Dave Lukas Chats with Oleg Lougheed
168: Overcoming Odds, From Russian Orphan to Entrepreneur Success with Oleg Lougheed
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Oleg Loughheed. Oleg has an incredible story. He was born into poverty in Russia. He lived with an alcoholic mother, slept with bed bugs, and was lucky to get a good meal when he could – even if that menat he had to steal it. He never met his father. At 12 years old, he left his birth mother behind not knowing he would never see her again and entered an orphanage to be adopted so he could have a better life.
He was adopted by a family in the U.S. This changed his life and gave him all the opportunity he could ever asked for.
And Oleg is not wasting it. He is the founder of Overcoming Odds – a non-profit dedicated to helping people share their stories and experiences of resilience and overcoming insurmountable odds to teach others how they can do the same.
As an international adoptive father, I can not only relate to Oleg’s story of where he came from and the situation he was in, but I also have a special appreciation of what it took to overcome it. And it’s this unique perspective that I want him to share with you in this episode.
Oleg’s story begins in a small town in Russia. He was born into a broken home. At 3 years old, Oleg’s mother became an alcoholic. And at 3 years old, Oleg was reliant on her and in her state, she could not really be there for him. His sister started to become his caretaker but was not prepared for it. He was a “rock in the middle of two islands.”
His sister was reluctant to look after him and resented her mother for it. Oleg says he is grateful because everything he went through makes up who he is today. The strength, courage, and who has become is all due to these experiences.
At 9 years, HE DECIDED to relinquish his parents’ rights and become an orphan. He decided that the orphanage could provide better for him than his current situation. Some of this was true, but there was also physical and mental abuse that came with it.
At the 9 min mark, we discuss the amazing decision Oleg was able to make at 9 years old to separate from his family.
He shares how he had to mature much faster as he was tested at a very young age at the highest levels to have to grow up. Whether it was fighting hunger, finding a way to survive, watching his mother’s abuse and her being abused from those around her, he had to essentially live on his own and take care of himself. He learned early on to be a problem solver and part of his issue was he wanted to solve problems for his mother but could not.
At 12 years old, he was adopted and brought the U.S. He was put into 6th grade. He could not speak English and new very little about this area of the world. He had to figure everything out. He had challenges with keeping up, making friends, even communicating. The only way he could communicate was by kicking the soccer ball back and forth on the playground and this is how he began to make friends. It took him about 2-3 years to get up to speed.
At the 16:30 mark, Oleg talks about how he found his drive in the times he had gone out searching for his birth mother and what he encountered.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve taken away from your journey that have helped your success?
What was the hardest thing you had to overcome in your journey?
“Your past doesn’t have to define your present or your future. Your past is a foundation to learn from and give your lessons and takeaways. It is a reference point for how far you’ve come in life.”
Tell us about RDNA. What is it?
At the 37 min mark, Oleg talks about discovering one’s purpose…
What is developing an entrepreneur mindset a necessity?
What is the best advice you would give an entrepreneur starting out today?
Oleg’s acronym for authentic…
Your past doesn’t have to define your present or your future. Your past is a foundation to learn from and give your lessons and takeaways. It is a reference point for how far you’ve come in life.
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