ESN has been part of my life for the past 5 years and I put all my energy, motivation, creativity, unslept nights and effort into this beautiful organisation, from rising up my local section, to being the first President of ESN Romania with a full National Board or the first Romanian in the Chairing team of a Committee. Recently, as most of you know, I ran for the International Board of ESN and unfortunately, I lost the elections. As I hope my future will be in marketing political campaigns, I would like to share a couple of things I’ve learned during the last 6 months, since I decided to run for the Communication Manager position.
1. Stay true to yourself
I think the golden rule when you decide to join the ,,game” is to stay true to yourself, to your ideas, to what you do, to what you say. I truly believe that as long you don’t try to be somebody else, and you stick to what you value, you will at least be happy and content within yourself. Nothing is more important than being who you are and not trying to put a facade between the true you and what people would like to see of you.
2. Listen to your instincts
It will most probably happen that your instincts will say something, but your brain will say something else. Listen to your instincts. Mine never lie, and when I decide not to listen to them, I always get into trouble. It happened the same during these elections and I wish I was more careful to what they tried to tell me.
3. Be friends with everybody, believe nobody
Another important lesson that I’ve learned is that people play politics no matter in which position they are, in which organisation, and however open minded they claim to be. Everybody judges based on how you dress, how your hair looks like in the morning, how tired or fresh you look like, what country you come from. My advice is to be friends with everybody but believe nobody. Anybody who tells you that they are going to vote for you, anybody who is telling you that they are going to back you up anyway, anybody who tells you that you are the best you are definately going to win this. Stay focused, be friends with everybody, believe nobody, as this is the moment when the people who actually believe in you will back you up no matter what. Also, you might also be surprised that the ones you were told not to trust, they were the ones who will have your back till the end.
4. Embrace your strategy, believe every single word you say
If you dont believe what you say, nobody will. Stick to your strategy because even if you will lose, at least you know you stuck to what you really believed in. People will always chose politics, but you chose a vision that you wanted to see coming together.
5. People may have a different impression of you than what you would like to be perceived as. Prove them wrong
During these 6 months, since I decided that I want to run for this position, I’ve heard a lot of rumours, either that I’m not or too friendly, either than I’m stuck up or too approachable, etc, but as I mentioned before, you really can’t make everybody happy, therefore, stay who you are. Smiling, friendly or not, stubborn for your ideas, determined, focused. Beware , this does not mean that you should not change some things if the feedback is constant, but make sure you don’t change everything about you just to make people happy.
6. They will not always choose the best strategy, but the ,,best” politician
What I believe happened during these elections, is that people didnt choose based on competences, they didn’t come to ask questions, they chose based on a picture and a presentation ( if they paid attention to it). I was expecting I guess people to at least try to be a little bit more informed, or at least that’s how things felt from my side. My only regret is that I was not asked more questions in order to show what I can bring different to the table.
7. Your groupie is your best friend
To be honest, until I got in Ankara, I didnt realise how much my delegations appreciates me, as a person, as a leader, as a candidate. I knew already that I’m having amazing people in my teams back in Romania, but I never realised that they are crazy enough to go all the way for me. No matter what, your groupie is your groupie, they know when you cry in the pillow, they know when you smile, they party with you, they debate with you, they love you unconditionally. Thank you guys! I would have never made it without you!
Good luck to the new International Board and see you around!