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The Journey Matters As Much as the Destination

by Olga Golding on

There is no denying that in life there are ups and downs. The important thing to consider is that when you are up, never take it for granted; when you are down, know that it won’t last forever. The journey of life is what helps define who we are, how we deal with the different situations life throws at us, and ultimately how we chose to move forward.

For me, it’s my journey that has helped me be who am I today. Moving to the UK from Russia when I was only 17 to start a new life for myself was one of the defining steps in my journey. It was a step outside of my comfort zone and it was ultimately a character-building moment. So what does a young woman in a new country do? Well the first thing I did after getting settled was finding a job. Moving to the UK with nothing, I needed to start working. I always had an interest in hair styling, so I started an apprenticeship at a hair salon and instantly fell in love. I could tell that this was something that I was passionate about, something that I could excel at, and it was.

Growing and Learning

Over the next few years, I completed my apprenticeship and opened my my very own salon. I was on my way to building a successful business for myself. I was learning so much about being a professional stylist, about being an entrepreneur and business owner, and most importantly, I was learning about managing and working with people. I knew I loved working with people right from the start.

It was several years into my career when I met my ex-husband. He, a like-minded entrepreneur had a successful real estate business and together we decided that we would work together to grow both businesses. It was also around this time that my beautiful daughter was born. At this point, I had everything, a thriving business, a fantastic partnership, and a beautiful daughter.

Tough Life Lessons

I felt as though I was on cloud 9 – and it’s this next life lesson that helps me put everything into perspective now, and why it’s important to appreciate the balance and try and have a balanced perspective no matter what life throws at you, or gives you. When things are great, appreciate them, but don’t take them for granted because sometimes life has other plans for you. At least, it did for me.

Faster than I could imagine, what I had built up for over 16 years, had started to crumble, and it seemed there was no way to stop it from completely crumbling to the ground. My relationship with my ex-husband was starting to show signs of lies, fear, and abuse and it was clear my businesses, and the life I built was in jeopardy. The person I had trusted completely had used our family and our relationship to take advantage of me, and selfish greed had taken him over.

He pushed me and my daughter out of the home we lived in, the community we were a part of, and threatened if we ever came back, he would make sure we regretted it.

Moving to California

My daughter and I left and moved to California with only what we had in our suitcases to our name. A non-US citizen that had no license to style hair in California, the only career I've known, no access to our money as the accounts had been frozen, and no place to live. This was my new reality. And it was the ultimate test.

Although it didn’t feel like it at the time, I can look back now and say this was the start of my new life journey. One that would test me daily and one that I would choose to either make the best of or give up.

I was now starting a new life, just as I did when I was 17, but now, I had a daughter, lawyer fees, and a skill that I didn’t have the ability to use.

I decided it was time to choose a new profession and a new road on this journey and start to build a life for myself and my daughter that would make us proud.

Going Back to School

I decided to go back to school, and take on the financial burden to hopefully support my long-term goals, and help me get into a profession I could truly succeed at. It was a hard decision but it was one that I was confident was the right one. Short-term pain for potential long-term gain.

I knew I had a passion for people, a mind for business, and a work ethic second to none. So I enrolled in Saddleback College in 2019 to study Business Administration, and begin my academic journey. In Jan 2022 I transferred to Cal State Fullerton to pursue my degree in International Business with a concentration in Intercultural Management.

It was clear at this time balancing academic life, a growing daughter, and work is difficult and something that many single parents have to do every day. But I continued to push forward toward my goal.

A Dream Come True

And then something amazing happened. I learned about a scholarship opportunity called Elevate-a-Life and it seemed too good to be true. After reading through the requirements, and learning about Melita Group, Paul and what the foundation of the scholarship was rooted in, it felt like this was the perfect opportunity to help give me the boost I needed.

It was a dream come true and something that immediately made it clear that at the very root of the scholarship was the support to help single mothers, like me and like Pauls mother, build a life towards financial freedom and grow a career.

Once I applied, and after speaking with Paul and Rachel, I was awarded the scholarship. This was such an amazing feeling and I felt a new path in my journey had made itself clear.

I am able now to get the support financially that I need to finish my degree. And as a bonus, part of the scholarship is being mentored and coached in HR, and I am now officially an intern at Melita Group. I am following one of my passions which is HR and organizational behaviour. I couldn't feel more blessed.

Well that’s all for this post. I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about my background.

Next post I will be talking more about my degree, some of the courses I am taking as well as the many things that I am learning and doing as an HR intern here at Melita Group.

Until next time...

Big hugs,

Olga G.