My early life I grew up as the shy wallflower, waiting to be heard, hoping to have my space and time to shine. One September day, that wallflower stumbled upon AIESEC on her university campus, unaware that her life would completely shift.
Suddenly, I was immersed in a world where the average is challenged, and where there fuelled a culture of “just do it”. A place where risk is embraced and there existed no such thing as a comfort zone. In the midst of my bashfulness, I decided to jump in head first.
I took leadership positions one after another, taking the time to learn, grow and contribute to making the world a better place. Seven years of working towards a cause that I would do almost anything for. In Canada, I worked myself tirelessly till I reached my breaking point. Living abroad in Mexico, I understood the complexity of cultural differences and found the need to adapt myself in order to fit in. I worked in the global office and learned how to lead myself while trying to lead others. It wasn’t always easy; you don’t always hear the stories of struggle. But these were the experiences that pushed me forward and led me to where I am today.
When I think of the only constant that I can pinpoint from the moment I found AIESEC that one September day seven years ago, it’s that I chose the difficult path every single time. The choices that pulled deep inside me conflicting between choosing what’s easy, or what scares the hell out of me.
Do I quit because the pressure has built up too much and I’m overwhelmed by the work?
Do I go back to my country because I feel insecure and simply can’t grasp the working style of another culture?
Do I give up because everything around me is unclear and I can’t take control?
Then it’s about making that scary, hard choice despite knowing it may likely slap me in the face. In retrospect, it’s always that choice that empowered me to take fear by the reins and harness it into something great. It’s the choice that took me directly to success, of course in combination with a lot of resilience and hard work.
What I learned is that if you’re feeling challenged, then you’re precisely on the path you need to be on. This is how you learn. This is how you grow.
Today, I close my AIESEC journey. Because the place where I found my voice, my strength, my environment to learn, has given me what I needed to know. It’s become comfortable. And I’m telling myself, it’s time to be brave once again. To be unafraid. To be fearless beyond what I know, and jump into the rest of my life.9