I Am Living Proof Of The American Dream: “One Must Have The Courage To Take Chances And Make Big Moves” With Naima Spencer
Patience with self and the journey. Dreams don’t come true overnight. Being patient and allowing things to happen on their own time is very important to not lose sight and get discouraged. It’s about the journey, not the destination!
Courage. One must have the courage to take chances and make big moves. Looking back at my journey, I only regret the chances and opportunities I didn’t allow myself to take, not the chances I went after. No matter how the outcome was! There is always something to learn from failure but nothing to learn from a missed opportunity!
Belief in self and one’s dreams. When you believe in your dreams, you’re already halfway there.
Setting goals. Having a clear image of where you want to go is crucial. As Seneca said, “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, No wind is favorable.”
Taking action. Get the momentum going by taking small actions towards your goals. Do something that moves you towards your goals every day, no matter how small it is.
As a part of our series about immigrant success stories, I had the pleasure of interviewing Naima Spencer a certified Strategic Intervention Life Coach. She specializes in personal development and work/life balance. A graduate of Penn State, Naima has an MBA in Biotech and healthcare industry.
Having struggled with and overcome anxiety and a lack of self-confidence, Naima utilizes her experiences and coaching skills to help clients identify and overcome their mental blocks. She shows people how to break through their obstacles to achieve their dream life.
Naima was born and raised in Morocco, and her journey in the States began in 1998. She believes in the law of attraction, mind-body connection, and the power of the subconscious mind. Before starting her coaching business, Naima spent 13 years in the pharmaceutical industry and in government contracting. She currently lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired navy veteran.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I was born and raised in Morocco. I grew up in a small family with my parents and my older brother. My childhood was simple and quiet, a typical kid life whose only mission was to go to school and play outside with other kids. My mother had no education but she was determined that my brother and I do well in school and pursue higher education. I grew up speaking Arabic and French and started learning basic English when I was in high school. After I graduated, I went to college to study Economics and graduated in 1996 with a B.S in International Business.
Was there a particular trigger point that made you emigrate to the US? Can you tell a story?
While growing up in Morocco, I always listened to western music and watched American movies. I fell in love with the culture and lifestyle and began dreaming of the day I would grow up and move to the States. The sense of freedom I perceived about the US while growing up sparked that burning desire for me to move here and live the American dream.
Can you tell us the story of how you came to the USA? What was that experience like?
As the dream to live in the States took roots in my mind, I decided that I wanted to move here and have an MBA.
After I graduated college in Morocco, I was lucky enough to land a job in one of the biggest banks in Casablanca, Morocco. I was so grateful for having a wonderful job but my heart and soul were eager to move and pursue my dream. After working for two years in a bank, I brought my dream to life on 3 November 1998 when I landed in JFK, NY and from there to Philadelphia, PA where I ended up living for 11 years.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped make the move more manageable? Can you share a story?
Growing up in a conservative environment can be challenging to a woman who wants to leave everything behind and build her life in a foreign country. I am forever grateful to my parents who supported me and my decision to move to the States and follow my dreams. I can’t help but wonder sometimes how different my life would’ve been if they did not allow me to leave!
So how are things going today?
Being alone in a foreign country and struggling with the language at the time had its challenges and obstacles but giving up was not an option for me! Even though I spent my first few years working as a waitress and a babysitter, I never lost sight of my dream of going back to school and having a better life. The journey was not easy but my desire and persistence were stronger than the difficulties I was facing. I remember sitting in front of a computer filling out the application for the MBA program and debating if I should risk the $80 application fee! There is no doubt that my confidence and self-esteem suffered tremendously in my first few years in the States, but I’m also grateful that God gave me the strength to keep moving forward and not let any negative event deter me from my dreams. In 2006, I was admitted to Penn State and in October 2008, I graduated with an MBA in Biotech and healthcare management. I began a professional career in the pharmaceutical industry and later on in government contracting when I moved to the Washington, DC area. Although I feel that I have accomplished many great things on a personal and professional level, I’ve come to realize that my purpose is to become a life coach and share my stories of overcoming obstacles and achieving my goals to inspire others and help them live their dreams.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
My quest for fulfillment was answered when I became a certified life coach in strategic intervention and founded khirahorizons.com. Being able to use my life experience and my knowledge to help people break through their mental obstacles and achieve their goals is a blessing. Seeing real and lasting change in my client’s lives brings me great fulfillment and I’m so grateful to be part of their transformational journey.
You have first-hand experience with the US immigration system. If you had the power, which three things would you change to improve the system?
The immigration issue that I think needs some reform is the naturalization process for older people. It is extremely difficult for older people to become US citizens when they don’t speak English and are not able to learn a new language at a certain age in order to pass the citizenship test.
Can you share “5 keys to achieving the American dream” that others can learn from you? Please share a story or example for each.
Identifying my mental blocks and going on a journey of self-healing and growth were essential for me to move forward and improve my life. In my opinion, the five keys to achieving the American dream are:
- Patience with self and the journey. Dreams don’t come true overnight. Being patient and allowing things to happen on their own time is very important to not lose sight and get discouraged. It’s about the journey, not the destination!
- Courage. One must have the courage to take chances and make big moves. Looking back at my journey, I only regret the chances and opportunities I didn’t allow myself to take, not the chances I went after. No matter how the outcome was! There is always something to learn from failure but nothing to learn from a missed opportunity!
- Belief in self and one’s dreams. When you believe in your dreams, you’re already halfway there.
- Setting goals. Having a clear image of where you want to go is crucial. As Seneca said, “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, No wind is favorable.”
- Taking action. Get the momentum going by taking small actions towards your goals. Do something that moves you towards your goals every day, no matter how small it is.
We know that the US needs improvement. But are there 3 things that make you optimistic about the US’s future?
- The caliber of the American people is not something we can ignore. It definitely gives me hope to see and hear about so many smart and intelligent people working hard every day to make America better
- The diversity of the American people is what makes this country so strong. It is what makes the US so adaptable and inspires others to want to come here.
- The liberties that are given to Americans that other countries struggle with, mainly the Freedom of speech.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
There are two people in this world that impacted my life in great ways, gave me hope, and inspired me to continue pushing forward and setting the bar high for my self and my dreams, they are Oprah Winfrey and Tony Robbins. Meeting them would be a dream come true!
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Naima Spencer Life Coaching on Facebook and Instagram.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!