Monthly Archives: November 2010

A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: Y is for YOU and what YOU make of it

Often times my clients have trouble focusing on their own needs.  They are so concerned about the necessities of people around them – spouses who have started working in a new culture and are stressed beyond belief; children that need help adjusting to a new country and a new school; parents who have been left behind and want to be comforted; friends who expect regular updates and quick invitations to visit; former co-workers who wonder about their next career step, etc, etc, etc.

When so many people around you need tending to, there is not really any time left for your own needs and dreams, is there?  And even if there is some free time somewhere in your day, how guilty might you feel if you decide to spend it on you rather than on any of the above?

Turns out – very guilty.  A lot of us would drop anything to make lives of people around us better, yet we rarely strive to do the same for ourselves.  Even after a day of housework, running a virtual business, making dinner, helping with homework, and spending time on the phone with family, many of us find it difficult to take a few moments of guilt-free pleasure for ourselves.  Be it a book, a mindless television show, a massage, a facial, a bath… whatever.  The point us – remember there is YOU in that expat reality you are all living in.  And YOU too need some pampering.

So next time you feel that you should not be having that massage or that the TV show you are watching is too stupid to waste your time on, stop and think about what your needs are in that moment.  How are you serving them?  And how much better does it feel to serve them than to ignore them?

And as for the “what YOU make of it” part in this letter Y – Dr. Dyer once said some very powerful words: “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.”  How are you looking at your expat life?

Want to work on those guilt-feelings with others like you? Join our Expat Club: 10 Weeks of Wisdom Program where we will provide tools and skills you usually get during coaching to work on this and other expat issues.  Learn more here. BONUS: if you sign up before December 1, 2010, you get FREE access to the “7 Habits of a Happy Expat” online course.


For all the letters in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ click here.

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: X is for X-Cultural Training

Let’s start by playing a game.  Choose an answer for the question below – an answer either in Column A or Column B – that most accurately describes you.  For each line you can only select an answer in Column A or B, but not both.

What do you find most effective for your style of work?

COLUMN A COLUMN B
Informal schedules and timelines Formal schedules and timelines
Flexible task-list A well organized task-list
Variety of tasks at the same time Completing one task before moving on to the next
Different issues can be discussed at the same time in a meeting Focus on one issue at a time in meetings
Little or no notice on schedule changes Sufficient notice on schedule changes

Sum up your Column A answers.

And now ask a few of your local contacts to do the same.  What’s their sum for Column A?

If you discover that your sum is different from theirs – congratulations!  You’ve just learned where you differ from your counterparts on one of 11 cultural variables (in this example the cultural variable is Time-Focus).

You may ask – and?  So what?  How is that useful?

It’s useful because it’s usually the first step of a cross-cultural training (although trainings can differ in their approach). Cultural variables form part of our cultural blueprint.  The cultural blueprint — derived from influences of our country, our traditions, our religion, our place of work, etc – defines who we are starting from our habits/behaviors/skills/talents and ending with our values/identity/life purpose. When you know where your preferences lie in relation to each cultural variable, you know your own cultural blueprint.

Once you know your own cultural blueprint, you can compare it to the cultural blueprint of people around you – and, thus, understand what’s at the root of the difference between you and them.  That’s step number two.

And step three is to find ways to negotiate the difference for the benefit of all concerned.

Of course cross-cultural training includes a lot more than this.  It also includes information about the country, its history, traditions, and values.   When this information is complemented with the process of negotiating through cultural blueprints, you get both the background information and the course of action you can take to make your adjustment easier.

We offer online cross-cultural trainings based on that model for Russia, China, Germany, Spain, the Philippines, the Netherlands, and Israel through the Global Coach Center Academy (more countries are coming up soon).  If you are interested in contributing to this effort and covering a country, please contact us directly.

For all the letters in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ click here.

Remember to sign up for the Expat Club: 10 Weeks of Wisdom program. It has been specifically designed around expatriate issues and concerns and it’ll help you feel supported, encouraged, and inspired.  BONUS: if you sign up before December 1, 2010, you get FREE access to the “7 Habits of a Happy Expat” online course. Sign up here.

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: W is for WILLINGNESS and WISDOM

If I were to come up with a cooking metaphor for an expat life, then I’d say that willingness qualifies as one of the major ingredients – a base ingredient, in fact.  Just like you cannot make a great cake without eggs (or butter or whatever you must have in your cakes), you cannot make a great expatriate life without being willing to do so.  Willingness is where it all starts – we must be willing to experience change, we must be willing to be open minded, we must be willing to learn, we must be willing to let go of assumptions and judgments, we must be willing to consider other truths and opinions, etc, etc, etc.

One of my favorite questions when I coach a client and when we are talking about a major step in their lives is: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how willing are you to undertake that?” And the next question is “How committed are you to this course of action?” Willingness paves a way for commitment; commitment paves a road for intention; and intention helps us co-create our lives.

Wisdom is another one of those ingredients that’s a must in life – and if we were to go with a cooking metaphor, then wisdom is your recipe.  Unless you tap into your inner wise self, whatever you cook out of life isn’t going to turn out the way you dreamed.  Our inner wisdom is our resource to tap into when we have questions about the direction of our lives, when we need to make decisions about our life journeys, and when we need to find the road towards fulfillment of our dreams.

How do we tap into that wisdom?  With so much pressure from the outside, how do we make sure the world doesn’t drown out the voice of wisdom?  There are several tools you can use to find that voice of wisdom, but the important thing to know is that it’s not only about finding it, but it’s also about remembering to listen to it. Making a habit of consulting it on a daily basis and growing your connection with it is sometimes more difficult that finding it in the first place.

How do you find the voice of your inner wisdom?  And how do you make sure you tune into it on a regular basis?

For all the letters in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ click here.

Always being in-the-know of our inner wisdom is going to be one of many important lessons we will discuss and learn during the Expat Club: 10 Weeks of Wisdom program. It has been specifically designed around expatriate issues and concerns and it’ll help you feel supported, encouraged, and inspired.  Remember that if you sign up before November 15, 2010, you get a FREE coaching session.  Sign up here.

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: V is for VISITORS

Most of us can agree that getting people to visit us is a great experience … in healthy doses of course.  Visitors give us an opportunity to share our lives with them (remember sharing is one of the 7 Habits of a Happy Expat).  Visitors give us a chance to take time out of our busy schedule and visit a landmark or two with them – the landmark we’ve been postponing to visit.  Visitors give us a new perspective on the country we are living in and open our eyes to things we may have not seen.  And, finally, having visitors means that someone actually cares about our experiences and wants to learn more about them!

So what are some strategies to have the best time with visitors in your home and your country?  I have a few of my own but since each country is different I’d love it if you add yours.

Here are mine:

(1) I make a list of all museums that are worth a visit and include the opening times, the days when the museums are closed, the entrance fee (if any) and the quick tips about each one if I have them.

(2) I look up schedules for performances for the time my visitors are going to be in town and send it to them ahead of time.  If they are interested, I offer my services of purchasing them tickets.

(3) I always keep a few spare maps of the city in the visitors’ room along with a map of public transport, if that exists.

(4) If I am in a country where renting a car is not ideal, I try to reserve at least one weekend to take our visitors to places that are not accessible by public transport.

(5) I try to show and recommend at least a couple of places off the beaten tourist track – and a few of very local restaurants.

What about you?  What are your strategies?

For all the letters in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ click here.

Remember to check out our Expat Club: 10 Weeks of Wisdom Program. It has been specifically designed around expatriate issues and concerns and it’ll help you feel supported, encouraged, inspired Register for it here.

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

For all expatriate women out there

I had an awakening today.  Thanks to my friend Liz and our amazing conversation I came to embrace something that I habitually ignored.  Something that’s a huge part of who I am, something that nourishes me, and something that we all don’t get enough of in the world around us (and maybe that’s why we tend to ignore it).

This something is my feminine energy. You see, I’ve been functioning purely out of the masculine energy – paying attention and homage to doing as much as I can do to succeed, to achieve, to produce, to make, to deliver. I’ve been stuck in this for so long that often I’d find myself literally gasping for breath and dying inside – all the while not realizing why.  The guilt around not doing enough, not being successful enough, not spending enough time with the family, not spending enough time on the business, not reading enough, not writing enough… not being enough has had me consistently running for more.  “Still doesn’t seem enough,” I’d think often, “I have got to come up with something else that’ll work even better.”  And on and on it continued – the perpetual treadmill that never got me anywhere.

I suspect that I’ve learned running the treadmill while growing up.  I’ve learned that you are worthy only if you are beautiful enough, rich enough, and successful enough.  And all those things were and are always defined by the world around us – the world that runs on achievement and masculine energy.  And so we, women – who have been brought here to nurture, to create, to give birth – have been swept up in the world’s obsession of making, doing, and achieving at all costs.

We drive ourselves very hard.  And we are very hard on ourselves. The feelings of guilt follow us everywhere and the feelings of “I am not worthy if I don’t…” are just as prevalent.  And we forget – oh, yes, we forget – that first and foremost we are worthy and beautiful in how we are and in how we are being.  We are perfect just the way we are.

When I stopped today and realized that without wanting I’ve always been defaulting to the habitual masculine energy of constant production and achievement, I also realized that I have forgotten how to play.  I don’t let myself play.  My inner child, that carries with her that feminine energy I so desperately need, isn’t allowed out.  I live on the “gasoline” made out of masculine, whereas I want to live on the “light” that comes from the feminine.

A couple of years ago I did an exercise where I came up with my life purpose statement.  You want to know what it is?  Don’t laugh too hard, but please smile: “I am Tinker bell that inspires you to do your magic.” Corny?  Maybe.  But that’s the energy that speaks to me and that’s the energy that I want to bring more of into the world.  That’s my feminine energy.

And now I’d like to speak to the expatriate women who constantly come up against the kind of masculine energy I wrote about. Just like you I am an expat and I know all too well the question of “oh, my God, who am I now?” that we ponder when we follow our partners and quit our careers.  I know the feelings of guilt over spending too much time without “working”, I know the guilt about allowing ourselves the “me-time”, I know the guilt about spending someone else’s money when before you made your own.  The guilt that usually comes together with “I am not worthy” sentiment – I am not worthy of that massage because I didn’t make money to pay for it; I am not worthy of free time because I should spend it with my kids; I am not worthy of respect from my peers back home because I am not doing anything productive; etc, etc, etc.  “Being worthy” is usually defined by the masculine energy in us.

Now, I am not saying that we don’t want or don’t need the masculine energy.  No.  We need both.  But we need a good balance of both.  And we desperately need our feminine energy and our inner child – we need to let them out and let them be with us and guide us.

So I am going to make a commitment to be with Tinker Bell every moment of each day.  I know it’s going to be difficult and at times I will default.  But that’s the journey.

And if you want to join me on this journey, please do!  I want for every expat woman out there to tune into what I tuned into today and to stay there.

What’s the source of your feminine energy?  How have you been tapping into it?

How committed are you to tuning into your feminine energy more and more every day?

Check out our Expat Club: 10 Weeks of Wisdom Program. It has been specifically designed around expatriate issues and concerns and it’ll help you feel supported, encouraged, inspired — and help you tap into that beautiful feminine energy you’ve been missing. Register for it here.

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!