Lost in Translation: The challenges for migrant professionals

lost in translation, migrant professional

 “A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”– Mahatma Gandhi.

During my childhood, I enjoyed public speaking and performances.

When I migrated to India due to the war, being among peers who were educated in English, my confidence plummeted to an all-time low. After I moved to the UK, not only, I had my fluency to address but also my accent. As a migrant, who did not study in English until university, I worried if my command of English was adequate and whether my message was understood.

Though I succeeded in my profession and business, my limiting belief stopped me from presentations, public speaking or even pitching for a long time.

Someone once told me my accent would be a hindrance when I wanted to share my story to help others. A couple of years ago, amid a group of public speakers, I mentioned my accent might encumber my ability to speak in public. A delegate friend of mine disagreed, “Menaca, If I listen to your audiobook or podcast, I’ll recognise you instantly, that’s such a gift!” This conversation influenced me immensely.

My desire to help others and make an impact was more compelling than this opinion, negative self-talk and external validation. I am now an award-winning international speaker. By no means was the journey comfortable; I had my insecurities resurfacing from time to time.

As I started to alter the way I looked at the world, the possibilities were endless.  My mission is to help other migrants emerge from their limiting beliefs, evolve in their life through developing their confidence, be open to opportunities and elevate them to their full potential.

The only factor that keeps one from reaching their potential is a lack of self-belief and self-doubt. Eliminating clutter and confusion and having clarity over what you want to achieve makes it easier for you to realise your goals. Having the courage to accept the reality, willingness to learn and asking for assistance when needed are pivotal in overcoming fear and achieving your goals.

Each one of us is unique and we all have our own individual strengths and weaknesses. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others. The road to your goals is often difficult, uncertain, scary and even complicated. However, change requires you to act.

  1.     Developing a positive mindset and confidence is by building self-worth. How you value yourself is often interconnected with how proficient you are at something.
  2. Each time you don’t achieve a goal, it results in low self-esteem. Hence it is essential to set achievable goals.
  3. Celebrating small successes is a vital ingredient in developing self-value.
  4. Relationships can have a significant effect on your level of confidence. The aim is to surround yourself with people who support, encourage and inspire you.
  5. There is an active link between self-care and emotional wellbeing. A healthy and balanced lifestyle promotes good mental health.
  6.   Others opinion is only their perception and not the truth.

When you focus your attention from yourself to others, you are in a place of comfort, confidence and control. What you are, what you do, and how you connect is more critical than your mastery of language or accent. Personally, this epiphany had the most significant impact on my confidence. I now concentrate on the message I want to share, the lives I want to impact and how I can serve others rather than indulging in overthinking and looking for external validation.

If I could give you just one message it would be “You can change your life by changing your thoughts.”

About the author

Menaca Pothalingam is a serial entrepreneur, ambassador for women empowerment, author and resilience strategist. Menaca successfully sold her Healthcare practice after 23 years in the industry and decided to move into the world of coaching, putting her personal and professional experiences into practice. Menaca has overcome adversity including escaping the Sri Lankan Civil War, battling stress-related illness and succeeding as a migrant Asian women in business alongside being a single mother. With qualifications in NLP, hypnosis, coaching, leadership and education, Menaca is helping others to take control of their lives, break free from victim mentality and turn their dreams into reality. For more information visit www.menaca.co.uk

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