Annyeonghaseyo, Korea

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By: Kate Jory

I will never forget what it felt like to sit in a board room with my peers and have my boss say, “Kate – Seoul, South Korea”.
Kate-SeoulAt first was the fear, I was being sent to a country that I had read about on the news, that was so foreign to my own and that I simply didn’t understand. I would have to take a leap outside my comfort zone and learn how to do business effectively in a new and foreign environment. An environment that if it hadn’t been for the explorers program, I probably never would have been in.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would have been here, but that is the beauty of imagination – it doesn’t always know what it’s talking about.

I have touched down and started my adventure, and Seoul is fantastic in a way that I could never have foreseen. When I first arrived I was like a puppy going for its first walk, everything excited me. In my first 4 hours, I headed from the airport to my accommodation and then straight on to the IoT Korea Conference. It was go time, straight from hour one and since then it has been busy day after busy day and I am living the dream.

I wanted to observe, experience and jam pack everything into these few months I had been given in this amazing city. I am eating foods with names I not only can’t pronounce but that I have no idea how to because they are written in Hangul! My daily Yoga classes are naturally taught in Korean, which is a surreal experience in itself. I wanted to meet everyone, build my business network in every direction and succeed in an otherwise untouched business environment.

It is not without its challenges, but those challenges are just making me so much stronger – this experience has taught me just how capable I am. No one ever said it was going to be easy, and I never believed that it would be but individually and independence are the two skills that I value most in people, and myself. I say skills not traits as I feel that they are something that you learn to be, not something that you are born with. Being a First Derivatives explorer has enabled me the opportunity to work on these skills by throwing me in the deep end.

I am personally building my companies reputation in a city where we otherwise have no presence. I am able to develop my skills professionally and build my own pipeline, whilst also travelling internationally and living in one of the most technologically advanced cities in Asia. I don’t know another company that would offer me this type of opportunity, and I would not be sitting in a cafe in Seoul right now writing this blog if I hadn’t signed up to this program. If I hadn’t submitted the application, if I hadn’t signed the contract, if I hadn’t moved halfway across the world for a job.

I think the point of this blog might have gotten lost so let me make it clear for you – seize opportunities in whatever form they come. Work on your independence. Take that sense of adventure and use it to take you to new places, to make you feel alive in the thrilling way that only new places and experiences can. In the words of H. P. Lovecraft, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

Forget the fear. Take the risk. You never know where you will end up.