Monthly Archives: June 2011

Repatriation Pains

Some of frustrations we feel during repatriation are the direct result of the assumptions we have made and of the judgments we continue to make.  We assume that coming home will be easier than going to another country, we assume that our friends have been sitting around waiting for us to return, we assume that things run pretty much the same way they did when we left, and we assume that no matter how much we changed, we can still fit in, no problem.  After all, this is our home.

Then when we get there and our assumptions don’t come true, we find ourselves judging both our ability to adjust and the people/country we came back to.  We pass judgments on others that they are not curious enough about our experiences, that when we want to talk life overseas they want to discuss a new mall opening, that they all seem very close-minded when compared to people we met during our travels, and we judge that the country we came back to seems more like a prison to us now.

This judgmental perspective creates an atmosphere of bitterness, unwillingness to engage, and a strong desire to get on the plane as soon as possible.  We end up not really wanting to even give home a chance – and if the circumstances are such that we need to live in our home country, our adjustment becomes a lot harder than it needs to be.

In addition, these thoughts and judgments continue to swirl around in our brains and often have no place to go.  This gets us thinking the same thoughts over and over again, thus reinforcing the neurons that have already been created by those negative thoughts.  This leads to a set pathway in thinking and so we generate the same thoughts, engage in the same behavior, and create habitual thinking and patterns that are not useful for us.

Putting those thoughts on paper is a great way of disengaging from them and seeing them for what they are – a flurry of negativity that may have been invading our thinking.  When we write our thoughts and judgments down, we can clearly see them and then begin to edit, change, cross-out, and adjust where needed.

So try this exercise:

  • Write out every judgment you hold, every assumption you have made, and ever bitter thought that comes to you when you think of being back home.
  • Look over what you’ve written and think about how these thoughts are affecting you
  • Then decide which of those thoughts and judgments you are willing to let go off – and decide how you are going to do it.

This exercise (in a more detailed format) along with several others is included in our new Repatriation Guide E-course, now available online here.

Copyright © 2011 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

Adjusting to your new home – what is the first thing you want to pay attention to?

Since this summer many expatriates will move to a new destination, quite a few will once again be faced with the process of adjusting to a new home and a new life.  Regardless of how many times you’ve done it, arriving into another country and another culture isn’t an easy task.  Changes that we experience in our living situation, in our friendships, in our careers, and in the culture that surrounds us trigger different emotional reactions.  And it is often those emotional reactions that make it harder for us to adjust and begin to build a new chapter in our lives.

The stress of adjusting is often manifested because we encounter things that ruffle our feathers, so to speak.  That can happen for several reasons: (a) our habits might be completely different from the habits that surround us now; (b) things we are seeing mirror an aspect that exists in us, that we don’t like; and (c) the values we hold dear are not being honored or being ignored.  And so in order to understand the source of our adjustment stress, we need to first understand ourselves.

In this blog post I want to focus on how knowing and addressing (c) – the values that are not being honored – can help you improve your adjustment experience.

Moving to a new country can be extremely demanding – both in logistics and in emotions.  Difference in culture – especially the difference in cultural values and beliefs – takes its toll on our emotional health as we begin to find our way in the new culture.  And in order to find our way, the way we will be happy with, not only do we need to know the new culture, but first and foremost, we need to know ourselves, our values and our beliefs.

Knowing your values will help you remain confident in who you are and will help you adjust from the position of knowing and self-care.  This is why it’s important to pay close attention to the values that are suffering, and do what you can to begin to honor them at least a little more during the adjustment process.

How do you do that?

  1. You identify your values.
  2. You rank them in the order of priority (as they rank right now, in this moment in time)
  3. You rate each value as to how much you are honoring it now (Use the scale of 1 to 10).
  4. If you honor it anywhere less than 10, consider what your life would look like if you honored it at 10.  What would change?
  5. Decide on a few steps to take to get that value to a 10.
  6. Do the same with the rest of your important values.

This process of value farming is an excerpt from the Global Coach Center Adjustment Guide E-course available at the Global Coach Center Academy.

Copyright © 2011 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

How to manage overwhelm during the expat transfer season?

Summer has traditionally been the transfer season for expats and there are probably quite a few expatriates out there that are preparing to move to another post (or return home) this summer.  And even though most know about the impending move in advance and some even begin to prepare months ahead of time, for many feelings of overwhelm show up and continue to increase as they get closer and closer to the actual date.

So what to do?  How do we manage the overwhelm, get everything done, and find enough time to say proper good-byes to the place that has been our home for the last few years?

The following exercise will help you tackle the feeling of overwhelm and will also help organize your to-do list into a group of very doable tasks – all in their due time.

  • Imagine that your day is a bucket.  The same kind of bucket a child would use to play on the beach.
  •  Now imagine that all of the things on your to-do list were either: big boulders, small gravel, sand, or waterBig boulders represent the big, important things; gravel represents things that are smaller but still somewhat important; sand represents even less important things, and water represents things that are the least important.
  • In order to fill in your bucket in the most effective way, you need to put in the boulders first. What are your boulders?  List them on a piece of paper.
  •  Now think of what your gravel would be.  List those tasks.
  •  Follow the gravel up with sand.  And then with water.
  •  Then schedule the boulders, followed by gravel, then sand, and then water.

Remember, you can create your bucket using the boulder-gravel-sand-water metaphor every single day.  This way you’ll know that you are tending to things that are most important in your life and still will have space for the lesser important tasks.

NEW at the Global Coach Center: an online course on Culture Mastery offering how to be effective in any culture through the 4C’s ™ process of culture-emotion intelligence.

Copyright © 2011 by Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!