An Introduction Vladimir...

Life: It’s about Change
Life changes daily, much of it we welcome and anticipate with eagerness. Seasons slide from the ice and winds of winter to spring’s new growth; the lazy warmth of summer fades, replaced by the nip of fall air and we begin the rush of activity that becomes the holidays. With change comes excitement but how often do you welcome changes, even small ones, in your own life experience? There is a point when change creates more anxiety then excitement. Each of us responds uniquely to the challenges brought about by change and clearly the degree of change will impact how readily we welcome our new reality. Additionally, whether we choose change or it chooses us unexpectedly, the sacrifices we have to make are a key factor in determining our reaction to change. To choose to make a significant life change, perhaps to sacrifice what you have and know today for what you believe to be a better life in the future takes courage. What would you be willing to sacrifice to improve your own or your family’s life situation – to live what you believe can ultimately be your best life?

It was these exact life altering decisions facing a middle-aged, Russian physician almost two decades ago. Vladimir was a successful doctor practicing in Moscow. He lived a life with privileges and enjoyed the favor and support of those in the Russian government. Life was a good as it gets near the Kremlin. So why would a successful professional, one who spoke no English, consider leaving a comfortable livelihood – the only life he and his family had ever known – and move to America? It required courage for Vladimir to assess his situation and decide to make the personal sacrifices necessary to follow his instincts and endeavor to create a better life. This decision was not for him, but for his wife and two young children.

Willing to Sacrifice
Vladimir had a good life in Moscow. His housing and transportation needs were met by a government that also provided him status and access to the highest circles in Russian society. Not once did he worry about his family’s safety due to the protection his pedigree provided. Despite these individual comforts and securities, it was a time of political change and unrest in the Soviet Union. Vladimir was concerned about things he saw and heard; things not often reported by the press or in the news. Though he was providing for his family’s needs at the time, he had concerns about what life would be like for them in the years to come. Vladimir feared that the future and freedom he wanted for his family would not be attainable in Moscow. He wanted his children to have access to advanced levels of education and for them to attend medical school, but he had no certainty that his children would be able to choose such a path. Having read and heard about the individual freedom of choice in western society, he decided the best decision he could make for his family was to leave his birth country and move to the United States. Vladimir discussed this option with his wife, and though she too wanted what was best for the family, they did not agree on how these goals should be obtained. She did not want to leave Moscow. They had discussions and arguments at times about whether to leave behind everything and move to an unfamiliar, country. Facing his fears, Vladimir embraced the need for change as a means to obtain his familial goals and was prepared to make the necessary sacrifices. He first had to convince his wife that the sacrifices they were about to make would benefit the entire family in long run; but for his wife, the risk seemed too great. She feared the unknown and strongly resisted Vladimir’s arguments to leave Moscow.

Leading Your Best Life
While most of us do not face the daunting choice of leaving our country to improve our own lives or those of our families, many of the choices we face do involve actions and decisions that cause stress. As in the case of Vladimir’s wife and their current unhappy situation, there is a familiarity that prevents us from taking action to bring about change.

Fear of the unknown can keep us from searching for new employment or postpone advancing our education, resist practicing healthier eating habits or any number of actions that would ultimately allow us to live our best life. These are ‘all about me’ thoughts that limit our attitudes and constrain our power to move toward success and to live a better life.

Ultimately, at 53 years of age Vladimir left his position of comfort and respect in Moscow and moved with his family to the United States. He spoke no English and had to start his life over in a new country even as he needed to provide for his family. He could not practice medicine in his new country. He began to learn English by watching American television; he got a job driving a cab and in this way worked on improving his ability to speak English. The change in his lifestyle was a hardship and sacrifice that he personally made for his vision of a better future for his family.

When people hear the word ‘sacrifice’ it’s often interpreted as ‘giving up, surrendering or losing something’ but that is only fragment of the definition. The dictionary defines ‘sacrifice’ as the ‘surrender of some desirable thing in behalf of a higher object’. It is the second part of that definition that can be so easily overlooked. Yet in Vladimir’s story, that higher ideal was the driving force – his motivation – to leave his country. If our views are limited and if we are unwilling to make sacrifices; it’s no surprise that we delay or never take the necessary steps to improve our situation. This was how Vladimir’s wife felt about leaving their country and the life that they had, along with fear from the uncertainty about the hardships they would face at the other end.
But Vladimir persisted; determined in his efforts to create a better future for his family; he worked hard and believed in his new vision for his wife and children. And through his belief and commitment, Vladimir has obtained a life even more fulfilling than he envisioned. His two children did choose to go to medical school and both are now doctors living and working in California. Through his choices, in sacrificing for his family, Vladimir is also enjoying the rewards of a meaningful and happy life.

Now a fit 70 year old grandfather, Vladimir continues to work as a driver as a means to provide for himself and his wife, Petra. He no longer drives a cab but a limousine. His wife loves California and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

It’s all about ‘WE’
Vladimir had no way of knowing the outcome of his decision to leave Moscow, but by making the sacrifices he did, his entire family has benefited in many ways. He has seen the fulfillment of his dream for his family as they each live a life of freedom and success. He continues to do the things he loves such as; skiing, and his best life includes good health, a positive outlook, and enjoying the love of his family. He has found additional comfort in his Russian community that exists within his hometown.

Taking steps toward living your best life doesn’t always have to involve extreme measures but it will require sacrifice: at the very least, the sacrifice of old beliefs, long held (perhaps negative) thoughts and most of all ineffective patterns of behavior. Initially reaching out to help others may seem of greater benefit to the other person, but just as Vladimir could not foresee the outcome of his sacrifices, the steps you take to help another cannot help but benefit you in some way. The advantages you receive might come through acquisition of new skills or insights; opening of new social or employment opportunities; growth of goodwill or in deepening your personal relationships – the long term benefit isn’t always obvious at the beginning of an endeavor.

What might you be willing to give up to truly live your best life? Commit to reaching out to help someone in your life or someone in need. Today is a good time to take the first step toward your dream and for living your best life.'s%20Not%20About%20Me.pdf

Author's Bio: 

About James McPartland:
In my present work I am an author, international speaker, and ‘wellness ambassador’ focused on developing the human potential within business. My experience includes serving as an investor, board member, and president of a leading global fitness manufacturing company. That work, and my present business at ‘The JMac Performance Group’ has allowed me to play a leadership role in the health and fitness industry for more than twenty years.

Elements of my pursuit have found me studying the lifestyle trends and cultural views of wellness in over sixty countries. This has led to a robust consulting practice developing healthy people - thus leading to a healthy, innovative, and more profitable business.

Much of my current business advisory and speaking activity demonstrates a philosophy we call ‘Crosstraining for Life’™. New research has been introduced this year that focuses on uncovering the potential that lies within a company - through work developing the potential of the people employed inside the business.

About The JMac Performance Group:
A ‘Human Performance Company’ dedicated to improving the health and profitability of a company by unlocking the potential of its employees. Business and people development consulting is cultivated through seminars, workshops, and executive retreats.

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