative things they endured during their lifetime which would only leave me feeling more desolate.
My wife, who was