Monthly Archives: October 2012

How to take charge of your negative thoughts during expatriation

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when someone suggests something new? Like a new travel destination for the weekend, or a new restaurant for dinner, or a new activity to attend, or a new expat post to consider? If you begin to think of why you should not, may not want to, not really psyched about that new thing, don’t worry – you are very much like the rest of humans. If you say – great, bring it on – congratulations, you’ve somehow trained yourself to stay clear of the negativity bias so many humans suffer through not fault of their own.

Apparently the negativity bias is our natural inclination.  Being negative about change, being suspicious about new things, and giving more weight to the negative information rather than positive information is our inbuilt tendency. Just think about the proliferation of all the scary news reports on your local news channel – they do it because negative news sells better than positive.  Our brain actually exhibits more activity when we are receiving negative information, which means that we are hard-wired for negativity! This negativity bias is also largely the reason we tend to dwell on things people have done wrong and remember their wrongdoing better than those other good things they did.

Our natural predisposition to give more weight to negativity is the reason that a new thing may not excite us at first and that we are more inclined to consider the reasons for not engaging with that new thing. And that’s the bad news.

The good news, however, is that we are highly trainable species and, if we really want to, we can teach ourselves to ignore that negative bias. All we have to do is–

(1) notice the first thought that appears when something new is suggested;

(2) recognize the negative bias; and

(3) change our perspective and find some positive reasons why that new thing is worth doing.

Try it this week. Train your mind to recognize and switch. If you stay with this practice, pretty soon you’ll notice that your negative bias has been replaced with the positive bias.

Trust me, it works. And it makes you much, much happier as a result.

Want to get rid of your negativity bias but prefer to do it in a company of like-minded expats? Join our Expat Women Academy program in November! More information and to sign up here.

Survey results of the expatriate and cross-cultural coaching niche

by Margarita

Thank you to those of you, expat and cross-cultural coaches, who took the time to complete the survey. Here are some of the results that came out of this very informal survey and you can download the full report here.

Of those who responded (69 people in total):

  • 17.4% were expat coaches
  • 26.1% were cross-cultural coaches
  • 60.9% were both
  • 89.8% coach for LESS than 10 hours per week
  • 83.9% make LESS than 30,000 USD per year from one-on-one coaching
  • 15.9% offer products such as e-courses/e-books/etc to their clients and 88.2% do NOT make any money on products
  • 76.8% offer workshops/group coaching to their clients and 85.5% make LESS than 30,000 USD from those workshops

Coaches — what do you think about the vitality of our niche?

I am  discouraged and surprised at the same time.

Discouraged because almost 85% of coaches in our niche do not make a living wage.

Surprised because I hear so much about the “needs” of expats and I hear so much complaining on the part of those expats — yet it appears not many expats are interested in working with a coach to resolve those complaints. What gives?

Your thoughts?

BY THE WAY, COACHES!  There is still time to sign up for the licensing and certification webinar for the Culture Mastery 4C’s Process™ — culture-emotion intelligence methodology that you can use to help your clients work successfully across culture.  For more info and to sign up, go here.

Introducing Brazil

Brazil is one of the countries that’s profiled in the Global Coach Center Academy within the course “Living and Working in Brazil” In this post we interview one of the course’s co-trainers, Ana Elena Austrilino Paz, on some of the most interesting tidbits on Brazil.

Ana Elena Austrilino Paz in her own words: “I’m a word citizen! I was born in Brazil, where I spent the most part of my life, then I lived in US, where I discovered my interest about cultural studies. Now I live in France, where I have the opportunity to interact and travel around many different countries and cultures. I have a Psychology and Business degree from Brazilian universities, and a Hospitality Management degree from Rosen College (US), and a Master degree from Université de Lille 3 – France. I’m glad to work for and with expat people helping them to manage cultural differences and to improve their cultural abilities.”

Global Coach Center Blog (GCC Blog): What would be 1 to 3 tips you would give to someone who is moving to Brazil?
Ana Elena: The first tip that I can say is: prepare yourself to enjoy that opportunity. Brazil has such a different and mixed culture. Learn Portuguese and learn about the Brazilian region that you are about to go is something very important.
GCC Blog: What was the funniest cultural misunderstanding you’ve experienced in Brazil?
Ana Elena: Foreign people use have problems to pronounce the word “pão” and   “pau”.  We always laughing a lot when they come to the bakery and ask for a “pau” instead to ask for a “pão”, because “pau” it’s a slang for the male genitals.
GCC Blog: What’s the most popular proverb and why?
Ana Elena: As Brazil has different popular proverbs according to the region, the one used all around is “Viangança é um prato que se come frio” (Vengeance it’s a kind of dish that we should eat cold).
GCC Blog: What do you love about Brazil?
Ana Elena: The thing that I love more and that I know that is also very appreciated by the foreign people who come there is the happiness.  We can point it in small thinks like, even if we have a lot of problems, we try to see the positive point, or we party/celebrate everything.
GCC Blog: What do you dislike about Brazil?
Ana Elena: Unfortunately Brazil is a country with a lot of corruption, for the government, but also for some citizen.
The full course on “Living and Working in Brazil”, co-authored by Ana Elena is available 24/7 at the online Expatriate and Cross-Cultural Academy for self- or assisted study.  Download it here.