Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
I've been sharpening my axe since the beginning of the last quarter. You'd have to call me a hypocrite if I'd say I've lived my entire life with the same mentality. Action has always prevailed over anything. I have an unshakeable faith in doing over thinking. Only recently I've navigated moments where my faith underwent scrutiny and confronted intellectual scepticism, informed by self-moderated contemplative introspection and personal encounters.
I feel like I've always had a clear purpose in life, mostly fuelled by cultural "contracts", personal aspirations, and passion.
Any self-made individual knows what I mean. As neat and beautiful as the words I used are, they are synonymous with an excruciating struggle that a huge part of the population is unaware of.
But 647 days ago, all of that went on to mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. Nada. Niets.
Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.
About 3 years ago, I got stuck in the Emirates when visiting my family. The plan was to simply visit the family, open up a branch of my Kharkiv consultancy in Dubai and get back to Ukraine and specialise. Then the pandemic started and I had to rush to get my medical license to work as a doctor on the frontlines.
I still remember the day I got my license from MOH UAE. I thought to myself that this is it - my purpose is being fulfilled. Doing what I love the most- treating patients. I had a clear vision in mind; I'd go back home to Ukraine, get my license and work to specialise, and business would be back once the lockdowns and restrictions were over. In short, keep fulfilling my purpose in life.
I found my decisions were fully aligned with my goals. I was crowned a "hero" along with other doctors during the pandemic. I'd go back to Ukraine, obtain my license, and begin my specialisation, and business was running even if it took a major hit. Nevertheless, everything according to plan.
But contrary to expectations, the plan's viability did not hold up in real-world conditions.
Today, I'm just a refugee.
Plans are useless but planning is indispensable.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower
I know the one thing written in stone is that playing to your strengths is a foolproof cornerstone of life.
Yes, today I'm not working as a doctor anymore, and neither do I have much going on for me. But I'm still trying to find and do things that I love and know can make a difference while still playing to my strengths.
This picture above is from a small meeting I hold with other Ukrainian refugees who are now part of my team. Yes, my own team. It took me some time to gather a team of driven individuals who also believe in doing as much as possible for Ukrainian refugees and Ukraine. I'm still trying to stay away from "corporations" and find ways to empower the Ukrainian community in the city intrinsically instead of relying on external organisations. It is a challenging task, but I do it, with noticeable success.
Since becoming a "refugee", I've faced so many speedbumps. So damn many. It's hard to keep count. The stigma surrounding this word has held me back from reaching my full potential. Even if people are too woke to say anything to the face, many speak just as loud through their actions. I now know the challenges "refugees" face from firsthand experience. I know how it is to be one.
Working for the Ukrainian community is my fight against the stigma surrounding this dreadful word.
I started my humanitarian work with the mentality of "Thrive, not survive". I started it off all alone. Completely alone. While fighting my inner demons that came on to me due to this situation. In my head, I knew everyone around me was also fighting demons, and maybe, just maybe, if I played to my strengths, I could help them fight an even battle.
It proved to be right.
The harder I practice, the luckier I get.
I know jack about golf, but Gary is factually correct. I'm a huge believer in luck, but not in its general sense of meaning. I believe luck is something that can be constructed. And in Gary's words, it takes a lot of hard work.
Sometimes, when I'm "sharpening my axe", I wonder if this is now the purpose of my life. In the same train of thought, I find myself incredibly lucky to be in a position to do all of this. To make a real change in others' lives and feel rewarded for it without asking for anything in return. I have genuinely tried to do a lot and make a difference.
On the other hand, I can't help but get over the years I've spent paving the road and achieving personal and career milestones. Do you see the constant battle in my head?
In a way, becoming representative of Ukrainians in the city, doing research, brainstorming ideas, creating community events, productivity exercises, and even becoming an ambassador of an up-and-coming app for refugees is honestly not something shy of being proud of, nor short of deserving the title of "purpose in life".
I know what I want to do. It's a waiting game. I'll obtain my 3rd medical license and work here as a doctor if and when I obtain the language proficiency certificate. Till then, working for the people is my purpose in life.