BE KIND — Whether you are a business owner or an employee, there is always an excuse to be kind. Power does not mean you can be rude, disrespectful or treat others as inferior. You never know who is listening and observing, and you never know what effect that could have on your business.
GIVE BACK — When you reach a certain level of success, make sure you are giving back. Give back to your family, your mentors and your community. Give your time and volunteer for a cause you truly believe in.
Is the American Dream still alive? If you speak to many of the immigrants we spoke to, who came to this country with nothing but grit, resilience, and a dream, they will tell you that it certainly is still alive.
As a part of our series about immigrant success stories, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marina Simovic.
Ms. Simovic is a Certified Stretch Therapist, Reiki Master and CEO of Flexhealing. Seven short years ago, she came to the United States with two suitcases and a thirst for adventure. Her immigration to the U.S. offered her a chance to learn new languages and have new and exciting experiences, and New York City was where her new future was forged. Though wrought with ups and downs in the beginning, she overcame her struggle to assimilate to the new culture and language and emerged CEO of her own company, Flexhealing. Marina’s approach towards healing can be characterized as unique, creative and therapeutic.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Absolutely! I grew up with my brother in a very traditional Catholic family of four. My mother was a typical housewife and my father worked for years at a prestigious wine company in the area. Our home was in a little village about six miles from a major city and was built by my father from the ground up. Though traditionally raised, we were still exposed to different religions and customs and I remember having a very active lifestyle. Though I wouldn’t say it was full-fledged “farm” life, we did live off the land, and we did have a dog, some chickens, pigs and goats. I have such good memories of our carefree summer days spent tending our gardens, swimming, laughing, playing, and enjoying the delicious food my mother prepared. But, with no public transportation readily available, going to school, heading in to the city, or even getting groceries, meant a six-mile walk, there and back. You would think this would bother me, but it actually did the opposite. It was during this time I developed a love for nature. I remember always feeling vibrant and full of energy and I began to see how nature can truly impact people. Looking back on that now, I see how those early experiences and the memories of my youth helped shape the person I am today.
Was there a particular trigger point that made you emigrate to the US? Can you tell us the story?
My decision to come to the U.S. actually came about by sheer happenstance. Like I said before, I did want to travel and experience new things, so I knew I wanted to go somewhere, but exactly where hadn’t yet been determined. Initially I was interested in Europe, London to be exact, and I really didn’t have any interest in going to the US. But my sense of adventure was calling and when I found out I would only be able to spend a short time in London, that triggered my idea to come to the US. I decided, if I was going to go to the US, it might as well be to one of the biggest cities I knew of, New York City. My first experience with the Big Apple was exciting, scary and exhilarating all at the same time.
Can you tell us the story of how you came to the USA? What was that experience like?
I will never forget my first experience in the US; the Big Apple was covered in snow and I felt like I had stepped in to a romantic fantasy world. December 2002, I landed in New York City, during one of the biggest snowstorms they had experienced. But to me, it was absolutely dazzling; a city covered in clean, white, glistening snow. Having come from a small country in Bosnia, I was used to a more Mediterranean climate. I had only experienced snow one time before and this second time was even more magical than the first. Soon after arriving, I went to school to become an Au Pair and once complete, was placed with a family on Long Island. My beginnings, as humble as they were 20 years ago, where just the start of my amazing journey.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped make the move more manageable? Can you share a story?
For the most part, my assimilation and growth in the new culture was on my own steam. Along the way, I did have a support system of people I could look to for help and they did help shape where I am today. One in particular, my Uncle, who was married to my Mother’s Sister, was a constant during my early days in America. He had also immigrated to New York, after spending some time in Germany, had rebuilt a reputable company that he ran for over forty years. Other than my Uncle, I have also been inspired by Anthony Robbins, who you may know is a son of a Croatian immigrant. I have always felt he had such a powerful story of overcoming obstacles in becoming who he is today. I think he’s just a great human, with a kind and gentle heart and it inspires me to keep going in spite of obstacles in my way.
So how are things going today?
Today, things are great! As you can see I’ve learned the language, and also, I’ve adjusted to the culture. I have become a better person overall and with my company, Flexhealing, I feel like I’ve reached my ultimate goal. Along the way I didn’t always have a clear picture of who I would become, what I would do or even how I would get there — but I just kept going. The journey felt like a million miles, but today I am immensely proud of my story. It’s a testament to what I have accomplished so far. My mission is to help billions of people create health and wealth for themselves; to have them enjoy a quality of life they deserve.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Through Flexhealing, I have been able to bring so many people to a path of healing, clarity and joy. My success is their success. I am truly grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to walk alongside as my clients achieve their health and wellness goals and ultimately, reach their optimal health. It is my mission to educate all my clients on the idea of whole health, a health that covers not only them, but also their friends and their friends. In this way, they can create a lifestyle of abundance for many. I am also passionate about a clean environment and in finding ways to improve the quality of air for all of us and for generations to come.
You have first hand experience with the US immigration system. If you had the power, which three things would you suggest to improve the system?
Based on my experience, I would definitely support immigrants having access to:
- Better health insurance options
- Better educational opportunities
- Better small business venture resources
Can you share “5 keys to achieving the American dream” that others can learn from you? Please share a story or example for each.
My “5 keys to achieving the American dream” are to:
- LEARN — Learn everything you can, from everyone you come into contact with. Sometimes we can interpret unforeseen circumstances as a bad thing, but really, they serve to teach you more than you know.
- BE CREATIVE — Just because you hear “No” wherever you turn, never let that dampen your creative spirit. Be curious, explore and find new adventures. Trust me, there is always a way if you stay creative and just ask.
- BE KIND — Whether you are a business owner or an employee, there is always an excuse to be kind. Power does not mean you can be rude, disrespectful or treat others as inferior. You never know who is listening and observing, and you never know what effect that could have on your business.
- GIVE BACK — When you reach a certain level of success, make sure you are giving back. Give back to your family, your mentors and your community. Give your time and volunteer for a cause you truly believe in.
- INVEST — Your growth in any direction can be measured in proportion to your willingness to learn, be adaptable and in your ability to invest. Invest and then re-invest; money in — money out. Give yourself a constant flow of abundance — mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and monetarily.
We know that the US needs improvement. But are there 3 things that make you optimistic about the US’s future?
Yes, absolutely! I am optimistic that:
- The US is constantly evolving, innovating and growing, which is a huge advantage to all Americans.
- There is so much diversity in the US. There are different cultures, religions, sexual orientations, yet everyone is so adaptable and welcoming.
- Each state has its own stamp on the overall expansion and growth of the Country. No matter how small you are, you can make an impact.
We are very blessed that 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, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Actually, there are two people I would love to meet; Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez. I mean, it is such a blessing to find the support of a partner with whom you are compatible; someone who helps you be more creative and inspired just by being there. They both came from humble beginnings, made fame for themselves, found each other later in life and each have such great business empires. They are truly inspirational. Also, their dedication to their family is amazing! I would be so honored and grateful to have lunch and meet these two extraordinary people.
What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?
Readers can stay up to date with me on my website at www.flexhealing.com. Hope to see you all there!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!