“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”
Disclaimer: this is a quite long and wordy post, more personal and serious, just me thinking out loud about life, goals, failure and future – so it is a bit different from my usually picture-filled fitness related posts.
Failure. It can be just a little stingy feeling or an Earth shattering wave that makes you feel literal pain. It feels like the end. But however big or small it might be, it actually is just a new beginning.
A little more than two years ago I was notified that I was not chosen as a candidate for the Taiwan Scholarship, meaning I had to leave that beautiful country and all my plans for the future basically fell apart. I felt desperate and hopeless, because my plans that I expected to easily be realized now seemed impossible to reach. But after crying through the night, completely immersing myself in self pity I decided it was enough. That it was not how I wanted to live my live and look at my future prospects. I’ve always been the most optimistic person around, why stop now?
So seems like what I want to accomplish is harder than I thought. But instead of complaining about it, I decided to look at it as a challenge. Yes, I will have to work much harder to reach my goal, but I might as well just take it to the next level. And once I eventually get there, it will be such an amazing feeling.
My original plan was to just stay in Taiwan, basically restart college and get a Bachelor’s degree there, in the same major I had completed a year in back home, even though I kind of already felt that it wasn’t the right path for me. But that was what I had already been familiar with so it seemed like a good choice.
Instead, when I was denied this opportunity, I decided to come back home, finish college and graduate with a Bachelor’s degree, while completing an internship and occasionally working as a translator and interpreter at the Taiwanese representative office – but also to bravely take a step forward to what really interests me and get certified as a fitness instructor, to start working with a few girls, guiding, motivating and inspiring them to start working on their bodies and feel good in the skin.
I learned to get past that ‘What would others think?’ and the ‘This is not what they expect me to do’ feelings and open up a little bit. Because I always felt my family and in general the older generation around me were expecting me to study and do something more traditional and intellectual and International Relations fit that category really well. Fitness, blogging, instagram and all these other aspects that keep me going and make me look forward to the days coming and fill me with life – well, not so much.
The turning point was when I went to an event called Business Brunch where they invited leaders of bigger, international companies to talk to us about their life and career and about how they got to where they are today. It was Regina Kuzmina from Unilever that asked us:
What makes you energetic? What helps you get up in the morning? What is your passion?
And I knew that reading and writing endless research and policy papers that sometimes just feel too abstract, and trying to get ahead in a professional sphere where you cannot make your way without having outstanding connections and where you always depend on the current political regime is not my answer to any of these questions. Sure, diplomacy and foreign policy is interesting to read about in the newspapers, but I realized that is not what I want to spend my life with.
Anyhow, with that in mind, bravely but slowly opening up about it and admitting it first to myself and then to those around me, I worked as hard as I could to find and get the most of any opportunity that could get me closer to my goals. And where am I now?
After successfully graduating college, this year I earned the Taiwan Scholarship and got accepted to one of Taipei’s most prestigeous universities, National Chengchi University for a postgraduate course. I will be completing a Master’s Program in International Communication – because the university offers courses specialized in cross-culture communication and focusing on new media and I really think it will just be the perfect place for me. I can still follow my passion for fitness, but I will learn how to professionally present my work or anything else that I want. I realized I would love to be a social media correspondent or work in social media marketing – something along these lines. And as long as I could find a company that shares my values I would be more than happy to work in this field.
So in a little more than three weeks I am moving back to Taiwan, my second home, where I have friends for a lifetime who hasn’t left me though we were 8800 km apart. Where I feel the happiest, where I can really be myself and feel like I can conquer the world!
This might feel like the end too – because my inital goal was to get the scholarship and get accepted to my chosen university in Taiwan. But actually, this is just the beginning. The beginning of my next big adventure.