My supervisor, Catalina, has been one of the most supportive figures during my summer internship in Bucharest, Romania. Not only has she nourished my growth in the industry, but she has also made an incredible impact in my personal life. From the very first moment that I met her, Catalina radiated confidence and poise in everything she did. It truly amazed me to witness her tackle challenging tasks as well as handle demanding clients. She takes an interest in my well being, and we often talk about our childhood, lives, and future. I briefly spoke to her about my fears and doubts, and she gave me words of wisdom I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
Catalina: What if I told you that this entire time, I was only pretending to be confident?
Me: Then I guess you would be a very great actress.
Catalina: What if I told you that when I am given a challenging project, I am anxious and afraid of failing? What if I am only pretending to be courageous? Would that make my courage and confidence any less real to those around me? Of course not. I am the only one who knows that my bravery is a facade, but to my superiors and those who depend on me, they see only the image I project. When I was 20-years-old, I pretended to be a confident woman, even though on the inside, I knew I was just a scared young girl. Over time, I handled my problems proactively instead of reactively, and soon, being brave was the only thing I knew how to do. When you act like you’re brave, even when you’re not, then you are already halfway there.
These words stuck with me for the rest of my internship. When I was offered sole responsibility for the promotion of the company’s newest project, I was petrified of accepting something I believed I wasn’t ready for. Following Catalina’s advice, I embraced this challenge and gained many professional and personal experiences. Although I lacked technical knowledge, I had the ability and the will to learn new things. I overcame my doubts and realized that I could become anything I wanted to be. Sometimes, pretending to be brave and being brave is the same thing.