Mexico, Mexico, Mexico, you were emotional, you were inspiration but most of all you were unforgettable, easily the best week of my life… so far! Roughly 2 years ago I set off on my Enactus (well at the time my SIFE) journey but I never envisaged when I started selling roses and cupcakes to fund social projects that I would have had the most incredible 2 years of my life. When journeys like this come to an end you step back and say what did I learn? Will people remember me? Have I truly made a difference? When I looked back on my Enactus Southampton Journey I can safely say yes, yes I have.
A little over a month ago we arrived in Cancun Mexico, but this is not where our journey started. As all teams are aware the journey from picking up from the team before is a hard one, no one said Enactus was easy. You go about working on projects, motivating members, working alongside beneficiaries and then there it is, it hits you right in the face, as you are just getting things going, the national competition is upon you, and this year it was more inspirational, more energetic and more competitive than ever before. It was an honor to be named national champions, a true honor, and in that second our name was announced I knew and the team knew that we had to go and put the UK on the map, it was about time a team got to that final…This was our goal. For all 2799 members of Enactus UK, for the UK programme, for all of the teams’ projects we knew we had to do it. So a team of us dropped everything, we all moved to Southampton over the summer, we started the presentation from scratch (several times). There were arguments, there were tears, there were doors slammed, but this didn’t matter, we were all here, motivated, driven and determined to reach the final not just for us, but for all of us.
The plane landed in Cancun all 16 of us walked through the moon palace resort doors and you could tell by every single face that this was a week that none of us would ever forget. The venue, exquisite, the weather glorious but most of all the atmosphere of over 30 countries all in one room… breathtaking. We arrived four days before the competition started, although in Cancun (and damn the cocktails were tempting) we pushed on, rehearsal after rehearsal, Q&A practice, even practicing how to turn in perfect synchronicity and how to hold microphones, we needed to make sure we were flawless to reach our goal, and nothing was going to stop us (not even when the hard-drive broke but we will never mention that again).
Cultural fair was as inspirational as ever, Africans dancing, Egyptians in their lavish costumes being carried around of thrones, truly insane but that’s why it is so great. The opening ceremony again such a buzz, in fact my mind is a little blurry about this whole day, but I remember it being phenomenal. Then the leagues were called… wow this was going to be hard.
The team were focused, we had a good night’s sleep and the next day went to showcase our projects to the world… We gave it our all, we walked off stage looked at each other and knew as a team we had done everything we could, it was a hard league, one of the favourites and the home country, but we couldn’t of done anything more.
The results were in… through first in the league and onto the semis, again we were faced with a challenging league, but with a little more confidence and with our vision of that final stage in sight we came together as a team and delivered the best presentation (actually turned out to be the 2nd best presentation) of our lives. We had equalled every other UK team, we had done ourselves proud, our members proud and the UK proud, but there was still that burning desire to showcase Saneco on that stage. Then this happened… This was actually the best presentation we had ever done!
We left everything at the side of the stage and gave it our all and there were no glitches (apart from the mics being broadcast live while we stood at the side #smashitoutthepark ). We’d done literally everything we could and in my opinion Germany were deserving winners, their projects were amazing, their presentation very well-rehearsed and their passion was incredible. 2nd place was beyond our expectations and the moment our names got called was a moment we will remember forever. One guy came up to me and said I’ve never heard such a big cheer for second place! Damn right we were over the moon!
World cup was a once in a life time opportunity which I have had the privilege of doing twice now and I can safely say It will be a very long time till anything lives up to it! But now it’s my time to bring what I have learnt and pass it on to anyone I can to inspire them and help others achieve their goals!
Here is my one big learning that I would really like to share with you it isn’t Enactus specific but I owe Enactus everything for. When you are doing something you love, with people you love, be that an Enactus project, a job role, a career a business with desire and determination you will succeed and probably go beyond your expectations if you don’t know why you are doing something then I pretty much guarantee you won’t achieve as much as you want or anything at all. So always do what you love, and always push yourself.
Saneco has improved the lives of thousands of people in Kenya, our other projects locally and internationally have also improved thousands of lives, and we were given the opportunity to showcase this, I truly hope that we have inspired the next generation of leaders and social entrepreneurs to go out there and make a difference!
I want to thank the Alumni who joined us on the trip and supported us from home; your Mexican party looked so much fun! I also want to thank the huge hoard of Enactus teams who sent us their support; it was tear jerking to receive such positive messages from so many teams and the video so many of you took time to make for us lifted our spirits and pushed us to present even better!
A final though; ‘Think big and you will be big’ a quote I said at Grantham last year (although by accident) it really sums up my thoughts, you are capable of so much and Enactus students prove this every day with inspirational life changing projects! Think Big! And never ever stop learning from what you do. Take the world cup as an example of setting a goal and being determined to achieve it, even when people think it’s not possible. Every one of us is capable of achieving so much with determination and hard work but most of all a desire to succeed.
Ex-Team Leader of Enactus Southampton