A Meaningful stretch

3 Aug

>Last Friday was my last day in the office as the President of AIESEC UK. It’s been a great year and it also marked an end to my involvement with AIESEC UK for the time being.

I was at a conference in the Mexico City in February and together with outgoing presidents of other AIESEC chapters around the world, we were discussing what leaving the organisation will mean to us. All of us and our teams at the national offices were living AIESEC 24/7 for the past year or more. We were responsible for leading the organisation, bringing up new generations of members and ensuring that we stay relevant. We were surrounded by like-minded people, we were having an impact and we were enjoying it.

So the question What’s next? was crucial and in many ways also a scary one. Will we be able to find anything as good and fulfilling as AIESEC anytime in the future again?

I approached it by trying to look at it from a more holistic perspective. What is it that makes this experience so unique? I identified two key elements that can be summarised as a ‘meaningful stretch’.

A stretch is something that challenges you, something you are not familiar with and you have to learn how to either execute it or delegate it.

Meaningful is something that is achieving a positive impact. It can be impact on the environment, the people around you or simply yourselve.

The questions then stops being what else can be as good as AIESEC and it becomes what is my next meaningful stretch. We should be asking ourselves this question whenever we are finishing one period of our life or whenever we are just feeling a bit rusty in whatever we are doing. Life should a be a series of meaningful stretches and we should not be afraid to start from a scratch when switching from one to another.

I discussed this concept with one of my former directors at AIESEC UK. He liked it a lot but told me that the problem with finding a stretch is that we often do not what all the possibilities are. We then choose a stretch only from a domain of all stretches known to us. In reality there are many more options that we are not aware of. When thinking about our next meaningful stretch, do a proper research and do not just get comfortable with options known to you at the time.

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