Today I share with you some insights that have helped me stay focused while facing big challenges over the years.
Many of you know that for years I carried a refugee document issued by Egypt for Palestinian refugees, and dealt with an order of deportation, reporting to immigration a monthly basis for eighteen years.
What you may not know is that both my parents were born in what was Palestine, but is today part of The State of Israel. It’s important to understand that while I identify as Palestinian, I have always faced statements such as: You cannot come from a place that does not exist.
I want you to remember you’ve got to stay focused on who you are and where you are from, because your past can paint a picture of your future.
The more you know the facts on the ground the more you believe it. When we visited Gaza, I saw the reality of where my people lived, where they had been, and the thousands of years of history of my family being there.
This made it easier for me to disregard misinformation and lies that others want to use to shake people like me. During my immigration hearings here in the U.S., I was told: You cannot be a refugee from a state that does not exist.
It’s important to remember that it DID exist, that there were (and still are) people there, that while someone may try to shake you off your ground with illegitimate claims don’t let them shake you. I’ve helped that concept throughout my life and work over the years.
I’ve had thousands of clients over the last 30-some years, and occasionally I’ve had people trying to shake me saying you don’t know what you’re doing, or you shouldn’t be here, or you don’t belong here.
And I occasionally take those statements seriously because if I make a mistake or fail to deliver on a promise, I want to learn from it. At the same time, I want to make sure I was fair to myself when someone claimed something about me.
So as people engage or disengage you, remember that you cannot allow them to control how you react or think about who you are, or learn from what was done.
BEFORE YOU GO
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- What do you believe in, and what makes you believe it?
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Faris Alami is Founder and CEO of International Strategic Management, Inc. (ISM). He works internationally, presenting Exploring Entrepreneurship Workshops and other entrepreneurial ecosystem — related ventures.