A year ago, I decided to finally do what I had been waiting for years: apply for an international program at Walt Disney World in Florida. It was the first step to live an unforgettable experience in a country I had been dreaming forever, and most of all, in the greatest company ever: the one that has created dreams and magic for 90% of children in the world for more than a century. If I were accepted, then I would have the unbelievable opportunity to be part of this magic, but also to live a unique experience in a foreign country, to meet people from the whole world, to discover and learn new things, practice my English, etc.
Strangely, compared to previous years (according to what I had seen on the internet), the results seemed to be revealed quite late. Two months after my application, I still had no news. I was starting to lose hope. In January, I would check almost every day if any news would come, until the day I concluded that I was simply going to spend my summer at home. That was okay.
Yet, on February 22, I got carried away by my emotions. At night, when I wasn’t expecting it, I received a mail from Disney.
A normal reaction would have been to jump for joy and to buy a train ticket to Paris in the following second. Of course, nothing was done, but it was a huge step. Instead, I felt the contrary. A lot of negative thoughts came to my mind, and the reason for that was easy: It was no longer a hypothesis or a dream, but it was becoming the reality. I had the opportunity to make a dream come true. But it requires efforts, and that’s when it becomes difficult. Going to Paris for the following week just for a 10-minute interview which I was not even sure to succeed (while I live about 250 miles from there)… It doesn’t really seem realistic, and I had not really planned my week this way.
However, I got pushed from my family and I went to the interview. And even though I had quite a bad feeling at the end of the interview (negative thoughts, again…), the result was quite positive: two weeks later, I learned that I was selected! Did I jump for joy? Well… not really. It was becoming more and more real, and I started to realize what all of that meant. Leaving would mean investing a lot of money that I wasn’t even sure to reimburse. This amount of money started with the $350 to pay as soon as I clicked on the “accept” button. Then, I would have to pay a health insurance, a Visa, plane tickets… I would also mean leaving my girlfriend, my family and my friends for the two best months of the year, to go alone on the other side of the world. It meant getting by alone in a country that I don’t really know, while I had never even done the food shopping not left home for more than two weeks. I meant working for more than 40 hours a week without maybe earning a single dollar at the end of the program. It meant living with 5 unknown guys while I’m the embodiment of introversion. And once again, I had to go back to Paris for a 3-minute interview at the embassy. Suddenly, all the positive points, the magic, and the unbelievable experience disappeared. Was it because there were too many negative points, or was I just afraid? Afraid to go out of my comfort zone, to do something I had no guarantee on the result, and to do something I had not planned. I was about to decline an amazing opportunity just because I wanted to spend the same summer I would spend every year, without taking any risk.
I had three days to make a choice. And after some difficult nights, I accepted. Today, this choice seems obvious. At the time, not that much. I spent months to reassess myself, to feel guilty to go alone and seeing my money disappearing little by little. The organization for the immigration papers wasn’t always really good, and It produced some stress (for example, before receiving my Visa, I went to an interview at the embassy two weeks before leaving, and it was not possible to do it before.) Today, all of this doesn’t mean anything. But when you know that your life is about to change in a few weeks, you freak out.
I came back home 6 months ago. And it is one of the most wonderful experience I’ve lived. I’m not saying it was easy: it was a lot of work, I sometimes had doubts, I missed people… but it represents nothing compared to what I lived. I grew up, I learned to make decisions, to live by myself, to travel alone, but I also had an amazing job in an amazing place with amazing people that I will never forget. I lived in my heart country, traveled, and made a dream come true. Today, I sometimes wonder if all of this was true. I know that for some of you, it may seem ridiculous. Who would pay to work? But when you do a job that you love, I’m not really sure you can say it’s work. For me, being paid the minimum wage to make people happy, make them smile and be in a place I love, I had everything to be the happiest person on earth. I mean, it’s so much funnier to work at Monstropolis with Mike Wazowski than wearing a suit in an office to file papers all the day, even with a higher wage.
And yet, the main element that permitted me to do it, wasn’t money, nor talent, nor even motivation. It was courage. The courage to take risks and, maybe, to make your life complicated. What solution seems to be the easiest and most comfortable? To spend the same summer that you had spent for 18 years, staying at home with your family, enjoy the sun, see your friends, and maybe move for one or two weeks… Or spend all of your savings, take the plane alone to go in a city you don’t know in order to work 45 hours/week in a field where you don’t have any skill and living with 5 guys? I’m not saying that what I dit is extraordinary. For many people, it may even seem easy, and they have done much more in their lives. What I’m saying is that you need courage if you want to leave your comfort zone.
It requires courage to invest money in a project which you don’t know if it’s going to work or not. It requires courage to leave the people you love to make the studies you want. It requires courage to drop off school, getting out of the norm and do what you have always dreamt of. Actually, it requires courage to make what makes you happy. It’s so much easier to keep going forward without thinking. You can have all the resources needed and all the opportunities you want, with the highest of motivation, if you haven’t got the courage that goes with it, you won’t achieve anything.
Making your dreams come true may be scary. Changing your life may be scary. But it definitely worth it. Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to persue them“. Nothing to add.