5 things I learned from 5 years in AIESEC

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A dear friend of mine, Dulce from Mexico, ones described AIESEC as a “moving walkway”, like the ones you can find often at airports. In my opinion it does one thing: It simply makes you (young people) develop and grow faster by giving you responsibilities and challenges at young age and with this a growth environment you can barely find somewhere else. And all this while fighting for one cause: Peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential.

Within the last 5 years in AIESEC i have held physical and virtual leadership positions on local, national and international level. I have lived and volunteered/worked across 4 continents, within a community of young people from +120 countries & territories from all around the world, while been challenged with product, sales, innovation and organisational development responsibility on a scale I would have never imagined at my age.

From this journey of 5 years fighting for peace with young people from all around the world I have some learnings to share.

1. Challenge yourself: Step out of your comfort zone again and again and again

I read this way to often, but after experiencing it myself I absolutely believe that there is nothing that makes you develop faster and for me personally in a more exciting way than stepping out of your comfort zone. New environment, responsibility, country, language, skills, hobby, whatever it is, challenge yourself with something new, ideally outside of what you are comfortable with and your learning curve will be significantly higher than otherwise.

Strive for personal growth by continuously finding new ways of challenging yourself.

2. Self-awareness is the key to happiness and success.

But to many people are wishing who they are, instead of understanding who they are. Following up on above, in order to get to know myself I have to step out of my comfort zone and than observe and reflect on my thoughts and behaviours. One of the most powerful ways to do so is by going abroad and experiencing living and working in a new environment, different culture and ideally new language. If you find yourself in an environment where you do not speak the common language you start having a lot of conversations with yourself which can be extremely powerful to get to know yourself and what you actually want. Read my full story of how volunteering in Ghana change my life completely here.

3. Clarity in mind is clarity in passion. But at the same time confusion is the source of all renewal.

I experienced over the last years phased of clarity and confusion like ups and downs. During phases of clarity, I was in the complete power of execution. But then, doesn’t matter if, through external or internal impulse, I entered a phase of confusion where I felt like stuck, mostly combined with low energy. Sticking to established habits – discipline is a choice! – combined with embracing this phase of confusion as a phase of growth where I am in power of renewal, helped me to gain energy, break through the confusion and reach a new level of personal development.

With each loop of clarity and confusion, we go through the level of consciousness we reach is higher, mirroring our personal growth. Figure out how to stimulate your mind and push for your personal growth. It’s up to you how high you aim and how high you will climb in the end. 

4. Nothing is as valuable as time, don’t waste yours! 

In the end of the day you have a given, limited amount of time and your time-account is decreasing every second, even while you are reading this. What you do with the time given to you is completely up to you, you are 100% in charge of it and every second you spend, no matter if consciously or unconsciously, is gone forever. What I recommend you is, don’t wait to do what you want to do till you are old. Doesn’t matter if you want to do sky diving, volunteer abroad, do volcano boarding in Nicaragua or fly an airplane yourself, do it now! 

I want to live life with all emotions that come with it, all the ups and downs. By embrace the lows I feel like I can touch the sky during highs. Figure out how you want to feel and than make this the core of your decisions

(Book recommendation: The Desire Map – Danielle LaPorte)  

5. Experience – Growth – Contribution

During this last year in AIESEC I discovered a concept by Mindvalley called “The 3 most important questions” (video). For me this sums up perfectly everything I mentioned before. Answer the 3 questions for yourself and you will find clarity to spend your time consciously by deciding

• how you want to generate the feeling you desire through experiences you want to go for,

how you want to challenge yourself for personal and professional growth and

• how you want to contribute to something bigger than yourself within or added to your work.



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