Tag Archives: Success

A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: N is for NEGOTIATION

When I say negotiation I don’t mean the one that has to do with business deals or peace accords.  Neither am I using the word to indicate anything that has to do with dispute resolution.  Instead, I am using the word to explain the delicate process of negotiating the change – and a journey of making lots of very new and, sometimes, difficult choices.

When you arrive to another country and emerge yourself into another culture, you begin to notice that certain things are done differently.  People might be routinely late to appointments whereas you are used to always being on time.  People may drop by your office unexpectedly whereas you are used to scheduling these impromptu meetings.  People may expect you to spell their responsibilities out for them – when you are expecting a healthy dose of initiative.

All these changes may throw you for a loop – and worse, they may really wreck havoc in how you perceive yourself and your ability to succeed in the new environment.  After all, if you are constantly frustrated and if you are struggling to understand why things are not working the way they should, you’ll find yourself arguing with your saboteur a lot longer than you ever want to.

And that’s where negotiating across cultures comes in.  This negotiation process is actually very simple and consists of 5 steps:

(1) Determine which cultural variable is responsible for the behavior that drives you crazy

(2) Identify where you are for this cultural variable on a cultural continuum

(3) Identify where most of your host country nationals are

(4) Determine if you have a large gap – and, if you do, (a) are you willing to change your behavior or (b) will you prefer for people around you to adjust to your habits (this depends on the value structure and if the variable in question is the reflection of your values/identity or habits/behaviors)

(5) Create an action plan.

This 5-step process comes from a module we developed for cross-cultural training with a coach-approach for our on-line cross-cultural courses.

What do you think?

And what other N’s are out there?

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

And remember to check out our on-line courses on Culture Shock, Expat Know-How and on Cross-Cultural Training at the Global Coach Center Academy!

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™: L is for LISTENING and LANGUAGE

Ernest Hemingway once said: “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”  And unfortunately he was (and he is still) right – most people don’t listen.  They hear but they don’t really listen.  Usually this is what happens when someone is telling us a story: we engage in our own internal listening.  We either remember that something similar has happened to us and we begin constructing an answer in our heads about our own story; or we find ourselves bored and thinking of something else; or we remember about something we need to do and begin to worry about it; or… etc etc etc.  We are never really 100% there – focused on the words and the energy of what’s being spoken.

Listening fully is essential to understanding and establishing connections with people.  And understanding and establishing connections with people are essential to creating a successful and fun experience as an expatriate.  Next time you are engaged in a conversation, try this exercise: put your entire attention at another person and every time you notice your thoughts going elsewhere, bring them back.  What do you hear?  What do you observe?  And what do you hear between the lines?

Listening fully also means listening to what’s not being said in words.  It’s listening to what’s important to that person, to what makes them tick, to what upsets them.  If you make an effort and really listen to someone next time, you’ll be surprised to find out how much you can actually learn about that person.

Knowing the language goes hand in hand with knowing how to listen. Each language brings with it a certain way of interacting – and, again, as you listen, you’ll be learning these ways and, in addition to connecting with a person, you’ll also be connecting with their language.

What are your thoughts on this?

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

And remember to check out our on-line courses on Culture Shock, Expat Know-How and on Cross-Cultural Training at the Global Coach Center Academy!

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™: K is for KINDNESS

Acts of kindness are something that we probably engage in on a daily basis.  We are used to being kind to our family members, our friends, strangers in need, stray animals, the environment, etc, etc etc.  Being kind towards others gives us a good feeling.  Yet how often do we extend these acts of kindness towards ourselves?

I decided to dedicate the letter K in this A to Z of Successful Expatriation Series to kindness to yourself precisely because very often we don’t know how to be kind to our own, sometimes fragile, selves.  Especially as expats – when we go through more change and learning every time we move than most people do in their lifetimes – we tend to push ourselves really hard.  We often expect to be fast and perfect in learning the culture and the language; in adjusting and bringing normalcy to our families in a completely different environment; in garnering that feeling of belonging; in excelling at work; in finding work; in creating relationships and friendships, in… this list can go on and on.  And when we find ourselves to be less than perfect and less than fast (incidentally our saboteurs never let us think we are good enough), we embark on a journey of self-criticism, self-pity, and declining self-esteem.

When that happens, take a step back and think: Am I being kind to myself?  What would be different now if I decided to swap criticism for kindness?  How would that feel?

Being kind to yourself doesn’t mean giving up on whatever you’ve set your heart to do and be.  It just means giving yourself some space, a supportive shoulder, and a lot of positive energy to continue your journey.

What have been your acts of kindness to yourself recently?

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

And remember to check out our on-line courses on Culture Shock, Expat Know-How and on Cross-Cultural Training at the Global Coach Center Academy!

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™: G is for GRATITUDE

Simply put gratitude is just another perspective on life.  Like different color lenses allow us to see the world in different ways, the perspectives we hold at any point of time influence our views and feelings.  Dr. Wayne Dyer once said “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.”

Gratitude is the perspective that makes everything immediately better.  Think about it: let’s say you lost your job or your business isn’t going as well as you had hoped or someone in your family is sick or… the list can go on and on.  You can choose to bask in your sadness/frustration/anger/etc or you can turn around and think about what’s right with your life at that moment.  What’s going well for you?  What can you be grateful for?

You’d be amazed at how quickly the feelings of despair get replaced with feelings of hope when you employ gratitude.   And that’s why I think GRATITUDE takes the letter G in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™.

What are you grateful for now?

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

And remember to check out our on-line courses on Culture Shock, Expat Know-How and on Cross-Cultural Training at the Global Coach Center Academy!

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™: D is for DISCOVERY

Traveling always brings about discovery and for many of us one of the reasons we become expats is to discover something new.  We discover new cultures; new foods; new ways of dressing; new friendships; and new fun things to do.  The whole expatriate experience is about discovering – and while there are tons of things to discover around us, I want to focus on discoveries that we make within us.

Moving to another place creates change in our lives and, as that change challenges us, we get to discover how we are around that change.  We get to discover and learn things about ourselves we may have never known.  And with it we may even discover new callings in life – a new career, a new line of education, a new business opportunity.

So the D in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ isn’t only about discovering the world outside of ourselves – but it’s also about discovering and exploring our internal world.  Seeing for the first time qualities we’ve had all along, but never paid attention to is also a discovery.  Kind of like the discovery of things you’ve forgotten you had… those of you, who move frequently and take most of your household with you, will relate as you remember the giddy feeling of unpacking and seeing things you’ve forgotten about because they spent a few months in transit.

What have been your discoveries – external and internal?  And what other D’s are out there?

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™: C is for CONNECTION

The World Cup 2010 is everywhere (even here in the US where the vast majority of people doesn’t care) and so in honor of that event (a “C” in the “Cup”) and the connections it creates between people, I thought it’d be appropriate to say that C is for CONNECTION.

Connections you create when you live abroad make a huge difference in how happy and successful you are as an expat.  These connections can come from anywhere and can be with anyone and even anything.  Here is my list of who and what you can connect with:

  • Colleagues, clients and partners through networking for your work
  • New friends in the expatriate community
  • New friends in the local community
  • The culture itself (why not? Think of the culture as a breathing and living thing and you’ll create those connections in no time)

How do you create connections?  You look for places where you have something in common, something that can create a bridge between you and that other person or between you and the new culture.

What else can you connect with?  And what other “C” are out there?

PS:  Writing this blog post as I am watching another great World Cup match…

People who read this post also enjoyed:

A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: B is for BEGINNING

A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: A is for ATTENTION

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™: A is for ATTENTION

How many kisses make a greeting? Who gets to sit and who gets to stand in public transport? What is a proper way to thank someone?

Sure, you can find answers to these and other questions through reading about a country and taking a cross-cultural training.  But you can also find all this and more through simply paying ATTENTION to what’s happening around you.

We start our A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ with a basic tip that can be useful anywhere, anytime.   You don’t even have to be an expat to benefit from it.  Paying ATTENTION to what happens around you, observing it, and learning from it is an excellent way to get information about the culture you are living in.

What have you learned in the past by simply paying attention?

And what can you learn this week?

Any other “A’s” you can suggest?

People who read this post also enjoyed:

Cross-Cultural Misunderstandings… Got One?

Three Reasons to Become an Expatriate

Different Colors of Money

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.

If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with an active link)!

Lack of the familiar — an opportunity to create?

Recently, during a celebration at an Israeli consulate in Miami, I heard an interesting quote by Golda Meir, one of the most known Israeli prime ministers.  “Moses dragged us for 40 years through the desert to bring us to the one place in the Middle East where there was no oil,” she said once.  The speaker used the quote to continue his thought on how the Israelis had to be very creative to sustain their young country and how now they have one of the most advanced IT and medical industries in the world.  No oil?  No problem.  Let’s see what we can create out of the “lack of oil”.

This speech reminded me of my childhood.  When I grew up very few things were readily available and so whenever we needed something, we resorted to creating it ourselves.  Take that creativity and multiply it by the thousands and thousands of people and you get lots of inventions!

These two examples got me thinking about the experience of expatriation.  As expats we are constantly “giving up” things that are familiar and things that — in the past — have given us resources to sustain ourselves.  As we move, each and every time, we lose access to what got is where we were.  And even though it’s not easy, we pick up the pieces and move on to create something out of the lack of what we just left behind.  So with every expat move, we prove the resilience and the creativity of the human spirit.  We also prove that lacking something is the best way to create something new.

What do you think?  And what have you created in your life out of “lack”?

People who read this post also enjoyed:

Culture Shock Revisited or Is It Really All About Going Through the Stages

3 Reasons to Become an Expatriate

7 Habits of a Happy Expat

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

2 ways to reduce overwhelm in expatriation

When I start coaching a client, one of the first things that they bring to the coaching relationship is the issue of being completely and utterly overwhelmed with everything.  In many cases the feeling of overwhelm hangs around like really thick fog and doesn’t allow people to move in either direction in an empowered way.  Sometimes the fog is so dense that moving anywhere becomes a huge undertaking.  In these cases a lot of people prefer to stay put — which in turns creates frustration, stress, and feelings of guilt.

Overwhelm is unfortunately very common in today’s society, the society that places so much demand on our time.   And overwhelm is even more common in families of expatriates, because they — on top of everything else — have to deal with additional issues.  Issues of moving and relocation, of getting used to the unfamiliar and missing the familiar, of learning the language and learning a new life, of running a business and managing people in another culture …the list can go on and on.  So what can an expatriate do to reduce overwhelm and to lift the fog around them?

I usually suggest two ways to deal with overwhelm:

(1) Take small steps.  Just like when you are surrounded by fog and you are better off moving in small steps, getting rid of the overwhelm depends on your ability to proceed slowly celebrating each milestone as you complete them.  What does it mean?  Take a piece of paper and write out all your goals for the next 3 months.  Don’t worry about how small or large those goals are — juts write them all down.  Then look at the list.  Find the smallest of them all and start with that goal.  Small goals are easiest to reach and they give us the satisfaction of having completed something — and along with that satisfaction comes empowerment and energy to continue on.  Which means you are no longer stuck in the fog unable to move — and that you are making a steady progress and defeating your overwhelm.

(2) Eliminate tolerations.  We all carry with us things that we tolerate.  We either tolerate them because of habit or we tolerate them because we don’t feel we can do anything about it, or we tolerate them for many other reasons.  Tolerating things increases feelings of overwhelm.  So, take another piece of paper and list all your tolerations.  Look at the list and choose the one that seems the easiest to get rid of.  Decide how you are going to get rid of it and commit to that plan of action.  Once you eliminated that toleration, celebrate it and move on to the next one.  By eliminating your tolerations you empower yourself with a new-found energy that fills the void left behind by the toleration.

What other ways are there to reduce overwhelm when living and/or working abroad?

People who read this post also enjoyed:

7 Habits of a Happy Expat

What do expats need to stay?

Success: what does culture have to do with it?

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

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!