Turning Failure into Opportunity – and Let Your Dreams Soar High

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By Rezarta Mataj

Once a little girl with just some “crazy, unrealistic” dreams, today a woman, empowerment coach, poet and public speaker on topics such as change, war, peace, gender issues, women’s transformation, violence against women, leadership and more. She is a migrant woman of the world who speaks nine languages: Albanian, English, Croatian, Turkish, Hindi, Dari, French, Serbian and Bosnian. This migrant woman doesn’t belong to one place or one country, because she feels at home everywhere she goes. The world is her home.

Shqipe Malushi is a lifetime student of transformation, constantly seeking enlightenment and wisdom. After 34 years of living in the country of freedom, America, where dreams are just on the other side of human fears, she talks about the power of life changing experiences; when one dares to dream big and aim for greater things in life out of the comfort zone, when one lives each day like it is their last on earth.
A mufti-talented little girl surrounded by closed minded people of a small village in Kosovo was dreaming of big dreams. She says: “I have one thousand and one dreams.”

A restless young soul, as she calls her teen.age self, who wanted to be free, love and be loved, dance, paint, help others, study arts, music and travel the world, was about to face the biggest challenge at the age of 14 when she said “NO” to the rules that others had set for her and followed her inner voice outside the family’s boundaries.

“I ran away from home when I was four.teen years old. I read in a magazine that the singer Tom Jones, from the UK,was helping talented orphans. I considered myself an orphan and I was very talented. I stole my mother’s passport in which she had a visa for Istanbul, and stole my grandfather’s money, about 5000 Dutch Marks, which in 1970 you could buy a house with that money.  I hired a taxi driver and headed towards the border. I disguised myself as a young pregnant woman with a black headscarf, looking like my mother in her passport photo, and just like that I crossed three borders: former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Turkey.”

 

Hunger for education and wisdom has shaped Shqipe Malushi into the woman she is today.
Hunger for education and wisdom has shaped Shqipe Malushi into the woman she is today.

 

Malushi’s first attempt failed, but failure did not hinder her path to success. That was just the start of many border crossing types of her life journey. The hunger for education and wisdom has shaped the woman she is today, her career and her success.

“Initially, I studied pharmacy to follow in the footsteps of my father. He was the first Albanian pharmacist in Kosovo. I hated pharmacy so after two years I studied psychology but, due to my restless soul, I left psychology and switched to study French. I switched again in the Department of Linguistics where I finally graduated in Albanian Language and Literature.

As it goes, knowledge was my destined path and in America I was lucky enough to get a scholarship from Sarah Lawrence College. This was one of the top schools where many famous artists such as Yoko Ono, Barbara Walters, Vera Wang, Alice Walker, Joanne Woodward and Allan Gurganeous studied before me. It was Allan, who I met at a freshman party, that got me a scholarship. I graduated from SLC in two and a half years with honors. My major was in writing and literature and I wanted to become a writer and a poet.”

As Rumi Says,
I am not from the East or the West,
Tonight I say,
I am a pebble in the drizzling rain,
I am the East and the West,
Traveling through time, not alone
Each moment rising and disappearing,
I am here in the city of lights,
With a dancing heart, in love with You.
Who am I, You say?
I ask the mirror, each day.
Dancing in the rain (Oct 2010)

Her work is published in many print media such as the New York Sun, Lady Fire (an online magazine), Falcon Flier, Marletta Times, Women’s Day Magazine (New York), USA Today and many oth.ers. Her television appearances include FOX 5, CNBC, Channel 13 USA, CNN International, National Television Door.dashan in India, TV 21 and National Television Kosovo.

The women empowerment coach continued her Master’s Degree at New York University majoring in Performance Arts, Culture and Tradition. She wanted to learn how to use culture and tradition through performance and tell people’s stories in a way that was more comfort.able and natural, free from any classical form of theatre. The fearless big dreamer’s hard work paid off when she got another scholarship from Columbia University to study Leadership and Executive Management, whose skills, she admits, have been the most important factors in the job that she has been doing for the past fifteen years.

Her academic experience continued with the completion of many other courses like empowerment coaching, cultural awareness instructor, advanced teaching, methodology instruction, leadership and executive management.

My goal is to encourage women, men and children to overcome difficulties in their lives, create a beautiful vision for their lives and a plan on how they are going to achieve it.

For many women, she is considered the light in the dark tunnel. She travels to Afghanistan, Lebanon, India, Kosovo and other countries of war to empower women and work with children. It only takes a few minutes from browsing on her social website Facebook page to read mes.sages written for her by women from different countries around the world. They write messages of gratitude, give thanks and send much love her way. One of her followers, Elvira Rama, wrote: “Keep looking up. You participate in life changing moments for many! Just keep your head up high.” Another person identified as Prof. Dr. Vibhuti Patel, wrote on her LinkedIn account: “Shqipe is an excellent trainer and resourceful person. She is highly knowledgeable on gender and human rights issues.” Shqipe Malushi’s dream of embracing the world came true when she started living her life to the fullest by helping others do the same.

Every time I have managed to overcome evil, hatred, violence or abuse, I have won over and over again through love.

“I see all kinds of people, especially in places of war where their lives are destroyed. I look into my heart and my luggage of experience and there I find a story for everyone. My goal is to encourage women, men and children to overcome difficulties in their lives, create a beautiful vision for their lives and a plan on how they are going to achieve it. People then become hopeful, and I feel so connected to God because I believe that I am meant to do this. Why? Because I love what I do!

 

Shqipe-Malushi2
Shqipe-Malushi: “A lot of people get involved in my life and with my health because they love me and I love them”.

 

Every time I have managed to overcome evil, hatred, violence or abuse, I have won over and over again through love. That little girl inside of me wakes up sparking and says: we did it again! I inspire, motivate and influence a positive change in people’s lives, which is only possible through love. Without love, it is impossible.”

And if you are one of those people who believe in the power of the universe, you should believe in karma too. Those who believe say that what you give is what you get. Shqipe Malushi is one of them. It was good karma that helped her get up and win over cancer, while at the same time, getting the medical help she needed. Shqipe found herself surrounded by so much love from people all over the world, the people and women she had helped when they were were in need.

“There is no reason to fear. You can turn failure into an opportunity if you focus on drawing lessons from negative experiences. I encourage women to dream and let their dreams soar high.”

“Women in Afghanistan gave me so much love when they knew that I was not well, and yet I was working with them. Every day they would bring me healthy food, sweets and all kinds of natural medications that they believed would cure me. I never knew where exactly they came from; they never put down their names. There was so much love. In India, I was taken to an Ayurvedic centre called NAVJIVAN (meaning New Life) in Gujarat, where I went through a complete detox through yoga, meditation, change of diet, resting and exercise.

In Lebanon, I was under the super.vision of Diet Delight Company, which delivered healthy organic meals to my door every morning and I monitored my health with their help. At home, my sister Alida, who is a food expert, cooks healthy foods so she takes care of me. As you can see, a lot of people get involved in my life and with my health because they love me and I love them”.

Today, years after her first attempt to escape the sad reality of her home.town with a very long and professional resume, hundreds of friends in many countries of the world, many job experiences, life challenges and obstacles, Shqipe Malushi dares you to dream big.

“There is no reason to fear. You can turn failure into an opportunity if you focus on drawing lessons from negative experiences. I encourage women to dream and let their dreams soar high.”

 

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