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tumblr_macjsqTA8p1qcg119o1_r3_400Part Four of the ‘From Struggle To Success’ Series takes a look at why having a strong and powerful perspective is just as important as packing the right clothes for your new lifestyle.

Many years ago I read a story which has stayed with me a long time.  A man was travelling home on a train with his young children.  The children were boisterous, loud and people around them were getting annoyed by their behaviour.  Their father did nothing, and just sat there, ignoring the growing mayhem and the other passengers became more and more agitated and annoyed.  When one of his neighbours finally asked them to keep down the noise, the father apologised, saying ‘I’m very sorry, we’ve just come from the hospital where their mother has just died.  I don’t really know what to do’.  In a moment, their neighbours attitude and comportment went from being one of irritation and anger to compassion and understanding.  This story helped me begin to understand the deep power of perspective as a route to changing our experience of life and our happiness.

But we’ve all done it.  Life starts getting to us, things, people, situations, get on our nerves and grow to the point of bursting, sometimes into anger or grief, but basically we’re stuck in a paradigm of our own creation because our mind gets overly-focused on Things That Are Not Working.  On a minor mission, we carry our perspective (they are ignorant, it’s impossible to get anything done, no-one can be trusted, it’s too hard etc) hell-bent like a badge, a shield or a heavy load, defending it and allowing it to exhaust us.  When we exhaust ourselves, the idea of making any kind of change is neigh-on impossible.  It just seems all too much at times.  I’m sure you have met, ahem, ‘those kind of expats’.   They choose to come and live in a country and then simply can’t seem to do anything but moan and criticise it, which is a desperate shame. Maybe that’s you?

Probably the worst part of losing a supportive perspective is that we just feel so dis-empowered, because we do not feel like we are living in choice, which is often at the heart of our sense of well-being and happiness.  It can even feel a little like living in prison, which is exactly what some people feel like living abroad.

The thing is that whilst we can’t change the weather, the language, the culture or whatever else is draining our inner resources, we can choose how we approach them and how we react to them.  It is possible and not only that, I think that a conscious choosing of a new perspective is utterly vital to getting unstuck.  It allows creativity, a sense of freedom and action to flow, and we all know how good that feels.   When we experience ourselves in choice, all manner of energies and magic starts to be created and it can be as fast as turning on the light switch.

Consider this.  When you go out into your new neighbourhood or new country today, what are the perspectives you are carrying with you?  How do these perspectives affect your experience of this country and your current life?  What works and what doesn’t?  What do you want to change?

Join me next week when I look at step 4 in the ‘From Struggle To Success Expat Plan’ series – ‘Acknowledgement’.

NEW!  Keep an eye out for my ‘Kickass Expat’ interview series where I meet with people around the world who have upped and changed their lives beyond measure.  See what hits and misses they have had building lives abroad and get cool tips and pointers for success.  Hit the ‘Follow This Blog’ button on the right hand column to get these posts delivered direct to your inbox.

If you would like to create a powerful perspective for your life abroad, or get help in getting unstuck, click here to book your free 40 minute consultation: schedule_session_large

 

We are running a free group coaching and mentoring programme for trailing spouses and accompanying partners starting in May for 12 weeks.  This is the only time this programme will be free so sign-up now to get more information. Places are limited so register your interest below NOW!

Water skiing

Yes, I want more Va-va Voom In My Life, Add My Name To The List!

Take care, have fun, grow and flourish, wherever you are!

Amanda Email Pic 2   

To book a free 40 minute session with me to work on creating your personal expat success plan, email me on info@globaltalentcoaching.com or telephone +44 (0)20 7193 7251 now.

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 Multi-Task

The addendum to why not being selfish is in fact, selfish.  Part Three in the series ‘From Struggle To Success, From Miserable to Magnificent’ for fulfilled Expatriate living.  

Yesterday I shared with you a personal story of my own realisation about my self-care.  Today, I look at common signs of poor self-care whilst living abroad.  Self-care is not a luxury commodity.  In the busy, multi-responsibility world we live in, it’s a basic necessity if you want to perform at your absolute best – not only for yourself but for everyone around you.  Care for yourself and you send a message to the world that you are hot stuff, you value yourself, take yourself seriously and so should others.  Be the inspiration by taking care of you first.

Basic Safety.  Your car is poorly maintained or your driver smells of alcohol when he picks you up.  You are lacking mosquito nets or the water/electricity/gas in your apartment is poorly maintained.  When we move abroad (to emerging economies particularly) we sometimes encounter very different views about the value of life and safety – so do what you can you make sure you are comfortable with the safety of your environment.  Take pictures, communicate and don’t let it go until you have satisfaction or that you feel everything has been done as well as possible given the cultural environment.  The HR department back home probably have limited understanding of what life is really like where you are and the locals probably think you are mad to ask for certain safety features.  If this is a worry for you then determine your own levels of comfort around this and communicate from there.

No Support Network – you live in a foreign country yet don’t have health insurance, a dentist, a doctor or you don’t know the emergency number for the country you live in.  You may not have anyone you can safely leave your kids with for a few hours in case you have a health appointment.  Make it a priority this week to sort this out.  It will ease your mind knowing that should something happen, the net is there to catch you.  Take away the worry at the back of your mind.

Avoiding social situations – this is an indicator that something is not ok.  We are social animals and generally do need social interaction.  Some Expat loneliness is part of the course, but do not allow it to define you and certainly don’t let it continue for long periods.  If you feel out of your depth or just plain unhappy make contact with one person each day – reach out to your consulate, a neighbour, counsellor, coach or local leader of an expatriate social group or online community.  Please don’t struggle alone, there are many other ways.

Lack of sleep.  You are too wired to sleep, jet-lagged, brain still on-charge, thoughts going around like a stuck record or you have a small baby that needs attention or snoring partner or are just simply burning the candle at both ends (too many Inter-Nations parties??).  Not enough sleep is a slippery slope which is connected to poor cognitive functioning, unhealthy weight-gain and depression.  If this is you everything in your power to get more sleep.  Most adults need between 7 and 10 hours sleep (I personally need about 9 to be truly on top form).    If you could choose only to do one thing differently, make it this one. For helpful ideas go to http://huff.to/bR4CFb

Over-committing – financially, socially to work or domestic chores, whatever.  Thinking you can do it all or have it all.  You can’t.  You don’t have time or you don’t have the same financial resources as some others in your social group.  We are all different.  Get over it and decide what it is you really do want (think either/or rather than ‘and’).  Prioritise.  There will always be things that won’t get done, purchased or attended.  You will NEVER do it all.

Refusal to delegate – If it’s not hero status you are after then this could be a simple case of lack of trust.  Sometimes you have to let go.  Yes, others will make mistakes but unless you let them have the space to do so, you’ll just keep yourself at the centre of all the work (and the pain).  Train people and train them well, whether co-workers or your maid – sure there may be a challenging period of transition when things get worse before they get better (or not – who knows?) but think of this as the ‘chrysalis time’ – after all this work a newer, more beautiful thing will emerge .  Share the load and watch your health and sanity improve in spades.  Don’t try and be the hero – no one wins and you may miss out on some amazing experience – isn’t that why you moved here? Remember also that if you are in a position of responsibility that your behaviour will likely set the culture around you – be careful of what you create.

Difficulty saying no.  An absolute must if you are serious about your own health, and that of your nearest and dearest.  Say no to your boss when appropriate, and your co-workers.  Say no to your children.  Start saying no more and standing in your power.   The worst that can happen is they hate you, judge you or have a serious discussion about your future, so pick your battles well and prepare accordingly.  Just take it as a sign that things are changing.  We humans really don’t like change.  Send the message up and send it LOUD.  You are a person with limited daily resources and you cannot do everything or be everything to everybody.  You need rest too, to refill your tank so you have something to give back.  Moving abroad is a stressful time, so ensure you add-in extra time for self-care – do your best to get the first few weeks there as holiday/admin time to ensure you set yourself and your family up well, otherwise its goodbye weekends or you end up doing personal stuff during work hours.

‘That’s Just The Way It Is’ is the number one phrase I hear from people who are so deep into behaviours of self-sabotage they cannot see another way of life.  This is our internal saboteur working flat out to keep us in pain – and it’s working.  If this sounds like you and you are happy, great – carry on and get what you have always got. If you are bored or suspicious of this thinking then get some help to create some new perspectives and brainstorm alternatives.  Hire a coach or get a trusted friend to tell you what they see (choose your most plain-speaking one if possible).

Sugar, Alcohol, Caffeine and Cigarettes – we all have our favourite dirty little habit, and hell, life would be so dull it we were all perfect.   If you go to these things to help you ‘get through the day’ then you likely have some self-care issues, probably related to tiredness and stress.  When we are very tired our body starts to want glucose and crave the energy kicks that these stimulants give us.  Their impact is fleeting sensations of wellness, followed by worsened feelings afterwards.  Life is a balance but if you think these habits are getting out of balance to the point where you are abusing them, it’s time to take stock.  Get help from your doctor, health practitioner, pharmacist or support group.  More health is available to you if you want it.

Non-Specific Health Problems.  Frequent trips to the doctor with lots of different complaints, none of which amounts to anything specific.  It could be a sign of an underlying condition such as depression or it could be a change of lifestyle, exercise or diet that is required.  Connect to your internal wisdom to help cipher what’s going on and pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you.  Addictions to alcohol, drugs and sex are commonplace within all communities, but it can be easier to fall into and harder to climb out of if you are living abroad.

Repetitive Negative Thoughts, Worrying, Regrets and Comparisons.  Imagine you start going into a gym and exercising.  You have a nice little routine, you push some weights, do some circuits and it feels a bit uncomfortable at first but then, after a few sessions you need heavier weights or more repetition to get the same results.  Now imagine that instead of weight and going to the gym, the same thing is happening every time you THINK.  You are building mental muscles with THOUGHTS.  Negative thoughts and positive thoughts.  You push them round and round your mind, going over and over your circuit, sometimes adding more weights, and before you know it you have built up a habitual pattern of thought.  The more you think about them, them more natural they feel, and the more easily your mind goes to them because the neural pathways are fresh and easy to find.  It feels normal.  What are your prevailing thoughts – are they negative or positive?  To break patterns that do not support your self-care programme, you need to know what they are.  Keep a journal.  What are the patterns/triggers/outcomes of these thoughts?  How would you like to change them?  Expatriate life is a time for change – you get to reinvent yourself so go for it – how could you better support yourself if you changed your thinking?

For help creating a personalised expat self-care plan, contact me on +44 (0)20 7193 7251 or email me on info@globaltalentcoaching.com.

We are running a free group coaching and mentoring programme for trailing spouses and accompanying partners starting in May for 12 weeks.  This is the only time this programme will be free so sign-up now to get more information. Places are limited so register your interest below NOW!

Water skiing

Yes, I want more Va-va Voom In My Life, Add My Name To The List!

Take care, have fun, grow and flourish, wherever you are!

Amanda Email Pic 2   

To book a free 40 minute session with me to work on creating your personal expat success plan, email me on info@globaltalentcoaching.com or telephone +44 (0)20 7193 7251 now.


Why not being selfish is in fact, selfish.  Part Three in the series ‘From Struggle To Success, From Miserable to Magnificent’ for fulfilled Expatriate living.  

vintage-selfish (1)Right, so this week I’m getting personal.  I’m really hoping this will turn out as a blog post but right now it feels a lot like a rant.  This week I’m all about BEING SELFISH.  The word ‘selfish’ has bad press – look it up in the dictionary, it’s hideous.  Probably one of the worst adjectives you could throw at a person.   It makes me really CROSS!  Sure – there are many people in the world to whom this word could (in dictionary terms) truthfully apply but let’s turn it down a few notches and look at the ‘Fifty Shades of Being Selfish’ – the grey areas, and how not being selfish really is in fact, being deeply selfish.

Let’s start with one of my favourite bugbears:  The Protestant Work Ethic.  Ingrained in much of Northern Europe and America at first glance this sounds like A GOOD THING.  The underpinning of meritocracy.  Work hard and your reward will come.  Work. Hard. Harder.  Harder, harder. There, I’ve gone all ‘Fifty’ again.  But sometimes working hard is the last thing you should do – especially if you have just moved heaven and earth to live in a new country.

In 2005 I gave birth to my first baby in Sydney as my husband and I were living in Australia.  I went from working full time as a consultant (working hard) to being a full time mother with few local friends available outside work hours, my family on the other side of the planet and something crazy happened to me.  My protestant work ethic started whispering in my ear telling me that sitting down breastfeeding my son for 8 hours a day was not work and that I had to earn my keep.  I had to prove myself as a mother and a worthy person because my husband was now the breadwinner and I was ‘riding on his coat tails’.  This meant I had to do everything else as well.  All the washing, all the cleaning, all the cooking, all the childcare (every night feed, every early morning), social organising, networking with other new mothers.  I went from working around 9 hours per day and earning a very good salary to working 19 hours a day and earning nothing.  I had a baby that slept badly, ergo I didn’t sleep – for twelve months and who wouldn’t take a bottle so I was the only one who could feed him.  Halfway through this we moved to the South of France and I continued with this madness in a country I didn’t know or understand and layered my exhaustion with more work – learning a new language, creating another new circle of friends and finding my way around the Cote d’Azur without a GPS.  And that’s exactly how life felt – like I was going round in circles without a compass, no GPS, not even a map!

What was the impact?  I was totally EXHAUSTED – I had nothing in ‘the tank’ so I could enjoy the amazing country I lived in.  Even picking up the phone to talk to friends back home in the UK was hard work so I felt DISCONNECTED.   I was ANGRY with my husband and JEALOUS at how his tennis-playing, go to the office without-being-covered-in-baby-sick-life had not changed.  Because I was the only person who could feed my child I felt CHAINED to my baby.  Ask my husband and he will gladly tell you that I was DEPRESSED.  Exhausted, angry,  jealous, chained, disconnected and depressed does not make for creative solutions.  It does not make for a sustainable, fulfilled and happy experience.  It doesn’t make for much at all in fact.  Yes, I got to be indispensable.  Yes, I got to be superwoman.  I got to be the hero (where’s my damn medal?). But the cost was too much.  By ‘not being selfish’ I actually was being deeply selfish because my son had a mother with little energy, patience and fun and my husband had a depressed wife!  I had nothing left to give freely and with joy – an unsustainable situation.  I can’t remember the exact moment I ‘admitted defeat’ but there was a definite period of realisation after a year or so (A WHOLE YEAR!!) of madness and relief that I didn’t have to carry the burden of the responsibility and work all to myself any more.   I got myself a cleaner, a babysitter and I started exercising.  I got some new clothes.  I started feeling good in my own skin again and enjoying what life had to offer in the Riviera, and I met some really nice people.  My protestant work ethic was FURIOUS.  But too late – I’d found a much nicer way to live life!

oxygen-mask

So, a big life-lesson for me has been to watch my innate tendency to do too much.  To create sustainable balance and a self-care routine that now sees me taking regular exercise, going to meditation classes, working the hours I want to work and blending this with time making new friends, spending time with established friends, family and in creative pursuits.  All the things that make me happy.   What’s the impact?  I have enough time for myself.  I have enough (usually) patience for my three children, my husband is happy and we work well as a family unit.  In order for me to be able to give more, I have to be able to give myself more first, just like the oxygen masks on the aeroplanes.  As for my Protestant Work Ethic – it is ever present – these things never fully go away for good I think but I have safe guards in place and I know my patterns well enough now to keep it on the leash, its mistress rather than its slave.

So, what is it you are doing or not doing to support your health?  What one change will you commit to this week?  Drop a comment into the box below and let me know!

We are running a free group coaching and mentoring programme for trailing spouses and accompanying partners starting in May for 12 weeks.  This is the only time this programme will be free so sign-up now to get more information. Places are limited so register your interest below NOW!

Water skiing

Yes, I want more Va-va Voom In My Life, Add My Name To The List!

 
Take care, have fun, grow and flourish, wherever you are!

Amanda Email Pic 2   

To book a free 40 minute session with me to work on creating your personal expat success plan, email me on info@globaltalentcoaching.com or telephone +44 (0)20 7193 7251 now.

 


Part Two in the series ‘From Struggle To Success, From Miserable to Magnificent’ for fulfilled Expatriate living.

Some might call its use inappropriate to expatriate life.  It will send shivers down the spine of many global nomads and send some trailing spouses into a cold sweat even thinking about it. Yet this one word can make a huge difference to your experience of living in another country, even for six months.  The word I am of course talking about is ‘commitment’. There.  I’ve said it.  I may have to go and lie down.

commitment 2

The thing is that I believe there are two kinds of commitment – one which is directed outside of yourself – to the world around you and the people in it (like a marriage or becoming chair of the PTA for example), and the other is one which is directed mainly internally – to yourself.  This self- commitment is where you quit playing small (and hiding in your apartment rocking in the corner crying – or was that just me?) and start gathering your energies to step out into your purpose, to enter into uncharted territory.  This self-commitment is deeply powerful and expansive, once you’ve truly stepped into it, there’s little you will allow to remove you from your chosen path.  What this isn’t, is saying you’ll make promises to others you may not or can’t keep – it’s about the promises you make to yourself.

By living in another country you can be whoever and whatever you want to be, but you are going to need self-commitment to get your life to where you want it because creating your new life is going to take effort and action (make no mistake here).  Unless you are 100% committed, the results you create will not match your desires, and that’s where the rot starts to creep in.

“If you don’t make a total commitment to whatever you’re doing, then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking.  It’s tough enough getting that boat to shore with everybody rowing, let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his life jacket on”.  Lou Holtz, American Football Coach, Sportscaster, Author and Speaker.

Have Life Be Easy

Committing to oneself or a chosen goal is a process of removing other options and ways of being that have been offered – all the ‘maybes’, ‘perhaps’, ‘should I’s?’ and ‘we’ll sees’.  All gone.  Just a beautiful, clear open road waiting for you to step out onto.  Yes there will be barriers and pot holes, that’s par for the course, but this is your road, you’ve claimed it.  Enjoy it. When we have lots of choices we throw our brains into confusion, and in this place the brain find it hard to work efficiently and we feel exhausted.  Once you remove the other choices (by committing to one), things start to simplify and your brain can focus its attention.  The energy that was taken-up by analysing and weighing-up all the different choices is now released and freely available for creation, adventure and cunning plans.  Awesome.

Love Your Commitment

This sounds a bit odd I know, but trust me.  Appreciate its beauty and meaning.  Admire the choice you’ve made and what it took to truly make that choice.  Enjoy the richness that this commitment brings into your life.  You are going to be bed-buddies for quite sometime so make sure you really are proud of it and are fully at ease with it and all it can bring your way.

Commitment Magic

Have you ever had the experience of really, really wanting something, making a point of taking action on it and then bumped into someone who had just the right information or product for you?  That’s what self-commitment creates – it’s magic.  I don’t pretend to know how or why exactly this works but I have noticed it all around me and other people.  The higher the intention, commitment and ease with the commitment, the better the results created.  One could almost say that self-commitment is like putting up a neon sign to the universe that you are open and ready for business.  Only when the light is on can people, situations and opportunities find you.

“The moment one definitely commits oneself, providence moves too.  All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have ocurred.” Goethe

Say No More, And Say Yes More

In order to really commit to something, we often have to say no to other things.  Living abroad offers many opportunities and decisions.  You can’t have it all – some things need to give in order to have others, so get your priorities straight.  Commitment to a chosen path or goal will mean we need to become more discerning about our actions, further choices and decisions.  This will mean saying yes to the things that propel you in the right direction (closer to the things you want) and no to the things that take you away from what you want. Want more fun?  Say no to the ironing and yes to jet-ski-ing on a Monday morning, so serious consider an ironing service or maid.  If you are uncomfortable saying no to people and situations that don’t serve your self-commitment, it will be a challenge.  Yes, feathers may be ruffled, judgements may be made, but if you want to make an omelette, ya  gotta crack eggs.  Commitment to self will need to be constant and strong, so play with saying no with a smile on your face and a short but simple explanation (“I’m sorry, I can’t y or z – I’m making more time in my schedule for x, which is really important to me right now”) – it’s amazing how that works!

Get Behind Behind Your Commitment

Be it energy, love, money, whatever, but back yourself.  Splash a little cash if necessary.  Book those riding lessons, take that course, get the cleaner/nanny/therapist.  Make a list of ten actions that back your self-commitment and do them!  Another great way of committing to something is to conduct a ceremony – something meaningful and possibly a bit silly to let yourself know that you mean business.  Draw a big fat line on the ground and jump over it whilst dancing naked in the kitchen, write a Facebook status update, throw a party–whatever is meaningful and resonant to you.  To make it even more powerful, have someone (a friend, coach or whomever) hold you accountable – someone who has your permission to give you feedback when you are not staying in your commitment.  We all stray and we all forget, so designing a fail safe is a great way of keeping you in line.

So – are you ready to commit to your own happiness, well-being and fulfilment?

Come back next week for part three of the ‘From Struggle To Success, From Miserable To Magnificent’ series for Expatriates, or sign-up in the box on the right to have the entire series delivered to your inbox.  Can’t wait that long?  Drop me a line to arrange a 40 minute consultation to create your personal expat success plan.  In the meantime, if you are ready to commit, feel free to state your commitment in the comments box below – I dare you!

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I’m making a personal commitment – I’ve been telling anyone who’s listening that we are offering 10 people the chance to participate in a free group coaching and mentoring programme for trailing spouses and accompanying partners starting in May for 12 weeks.  Got a date and everything (14th).  Interested?   CLICK HERE TO ADD YOUR NAME TO THE LIST .  Places are limited so claim yours now!

 

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Have fun, grow and flourish, wherever you are!

Amanda Email Pic 2   

To book a free 40 minute session with me to work on creating your personal expat success plan, email me on info@globaltalentcoaching.com or telephone +44 (0)20 7193 7251 now.


Struggle and success

If you are feeling miserable or ‘lost’ on an international assignment and feel like your nose is up against the window watching life go by – try my 10 Point Success Plan.  Follow me over the next ten weeks as I take a look at the challenges and how to go from struggle to success.  Hit the ‘follow‘ button at the bottom right of the page to get the next ten weeks delivered straight to your inbox.  

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Expatriate Life.  Like a window on the world it can be opened, peaked into, jumped into with both feet, a wing and a prayer, closed, have a nose pushed up against it or  be slammed tightly on itself in disgust.  At first its mystery and exotic nature can lead us to believe we are about to have the most amazing experience in our lives, we feel lucky and a little bit special.

Our arrival at our new destination is a flurry of newness and differences within which our host location enthrals and amazes us.  As we move around we feel like we are truly exploring not just another part of the world but another part of us and we feel alive and fulfilled.  Living the dream.  This continues…until it doesn’t.  I’m sure you know only too well what I’m talking about here so rather than dwell on the shit sandwich you’ve been feasting on recently, let’s just sort this out.

What the heck happened?!  Well – possibly a mix of things.  Our expectations have not been met.  In our fantasy of how we would respond to the challenge of a foreign posting, we haven’t measured up. We’ve learned stuff about our limits and we’ve probably made-up some stuff about ourselves to which may not be true.  We perhaps underestimated the amount of effort and focus which is needed to create a new life for ourselves.  We underestimated the cultural differences.  We thought we didn’t need to change ourselves in anyway.  We spend a lot of time alone so we talk to ourselves a LOT and not always in a kind, supportive and loving manner.  Suddenly, the idea of going home back to what we know is like an oasis in the desert – deliciously mouth-watering and tantalising.

Don’t panic. It’s all completely NORMAL.  It’s all a part of the Expat ‘journey’ – especially for those of you who cannot or have chosen not to do paid work, and it’s going to be OKAY. This is your inner ’emotional GPS system’ inviting you to get to work and start building the inner resilience and adaptability you are going to need in order to make your life abroad a success. It’s a moment of truth for you – an opportunity to sink or swim and I know that because you have created this situation in your life that you have all the resources you need to make it work, you just may not know it yet.  Some of you may feel exhausted at my words.  You have expended a massive amount of energy to even get here, and now you are running on empty knowing there’s more work to be done.  Relax.  A lot of this work can be done in bed, in a café or wherever else you need to be in order to start filling your tank up again.  So, get that latte and take a seat.

Here’s the bottom line.  You have a choice.  You are actually ‘choosing’ right now – choosing to stay miserable or choosing to do something about it and get back into a full life.  You can either sit inside with the windows closed hoping someone will see your struggle, hiding from the world, being angry at your husband or wife or whomever else you decide is to blame, or you can commit to yourself and your life right now.  Today. In this very moment.

10 Point Success Plan To Get You Through The Window

Don't Panic

1.  Commitment.  Commit to something better.  Commit to yourself like you may never have done before.  Commit to you with every fibre of your being.  Mark your commit with a silly ceremony or by doing something out of the ordinary (naked dancing in the living room anyone?).

2.  Self- Care.  Don’t make yourself wrong for everything that has contributed to this so far, instead be gentle with yourself and focus on your self-care (good sleeping, eating, rest and exercise).  Note any negative self-talk and find new positive and gentle ways of communicating with yourself.  What would you say to a child or a loved one?  How would you encourage them?  Trust and know that your situation will improve will focus, action and time.

3.  Get some Perspective.  Choose a sustainable, loving and exciting mindset you want to adopt.  Is there a metaphor that seems right for this – will you go at this success plan like ‘a panther/rhino/quarterback/pilot’?  Find a metaphor that feels strong and creative for you and create a mantra or affirmation that supports this chosen perspective.  Keep it simple and easy to believe for yourself (if ‘I have an amazing life abroad’ seems way off the mark, start simple with ‘I choose to create the life I want’).  Ensure all the actions you take are aligned with this perspective, support it and enhance it.

4.  Acknowledgement.  Acknowledge yourself and your courage for even being here and having this issue.  Many never make it out of their own home town.  Acknowledge yourself everyday in the mirror – you are doing really well, even if some days it feels very differently.  Think about creating rewards for yourself when you make progress or expend effort in the direction of your goals – that’s acknowledgement not only for progress but the time spent moving towards desired results.

5.  Routine.  Create a strong and sustaining routine for yourself to fall back on – it’s a bit like being unemployed (when looking for a job becomes your job).  Your job now is to set yourself up for your own personal success.  A good routine is self-nurturing, low on ‘shoulds’ and high on things that bring joy into your life.  Eat, sleep, exercise and rest sufficiently to support your body, mind and spirit.  Try a daily grounding practise like 15 minutes of meditation and prioritise getting trusted childcare if you have pre-school aged children – you need time to keep your tank full in order to give to them.

6.  Find Your Purpose.  Take it seriously and do whatever it takes to get you to where you want to be.  Commit to having not only ‘a life’ but an amazing life for the duration of the assignment.  What is your purpose whilst you are here?  How does this fit with your vision for your entire life and how can you really get the most out of it?  If someone gave you two years to yourself in your home country, what would you do with the time?  Imagine creating the kind of life that you would be sorry to leave behind at the end of the assignment, what ingredients would be needed for that?  Write it all down.

7.  Get Curious.  Get curious about everything.  Really curious.  Why?  Real authentic curiosity is a wonderful energy to evoke – it takes you away from knowing, judgement, being right and angry and into openness, expansion, love and non-attachment.  Be curious about your host environment, culture, language, norms, yourself, your reactions, your decisions, your desires.  Spend a little time each day simply being curious about something.  What does it bring into your life?

8.  Make a plan.  Set three goals that have meaning for you which once completed, that will take you to (or closer to) your vision of how you want to live your life.  Make a list of daily tasks /menu of activities for each goal that you can pick and choose from depending on mood and do one thing for each goal per day – at first it might seem like incremental change but at some point things will snowball and you’ll end up where you wanted to be before you know it.  Take action.

9.  Get The Help You Need.  There are no medals for going it alone and struggling with only your martyrdom for comfort.  Ask for help and support – if you are on assignment with a multi-national what support are they able to give? If you are an independent expat consider hiring a coach or even enlisting the support of an online expat network.  Get a mentor – who seems to know their way around here, and who might be able to fast-forward your local knowledge in some way?

10.  Take one day at a time.  Pause for a moment to think about something you are incredibly proud of creating and think of how much time, love and effort it took to create it.  Your wisdom from creating that can be applied here and help you get to where you want in less time, but it will still take time.  Spend that time wisely, doing things you love in alignment with your purpose.  Take photos, write a journal or a blog – have things you can look back on so you can re-live your journey and enjoy it all over again at some point in the future. This could be your defining moment, so let’s record it for posterity.

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today”. – Dale Carnegie

Join me next week when we look at Commitment in more detail, and why a lack of commitment to yourself leads to failure. 

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Don’t struggle on your own!  We are running the first in a series of group coaching and mentoring programmes ‘From Struggle To Success’ for trailing/accompanying spouses and partners who want to turn their expat experience around.  The programme pilot starts in May 2013 and runs for 12 weeks.  Please click HERE if you would like to receive more information.  Hurry, places are limited so act now!

Have fun, grow and flourish, wherever you are!

Amanda Email Pic 2   

To book a free 40 minute session with me to work on creating your personal expat success plan, you can either email me on info@globaltalentcoaching.com or telephone +44 (0)20 7193 7251 or Skype me on amandawilby. 

Please leave your comments and stories here – I’d love to hear from you!

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