My heart was beating unusually quickly out of anxiety mixed with excitement as I was on my way to the very first meeting with my future team.
I was sitting in front of them. Strangers who will become colleagues, colleagues who will become friends. Yet I was incredibly quiet and shy. This new beginning felt like I was an astronaut that just landed on some planet with a mission to explore the unknown. Change still scared me but I was finally ready to embrace it.
After the powerful realization of a need to improve myself and get the control of my life, I acknowledged that I can only improve while doing something really challenging. For the record – by really challenging, I mean REALLY challenging. Thus, out of all the areas I was offered to try out in AIESEC – marketing, human resources, sales, and project management – I chose sales. It is still funny because I was not the sales type of person. Yet I chose it because it seemed as the hardest area for such a soft and vulnerable person like me. That pretty much sums up how strongly I was willing to change my life.
Efforts soon led to the very first achievements, which came together with appreciations from the team. Imagine how empowering it feels after every success which was reached with hard work!
What I had to do in a sales team was to communicate with companies and arrange meetings, during which me, a young fresh student, would discuss possible collaboration between AIESEC and the company, with the CEO of it. That required a lot of confidence, communication and negotiation skills, which I did not seem to possess.
It was something I thought I would only master after several years, something in my long term plans. It is always easy to leave all the work for the future.
Though, here I was working on it, as my plan of doing something that scared me every day tolerated no excuses.
There is nothing you cannot learn, so I started learning through my experience. AIESEC was a perfect place for failing, learning from it and then succeeding. Failing was uncomfortable at first as I was highly afraid of failure, of not being enough, not being successful. Despite such mindset, I was failing a lot. But my team and the whole community supported me to embrace failure and take away key learnings from it.
Efforts soon led to the very first achievements, which came together with appreciations from the team. Imagine how empowering it feels after every success which was reached with hard work! It not only helped me to build up my confidence, but also led me to the understanding of who I am and I who want to become. Found out that while facing stressful situations, I manage to stay calm and rational. Understood that I can reinvent myself after failures and use my resilience and solution orientation to solve complex issues. Discovered that I don’t believe in motivation, as everything always comes from the discipline. Finally, realized that I am able to empower others and together we can always reach more.
After all of this journey, I can say that I’m proud of my progress.
After sales, I took all the opportunities and tried out myself in human resources, project management and marketing. Even more, I had an opportunity to become a team leader twice and learn how to manage a team. Now I am working on my own projects, which I design from the very beginning till the very end. I finally feel proud of who I am and the direction of where I am going.
This is my story. Nevertheless, I know many others who joined AIESEC with different reasons and goals, who changed themselves in various other ways. Each one of them has their own story.
Lithuania. August 2018
Julija Sesok: Ambitious dreamer, determined achiever. True AIESECer
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