Everything was falling apart - my finances, my business, my relationships with family and friends. I was two months away from bankruptcy and almost divorced. I truly could not understand why it was all happening to me.
Being an inexperienced entrepreneur, I was jumping from one business course to another, reading tons of books on business and self-development, joining different business groups, spending a lot of money yet not getting the results.
I got to the point where nothing was working for me, and I had only one thing that kept me going, my business. I could let myself down, but I couldn’t let others down, my family, my employees, teachers, students and parents. Over 600 people were standing behind me; people who trusted me and counted on me.
I’d like to acknowledge my wife, who was with me at the most difficult times running the business. She took on a lot of responsibilities, and I can’t even imagine how much stress she went through because of me.
As I was witnessing my wife’s frustrations and desperation, I started to blame her for all our failures! I became aggressive and made her responsible for how I felt. I ultimately ended up pushing her away, thinking that if I took her out of the equation, everything would fall into place. I was wrong.
Not only did it not improve anything, my decision led to my complete failure as a human being, business owner, husband and father.
Sameena and Scott came into my life right on time! My weekly sessions with Sameena brought me back to life and were like oxygen to me. It was hard at first to adjust to the language they used, and to look at myself honestly. I had always buried self-examination under more work. That was part of the problem. I suppose I wasn’t unusual in that regard. Many people, especially men, know they need to improve the way they think and feel, but we aren’t trained to be open with our feelings, or we just don’t know how to begin. Fortunately, there are people like Scott and Sameena who do know.
In our counseling sessions, they introduced me to concepts like awakening, which is a very accurate term because I had been asleep in many ways, mainly how to think properly so I could achieve my true potential. That’s where the next step came – turning around. That’s what it takes sometimes – a complete 180-degree turn. Not a slight adjustment, not a “tweak”, not a comfortable and minor change – a total overhaul. A turnaround. I kept what worked and turned around what didn’t, and that made all the difference.
Scott and Sameena also emphasized the word “integrity” a lot. Now that I’m further along the path, I realize that it was intentional. As the saying goes, “Sometimes, to get the bull’s attention, you have to hit it between the eyes with a board.” My impatient, “I want it right now”, former business self would think, “Okay, I get it. Integrity. I heard you the first time.” But I didn’t get it because I didn’t have it. I was still resisting. The walls don’t come down easily. When I stopped resisting, I was able to reach deeper inside myself and really fix what’s broken. Change comes hard sometimes, but when it does, it’s like sunlight bursting through clouds. Now I know, for the first time, what true integrity feels like. I was never a dishonest person.
Integrity is more than just honesty. It’s believing in yourself and putting your own needs first so you can serve others to your fullest potential. On airplanes, the flight attendants tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first in case of an emergency, before you even put your children’s on, because if you pass out first, you won’t be any good to anyone else. It’s a lot like that.
I remember when I first started to do my daily videos. (Part of the membership site programs.) That first time, I stared at the screen on my phone for an hour, too terrified to say a word. Little by little, though, I practiced my daily recordings, and it turned into a power habit I now can’t live without.
I can’t say enough about how much Sameena and Scott helped me clarify my own needs and find myself. My business is taking off, and my relationships with friends, family and employees have improved dramatically.
I am still working on my relationship with my wife and am seeing positive changes. I stopped blaming everyone around me for all my failures. I took full responsibility for my life.
- Vadim Koltsov
Before I met Scott and Sameena, I felt like I was treading water, barely able to keep my head above the surface. I was unhappy and scattered, torn between what I wanted and what I felt I should be doing - what I desired and deserved. I was being pulled in different directions by family, work, and even myself. I was an emotional wreck, pretending to be happy but privately crying every day. I was like a robot, floating through life on auto-pilot because there was no time to do anything that gave me joy. What I wanted wasn’t responsible, I told myself, it was frivolous, and I felt guilty just thinking about it.
To make matters worse, no matter how hard I tried, my business was getting me further and further in debt, causing me more stress and anxiety rather than helping me to feel fulfilled. I didn’t just feel like a failure, I WAS a failure. I was a disappointment and a burden to my family. A leech. I hated my life as it was. I despised my day job and felt undervalued and unappreciated both at work and at home. My only escape was art, and I couldn’t even enjoy that because it was putting my family in debt, forcing me to hide my spending on new art supplies out of guilt and embarrassment. I was a fake, and I was tired of pretending. My family argued all the time, and I yelled way to often. I didn’t appreciate what I had because I was so focused on the scarcity.
I said yes to everyone else’s needs, and no to my own, yet often felt that I had no integrity because I didn’t fulfill promises, or canceled plans with people because I had too much on my plate and couldn’t follow through on my commitments. My word had come to mean nothing, and I equated that to mean that I meant nothing. After all, if I am not even as good as my word, then what good am I? A failure. A liar. A disappointment. A fake. Hell, I didn’t trust myself - how could I expect anyone else to?
Who was I to dream? What right did I have? Every time I followed a dream, my family suffered, so I ended up carrying guilt - even for my most amazing adventures. It was like I wasn’t allowed to feel joy in a pure way. It was always tainted with guilt. Guilt always soured the pleasure until I felt hopeless, and that there was nothing in the world I could possibly do right.
If I am this terrible of a person, I thought, my family would be better off without me. And although at this stage in my life there was no plan to do anything differently, and I did not intend to harm myself, it was still a very dark place to live, wading through a swamp of shame. How could I possibly love myself and trust myself if I was such a disappointment and burden to everyone around me?
Unhappy was an understatement. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right, or make anyone happy, so what was the point of even trying? I was ready to give up. I had gained A LOT of weight, which I was also embarrassed about. A year before, I had run the New York City Marathon, but no one would believe that if they saw how much I had changed.
Then a friend of mine posted something on social media that intrigued me. It sounded like a great opportunity to showcase my business, and to share my enjoyment of art - the enjoyment I wanted to have; the joy I once felt before it became necessary for the art to support itself, which I had failed at. I allowed myself to respond to her call to action, and somehow was accepted into her schedule. As the day grew closer, it became obvious that I needed help. I wasn’t ready to share my passion because I wasn’t allowing myself to freely feel and follow my passion. At that point, I was offered a Turn-Around session.
At the turnaround with Scott, he put into words feelings and thoughts that I was ignoring and burying. I realized, “Wow, I am in a dark hole. I feel worthless and have no idea how to get out of this.” Then he gave me a chance to improve my situation. He asked me if I had a friend who had always told me the truth, no matter what. I told him I did, but she had recently moved away. It was a two-and-a-half-hour drive to her new home. Scott told me to go see her in person. “Don’t call,” he said, “Just show up on her doorstep and see what happens. And if she’s not home, leave a note.” And for some reason, I felt called to do this. I needed to do this. I wanted to do this. I called my husband and arranged for him to get the kids, then I got in the car and drove.
She was home when I arrived. We went out for dinner and a long overdue chat, and we supported one another. It was amazing and just what I needed. I realized that I am not valueless, and that someone would notice if I was missing. It got me to thinking about who else really cared for me, and accepted me as I am. I realized the most important thing that anyone can – that I matter.
When I returned, I started doing a daily, 15-minute audio and video clip about what this program means to me. I learned to share in a private community. It was awkward at first. I don’t like looking at myself and talking to my phone. But I did it. And I felt like by sharing my story, and commenting on other people’s videos, I wasn’t alone in my world, or on my journey to self-acceptance and awareness.
Then, a few months later, an AMAZING offer was presented to me - 12 weeks of support and integrity coaching. It was a new program called Integrity Choices, and I was one of the first people to be invited to join it. It was incredible. It started off with a promise to do a small action every day for 33 days. As I mentioned, keeping my word wasn’t something I was very good at, especially to myself. But I made a promise to do something for myself every day, and I started to feel proud of myself for accomplishing it. It was sometimes hard to remember to fill out the daily accountability log at the private membership site, but I am sure now that it was a key factor in my success.
With each passing week, I became more confident in myself because I was learning to honour my word - to others and to myself. By learning what integrity is, I was able to become a better person, a person I am proud of. I was able to incorporate good habits I had tried in the past but never continued for longer than a week, and make those activities part of my everyday life – activities like daily hypnosis meditations. They are no longer a chore or something I need to struggle to remember to do. I look forward to them. And as Scott promised, they have improved my outlook, confidence and success in life.
I also realized that I was codependent. That is, other people’s level of happiness dictated my own. If others were miserable, I became miserable. I was unstable because I was reflecting other people’s emotions. At that time, I wasn’t strong enough or confident enough to hold onto my own feelings or experience when surrounded by other people who were feeling conflicting emotions. This needed to change, as it was having a negative impact on my health, and my relationships.
People started noticing changes in me. Besides feeling and acting more confident, I was sincerely more content with my life. I became more able to accept what I had control over - my attitude and response to situations - and let go of trying to control other people’s reactions, or other things that were completely out of my control. I became much more accepting. I noticed the behaviour of my kids change in a positive way. There is now much less yelling in my house, less fighting and resistance, more I love you’s just because, and less guilt. Even the relationship dynamic between my husband and I changed. Instead of talking about what we don’t want, we now spend more time talking about what we do want, or about the positive things that happened in the day. I discovered what Scott meant by “awakening.” Real change for the better happens not by trying to change others, but when we change ourselves. In fact, our own thoughts are the only thing in this world we have complete control over, or should. When Scott and Sameena helped me awaken – that is, become aware of and change my flawed thinking and habits, everything else changed too.
This program helped me see my happiness and healthy state of mind as important things to take care of, to nurture and support. I had the courage to leave my day job where I had been experiencing emotional abuse, and go “all-in” on my passion for art. Because of the support in this program, I was ready and able to take the leap of faith I needed. I conducted my very first intuitive painting workshop with a guided meditation for entrepreneurs to connect with their vision and business at its core. It was magical. I have Integrity Choices to thank for that opportunity, and for pushing me to take action and control of an event. Although there were a few bumps in the road, it was a beautiful event, and I now feel able to take on the next event with total confidence.
Since completing Integrity Choices, I still continue with a weekly call with Sameena, to touch base as she and Scott continue to support me in my life’s journey. I have approached two locations to host art workshops and have booked one a month per location for the summer months.
I am doing it. I am living my dream. I know I am not perfect, but I also know now how to honour my word. And that is the greatest gift we have to offer other people - our word, our promise and our time in action.
I was pleasantly surprised that this really is a pure offer, with no hidden agenda. Everything Scott told me I could achieve – awakening my mind, turning around my life, and establishing integrity with myself and others – happened. I was struggling financially, and they supported me by working within my budget. Now that I’ve experienced their program, that is even more remarkable to me because the value of what they do is inestimable. How much is a complete “turnaround” in my previously catastrophic thinking worth? How much is the ability to achieve financial success for a lifetime worth? How much is personal integrity worth? They could have turned me away for not being able to afford the normal cost of their services, but they worked with me, and I am forever grateful for that.
Scott and Sameena are two of the most giving and amazing people I’ve ever met. I will forever appreciate what they have done for me. And I am happy to share my journey. I hope it inspires someone else to make themselves a priority and take action so that they too can live in their higher, better self, full of integrity and appreciation, as I now do.