What failure taught me…

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“…because I want to inspire other people. I want to help them develop, reach their full potential, contribute to the vision and grow as individuals.”

This was my motivation for applying as a Team Leader in AIESEC the first time, my answer to the question “Why you are applying as a Team Leader for the next term?”.


I had in mind it was going to be a challenging term but the thought of having a team to help grow and become a better version of themselves gave me such excitement I didn’t pay much attention to that feeling. I started the term with a quite positive vibe as my Vice President responsible seemed open to cooperation and the function understandable. In our Greek Local Committee, for the first time we had international members applying to join and me, I was assigned to a private college to send people abroad for internships. The allocation responsible thought that since I knew good English, I could manage those members, so I got assigned to them. First shock for me. How could I communicate with them? How would I pass all the knowledge? How could I track them?

Members came and seemed very friendly. We had a goal of 6 exchanges to realize and it seemed so easy to the team that we made it even bigger for ourselves. Work started and with it challenges came. I would find myself unable to express sometimes properly. When deadlines weren’t met I could not be strict with them and tell them to strive harder. In the time to personally coach them I would feel that I wasn’t enough. That I was failing them, that I didn’t know how to help them, what they wanted to hear. In the team leaders meeting with our Vice President I was always reporting the stagnation of the team in plan achievement. I couldn’t bear with keeping the organization I loved so much stagnated. I felt I wasn’t what my Vice President wanted me to be and our communication was not good at all. I started giving excuses to everything, drowning in an endless spiral of excuses and not wanting to take action for it. Feeling less and less of myself every day.

The term finished with me achieving zero exchanges and my team mostly not continuing. There it was. The proof of my failure.

After it I went to Egypt to volunteer. Observing things, comparing differences and understanding myself more. I reflected a lot on the semester that had passed and seen many things I did wrong. Many weaknesses that came to the surface because I let them. Many strengths I didn’t use to support my vision. During the term I completely forgot my vision, my why of applying for the position. I was trying to be someone else to be a good Team Leader but I didn’t realize that it went against my values. Authenticity was one of them. Authenticity to myself and the people around me. I found I was so good in communication only I never relied on it to help me. The weaknesses I saw, I knew I had to work on them and also allow my strengths to rule more over them. I understood I wasn’t mature enough.

With a clearer vision I came back and tried again. Using my learnings, I gave 100% of myself to it and ensured the best possible team experience to my new team. Success came. Still, though I want to go back and change the experience I gave my first team but, if it wasn’t for that experience I wouldn’t be standing where I am, knowing all these things about me and being more sure about myself and my work.


If you want to experience challenges and find yourself through them try one of our opportuinties through aiesec.org.


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