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Guest Writer: Leonie Meyer – What’s the secret behind self-development and how to follow your dream

My Name is Leonie Meyer, I am 24 years old. I was born and raised in Germany. Things that bring me joy and inspiration are: family & friends, creativity in all it’s varities, exploring new places, listening to the ocean and driving boats. My topic for this guest writing is “What’s the secret behind self-development and how to follow your dream”. Self-development. I couldn't really deal with that when I was at school. Today I know that it has to do with growing up. I was more of a shy and reserved person, but always interested in traveling - to see more of the world and meet new people. Even as a teenager, I knew that I really want to live in New York for a long-term stay. For me, the fulfillment of my dream is getting closer and closer. A process of life.

To bite the bullet It all started when I graduated from school: I started my new chapter as an au pair in the United States of America. I can still remember the moment when I stood in tears with my family at the airport and said to them: “Thank you for support my biggest dream!” And then the journey started. For me it was adventurously to fly for the first time. In addition, I traveled to a foreign country without familiar faces, where another language is spoken - even if I love to speak English. It's a different living environment. I met new people directly on the plane and so it went on from then - exciting! At that moment you are exposed to yourself and see that you can take the best of every experience with you and learn through it. I was able to experience New York City in one day - the best day of my life. But during my stay with the host family, I noticed that the work, the main reason I was there, was not the fulfillment for me. It really wasn't an easy process that I went through for myself because I fought every day, but it also attacked me mentally. For this reason, I had to make the decision for myself and ended the trip prematurely.

The secret Yes, that is the truth. I had to draw a line for myself. However, several were affected by this situation, which made it all the more difficult. As hard as it was for me, only one thing helped: Communicate openly. So, I was able to explain my emotional point of view. I had to find a way to deal with it. That's why I encourage you to talk. Sometimes it may take longer to dare to say it out loud because then it becomes real. But it helps that you feels more free afterwards and a burden falls off the soul. This chapter of my life has brought me a lot in terms of self-development! So, I was back in Germany and was able to work in the profession that I had learned - I was very happy about this opportunity. After months of work, I started studying International Journalism. The travel bug and the curiosity to get to know other cultures and places were still in my veins. And then, the internship abroad in Greece was just around the corner.

At this moment the experience from the USA caught up with me: I was confronted with the following statements: “Are you sure that you want to do that?” - “You're going to break it anyway!” - “Greece? Hm. Okay. ”- “In America you were unhappy and you always wanted to go there! Saw where it ends.”. I cannot deny the latter. I lived my dream and was unhappy because I couldn't live out my profession. More than three years have passed in which I have continued to develop myself. I knew exactly what I wanted. All the more I traveled to Greece with the sentence on my mind: “Now I'll show you all the more!” These statements hurted me, of course, but they made me stronger. I am a person who thinks a lot, but also finds the point to let go of negative thoughts. Differentiate between positive and negative thoughts and people. My internship abroad in the Greek capital, Athens, had a huge impact on me.

From culture shock to the breathtaking beauty of nature, everything I went through. Experiences like, drug addicted people in the streets, no existing garbage system, a lot of catcalling, insecurity on the streets and a completely foreign language made me reach my limits - mostly at the beginning. But over time, I learned that it was kind of normal in the city. I didn't let these things get so close to me anymore, talked about it with my colleagues, who for me are a kind of family in distance. I traveled as much as I could on the weekends to get to know more of the openminded lovely Greeks, their culture and the beautiful landscape. I am grateful for that. Being grateful and learning from experience is also self-development. Now, I am happy to experience all of this and be the person I am right at this moment.

Dreams do come true In view of the fact that we are currently in a pandemic, I was pretty lucky: I found a job - building up my bachelor's degree. I have the time to learn even more and gain new working skills. It helps me to know that I actually can't travel “properly” right now. I use the time to save money, so that I can realize my dream for a longer period of time by 2023 at the latest: a life in New York with a job that I love. I believe that I can do this. I put all of this to your heart: Dare to do exciting new things, be openminded and communicative, get rid of negative thoughts and transform them into positive energy, dare new adventures to get to know even more places, cultures and people. I am ready for more and you?