Category Archives: 7 Habits of a Happy Expat

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)!

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7 Habits of a Happy Expat

Ever wondered what makes some expatriates happy and others not so happy?  Here is my take on it: THE WINNING SEVEN™ or 7 Habits a Happy Expat.

1.  Happy expats are intensely curious. Coming to another land is always interesting.  You get to learn about the culture, you get to experience a different way of life, you get to try new foods, and maybe even new sports and new hobbies.  A whole new world opens up for you.  Being curious around this new world leads to happiness.

2.  Happy expats accept others as they come, they don’t judge, and they don’t try to change people to their liking. No matter how much things may bother them and no matter how much they may disagree, a judgmental attitude never gets anyone anywhere.  Accepting that things run the way they do is the key to happiness.

3.  Happy expats look at everything as an amazing learning experience. Someone once said that “life is always offering us new beginnings, it’s up to us whether to take them or not.”  I don’t remember who said it but it’s an empowering way to look at what’s available to us at every moment of every day.  And especially to those of us who get this incredible opportunity to not only travel but also live in different places.

4.  Happy expats find opportunities wherever they are and they don’t lament those they’ve left behind.  Life of an expatriate consists of one move after another.  Sometimes we know when that move is coming and sometimes we don’t (in these days of “the crisis” many of us will move suddenly).  Opportunities that were open to us in one place may not be available in another.  But remember “life is always offering us new beginnings…” There will be new opportunities, so do you want to spend the time lamenting about what you left behind or do you want to spend the time listening and looking out for what’s opening up for you?

5.  Happy expats know that feeling sad at times is part of the game. A happy expat doesn’t mean a giddy-at-all-times expat.  A happy expat means also an expat who knows that being sad at times is part of the expatriate experience.  Being sad about leaving friends behind; being sad about leaving your family far away; being sad about quitting a job or changing a career … this list can go on and on.  The difference between a happy expat and an expat that’s not happy is that for the former the sadness is something that’s natural and something that doesn’t take over your life and makes a victim out of you.

6.  Happy expats share. Sharing means so many different things.  It may mean sharing with your friends and family when you are sad – going through the stressful times alone is no fun.  It may mean sharing with a coach – a right client-coach partnership will undoubtedly make your expatriate experience richer.  It may also mean  sharing your experience with others, helping those like you find the best facets of their expatriate journeys.

7.  Happy expats stay clear of criticism, sulking, and stonewalling.  It is so very easy to blame someone else in your misfortunes.  It’s easy to say that everything around you is horrible; it’s easy to sulk in your misery when you’ve convinced yourself that it’s not up to you; and it’s easy to put a barrier between you and the place you live in.  Yet there is no way you are going to be happy where you live, if you consistently engage in criticism, sulking, and stonewalling.  Staying clear of those attitudes will help you be happier.

This post is an excerpt from an on-line course called “7 Habits of a Happy Expat” available now at the Global Coach Center Academy. The course includes a more detailed description of the concept of 7 Habits as well as hands-on exercises and tools on how to adopt those habits during your expatriation.  Download the course HERE.

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

7 Behavior Choices of a Happy Expat

In the previous post we talked about the first three behavior choices of a happy expat:

1.  I am intensely curious.

2.  I accept others as they come, I don’t judge, and I don’t try to change people to my liking.

3.  I look at everything as an amazing learning experience.

(Details of each are in the previous post).

So, let’s continue with the last four:

4.  I find opportunities wherever I am and I don’t lament those I’ve left at behind. Life of an expatriate consists of one move after another.  Sometimes we know when that move is coming and sometimes we don’t (in these days of “the crisis” many of us will move suddenly).  Opportunities that were open to us in one place may not be available in another.  But remember “life is always offering us new beginnings…” There will be new opportunities, so do you want to spend the time lamenting about what you left behind or do you want to spend the time listening and looking out for what’s opening up for you?

5.  I know that feeling sad at times is part of the game. A happy expat doesn’t mean a giddy-at-all-times expat.  A happy expat means also an expat who knows that being sad at times is part of the expatriate experience.  Being sad about leaving friends behind; being sad about leaving your family far away; being sad about quitting a job or changing a career … this list can go on and on.  The difference between a happy expat and an expat that’s not happy is that for the former the sadness is something that’s natural and something that doesn’t take over your life and makes a victim out of you.

6.  I share. Sharing means so many different things.  It may mean sharing with your friends and family when you are sad – going through the stressful times alone is no fun.  It may mean sharing with a coach – a right client-coach partnership will undoubtedly make your expatriate experience richer.  It may also mean  sharing your experience with others, helping those like you find the best facets of their expatriate journeys.  And, of course, sharing may also mean teaching people around you about your culture, your values, your beliefs, and things you hold dear.  But remember, sharing isn’t preaching!  When you share, you give people a choice and freedom to decide whether they want to follow you or not.

7.  I stay clear of criticism, sulking, and stonewalling. It is so very easy to blame someone else in your misfortunes.  It’s easy to say that everything around you is horrible; it’s easy to sulk in your misery when you’ve convinced yourself that it’s not up to you; and it’s easy to put a barrier between you and the place you live in.  According to Dr. John Gottman, who did a lot of research on marriages, a marriage stands very little chance of surviving if these attitudes are present (for more information get Dr. Gottman’s book “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”).  It’s the same for your relationship with a foreign place.  There is no way you are going to be happy where you live, if you consistently engage in criticism, sulking, and stonewalling.  So stay clear of those!  It’s not always easy, but it’s important.  And, if you need help with it, share.

This is now available as an on-line course at the Global Coach Center Academy here.

Copyright © 2009 by the Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us!

7 Behavior Choices of a Happy Expat

Ever wondered what makes some expatriates happy when they live in another country?  And what makes others not so happy?  I’ve created “THE WINNING SEVEN™” or 7 Behavior Choices of a Happy Expat.

Here are the first three:

1.  I am intensely curious. Coming to another land is always interesting.  You get to learn about the culture, you get to experience a different way of life, you get to try new foods, and maybe even new sports and new hobbies.  A whole new world opens up for you.  How do you want to be around this new world?  Take a metaphor of a toddler, for example.  When children are young there is so much newness around them that all they want to do is explore.  A toddler’s curiosity is intense — everything is interesting and they have no preconceived ideas as to how things should be.  A happy expat is kind of like that.  A happy expat sees the new place through the lens of a toddler.  Everything becomes a new “toy”, a new “game” to learn and enjoy.

2.  I accept others as they come, I don’t judge, and I don’t try to change people to my liking. This new place you’ve ended up in has been in existence long before your plane deposited you there.  People here are used to being and doing things their way.  No matter how much it may bother you and no matter how much you disagree, a judgmental attitude will get you nowhere.  Accepting that things run the way they do is your key to happiness.  Remember you don’t own the absolute truth of how to be.  There are many different truths and realities out there.  You see your truth through your emotions and others see their truths through their emotions.  We all have different emotions and we are all different.  Accepting others as they are will contribute to your happiness.

3.  I look at everything as an amazing learning experience. Someone once said that “life is always offering us new beginnings, it’s up to us whether to take them or not.”  I don’t remember who said it but it’s an empowering way to look at what’s available to us at every moment of every day.  And especially to those of us who get this incredible opportunity to not only travel but also live in different places.  Imagine for a moment what you would have missed if you never moved.  What things would you have never seen and what things would you have never experienced?  And now imagine what you have seen and experienced as a result of every move.  How many more new things are out there for you?  Even those times when nothing seems to be going your way, what is your gift there?

The next four are coming up in the next blog!

Copyright © Global Coach Center.  If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us!