podcast

sleon productions Podcast #35: Oleg Lougheed, head of Overcoming Odds

Oleg Lougheed is the head of Overcoming Odds, which restores a sense of community and belonging, provides a safe place to develop one’s individual voice and connect individuals through unique life circumstances.

https://www.overcomingodds.today

Transcript

Santiago Leon
Hello, hello. And this is the slinger productions podcast where we interview entrepreneurs, influencers, people that influence others, and take us to the next level. Today’s guest is all the way from Texas or like low heat. He’s the head of overcoming odds and hosts of the overcoming odds podcast. Oh leg. Welcome to the Selena productions podcast.

Oleg Lougheed
Thank you so much. Thank you for having me and giving me an opportunity to not only share my story, but hopefully share different tips and tricks that I’ve learned along this journey thus far. That can hopefully help other people along the way as well.

Santiago Leon
Appreciate you come in leg and tell us a little bit about yourself.

Oleg Lougheed
Well, that is the million dollar question. Right? And that is Who are you and the way that I would like to phrase it as far as who I am, is I am someone who chose to look at my life, and especially my past circumstances as opportunities that don’t necessarily define my present or my future, but rather are used as stepping stones to help me move into the version that I’ve always dreamed of and wanting to become. And that has been a position where I can openly share my story and my experiences in order to in order to help other people see themselves and see their own stories and experiences as something that’s unique, something that is completely unique as far as happened only to them. But then from there, be able to create a space for people to essentially share all of those experiences in order for them to be seen, to be heard and to be valued.

Santiago Leon
Well, like I was reading a little bit about your story online and you’re originally from Russia, and I know that your adopted kid tells a little bit about your childhood.

Oleg Lougheed
Absolutely. So I was born in Russia and ended up living there for my first 12 years of my life. None of those years, I guess you could say I lived in a family household or a type of family household, under one roof with my mom, my sister for a period of time. And then beyond that, I lived in separate households as far as having spent the time with my sister and then other times wherever my mom was my childhood, at least those first nine years, or not traditional. And the reason why I say that is because there was a lot of adversity that I went through as a young kid. And so part of that adversity included not knowing where I’m going to sleep, not knowing what I’m going to eat sometimes. And fast forward to when I was nine years old. I chose to take a slightly different path within my life and that is going to an orphanage, with the assumption that the word financial is going to provide me a better life and especially now People ask me how to do that. How did you make that decision? The way that I believe I made that decision was that I believed, and I trusted myself, that by going into that particular environment, I’ll be able to find a better opportunity for my life and for my future. So I ended up living there for three years. I’ve seen it all as far as the different things that you might hear about what an orphanage looks like, different forms of abuse, physical, mental, but at the same time, I’ll share those with you. As much as I wanted to look at that place as this horrific place that I was able to be a be a part of. I ultimately started to look at that place as a place of opportunity. And this is a critical thing. critical thing that I’ve learned, when it comes to reframing a lot of my story is being able to identify lessons and takeaways and things that I’m grateful for, from all of those circumstances. Oh, being in that orphanage, the operation Derrick gave me was to be seen in front of a group of parents who are looking to adopt kids from Russia. And that’s where my adoption end up happening when I was 12. So it’s 2005. I end up coming here to the States, I spoke very little of English, probably not enough to carry a conversation at all, because words like, Hi, yes, no, and dog and cat and tomato are not really relevant over the course of an entire conversation. So I just start from scratch. I just start with the English alphabet, one of those where you pick up the letter and it says a Apple, B banana. And you do that thousands of times until you memorize the thing. And then you have to form not only words, but then sentences and sentences that make sense. So it’s been a very, or it was a very challenging journey, as far as all of the obstacles that I had to go through and ultimately find ways to achieve adapt and adjust on the fly. And learning English wasn’t the biggest challenge at the time. There were five or six challenges simultaneously that were happening at any given moment. The language, the family, dynamic, the school, the making of friends, the understanding the people and the different influences that may influence your environment and your growth. So understanding all those things at the same time in a country where you don’t speak the language as well, was a big, big challenge. So the problems that were happening at school, I was sometimes carrying those problems back home. And really what those problems were is just a lack of understanding and the frustration that I was experiencing in not knowing what I know now.

Santiago Leon
Oh, look what tools are or what resources helped you to carry your path to success.

Oleg Lougheed
One of the biggest resources that helped me along this journey is my ability to be open minded and one The things that I will share with people who are listening to this particular episode is that being open minded or that mindset is you don’t wake up with it. At least I did it. It took me years to cultivate. It took me years to challenge my own assumptions, challenge my own judgments, expectations when it comes to people or certain events, and then help myself understand that, okay, maybe I don’t want to think this way anymore, or maybe I don’t truly believe it. So the constant challenging of assumptions, it still happens, I have to challenge what I assume or what I know, every single day to put myself in situations where I can unlearn, relearn, and learn something from a completely different lens. So open minded has helped me a lot. The other thing that has helped me quite a bit, and I know that you’re a big proponent of it throughout the show, is environment, the people that you surround yourself with, there’s a line that stuck with me for many, many years. And it was you become the average of the five people you surround yourself with. I think, in my opinion, based on my experience, even though there’s truth to that particular statement is that I believe that I am the sum of all of the experiences. Whether or not I choose to actively implement whatever those experiences give, to me is a completely different story. But in a way, I have believed that every single thing that I come encounter with every single every single being is influencing you in some way. Whether or not you choose to look at that individual, and the different resources that might be sharing with you, and wisdom. And then look at it from the point of view that, hey, I’m going to implement those things within my life. That’s a different step. But understanding that every single one still influences you to a degree has helped me understand that if that’s true, therefore, every single person is a value because they might be telling you something that you can carry forward with you. Or they might be telling you something that you may not want to actively participate in. My parents helped me realize this. And the reason why I say that is because my parents have always been open minded with me, and have always supported me every step of the way. Now, I can only imagine the struggles they had to go through as far as adopting a 12 year old kid who didn’t speak their language and all the moments of frustration that we shared among them. But what I will tell you is this is that at the end of the day, they chose to believe in the possibility that it is possible. It is possible to not only raise a child in this particular environment, with all the different things that he doesn’t know. But it’s also possible to support him along the way in helping him achieve whatever dream whatever vision he may have moving forward.

Santiago Leon
What feedback. Have you gotten to kids or young adults that have gone to a similar path as you? And that need that help? What feedback have you gotten from them? And what do you encourage them to do?

Oleg Lougheed
The way that I would probably approach it is it really just varies on which area that you might be experiencing a challenge. And I think overall, what I’ve learned is that when it comes to different challenges and adversities, what I continue to do is believe in myself. believe I believe in myself that there’s always a way as long as there’s a will. And I continue to remind myself every single day, in fact, I have a reminder in my phone, that I said as a reminder, so every every single day at 8am I get a reminder that says Believe in yourself. I read that over and then I move on with the rest of my day. The reason why I think it’s important for me to set such reminders is that that is One thing that I believe as one of the ultimate truths about who I am, is my ability to take on the different obstacles, and continue to believe in myself in the process, and the possibility of finding that way. Now, part of that journey, don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect. I still make mistakes along the way, I’ll probably continue to make mistakes, as long as I’m alive. I think mistakes and this concept of failure. In my opinion, we have to redefine that I had to redefine that for myself. The way that I view failure now is completely different from the way that I viewed failure before. Failure for me is just another opportunity to learn. It’s something that you tried with what you know, and did the best that you can. And so if I look at failures, there’s chance for me to learn and understand that, hey, this had to happen the way that it did, so I can move forward and understand what I had to understand. Then that’s great. I’ve achieved a version of what it means to be successful. And that’s really just telling yourself in my opinion, that I’m successful ready? I don’t have to wait for that next milestone. I don’t have to wait for that next achievement. I can choose to tell myself that I’ve already achieved certain elements of success today.

Santiago Leon
hearing your story, I think I can imagine you in school and your high school or middle school, like, you know, you’re quite like, way above average. You know, you probably hustled early in life. And and you knew, like, you knew the struggles maybe before leaving high school. Can you tell us your experience while going to school here and like the states.

Oleg Lougheed
It was a very interesting journey. And the reason why I say it is because once again, it wasn’t the traditional route that I chose for myself. When it came to the schooling. And the reason why I shared this is because I firmly believe that I’ve always been someone who wanted to understand, understand other people and relate to them. So part part of that included spending a lot of time in the principal’s office, not a lot of time, but occasionally been in that office because I would talk so much in class. And it wasn’t necessarily that I was talking to interrupt a lot of the teachers or their lessons or whatever it may be. I was talking to students to better understand the circumstances, and connect with them in a way that maybe I wasn’t able to experience as far as the level of connection that I had when I was a young kid. So this ability to network and connect with them on a deeper level, has helped me quite a bit moving forward, because one of the things that I’ve learned through my years of formal education is that in my opinion, I never had a course that was called Networking one on one, or understanding how to connect with people. So much of it was just here’s a subject, learn as much as you can, not to mention the memorization. There, there were courses that were strictly based on memorizing facts. And if you memorize those things, then you get an A. And that, in my opinion, I think that’s true across the board. Yes, don’t get me wrong, there are certain courses that do make you think and help you develop those skills when it comes to critical thinking. But still a good portion of education, in my opinion, is about memorizing the facts. It’s not so much learning about how to connect with people. And I’d be curious to know from your perspective, as well as far as how you view this, but once I graduated from college, that’s when I firmly begin to understand that this particular chapter of my life is so much about who you know, and who knows you. Very rarely have I been asked Where did you go School, what grades Did you receive? It’s more. So who are you? And what are you? What are you doing with that experience. So this concept of networking in developing strong connections, and maintaining and fostering them, is something that I don’t think taught or wasn’t taught to me as much. So I had to figure it out on my own. And I was very fortunate to have all those years in school where I can then await practice. Now, that practice wasn’t always met with the same understanding when it came from the teachers as I was being sent to the principal’s office for being talkative or disruptive, whatever the terms that they used. But what I’ve ultimately look at looking at right now, that whole experience is I’m extremely grateful that I had this journey. I’m extremely grateful that I had those experiences. Because what they did is they actually helped me almost like get an introduction or build a foundation for other chapters of my life, and really understanding how do you connect with people? And not only how do you connect with people and the surface level of Who are you and what do you do for a living, but more. So why do you do what you do? Why does this actually matter to you? Why does this light a fire in your heart that gives you this ability that no matter what the challenge may be in front of you, you still keep pushing through it.

Santiago Leon
When you just said that. I just had a flashback right after college, I started this business slam productions and I would go to every networking meeting in town, and you’re right in college, they don’t teach you networking one on one. You’re on your own. I was taught by my dad to get business cards, hand them out, go to meetings, and you never know who you’re gonna meet. But I remember that like, wow, this gives me you know, like this business has been around for over 10 years. And I remember I would you know, do Do the grunt work, go to, you know, to networking meetings at night, go to meetings in the morning. And, you know, try to meet people try to do some business and I got my first few clients there. And it was hustle, it was man, I, I missed those days, because that’s when you really feel the pressure, good pressure, not like bad pressure, but you know, good pressure just to get things going. And I was talking to someone last night about, you know, once you get like, all those clients, you kind of, you know, kind of loosen up a little bit you kind of lay back but I don’t believe in that anymore. You always gotta be prospecting and and I’m now more prospecting on LinkedIn on social media rather than going to the meetings, which is how I met you via LinkedIn. But, you know, not many people do that. And yeah, it feels like I don’t know what it is. I’m not sure if it shows just a personality thing or where you come from, but doing all that stuff kind of kind of pushes you away. Little bit like, were you feeling pressure at the time? Or do you like you said to yourself, I just have to do this?

Oleg Lougheed
Well, you know, for me what started kind of my own entrepreneurial journey was that during the first couple years of being in the States, one of the things that I started doing is that I was very fortunate to have a friend of mine who taught me this concept of snow shoveling and lawn mowing. And what we used to do is we actually used to go door to door, knock on the person store, introduce ourselves briefly and then ask them if they want it to either have their driveway shoveled, or have their lawn mowed. And then from there, if they would say yes, and they would ask the price, then we’ll give the number. The cool thing about that was that during those first couple years, when I didn’t have as much confidence as I do now, in my language, all I had to do was just memorize essentially two things would you like to have your driveway shall build and then just the price, and I actually remember sometimes even going out there with my brother around the neighborhood, knocking on people’s doors and coming back with two or 300 bucks, every single one of those times. The thing and the lessons that I learned from that experience is that you’re absolutely right as far as what you mentioned, and it is, if you put yourself out there, you will create opportunities. Here’s the thing that I’ve learned about life and especially when it comes to confidence is in my opinion, you’re never ultimately ready to do that thing. The way that I think you become ready is just by doing it, you’re never gonna have, I’ll speak from my perspective, I’m never going to have the ultimate map or the ultimate plan of how to accomplish a goal or achievement. Because here’s the thing. Once you start doing, that plan changes on the fly, the approach that you thought you’re going to have to take to getting on to x y&z interview, podcast. Earning that first dollar is most often times has been different for me. In fact, it’s been different probably 100% of the time, the people that I thought I would have to reach out to to book the first speaking engagement are completely different people from the ones that I’m having to reach out to right now. So the plan always changes and and the thing that I’ve learned about plans, and wanting to know, the ultimate vision before starting any sort of action towards your goals, is that a friend of mine recently shared with me something that I choose to live by. And that is, she said, You don’t need to know the how you just need to know where to start. And I think that’s a very important thing to take away from this is that

Oleg Lougheed
you may have a dream, you might have a vision. You don’t need to know about the whole how, of how you’re going to get there. You just need to know the first step, where do you start? And then from there, how do I get to the next level, and then next level and the next level? So the thing that you mentioned is far as Your own experience and what your dad has taught you. And how it has translated into your life is that I’m assuming one of the reasons or one of the things that happens when you do get that first client and that pressure eases up or it’s not as much. I think the thing that happens is that we lose our beginner’s mindset, we lose the ability to continue to stay creative, creative, and evolve, our ideas evolve our businesses. So keeping that beginner’s mindset in place, helps me stay grounded, it helps me understand that no matter what the level of success, or I guess, you could say, growth that I achieve within the business. That’s not the ultimate thing. And the reason why it’s not the ultimate thing is because there is growth beyond that, and there’s growth beyond that level. So the growth never stops. There’s no ultimatum that I believe you’re going to hit with your business. When it’s going to say okay, this is it. I think when you when you get to that point, you stop growing you stop learning.

Santiago Leon
I totally agree. What shook me up, you know, to keep growing was this one kid that I met last year. He’s 18 starting off when he was actually maybe 20. And same thing he just, you know, went out to network, very similar story, you know, to our story. And he motivated me again to just the prospect keep prospecting and, and yeah, you gotta have the beginner’s mindset. It’s tough because you can get laksa days ago a bit and you shouldn’t be in that. That mode. You want to keep growing, keep growing, keep attacking, and things like that. You have a website called overcoming odds can tell the audience a little bit about this website.

Oleg Lougheed
Absolutely. So the website that we initially launched the URL is called overcoming odds got today not.com it is dot today. The reason why actually We chose that name to begin with two or three years ago when we started this organization is I’m a firm believer that you can start that process of whatever the obstacles may be today, not tomorrow, not a year down the road, you already have what it takes. As far as the tools. It’s just that you may, you might not have had certain questions asked of you to help you reveal those tools and levels of understanding. So what you’ll be able to find on that website are opportunities for you to share your own story, and then different obstacles that you’ve been through. And then from there, you can find different podcasts episodes, events that we put on, due to the current pandemic that we’re experiencing, not only as a city, a country, but ultimately the world. we’re transitioning a lot of our events to virtual online, because we don’t know how long this is going to last. And really, in my opinion, it doesn’t make sense to wait however long it may be to have an experience like that, because I think you can create the experience and it may not be the same but let’s face it No two experiences are ever the same. Even if you’re putting down the same concept when it comes to having in person events, every single one of them brings a completely different experience. Because the people that are part of the experience are completely different. So for anyone that’s looking to either share their story, listen to any of the latest podcasts that we had of people who are there to share their own obstacles in ways that they’ve been able to overcome it. It’s probably the best way that they can get in touch with us through our website. And then beyond that, any form of social media, just like we’re doing right now Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, whatever it may be, just simply type in overcoming odds and you’ll be able to connect with us from there.

Santiago Leon
But this part of the show is random questions. Are you ready? Of course, has a teacher ever changed your life and if so, how?

Oleg Lougheed
There are two instances where teachers changed my life. First one is my sixth grade teacher whose SAP literally took the time with me before school and after school to teach me English and all The different element comes to the American Life. The second instance that a teacher changed my life changed. My life was in ninth grade. Her name is Judith hoskin. And she did something that I’ll remember hopefully remember for the rest of my life, and it is this. She stood up in the middle of class one day, and she said, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. It changed my perspective completely. It almost like gave me permission to ask whatever questions I wanted to. And then over the years, what I realized when it comes to our own individual paths or pursuit of education, it is this. When it comes to education, I firmly believe it’s completely your own individualized path. Therefore, the questions that you may want to know answers to are completely unique to who you are. So the things that you may want to know, it doesn’t really matter. And that was that was the thing that prevented me from asking questions for so many years prior to that moment in 19. grade was that I believe that I only had to ask questions that other people wanted to know answers to. And ultimately, it didn’t give me a chance to fully dive into it and understand it from the point of view that, hey, whatever the questions, whatever the information that I may want to know, is completely unique to me. And that’s perfectly fine. So those two instances, my sixth grade teacher and my ninth grade teacher really changed my life and my mindset and my perspective moving forward.

Santiago Leon
What would you tell your 15 year old self?

Oleg Lougheed
What would I tell my 15 year old self? My 15 year old self I would say this and this is a something that I actually posted recently on Facebook and all the other social media platforms and it stands out to me for many different reasons. But the biggest one is, I firmly believe reminding yourself of one thing know who you are, and the message is this. You are braver than you believe. stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Don’t give away that power within you. I think at any given moment, that’s always there. And in my opinion, it’s always true. Because every single day, when I approach life, it’s really just about learning how to deal with the unknown. I’ll never know enough to make a particular decision. I’ll never know the full story when it comes to making those decisions. But choosing to remind myself that, hey, even though I may not know those things, I already have the skills within me and the understanding to still keep moving forward. So those messages continue to remind me that, hey, whatever I’m going through, whatever, whatever the challenge, whatever the obstacle, whatever it may be, is that I have the tools within me to get through that thing and to solve it. The time that it may take is a little bit longer. But I think that’s also a true one of the truths about life is that Every single thing in life has its own timing. So whatever you envisioned in accomplishing in a day or week or a month, it may take significantly longer or it may happen in a split second, you just never know.

Santiago Leon
Not giving power away that that is definitely the key thing there and, and you know, keep going, what are your goals are like what is the best way to reach you on line,

Oleg Lougheed
the best way to reach me online is probably the same exact way that you and I connected, and that is through LinkedIn. Now people can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever it may be. But most of my time is spent on LinkedIn. And the reason why is because I’ve seen credible benefits from that platform. As far as how people connect and why they choose to connect to begin with. And that makes a big difference for me is that people are looking to connect not only grow professionally but also personally. in different areas, and I’m someone who actively chooses to engage in those elements of growth, of wanting to better understand as far as the topics that I may know now. And so LinkedIn is probably the best way for people to get in touch with him,

Santiago Leon
or leg. What a wonderful time I had with you very motivating, very good start for the day, I am motivated to have, you know, to finish strong this Friday, and I am really, really excited to have you any closing words before we end.

Oleg Lougheed
No, the biggest things I want to say is this is I’m extremely grateful for you. I’m grateful for you and your platform, and the different opportunities that it gives for other people to engage with those who are able to be a part of this show. The thing that I want to leave people with is that you’re never alone. You’re never alone along this journey. It is plot platforms like this make it possible for you to experience that feeling that you’re not alone. So If there’s anything that I would like to pass on to you, in particular, it is keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t let anyone stop you from achieving or pursuing your dreams, because you’re already making a difference. And as long as you’re impacting at least one person’s life over the course of your day, in my opinion, Job well done, doesn’t have to be any more than that. And in fact, in this particular conversation, that’s really all we can control, right? Is that person on the other end, we can’t control anyone else as part of that process. So I just want to say that and encourage you that you will face challenges and obstacles along this journey of continuing to evolve this podcast. But don’t let that stop you. Because you’re making a difference in someone else’s life. You made a difference in my life, and I just wanted to let you know that

Santiago Leon
same here or like Oleg Lougheed from overcoming odds. I appreciate you coming on to the sleep productions podcast. Thank you.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai