Immigrant Life Podcast

Hosted ByDapo Bankole

Get the lessons learned, tips, strategies and actionable insights that will help you thrive as a first generation Canadian immigrant!

ILP 0021: Fight To Keep Your Dream Alive

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Hello once again! My name is Dapo Bankole and I am your host on the Immigrant Life Podcast. It’s been an eventful week for me. Some good, some not so good but in all, I am becoming a better person and getting more productive! How about you? Last week, I promised that I was going to send out my first email to the community and yay! I did. I have received an incredible amount of response from a good number of people! Thank you so much for the love and encouragement. I appreciate it!

A special shout out to one of our community members, Toyin Okikiolu for your help in forwarding my email to a friend. It is random acts of kindness like yours that keep the world going. You’ll probably never know the impact that you are having on other people’s lives until years later. And this leads me to today’s episode which I titled “Fight To Keep Your Dream Alive”.

You never can tell how close you are – It may be near when it seems afar; So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit – It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

A few days ago, a friend of mine that I met online several years ago reminded me of how I suddenly showed up in her life just when she needed it. And that it was my showing up that helped move herself and her family to Canada. According to her, herself and her husband had applied for Canadian immigration and after paying the immigration lawyer the policy that was in force at the time of her application got changed and their family application was suddenly disqualified. Having put in so much physical and emotional resources into the dream, she was tired and decided not to try again. It was then I showed up on the scene and according to her, I encouraged her to go learn French and still pursue her dream through the Quebec stream. She did not have the energy for that and it was draining but I apparently persisted and continued to follow up with her until she did it. The rest is history, she eventually made it to Canada with her family and they are now even Canadian citizens! You know the truth? I don’t even remember all that but apparently it happened. I have since met this friend of mine about three times since almost 10 years ago.  

This story reminded me of the importance of fighting to keep our dreams alive! A statement from my favorite book in the world says that “An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” And another says “Fortunate is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life.”

Those statements remind me of a race I participated in a few years ago. Some of us are probably aware of the obstacle race called “Spartan Race.” It takes place in many cities around the world including Calgary where I am based. How many of us have been a part of the Spartan race at least once? Great! For those who have not, the Spartan race is an obstacle race that tests the endurance strength of every participant to the limits. There are 3 flavors of the race – Spartan baby, Spartan adult and Spartan beast. The Spartan baby is a 5km race, Spartan adult is 16km while the Spartan beast is 21km.  Obviously, participants face varying levels of trials but the following are common to all three:

  • Minimum qualifying distance is 5km
  • Gruelling obstacles are scattered along the way
  • Only finishers get a finisher medal at the end of the race.

Can anyone guess which of the races I participated in? When I was in high School, I used to participate in an annual 21km race but hey, that was over 28 years ago! When I was signing up for the race, I decided to give myself some level of self-respect 😊 so I went for the 5km race. Well, for those who are eager, I finished the race and earned the finisher’s medal. According to the statements that I quoted at the very beginning, I was crowned! 🙂

With the benefit of hindsight, I learned 5 important lessons which I want to share today:

  1. It doesn’t matter what you do, if you need a crown, you must finish your race.
  2. Your state of preparedness will determine the kind of obstacle you can surmount. In my case, I was not prepared. I did not train at all so I only had the confidence to attempt the 5km race.
  3. Help will come for you from strange places: I was part of a team of people that unlike me, were mostly well prepared for the race and so most times they naturally went ahead of me. During those times, my strength sometimes failed me and I walked instead of run. A couple of times, someone from another team that I didn’t know would come along and prod me on refusing to move ahead until they saw the spark return to my face and I started running again. All I am saying here is that, if you wouldn’t give up on yourself, God will send help across to you from unexpected sources to meet you at your level.
  4. Being a part of a good team helps you to finish your race. This somewhat goes without saying but the team I belonged to for the race was pivotal to my success. My team was mostly there for me while I surmounted the obstacles. After surmounting their own obstacle, they would be at the other side cheering me on. “Dapo, you can make it. Dapo go for it. Go Dapo Go! Dapo you can do it. Dapo look at me – do it like this…etc.” In fact there was even a particular obstacle none of us could do alone. Guess what we did? We carried each other on the back in order to surmount that very obstacle. It just implies that no matter how good you are, you will always need the next person. This is a good reason I started the Immigrant Life community. For new listeners, let me encourage you – you are at the right place. Don’t run off alone, its safe in here! Join the Immigrant Life community. Some of my listeners are only on my email list. That’s a good starting point but go ahead and join us in the community. You will get more help here.

5. Life will always present you with amazing opportunities and sensible reasons to quit your race! Imagine; I didn’t train, I was tired, I was in pain and paramedics were on hand to ease me out gracefully at any point if I wanted to. Who else but myself had better reasons to quit with pride? About 1.5km and some more obstacles to the end of the race, I was in so much pain that without thinking, I caught myself singing “I just can’t give up now, I’m too far from where I started from, nobody told me the road will be easy and I don’t believe he brought me this far to leave me…’ Apparently, I did not quit because like I said I was given a Spartan medal and a “Finisher” T-shirt which I still have till today!

Let me close this episode by reading a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. It is titled, “DON’T QUIT”

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.


Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about,

When he might have won if he’d stuck it out.

Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –

You may succeed with another blow.


Often the goal is nearer than

It seems to a faint and faltering man;

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor’s cup,

And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,

How close he was to the golden crown.


Success is failure turned inside out –

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are –

It may be near when it seems afar;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –

It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

This is a reminder to myself about the daily struggles that I have about the areas of my life where I need to grow. As the poem says, “It is when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit” so I have decided not to quit. How about you, are you going to quit?

It’s Dapo here signing out!

Do you want to have access to privileged information about how to live a colorful immigrant life? Then join the Immigrant Life Community today.

Join Us Because Together, the Future Is Bright!

PS: When you join this movement, together we’ll uncover the lessons learned, tips, strategies and actionable insights that will help us thrive in Canada and make a difference in our various spheres of influence.

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