3 Stories Of How My Sister Has Inspired Me to Do More

The other day I was telling someone a story about Testlio and my life before it. When out of the blue I was asked: “What initiated me to make those life-changing decisions? What made me want to move from my home village to enjoy the big city life? What made me reach out to strangers and ask for advice?” At first I couldn’t come up with a concrete response but when I started to reflect on my past, the answer was right in front of me — it was and still is, my sister Helen.

My sister and I, Kose 1992

We grew up in a tiny Estonian borough called Kose. As the older sister, she always had to take care of me, and naturally we always played pranks on each other and we fought a lot. But there were also times when we build “castles” under my table out of blankets and fell asleep together talking about everything and nothing. No matter the good or bad times we have an unbreakable bond, forever.

Even though as a kid I couldn’t translate my emotions into words, I now realise that she has always been my role model. From school times I remember my sister being like a rockstar — she was a real doer and had great talent in sports, math and piano.

She showed me that everything is possible in life even things other people think can’t be done. All this time, my sister has unconsciously been one of my biggest source of inspiration.

I can think of some clearly defining moments in my life that were directly inspired by her.

1. My first piano ‘lessons’ at the age of 2

My sister took piano lessons in Kose Music School and I started tagging along to them when I was 2. As soon as I turned 7, I also wanted to follow in my sister’s footsteps and learn to play the instrument just like her. I applied to music school and took piano lessons for the next 7 years.

Seeing my sister graduate music school, play Mozart at her graduation party and seeing how proud my parents were of her, truly inspired me to push myself creatively.

Today, playing piano is one of the activities that helps me clear my head after the busy work days and that constantly challenges my limits.

2. From Estonia to London

Helen moved away from Estonia when she was 19. I was definitely sad to see her go, but at the same time excited to see this happening for her. To a 14 year old me, it seemed like a dream come true — moving from a little countryside village in Estonia to the land of opportunities. After her departure we kept in touch and I was always excited to hear about the places that she had been to. I thought: I’d really like to have that life too one day!

A few years later I met my husband (and now co-founder) Marko in Estonia and it was clear to me that I wanted to move and experience something new in another country. So I made the decision to move to London and become the best tester in the world.

The reality of Helen being on the other side of the world made me believe that anything was possible, always. You just have to want it, take the chance and do it.

3. Reaching Out For Help To Become a Better Tester

When we were in London, it was very clear to me that software testing was my passion and I wanted to do everything I could to be the best at it. So beside my full-time job, I started going to meetups and reaching out to other testers in the community — I wanted to get their advice and help on becoming a better tester.

I even reached out to people through Twitter and email. Cold outreach definitely put me into a very uncomfortable situation and I was always super nervous as I didn’t know what their response might be. But as the saying goes ‘If you don’t try, you won’t know.’

You’d be surprised how open and willing people were to help out.

The fact that Helen was always out there, traveling the world and building an awesome career, made me step on the gas and create these opportunities for myself. I saw her working really hard and I realised that the only thing that can stop me from doing the same is me.

As I sit here reminiscing, I can truly appreciate the huge role Helen has played in shaping my future. She created a path and showed me that it’s ok to take risks and fail sometimes because with enough will and persistence, everything will always turn out alright.

She has come so far and she always seems to be a step ahead, so this continuously pushes me to do better. As the younger sister, I will always look up to her. But I’m not trying to be her or be ‘better’ than her either — what I want and what she has taught me, is to be better than myself today.