There is often a general tendency for people to slack off at work, or in any team activity for
that matter, if they get the feeling that they are being overshadowed – especially when there
are no tangible rewards on the other end of their efforts. This is often the case in clubs, social
initiatives, organizing teams, review committees, etc. The list can go on and on. But what
most people fail to see is that there is a tangible reward by being part of such an experience;
one that is arguably the most important in the long run: Personal Growth.
As a former student team member of CMI and other initiatives, I often found myself
surrounded by an extremely hard working and dedicated team. In the early stages, I was
unable to share their enthusiasm. “It’s okay if I don’t work, they are doing just fine already”,
I used to say to myself because they were just so much better than me. And although it
worked for a while, something did not feel right. What I didn’t realize was that I had the
opportunity to learn from every one of my colleagues and leaders, but I was simply wasting
it. Once I really started working with the team towards a common goal, I found huge chunks
of personal growth without much effort! And that was not something I had expected or was
even looking for. Was it because I was trying to improve myself? No. Was it because others
were trying to improve me? No. It was just because I had started to really work with the team,
rather than for the team, and that was a big difference. Just collaborating, planning,
brainstorming, and working with the team seemed to improve me because I could see how my colleagues work, think, and plan and then incorporate some of it into my own work ethic.
And the great thing with this is that you do not have to put conscious efforts to do this or to
learn from those you’re working with. You naturally pick up and hone your own skills in
such an environment. Doing something as little as attending every meeting could be one of
the first steps. In other words, if you’re feeling overshadowed and find yourself losing
enthusiasm because of it, remember that there is a fix for it. There is always an associated
learning with this experience. You just have to be confident enough to walk on that path, and
you will yourself notice the change in you and say that that was worth it.
The way I had grown up and conducted myself before entering my undergraduate studies, I
had never thought I could be a leader or have any of their qualities. And for some reason, I
was hell-bent on not wanting to change that perception of mine. And so, the difference I
personally saw in myself once I really integrated myself into the teams that I was working
with shocked me. It is truly amazing the growth and change you can see in yourself once you
really understand the essence and importance of working with leaders and teamwork even if
you feel that you are getting outshined by most. Your only input has to be dedication towards
the team and its goals, but the reward for that is huge in the long run.
It is often very difficult to realize all of this early on in one’s life, and that is precisely what I
experienced during my undergraduate studies. But as you progress, the picture becomes
clearer and clearer. The leaders leading you can only go to a certain extent in bringing you
up. The rest is up to you. It will not make you a leader instantly, but it will give you the
ingredients, and more importantly the confidence, to become one. And it’s a long process, but an important one as I am now finding out. The principles that CMI and FLY emphasize, they too give you the opportunity, ingredients, and the right mindset to become a better version of yourself, maybe even someone whom you never thought you could be.