To begin the IYLA’s final day in Washington D.C., our young delegates had the opportunity to visit 5 different embassies. In groups, we met the ambassadors and diplomats of the embassies of the Philippines, Malaysia, Mexico, Colombia, and Spain.
As a visitor in a small group I was able to sit in for an intimate dialogue with the delegates of the Embassy of Spain. We listened and asked questions as each delegate presented how their department worked with U.S. and Spanish companies to cultivate a culture of mutual prosperity, from agriculture and commercialism to science and education. Although every embassy in nations around the world works to develop the prosperity of their cultural traditions in those countries, we are all learning from each other to allow our homes to grow. We are growing in so many ways, not just economically, but in diversity, accidently encouraging communities to love the traditions of other cultures. In this way we make the world smaller and more connected.
The IYLA commenced the World Bank Leadership Forums on Service and Entrepreneurship in the afternoon. We were privileged to hear about the work of dedicated men and women in the first forum on service, moderated by David Caprara. This panel included Leonard Faustino, Fatma Bazahy, Karen Scheuerer, Jemi Laclé, Abby Flottemesch, and Evans Musonde. The second forum at the World Bank, on entrepreneurship, featured Dr. Clarence Tan, John Siy, Erastus Mong’are, Sarah Mintz, Ace Tang, and Al Kags.
One young audience member asked the panelists for advice about failing, something everyone could relate with. There was a resounding consensus. “Congratulations!” Ms. Flottemesch said with a smile. As young leaders we are already taking the most difficult step of all; accepting a lifelong challenge that no matter how many times we are faced with failure, we will not give up hope. Mr. Mong’are was firm advocate in the power of hope. “Skills are important. Money is important. But the most important thing is hope.” Ms. Tang and Dr. Tan also joined in declaring failure as simply a part of living, an opportunity to better understand ourselves and the heart of others.
Marianne Williamson once said, “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, and not our darkness, that frightens us.”
We are often faced with doubt. We doubt the people we follow, the people that follow behind us for trusting us, and ourselves for ever conceiving an impossible dream. And yet, there are so many who chose to chase that dream. Those people, who when given the choice to sit, stand, walk, or run, choose to fly. We visit memorials of great minds and historical leaders, attend forums led by passionate individuals, only to pack our things and move on. What will you do after you return home?
Every day we are posed with questions encouraging us to not be afraid of failure, to stop doubting our adequacy, and to start becoming the change we desire in our world. If you have reached the point where you are no longer afraid of failure, accepting the responsibilities of leadership, then you are ready to face the real challenge; overcoming your fear of how great you can really become.