If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you

My thoughts, pre-programme…
How long has it been since you asked yourself what you want to be when you grow up?
If you haven’t considered the idea since you got that degree, then you may have settled into a job that is not fulfilling your professional aspirations, or your true purpose in life.
You’re now a grown-up and the plan didn’t really turn out as expected. Guess what? Hello!!! You’re not alone. There’s plenty of people in the waiting zone. Waiting for something to happen, but then usually when you don’t make any decisions, it’s life that decides for you. 
Who is writing this blog – he’s been there as well.

Actually, I am still here.

My journey has just started. I decided to start looking at my ladder and question it – was it against the right wall?
It’s an important question to ask yourself. If you’ve been climbing the wrong corporate ladder, then all you are is half way up a wall. What you can do then is keep climbing up, climbing down or leap for another ladder. And all three are daunting tasks.
So this year I decided to do some volunteering, to learn new skills and to be out of my comfort zone. And I joined _SocialStarters for a big adventure in India. I was going to take this time to think about my future, to brainstorm new paths, try out new potential realities and learning new skills.
I had thought to myself – I am sure this is going to be an amazing time!
My thoughts on the (sad) way-back…
I was the first to go. Leaving India was more difficult than I thought. Despite the fact I was of course happy to see my wife again and survived several hair raising tuk-tuk rides, I was sad to leave this bunch of amazing, funny, out of the ordinary people! 
At first, when I joined _SocialStarters I didn’t know what to expect. Everything was new to me. New country, new experience, new food (OMG, simply in love with Indian food), new.. everything! But all my expectations have been met. 
I know now what I would like to do. That’s of course not an easy endeavor. It will require, (ahime!) a lot of time, research and studying. But every penny, every swear and drop of sweat will be worth it. 
I have now new friends. In 3 different continents. That’s amazing!
I have acquired new skills and gained more confidence. 

But actually I have learned more than that. Every article I have read mentioned that being out of your comfort zone is a horribly uncertain feeling, but it’s also where the growth is. Nothing amazing ever happened in your comfort zone. It sounds like a cliché, but that’s very true!

This is a recap of my learning experience so far:
  1. Go with the decision that will make for a good story. As one of my new friends told me, certainly now I am going to have some interesting stories to tell standing around the water cooler.
  2. No one, on their deathbed, is wishing they spent more time at work. That’s an easy one! Simply enjoy your life. I have spent way too much time on the 9-5 side of life and not enough on the 5-9.
  3. A small amount of your pay check should go directly into your savings account every month. Why? This has allowed me to get-up from my cubicle and go when the moment was right. Unfortunately even though seems like a paradox, money can set you free. That’s a matter of priorities. Do you want to spend 50EUR a week in beer each week or do you want to spend your time doing something that can have an impact on your life and someone’s else life? If yes, then blow the dust off from that piggy saving of yours!
  4. Never stop learning. I have always been a curious kind of guy. I’ve reached a point where I’ve stopped learning in my current job and i want my curiosity back. 
  5. Before beginning, prepare carefully. I’ve done a lot of planning and preparation for this adventure; that means, hopefully, you will get much more out of it when you hit the road.
  6. If you aren’t confident. Fake it. It will come.. eventually! That’s an essential skill to master to making the most of local hospitality around the world or to bargaining a tuk-tuk drive.
  7. Do what needs to be done without complaining. It won’t speed things up. This doesn’t need explanation, but I do need to thank Eddie for that! 
My last piece of advice? If you’re thinking about applying, then just do it! 
#TravelWithPurpose like Luca did, and steer yourself on different path to discover your true purpose. We have immersion programmes in India, Sri Lanka and Brazil that will see you take on the role as Social Enterprise Consultant working alongside grassroots social entrepreneurs to launch and develop new social enterprises who tackle the issues effecting some of the worlds hardest to reach people. See our website for more details www.socialstarters.org.
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