In today’s economic reality, some of us may answer above questions with a simple “I have to put food on the table and provide for my family” answer. And while this is a very valid point, I am not going to focus on money being the reason for work in this blog post. Instead, I want to talk about what motivates us to have professional lives.
For many an expat – and here I mean the accompanying spouses – the reality is such that we don’t have to work. Don’t have as in don’t-have-the-necessity-of-having-the-additional-income-in-the-family for the family to live comfortably. Yet many of us long to have a professional life abroad, especially if we had to leave out jobs behind, when we moved.
So what motivates us to long for it?
- Desire to grow?
- Fears (like the fear of not having something to do with our time or the fear of not being enough or the fear of being perceived as someone lazy or the fear of losing ourselves)?
How often do we really know what’s motivating us? How often do we take the time to find out?
The reason I bring this up is that sometimes we want to work for all the wrong reasons – and we suffer internally (if we cannot work) for all the wrong reasons. So until we shine a bright light on our real motivators for wanting work, we’ll continue holding onto the old habits and old attitudes towards work, even if those are not working out for us.
Here is one exercise to help you learn your real motivators for wanting a professional life:
I. Answer the following questions:
- What is important to me about having a job?
- What is important to me about having a career path/professional life?
- What do I look for in my professional life? Without the presence of what will my professional life lack meaning?
- What’s disconcerting about not having a job?
- What’s disconcerting about not having a career?
2. All humans can divided into those who mainly get motivated by away factors, those that mainly get motivated by toward factors, and those who get motivated by both. The away factors sound similar to this:
- “I want to work so that I don’t have to ask my spouse for spending money.”
- “I am working so that I am never going to be poor.”
- “I am starting a new business so that no one can say I am doing nothing with my time.”
The toward factors sound similar to this:
- “I want to work so that I can buy myself whatever I want.”
- “I am looking for a new job so that I can get more challenged.”
- “I want my own business so that I can be my own boss and can be as creative as I want.”
Looking at your answers to questions above, gauge whether or not you are motivated mainly by away factors, towards factors, or both. Usually the away factors, while having a place in our lives, don’t last and are not as compelling as the toward factors. The away factors display our saboteur thinking and provide a negative-energy-filled pull towards having a career. How valid is that thinking in your life now? And what would you be without that thinking?
So what is at the heart of you wanting to work and have a career overseas?
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