Meet “Mr. Possibility”: Making the Impossible…Possible!
It is said a person’s childhood shapes much of their personality and determines who they become later in life. Most people who meet Ron Shimony would think he had an exceptionally charmed childhood. He is a master of effective communication, salesmanship, management, and leadership. He was the top sales executive at Nextel Communications and piloted a wireless start-up to annual revenues of $100+million. He is an author and a motivational speaker, and has appeared on numerous nationally syndicated radio talk shows. Today, Ron is a man who appears to have had it all, but his childhood was not what we would expect of someone who emotes such confidence and certainty.
One of Ron’s first memories as a child in Israel draws off the innocence of a young son watching his father work his craft.
“In one of my earliest memories, I was about five years old, sitting on a stool in my dad’s basement, where he did some carpentry work as a hobby and watched him doing accounting work, which was his full time business. I would sit on that stool for hours, watching my dad’s craftsmanship and listening to his way of thinking about how he built his cabinets.”
As Ron grew, his memories of his dad became less naïve and more unpleasant. The discipline in his home became a military-type disciplined household.
“My dad was the dominant voice in the house, and Mom was our protector, but at times she was afraid to take our side. Well, I don’t blame her, because I deserved many of my punishments. My behavior resulted from a lack of attention and love. When these two things are limited, you become addicted to them. The lack of love made me want it from anyone, which created insecurities about myself. The need for attention led me to do many stupid things, just to get noticed by the other kids. Getting punished was a way of drawing attention from my parents.”
School did not provide a respite from Ron’s childhood struggles. His concentration was poor. He had trouble listening to his teachers during class. He was always worrying that someone was looking at him and whether or not he was being accepted. Because of his hyperactive nature, he needed more attention. When he didn’t receive it as a child, he went to the extreme to get it, even when he knew the behaviors were wrong.
“So I became a troublesome child, although overall I was a good-hearted kid. I generated a record of misbehavior in school, at home, and around my neighborhood. I once stole a drill from a neighbor and left it to be found right outside his storage room, so I would be caught and receive some attention. My dad beat me with a belt until the pain was so severe that I couldn’t make a sound. Another time I stole some change from his desk drawer and left the drawer open so he would know I took his money. I got spanked again and again and again. He threw plates and bottles at me, and the more I was punished, the more I wanted to rebel. My dad started calling me by names that were associated with my behavior. It was the wrong thing to do; most people do not realize how detrimental negative labels and language can be. These can become self-fulfilling prophecies.”
“I got spanked again and again and again. He threw plates and bottles at me, and the more I was punished, the more I wanted to rebel. My dad started calling me by names that were associated with my behavior. It was the wrong thing to do; most people do not realize how detrimental negative labels and language can be. These can become self-fulfilling prophecies.”
Ron thought he could get love and attention, but what developed was hatred against his father. He ran away from home, involving his grandparents and in the long run making the situation even worse. Ron once threatened that he would call the police on his father if he didn’t stop beating Ron. In the end nothing worked. Looking back Ron sees his father had emotional problems, and his actions did not make life easier on anyone in the family, regardless of Ron’s actions.
“When I was sixteen years old, my dad had a seizure, spent a week in the hospital, and passed away. I was so confused about life, not knowing whether to be happy or mourn for my loss. I loved my dad, but I resented the way he treated us.”
“It was a new and difficult beginning for my mom,my sister Nurit, and our ten-month-old sister, Efrat. Mom did not have an income, a driver’s license, or any way to take care of us. But she rose to the occasion. In just a few months, she became the most independent woman I have ever met in my life. She learned how to drive a car, found a job, and started to learn accounting. She encouraged us that everything would be okay.”
Ron’s dream had always been to come to America. His devastating memories of his childhood and his mom’s heroic actions fueled his hunger to become somebody and he decided he would become somebody in America.
“It was August 4, 1990, at exactly 5:00 p.m. The sky had never been bluer, and the air had never been as fresh. The moment I had dreamt about throughout my entire childhood was about to arrive. I was walking down the stairs of an airplane at Chicago’s O’Hare Field, my feet just about to touch the ground in the United States for the first time. After four years in the Israeli army, I could have pursued a military career, but I could not shake my lifelong desire to move to America, where freedom comes first. I was an excited and scared 22-year-old who wanted to leave his difficult childhood in the past and start a new life. I was so excited and full of hope for a new beginning, a new chance in life. It felt like I was walking out the front gate of prison as a free man. But I was also terrified. The fear of the unknown was consuming me. Chills went through my body.”
So many stories separate the bookends of the day Ron touched ground in Chicago 19 years ago and where he is today. Stacked against the odds Ron never lost sight of who he was. He always believed in himself and never gave up.
“History tells us that people who changed our lives for ever have all experience a point of giving up (The Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, and Columbus to mention a few) but their attitude and belief in their ideas and themselves did not let them raise the white flag.”
Ron never waved the white flag. He set personal and professional goals. Most importantly he made the choice to not be a spectator in life but instead to be a participant, without regrets. These life choices have made all the difference in who Ron has become.
Read more about Ron on his website: http://www.ronshimony.com/
Thank you Ron, for sharing your Story with us.
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© 2009 by Julianne Barclay and Story of My Life