On the Move
Naeem “Nick” Noorani, well known motivational speaker, social entrepreneur, former publisher of the monthly magazine, “Canadian Immigrant” recently brought his cross-Canada workshop series, “7 Success Secrets for Canadian Immigrants” to Coquitlam. The event which was held in co-ordination with Immigrant Services Society of BC last July 24 drew a good number of newcomers all eager to meet Noorani and discover the road to success in Canada.
Noorani, one of Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Award 2011 winners who was born in Moombai, India and moved to Canada from Dubai 15 years ago was conducting the seminar series as a way of sharing his success story as an immigrant. He also promotes this workshop series in his online magazine for immigrant professionals, “Prepare for Canada”. Noorani was quick to point out that the 7 secrets are not actually secrets as they are mostly derived from common sense. At the start of the seminar, he asked himself, “ What is the most important thing that I can say to you so that you understand this journey to Canada?” He said that the elevator to success is broken and one should take the seven steps to success.
So what are Noorani’s 7 secrets of success? Here they are.
- Learn the English Language.
Being understood and able to communicate effectively is very important. Learn to speak and write the kind of English that matches your profession. Do not be content with just being in the ESL classes, as “ESL is kindergarten”. If your language proficiency is not up to par, your education and skills are like an unpolished diamond. Noorani cited that many new immigrants go to ESL class four hours a day but does not speak English outside of their class. That is no way to learn. To be proficient in the language, one needs to study it eight hours a day – reading, writing, listening, speaking – for 90 days. Make friends with English-speaking people and practice as much as you can.
- Stay positive.
Moving to another country to start a new life, leaving home, jobs, friends and family is probably the hardest thing an immigrant could have ever done in his lifetime. Having arrived in Canada to face all sorts of challenges, it is important that one stays positive all the time and avoid doing a “BMW” (bitch, moan and whine). Noorani advised to steer clear of negative people as their negativism will surely rub off on you. Antidotes to negativity would include being grateful for everyday, counting one’s blessings and surrounding yourself with positive people. Staying focused on being positive and smiling a lot helps instead of finding things to complain about.
- Embrace Canada
As a new immigrant, Canada is your country now and it is well to embrace it – its cultural diversity, sports and news. Immigrants will find that in the workplace, it is important to know Canada’s history, perhaps more important than knowing one’s country’s history. Noorani recalled that John Alexander MacDonald, Canada’s first prime minister was an immigrant. Canada offers unbounded opportunities and encourages you to paint your life. As Noorani puts it, “the painting you create of your life can be as big as this country or as small as a postage stamp”.
- Have a Plan B
Immigrants may come from parts of the world where their profession is their identity. However, this is not true in North America where the average person changes career five times in their lifetime. Being new to Canada, you may not right away get the kind of job or be able to practice the profession you had back home, so it’s worth looking at alternative career paths and other options. It’s always good to be flexible and have a Plan B or maybe even C or D. As well, immigrants should take a good look of their transferable skills and see how they could present these to make their prospective employers appreciate their value.
- Move out of your ethnic silo
To appreciate and experience Canada’s diversity and to blend in the community and workplace, it benefits immigrants to make friends outside of their ethnic group. By limiting themselves to their own ethnicity, they narrow down their chance for expanding their network and understanding other cultures.
- Take risks
Immigrants took a huge risk in coming to Canada, so why would they stop doing so after having landed? Moving out of one’s comfort zone and opening one’s mind to new possibilities and new ideas would greatly improve their chances for success. The adage, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” definitely rings true.
- Volunteer, Mentor, Network
Volunteering is highly valued in Canada and for new immigrants, it’s a good way to gain Canadian work experience and learn valuable things about the workplace culture. One could volunteer in organizations where they could get experience in the kind of work they were aiming for or are passionate about or for causes they believe in. By having a mentor from your profession or line of work, navigating your career path could be an easier, smoother ride. Networking on the other hand, gives you access to hidden jobs or opportunities and boost your chances of success in Canada. There are many networking events one could attend and where one could meet people from their line of work or profession.
In closing, Noorani reminded that “everything is at your finger tips and if it would happen that you did not succeed, it would be because you did not want to.”
Grace and Leo are licensed immigration consultants and members of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council. For questions or comments – email firstname.lastname@example.org Selected questions may be answered in this column.