This evening, I've been putting together a presentation that I will deliver tomorrow to a group of Australian Volunteers for International Development who are heading to Vietnam. It's been an interesting exercise in recalling my memories of that year of my life - many of them good, but not without its fair share of challenges and frustration. I also have plenty of awesome photos to show off.
When I left Vietnam, a little over two years ago now, I felt like a failure. After nine months of frustrating challenges, and only a handful of victories that felt barely worth mentioning, I cut my assignment short, and moved on to a new role in Kosovo. I wanted to move on, and write the whole experience off as a waste of time.
But now that I look back on it, I realise that I couldn't have done any of the things that ensued afterwards, if it weren't for that experience of failed expectations. I went on to make achievements in other roles, having learned from those previous setbacks. I developed resilience and determination, and with it, the knowledge that with each stumbling block, I can pick myself up and take on new challenges from a different approach.
Which never would have happened if I hadn't tried in the first place. That's kind of a win, right?