Milan is where I tested the power of will. I moved to a new country with no social network, no knowledge of local demographics, and away from the only people that know me better. I couldn’t have made a bolder move.
I applied for a position that was out of my comfort zone, but I knew this opportunity would shape me for the rest of my public relations career. A lean but sturdy backbone was what I was looking for, and I knew that I had to expose myself to situations that would break me and make me.
When I made the final decision to move, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I knew that I’d be leaving a lot behind. Part of me wanted to do so, but the other part was afraid to fail. I learned, however, that the fear of disappointing myself is what kept me going.
Dealing with foreign bureaucracies, learning foreign company cultures, meeting deadlines while delivering effective results, and communicating in second and third languages was all it took to prove to myself that I have no limits.
With so much stress, going out helped keep me sane. I wanted to learn more about life in Milan, and joining a gym seemed adequate. I also became involved with the American Business Group Association of Milan and the U.S. American Chamber of Commerce in Italy. My network quickly grew with the right people. Not to mention, having a coffee and one of those famous paninis at different cafés every morning also allowed me to meet great people.
The hardest part was maintaining a can-do attitude without the moral support I was used to, but it took only two months to realize that I’m more driven than I could have ever imagined. Today, stepping out of my comfort zone is no longer a leap. It’s a lifestyle.