Plane has finally landed in my homeland and as my feet touched the ground, I knew it was the beginning of a new chapter in life…
I have spent three months working in a startup abroad and as the best summer in my life was coming to an end, it felt strange to return home. Homecoming, of course, was full of nostalgia, even though I changed a lot during those few months and saw the world from a different angle. Despite that, I couldn‘t allow myself to drift in nostalgic feelings as there was a new idea which completely preoccupied my mind. This time I will be a team leader for real“ I thought.
After spending first half of the year, the so – called term in AIESEC, as a member, I gained a lot of confidence and skills, thus I decided to apply to become a team leader and this time have my own team to manage. To see the beauty of this opportunity, let’s compare: in a company in order to get a team you need to accumulate some years of experience and prove with your work results that you can be transferred to a higher position and be given a team. Meanwhile, here in AIESEC you are given a chance to lead and be responsible for the team at a young age, most commonly while still being a fresh student with no work experience. World is the playground and that is how we learn – from our experience.
I remember the first time I was trusted with leading a team. I really wanted to learn team management. In fact, I read a lot of theory on that but you know what happens once you get out in the real world.
So, in reality (surprisingly!) things were not as smooth as I expected. You can imagine what it was like: I was too gentle, friendly, trying to not to give too hard tasks for my team, allowing members to feel complete freedom in what they want to do and when they do it. Thus, instead of a team we looked more like a random gathering of random people to do random stuff. That, my friends, was not good.
Most importantly, I was not the person I wanted to be in terms of my qualities and ability to work and collaborate with others. As I have failed to reach expectations and goals for myself, the moment of complete disappointment got me. That moment grew into feeling and that feeling lasted for hours and days. When my term as a team leader has finished, I realized that I cannot just simply forget this experience and move on. I have to take my lessons from it in order not to make the same mistakes in the future.
Everything happens for a reason. I was lost in my thoughts and needed time to figure myself out. That is why I took a pause and went for some months to another experience where I immersed myself in a new role as a startup intern. During that time, I reflected a lot on what happened and the reasons behind it. Various thoughts and doubts visited me: “I put so much effort, so why didn’t I succeed as a leader?” “What did I do wrong?”.
I gave myself time and as it passed, disappointment gradually turned into curiosity and hope turned into determination as I asked myself “What if I try again?”
What you need is only a bit of courage and enthusiasm not to give up, even if circumstances are not always pleasant and favorable wind does not blow into your direction. It is okay. Everything is about the progress, so I chose to try again, to compete with my past self with the ultimate goal to grow and be better than I was before. “I will be a team leader for real this time“I thought yet again.
World is the playground and that is how we learn – from our experience.
Here I was standing in front of them, my second team – very different from my previous team. They looked so shy, feeling like strangers to each other. I knew how they felt, once I felt the same in the beginning of my own journey. Yet now I was ready to build the strong team where we are for each other, we support and work together for the same goal. I was willing to become the figure they would look up to, to lead by example. Most importantly, to empower them and see how they develop.
I chose to focus on progress rather than on fear of failure. It led me from focusing purely on my own gains to working to develop others and see us grow together.
Lithuania. September 2018
Julija Sesok: Ambitious dreamer, determined achiever. True AIESECer
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