Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Lynette Latzko is talking with Aksana Palevich, author of The Ten-Dollar Dream: Live and Love Your Own Dream.
FQ: What inspired you to write this book?
PALEVICH: The birth of my daughter. This life experience changed me and changed my view on many things such as what makes us happy, why we are hungry for success, and what our most important lifelong values are. Also, in my very active life, I met people from all over the world and some of them had a hard time believing that I’ve built a brand-new life from scratch in a foreign country. Telling bits and pieces about my story, I could see how people were getting energized, asked me more questions, and had an inspiring smile on their faces. It was a great feeling and I wanted to tell more. So, I started telling my story in a personal diary to my daughter, which later became The Book.
FQ: You mention raising your young daughter by yourself while juggling a career. What important message would you like to tell her when she grows up and begins her own career?
PALEVICH: The modern way of parenting is no longer focused on food, a warm bed, and a safe environment for our children. It is more than this. It is about investing a great proportion into kids’ development, which requires time. So, I would advise Maali to make room for that development but that would not mean necessarily mean stopping her career. I would tell her to never stop chasing her dreams even after having children and becoming a mom. Because humans can achieve a lot while doing many things in parallel. What I would warn her about though, is to listen to her inner wellbeing detector, which I hope she would develop in time. A detector that would tell her to stop and breathe when the balance of work and personal life deteriorates.
FQ: Setting goals, both small and complex, are one of many themes discussed in your book. What are some of your current goals?
PALEVICH: I have a few. Learning to play the piano is the biggest one, I guess. I almost achieved this when I was 10. But my parents could not afford a piano at home and I thought I would fail if I was unable to practice. Now is the time to fulfill this ambition. Also, I am planning to adjust my career, so I can work more with people – coaching, teaching or self-development. After a year of running a not for profit dance class for 6-7 year olds, I was offered a paid job, which I might consider as well.
FQ: In lesson five you say that a person can be impatient, but once they set their goals they won’t need to worry about being impatient because the drive to complete the goal will push them along. What do you suggest for people, especially for some teenagers, who are too impatient and scattered in their thoughts to even know where to begin setting goals for themselves - they just want to experience the end result?
PALEVICH: Start small but start somewhere. Start with one very simple thing – something rooted into your daily routine – a task that a person is doing occasionally anyway. Important that this is an obvious part of the daily routine because it can easily be converted into a long term goal. For example, many people focus on their health and well-being and spend a fortune on diets, workouts, and healthy eating. It is all worth it. But such ambitions can easily be supported by nearby surroundings and nature. Instead of driving to work, use a bicycle (if short distances) or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Pause the gym and introduce a family workout in the yard with your kids. Stick to one simple thing and just practice it regularly. It will become embedded everyday and you would stop thinking about it as an ambition by becoming a natural habit and a quick win.
FQ: After reading this story I would say you’ve had (and are continuing to have) a successful life. Is there anything you would have done differently if given a chance to do it over?
PALEVICH: No, I would not change anything. I tend not to look back to the past thinking of what I could have done differently. I look back to find what I can learn for my future. I cannot change the past, but I can surely change my future. I even forget past events quickly if they meant nothing to me. And even if I had a possibility to change the past, I would be able to change some things, while many other things would still remain tough and unpredictable. What is the point of changing something when you cannot change everything? 😊
FQ: What advice do you have for someone who is just beginning their writing career?
PALEVICH: Just start writing whatever thoughts and ideas pop into your head. With time there will be a clear indication if your work is progressing into a book. And when things will start getting serious, spend a lot of time researching about the life of a book – writing, coaching, line editing, publishing, distribution, marketing – the whole end 2 end process, so you know what to prepare for.
FQ: The titles of the chapters in your book reference cars and driving such as “The Gearshift” and “The Sightseeing.” Can you explain the reasoning behind your decision to organize your book in this manner?
PALEVICH: Driving a car is very similar to living a chapter of your life. With this I mean there will always be a start, a journey, a coffee break, and a final destination. That association tells me that we will always drive in some direction throughout our lives until we reach the final destination. And each ride will be unique, maybe exciting, but full of experiences. Also, the feeling of driving fast on the highway (when it's allowed) reminds me of how I can push my driving skills to the limit and challenge my fear, which is also very much related to the content of my book.
FQ: You present forty-seven lessons and one bonus lesson in The Ten-Dollar Dream. If you had to choose the most essential lesson of them all, which one would it be?
PALEVICH: Lesson 32 because it is connected to my struggle from when I was so exhausted that I could not feel anything anymore. I could have stayed feeling like that forever if I didn't try to get up onto my feet again. It also reflects that even a strong and ambitious person like me can end-up in crisis, stressful and extremely life-threatening situations, when it is so easy to say, “I cannot function anymore”. In such hard times we all can get up and we all can find the strength to carry on. The power of humans to survive any challenge in life is amazing and I wish that power for everyone.
FQ: Do you have any future writing endeavors?
PALEVICH: Yes. I would love to write a book about the future of mankind. We all know that in times of technology and digital solutions, human jobs will be (and are already being) replaced by robots and artificial intelligence. Finding out about how the future could change and how we as humans can remain humans is a very interesting topic which I am keen to research. 😊