Commit Yourself to Success, Like an Immigrant

Successful job seekers commit themselves to success. They develop a can-do attitude rather than harbor a negative can't do attitude. As an ex-offender who leaves prison with nothing, you need to think like an immigrant who arrives with nothing in a land of opportunity. Instead of focusing on your barriers to employment, you need to focus on opportunities to achieve success.

Yes, life is unfair, but you also live in a country of seemingly unlimited opportunities for those who take initiative to succeed. Start thinking like the immigrant who arrives in America with nothing but the shirt on his back, a few dollars, and dreams of a better future.

Indeed, many immigrants come here with horrendous stories of bad luck, war, and family deaths. Many have questionable backgrounds, and most go through very difficult times. Many don't speak English the day they arrive, but they learn quickly. Our typical immigrants have nothing to lose and everything to gain through a positive attitude, hard work, drive, and persistence.

"No" and "can't do" are not in their vocabulary. Their attitude and approach to life is one of "Yes, I'll try" or "I can do this." They take jobs no one else wants but eventually end up in jobs they love.

Against what initially appears to be all odds, they succeed beyond most people's dreams. Within a few years they have a great job or own a thriving business, live in a wonderful community, have a large and supportive network of relationships, and have a thriving family with well-educated children who excel in many ways.

They become the model of the American dream. And guess what? They did it on their own and through the many relationships they built and nourished.

There are thousands of such success stories in America today among both old and new immigrants - Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Cuban, Russian, Ghanian, Ethiopian, Nigerian, Jamaican, Italian, Irish, Japanese, and German immigrants. The most successful immigrant groups have networks of their own countrymen who provide support and strong family relationships.

Ex-offenders in America actually have an advantage over most of these immigrants - a network of groups and numerous free resources aimed at helping ex-offenders make a positive transition. Ex-offenders'major disadvantage is dysfunctional attitudes that center around negative thinking, anger, and excuses.

The next time you make excuses for not being successful, think of the thousands of new immigrants today who will become extremely successful within just a few years. If you thinkand behave like an immigrant - positive and proactive - you may succeed beyond your wildest dreams!

SOURCE: Adapted from Ron and Caryl Krannich, Ph.Ds, The Ex-Offender's Job Hunting Guide (Manassas Park, VA: Impact Publications). Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.