The end of my second month of PULSE assignment and the third one were not easy, I found myself a bit in the middle of small internal changes which impacted somehow my assignment as well.
The main challenge was to find a correct way to help the American Red Cross of Puerto Rico to understand more the spirit of the PULSE program. Being the first PULSE volunteer they received, above all I needed to highlight the importance of focusing on the main objectives included in the Project Charter for the experience to be successful on both sides.
My initial approach was completely wrong, as I accepted tasks not related to my deliverables because I was moved from the desire of being helpful and supportive. I learnt that saying no, in the correct way of course and providing an explanation, is way better than accepting whatever asked for. This helps not to dissolve ones energies on other aspects and to really focus on the goals, and this is a lesson that of course I can apply to work career in general. In this phase I received the support from the PULSE team as well, which is made of exceptional people! Another lesson: being able to ask for help!
I learnt an additional lesson: going beyond my comfortable area is difficult but extremely rewarding because the outcome is extremely successful! And once I found myself beyond that red line that I do not usually like to cross nothing bad really happens…the contrary instead.
I will give a simple example, when asked to give a presentation to the President of a local University I had a mixed feeling, happy because that was a great opportunity for the Red Cross to sign an agreement that could led to have more volunteers-students of that University, and a bit worried because I usually do not give many presentations. I prepared myself at the best I could for the purpose of the meeting, which it was by the way much more formal than I expected, everything went well at the point that the President of the University was commenting, asking questions, and even proposing a stronger collaboration… that was great, I felt very well in providing a support in this!
After that I can say I feel much more confident in giving presentation either in Spanish, in English, or in Italian. I realized this when, during a meeting, I offered myself to have another role for an event – involving around 300 people – for a small intervention. That might sound normal for most of you reading, but believe me I would have normally not offered myself for this, if it was not for the previous successful experience.
In order to be effective in this journey it is important to learn from one’s mistakes and adapt accordingly, being able to ask for help and advice, trying to go beyond one’s limits to find out the bliss is on the other side of our comfort zone!