The Breakthrough Internship
Everybody has had that feeling of, “ Is there something more out there?” or “Am I really living up to my full potential?” and those questions have always haunted me for years. I’ve always known my strengths and what I excel at but have often felt like a rudderless ship that could crash into the rocks at any moment. That is in part why I came out here to do this internship program here in Australia. To find that course and gain the real courage and confidence to go full mast at what I want out of life. Having not spent too much time outside of Chicago and the Midwest and about to graduate College, I knew I really needed to challenge my geographical and personal comfort zone by going and working in some place I had never been.
And as fate would have it, I came across this opportunity attached to my University back home to work abroad. I read into the program and saw that I could go to a variety of places (mainly in Europe) but only one really caught my eye. Sydney, Australia. I thought to myself, “ What place could I travel to that is the furthest out of the Midwest?”. I had befriended Australians before when they came to my High School on an exchange program. I had always really loved the culture and the allure of the landscape ( not to mention many of my favorite actors are from here), so I knew at that moment Australia was where I had to go. At 22 years old, I had never left the United States before (or been on a plane since my youth), so I was ready to go on an adventure for my first chapter as an adult.
I didn’t really know what to expect of Australia or my time interning here so I had no preconceived notions of what it was I would gain by taking this trip. I only knew I would be interning here for a business start up and never imagined how impactful the company and my boss would be on my development as a more fully realized person. I never really realized how much confidence I lacked in certain areas of my life until I came here. I have been challenged by my work in so many ways that I was really frazzled the first week that I came here. I was full of anxiety and wanted to quit because I felt as though I was not a good fit for the Concierge intern role I had found myself entering into here.
I felt insecure for the first time in a long time, because I never realized how much confidence I lacked in interpersonal skills, particularly when it comes to being engaged with others and asking the right questions. When I first got on the phone, I floundered trying to ask the right questions and failed repeatedly to move the conversation towards any outcome. I had always been a good speaker and good at explaining, so I was shocked at how difficult I was finding this position. I had to do a little self reflecting to figure out why I was falling so short. Then it finally started to click for me and I realized the genesis of many of my social deficits. I had always been a good talker, but I was an absolutely terrible listener. I never really understood what listening was until I came here. I watched my boss get on the calls, effortlessly move the conversation just by purely asking questions and I was amazed at the results he got when he was on the phone with clients.
It seemed like every time he spoke, he was always able to listen for the right problems, and like a genie in a bottle, was able to find a solution to that person’s needs. I had never I had never seen anything like it before, least of all in business, and thought it was too good to be true. I’d always viewed the concept of procurement as being an “errand boy” or a “people pleaser”. I had never grasped how little I viewed helping others and how self-centered I actually was. I didn’t always used to be this way. I used to genuinely care about others, but had grown more reserved just from life and the self-interest mentality that is pushed by society. I had lost an integral part of myself and I now realize that I came here to Australia to take that part of me back.
I have learned how to be more present and engaged with people, instead of focusing on what baseball game is going on tonight or some other non-important issue that only brings value to myself. Being a Concierge Intern here at Breakawave has instilled those values of servitude inside of me and is something I will practice and master throughout the rest of my life. I won’t make any false claims of grandeur and state that I am a fully transformed person, but I will say that I have a new moral compass to be able to navigate life. I have found through this experience if I take on the frame of mind that everything is an opportunity and that all you have to do is seek it out and not be attached to the outcome of said opportunity.
This mentality has helped me so much in my day to day calls with business owners, but more importantly with people in my everyday life. I have found my social interactions with my friends in the program and people on the street being much more substantive and surprisingly more enjoyable for myself. I have always loved a good story which is why I aspire to write books, so all I do now is apply that same logic to the people I meet everyday.
There is a certain internal strength that comes from operating in such a way and I have seen it fully realized in the form of my Senior Concierge. He has been coaching me to find my own variation of this and add more value to everyone I am around. While two months is a very short amount of time to spend anywhere, I know that from my time working here at Breakawave that I am a changed person for the better and that my journey has only really just begun.
Written by Sean Reidy (Breakawave intern)