Daily Archives: August 16, 2011

Move countries… adapt, move again… adapt again – one tip to ease the process of constant adaptation for serial expats

It’s often easier for us to name things that we don’t want in our lives than the things that we do want.  During the move and the adaptation process so much change is happening around us that it’s quite natural to reject most of it (because face it – homeostasis or the tendency to maintain the system the way it’s been is a very strong universal force).  And so, believe it or not, but this is when we want to become clear not about what we reject – but about what we are looking for.

The way to get clear about what we want, surprisingly, is to list the things we don’t want and look at the alternative.  So here is an exercise*:

Step A: List things you are not looking forward to – things you don’t want (perhaps dealing with a moving company, struggling with the language you don’t speak, finding household help, etc)

Step B: Once you’ve listed them all, take each one and turn it around.  If you don’t want that, what is it that you do want?  For example: I don’t want to not understand a word when I arrive.  What do I want? I want to know some basics.

Step C: Once you have all the “wants” listed, choose the one that seems most attractive to you at this time and list a few things you can do to get to that want.  In our example above – I want to know the basics of the language – maybe you would look for language lessons to take before you leave.

So whenever you find yourself going over and over things that you find annoying/frustrating/unpleasant/etc in changing countries, pull yourself away from concentrating on the “not wants” and reframe them into wants.  Not only does it empower you to change those things but it also lets the Universe know what you are looking for.

*This exercise is an excerpt from a larger guide to adapting in a new country — Adjusting Guide E-course, available now for self study on the Global Coach Center Academy.