Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Bean

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Think impact not purpose – the idea of a purpose brings up some big, tough questions. In this episode, Sundae is here to help you do the work to discover more purpose and meaning in your life. Want to make the most of your life abroad? Sign up now. The post 32: 5 Tips for Finding Your Purpose appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
To live abroad without regret, you have to love the crap out of your people. Solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist Sundae Schneider-Bean shares personal stories to explain how she learned to live abroad without regret. Want to make the most of your life abroad? Sign up now. The post Living Abroad Without Regret appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
If you are moving abroad for your partner, do not expect it to be easy. Solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist Sundae Schneider-Bean walks you through the life of an expat in Expat Happy Hour. Want to make the most of your life abroad? Sign up now. The post The Expat Journey appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
It is time to stop cheating yourself! You have a right to be happy and it is OK to want more out of your life. In this episode of Expat Happy Hour, solution- oriented coach and intercultural strategist Sundae Schneider-Bean talks you through what to do when you are dissatisfied. Want to make the most of your life abroad? Sign up now. The post Stop Cheating Yourself appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
How often do you celebrate? In this episode of Expat Happy Hour, solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist Sundae Schneider-Bean explains why celebrating both big and small achievements will help you succeed even further. She shares her experiences abroad after her life took a dramatic shift and how celebrating the mundane as “acts of heroism” can help you gain a more realistic view of your achievements. Want to make the most of your life abroad? Sign up now. The post Celebrate You appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
In this episode of Expat Happy Hour, solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist Sundae Schneider-Bean debunks three common misconceptions about adapting to life abroad, in addition to giving tips on how to better adapt.   Want to make the most of your life abroad? Sign up now. The post Stop Believing in These 3 Myths of Adaptation appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
If you are hungry for a sense of purpose listen up! (And always remember you are not alone. You are not alone). In this episode of Expat Happy Hour, Sundae discusses the importance and benefits of finding a sense of purpose in life and gives tips on how to start finding that purpose. Want to make the most of your life abroad? Sign up now. The post 31: Lack of Purpose is Life Threatening appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
I’ve called South Africa home for 3 years. My life’s journey has pulled me all over the world, and I can confidently say, you’ll see the most breathtaking sunsets right here while on safari. One of the many perks of living in South Africa is the ability to go on safari on a whim. It’s where I unplug and rejuvenate with an uninterrupted reconnection with nature and my family. And although safari’s a privilege I’ve exercised several times, the “awe” factor never depreciates. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve discussed burnout, boreout, and bucket list marathoning. This episode, I welcome Chantal Young from safari.com, as we chat about South Africa, the wellness benefits of traveling with more purpose, and all-things-safari (of course). As we approach the busy holiday season ahead, remember that resilience relies on rejuvenation. Think outside the box and find your bliss exploring off the beaten path. What You’ll Learn in this Episode: South Africa’s hidden gems The truth behind the “dangers” you read about in tabloids Absorbing culture, respecting locals, and leaving nature undisturbed A secret test that any reputable safari tour should pass The gift of bad Wi-Fi Listen to the Full Episode: Featured on the Show: We’re not waiting around for January 1st to make sure 2020 is our best year yet. Expat Coaching Coalition is starting NOW, so we can get better while everyone else is getting ready. This is your LAST CALL, so join us right here. Expat Coach Coalition Safari.com Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose We’re delighted by our recent nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts! Subscribe: iTunes | Android Full Episode Transcript: Download Transcript Hello, it is 8 am in New York, 2 am in Johannesburg and 7 pm in Bangkok.  Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I’m a solution oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition Burnout, boreout, resilience or endurance, these are the topics we’ve been talking about on Expat Happy Hour. Why? because many of the listeners here are either on the brink of burnout or boreout and are looking for more ways to rejuvenate.  So this episode of Expat Happy Hour is a bit special, we are going to zoom in on one great way that you can rejuvenate. For many of you who are listening, it’s going to be something that is once in a lifetime, maybe even on your bucket list. And if you’re someone like me who lives in Southern Africa, it might be a common topic, but today I want to give it a new twist. In the last episode we talked about bucket lists and limits with Nicole Whiting, how you can use a physical challenge like a marathon to stretch yourself in new ways. There are some of us who are constantly pushing our limits, so busy with our work life in our family life just want to decompress and check out for a moment. And I can’t think of a better way than to do what is on many people’s bucket list, is go on safari.  So talking about safaris in South Africa, I’m going to be really transparent. When I tell my kids were going safari they like, “Oh, no another safari.” Because we have to get up really early in the morning, but as soon as we get there, they are completely enthralled and forget about tech.  So this is why I’m bringing up an idea of the bucket list safari to my listeners because one, it is either a bucket list item you’ve had for your life or it’s something you have access to and you might not be taking full advantage of it and I might even include myself in that category. On the topic of bucket lists, this is just a reminder, if testing your limits in your business and serving more people has been on your bucket list do not miss out on applying to Expat Coach Coalition because the program begins very soon and I want you there. Go ahead and check out the show notes if you are a professional serving expats and you want to do more in your business. But let’s get back to the safari as a bucket list. I can tell you when I think about safaris in South Africa I do think of the animals, but some of the most beautiful things that I recall are the sun sets and the moon. Things that leave an impression your lifetime and no photo can capture it justice  So that’s what we’re going to talk about today, how do we step out of our crazy lives and say yes to an experience which breaks us away from tech, brings us away from the hustle bustle and helps us settle in and reconnect with our family in new ways. I know people who love planning trips and they use an opportunity to plan a getaway as a way to connect with their partner and they spend hours in the evenings pouring over lodges and potential places to go, dreaming into it and connecting in the process. But in my home we’re both so busy the last thing we want to do is spend hours looking for a hotel or location and we just want to rely on an expert.  So I have invited someone in my backyard to join us today because they do this and just a caveat. One of the organizations that joining us today is called safari.com and this podcast is not sponsored by them, I’m not making any money from them, I’ve simply invited them because they’re a neighbor here in South Africa and they have served over 200,000 visitors to experience memories all over Southern Africa. And I love that they’re helping connect to people with their bucket list to an actual location that they’re going to enjoy and meets their desires. So safari.com has agreed to join me on Expat Happy Hour today. Really happy to have an Africa safari expert Chantal Young. Chantal is going to spend some time with us helping us understand the idea of what are some hidden gems in South Africa, even for the most seasoned expats. What you should do before during and after a safari to make the make the most of it and she offers some interesting insights that I wasn’t expecting about some cultural practices that you might want to think about so you can be a respectful tourist.  So let’s welcome Chantal to Expat Happy Hour. Sundae: So it is my huge pleasure to have Chantal Young as the African safari expert from Safari.com here with us today, welcome Chantal to Expat Happy Hour. Chantal: Thank you so much Sundae.  Sundae: I’m so happy to have you here where actually, you know in a global standard we are neighbors because I’m in Pretoria and you’re in Cape Town.  Chantal: Fantastic, that is really great.  Sundae: So you are an African safari expert. Before we dive into some of the questions that our audience might have I want to hear from you, how did you get to do what you do?  Chantal: I think it was, I just fell in love with Africa you know, even though I’m a South African and I’ve been born and bred in Cape Town. I think the more and more I kind of participated in safari the more I fell in love with it. Because it’s so unique and so different and it’s just a different outlook to to being a South African, a different appreciation was born. And I think just from all the years I’ve been in travel, that has kind of been my passion and love and I think I’ve just kind of wanted to know more and just felt so intrigued. And that’s why I think I’ve just remain where I am for now because of my love and passion for the product and because it’s so diverse, so unique and there are no two safari lodges that offer the same experience. So it’s kind of, it’s quite a growing, intriguing industry to be in and that’s basically where and why I’m in it at the moment. Sundae: And what a time to be a South African after winning the Rugby World Cup, it’s such a great time.  Chantal: It’s really exciting.  Sundae: I’ve appreciated, after being here for three years, you know looking at what does it mean to be South African, what are South Africans proud of and where do they sort of tap into their identity. And the nature is definitely one aspect I’ve seen people unify besides rugby, I’ve seen that unify.  So here’s the thing, the people that are listening are either dreaming  about a safari as one of their bucket lists, you know how everyone has a bucket list. And there might be some people that have zero clue, they’ve never been on the continent, this is just a dream, they don’t know if it’s tangible.  Then there’s another group of people that are seasoned expats, they’ve been on the continent for years and might have the assumption that they kind of have already seen all there is to see. So I would love to just explore with you, what do you think are some bucket list ideas for Southern Africa that people just shouldn’t miss?  Chantal: Okay, so I would like to start with South Africa in that regard because South Africa is a country with nine provinces, so it is massive, it’s vast. And generally what happens is that the consensus around South Africa is that there are certain locations that need to be combined in order to get the best value out of your experience. But there’s so much more to that and you know, there’s often where clients aren’t aware that there’s a West Coast or there’s a Kalahari or the intriguing beautiful part which to me to me is KwaZulu Natal, the northern side of KwaZulu Natal.  So there’s all these beautiful little gems, hidden gems in South Africa. And I think for South Africa mainly it would be for people that are willing to self-drive. So a lot of the times when guests visit here, it would be either a guided tour, although we just stay in one location and do day tours, whereas if guests are open to self-driving they’ll be so surprised at how beautiful South Africa actually is from a cultural and authentic point of view.  Sundae: So I’m going to pop in there for a second, for people who don’t understand what you’re what you mean by self-drives. So a couple options when you’re thinking about South Africa, people might fly in to Joburg and then fly to an area where everything is taken care of for you.  And what I have I discovered which is really fun because some of our South African friends, this idea of self-drive where you are on your own and it really does tap in to this sort of rugged experience. And I’ve been on beaches with no one around. We had to lower the air on our tires so we can actually go in the sand. Like there’s this, I want to say rugged aspect to South Africa that I’ve really appreciated discovering through my South African friends. That if you just sort of book what’s easy and don’t think about it you might miss out on. But let me just be really honest here, people who don’t know South Africa might be afraid to do that because they, you know, if you Google South Africa things come up like crime and then they feel like they have to do everything with a guide. Tell us more about your opinion on that.  Chantal: So first of all, one shouldn’t be too skeptical when reading the tabloids, I think there’s a lot of unnecessary hype that’s created around South Africa. In my many years of travel and I’m talking just over a decade, I’ve never had clients experience any issues when self-driving. I myself have embarked on many a journey throughout South Africa by self-drive and have never really encountered any issues.  What happens with South Africa is there are a number of national roads which are very well monitored and maintained by government and these roads lead to all those beautiful hidden gems like your West Coast where you would find the Cederberg, beautiful. And then, you know going into the Eastern Cape where you would find those beautiful untamed beaches, and these are all reached by national road. So where safety is concerned that really shouldn’t deter guests. In fact it can hinder you if you even become too skeptical because you really are missing out on some beautiful hidden gems South Africa has to offer. So I would say self drive is quite safe provided you remain on those national roads, they are times where you would need to go off-road but these roads again are also well monitored. So I think it’s just kind of taking in those locations which are on the map, so obviously not delving into areas which are unknown to anyone. So very important, speak to a tour guide, speak to your operator, communicate rather than just read and believe what you see because that can hinder an experience because most of South Africa is, the beauty lies within those hidden gems and there you really get to delve into the authentic side of South Africa. So it’s really just making sure the vehicle is all good, and this is what the car hire companies do, they ensure that the vehicles are all up to standard, it’s all roadworthy. Provided you have a good GPS or a good map with you, you’d be absolutely fine.  Sundae: So what I love about the sort of more rugged approach is what it offers is such a break from people’s chaotic everyday lives. That when I’ve been on safari or we’ve been on a drive somewhere with our car looking at the landscape it just gives you sort of a tech-free escape to  reconnect. And what I’ve learned about South Africa since living here is just how shockingly different the landscape is from Cape Town versus Pretoria versus Durban versus Joburg and Limpopo, I mean the landscape is just incredible how it changes and that makes it exciting when you’re driving.  What do you think people need to know before they go and please feel free to also include some of the more outlandish questions people have asked you that have maybe surprised you. So what do you think people need to know before they go?  Chantal: Okay, so if we’re looking at a safari for example, so that is one of the main reasons we have visitors coming to South Africa is safari. So let’s see if we can just focus on how you can prepare for that.  Ensure that you read, like I said earlier one safari can differ to the next. So it also depends on what is it that intrigues you about visiting South Africa? What has stood out for you that you would like to include in your itinerary? So I think just narrowing it down helps you to kind of tick off the bucket list. And just making sure that you are aware of certain reserves that are malaria zones, making sure that you’re reading about seasonality because that does impact a safari. Sundae: People don’t realize it gets cold here. Chantal: This is the thing, yes. Sundae: I’ve been frozen on safari, because I didn’t bring my rain jacket, for example.  Chantal: Yes, so exactly that, because the activities are taking place at dusk and dawn and of course during winter, it’s actually better to come on safari in winter. So yes if you’re not prepared, if you’re not educated it can be quite a shock to the system.  So it’s just making sure you read, you know some YouTube clips also help. And just making sure that you’re aware of the gear that you’ve got to pack. Sundae: I’ve learned the hard way, teeth chattering in the back of a safari with hot chocolate because we didn’t anticipate just how cold it would get at night and I think that the weather was rare that week, it happened to get cold. So then there’s the other thing and people coming from Northern Hemisphere might not automatically remember that the seasons are reversed.  Chantal: Exactly right. Sundae: So expect huge heat at Christmas and cold in June and July isn’t something everybody’s already thinking. So before you go get informed about some of the details, what you need to know. I like that you brought up malaria, like for example in Kruger Park, what are the malaria seasons, what are the best malaria prophylaxis you want to take if it’s high season so that you can go at ease.  What about once you’re there?  Chantal: So once you are there, I must just stress that once you are on safari you realize how far away from the first world you actually are. Once you land in in Johannesburg and you are venturing into safari, either by a light aircraft or transfer, it’s important to know that safari lodges are in incredibly remote locations. So first of all, there’s going to be less Wi-Fi, there’s going to be less influence with technology.  So you are completely detached from reality once you are there. And my biggest thing is just go with it, just enjoy the experience of just slowing down and taking in every step of it, because it is quite a shock to the system to realize how slow it starts becoming because you are completely emerged in nature. And you and those that are around you, the staff, even the guests, they’re all kind of on the same wavelength of just switching off and enjoying the surroundings and suddenly you start realizing the importance of just enjoying the birds and enjoying elephants walking past the room and you kind of start slowing down.  So once you are there it’s really just taking it all in, Sundae. There isn’t really much that you would want to do because your senses start becoming quite aroused by the experience. So once you are there it’s all about just taking photos, taking a video now and again, engaging with the people, South African culture, just learning a little bit about it. The guides absolutely love sharing stories and facts and little fables, so engaging with South Africans is a very easy thing to do and because that comes along with the whole experience, you really do feel that you become more and more enriched as the Safari goes along. So I think the biggest thing is just switch off, enjoy and just absorb everything that happens around you because it’s going to be it’s quite an extreme difference shutting off from first world and coming into into the bush. Sundae: I mean first of all for those of you who are hearing, there’s no Wi-fi, catch your breath, you can sometimes get Wi-Fi and I mean I am so connected to the internet, you can and your lodge do have some Wi-Fi. But when you’re on Safari, you do an Instagram feed right?  Chantal: Absolutely.  Sundae: I think one thing I would add, I mean we’ve we’ve done so many safaris my kids kind of get sick of it, they’re like, “Oh God another Safari.” But what I would suggest is not to get so attached to finding the big five, sometimes people are like “We must see the big five.” And they can get really attached to that idea and then feel disappointed if they don’t tick off all five. I have to tell you some of my greatest memories on the safaris that we’ve been on have been the moon and sunsets. It has nothing to do with the animals, it’s just been you know out in the bushveld and watching the sun go down has been breathtaking.  Chantal: Exactly right.  Sundae: We’ve also seen lions mate, which was pretty special, I felt kind of like a voyeur but it was pretty special to see something like that. So that is fantastic.  So get prepared before you go, once you’re there be present, allow yourself to shut off. And what about after? Anything that you could recommend people should do after they’ve had this epic safari experience? Chantal: Okay, so obviously after the experience you’re going to feel the sense of lethargy  were you will just want to keep things at a bit of a slower pace. It’s actually surprising to see how much a person slows down after safari. So don’t rush into getting back into reality, kind of mull over the experience, look at the photographs, get an electronic photo album, kind of keep it alive during conversation, share it, share the conversation with friends and speak with your children that you’ve experienced safari with. So kind of keep it alive for as long as possible, but you will also find that those memories stay with you for a lifetime and that is the impact of safari, is that you don’t really need to do much after because it does all of it on its own. There is a great sense of appreciation when you leave a safari, a great sense of appreciation for the nature, for the fauna, the flora, just the little things that kind of brings you back to your roots.  So afterwards I would say just enjoy where you’ve been and I think speaking about it keeps it alive for as long as possible. And of course planning your next safari is also great, you know trying to get family and friends along with you to go and just experience where you’ve come from and that also kind of keeps it alive and exciting. And of course, there’s like I said, there’s no two safaris that are the same, so you could look at “What else can I do if I have to do this again? What else can I incorporate?” And of course, there’s so much that you can do to keep it varied. So there’s a lot that one can do afterwards to try and keep that alive within you, but I would say just go with it because it’s going to take your mind into places where you’ve never been.  Sundae: And I’ve also noticed with the different lodges that we’ve gone to. I’ve learned what’s really important to me, you know, we went to a really remote lodge and had a very individualized experience and then we’ve also been to more mass lodges and for me and what I was looking for it was too many people at one time so it took away from from what I was really going for. So I think it’s important to know what you’re looking for.  And that brings me to something that I feel like it’s important on everybody’s mind. There’s two things that a lot of travelers have on their mind is that; One how do we be culturally appropriate when we’re interacting in another context? What are some things that people should know, some of the respectful, not only to the local people that they’re interacting with but also ecologically with animals. So what are some things we need to watch out for?  Chantal: So I would say the first thing is to get to know the culture. So just educate yourself on just the cultures around where you visiting because they do differ from South Africa into Southern Africa, also differ from South Africa to Namibia and maybe differ into to Botswana and so forth. So I would say just being aware of just the economic climate. A lot of guests they want to know a lot, they come in and know about the politics and the diversity, the inequality that happens. And yes, we are all quite familiar with that, but for guests that come here, they just need to be aware that there can be a sensitive topic for some, even the staff at the lodges.  So I would say try and keep the safari to safari. There will be some that will want to share a little bit more, but I would just say tread lightly where that’s concerned. And of course just you know, were animals are concerned, taking photographs of local people. You’ve got to respect privacy when you are there. You’re obviously going to get informed of how to behave on safari by your guide, so just sticking within that, so not standing up in the vehicle and not feeding animals or picking the plants. So as little impact as possible is I think the biggest thing, so environmentally and culturally one has to just be sensitive around those issues. Sundae: That’s interesting, I think you can also probably use that as a measuring stick when you’re choosing the lodge that you want to go, how much do they talk about the footprint that they make and how they treat the animals. I know there’s some controversy around tours which let you pet animals, baby lions, etc. So it’s interesting if you want to let your priorities lead as you choose your tour.  I have a question, when I got to know Safari.com, I was impressed with the wide variety of experiences they offer and is it true that people can call you and basically do some of the research for them and then help you book their itinerary?  Chantal: Oh, yes absolutely, that’s exactly what we are used for.  Sundae: What have we been doing this whole time? I think how much time, because it’s so overwhelming when you don’t know the area or you don’t have a lot of time. I was like “Why have I not been calling you guys this whole time.” And what I do know, is that you specialize for people who are outside of Africa, so that people who have never been here before, to give that sense of security and holding their hand and leading them through to find the right itinerary for them.  Chantal: Yes, so you know, there’s a lot of sort of consensus at the moment where guests feel like they want to be independent around planning their safari. They want to obviously feel that they are empowered to do that. And that can sometimes hinder the experience because, you know if for us for example, we don’t charge for that service. So the advice and the tips we give you and just the guidance and support. There’s nothing that we charge additional besides just being with you in it and because the industry pays us the isn’t any further cost onto that service that we deliver. And of course, we do this all day every day, so we  are continuously updated with the partners that we use and we know exactly which lodge to match with which client. So as long as the client is open to sharing what they envision, we can basically create the perfect safari itinerary for them.  Sundae: I love that because it’s like, you’re not going to send them somewhere they’re not going to be happy because that would be bad business for you guys, I love that you make that match.  So now I’m going to ask you a little harder question because you know, we’ve been talking about general safari. For those who haven’t gone on safari I think all this information is really useful, but there are some some more hardened South African expats who are listening who have been to all the major places. They have traveled around, they’ve looked around.  I’m going to just challenge you for a second. What do you think those who already have quite seen a lot in Southern Africa or in South Africa, what do you think they need to see before they move on to their next destination that they might not have thought about yet?  Chantal: Okay, so there’s obviously the lesser known locations in Southern Africa, for example, if you are going into Botswana, there’s Hwange for example, that’s the lesser known reserve to visit. Where you would, for example get eighty thousand elephants passing through it at one time.  There’s also Mana Pools in Botswana, which is really stunning where you would also focus more on walking safaris and watching the leopards take a kill up a tree and where you would be able to see a sunset over Baobab trees.  So there are some beautiful untouched locations that aren’t really sold as commonly because of the unfamiliarity of it all. And of course there are those who are focused on conservation and education in the villages that are nearby. So for example this ABC African Bush Camps, to focus on schooling for the less fortunate, you know the environment.  So there’s quite a few that are tapping into the conservation side of travel and that also becomes purposeful travel. So it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to go there and just work, but it kind of gives travel a purpose and safari a purpose.  So there’s everything for everyone, I believe that you could probably continue visiting these locations and they’ll forever be discovering new ways and efforts in conservation. So that’s also quite special, you could go to KwaZulu Natal, there’s Phinda Game Reserve who focus on Pangolin conservation.  Sundae: Really? My son is 7 and loves Pangolins, I mean, I don’t even know what a Pangolin was and he learned about it Wild Kratts. Chantal: I mean how incredible is that? This is something that’s quite new, but The African Pangolin Working Group work with “& Beyond” at Phinda and they basically focus on the conservation of Pangolin. So there’s so many unique ways on how to preserve the beauty of Africa and guests can now start joining in these initiatives. Whether it be with volunteering, whether it be trying to go into a school to help with with stationary for a school where the children have nothing. So just taking the plight of being part of change, I think that all that is something that if somebody keeps it at the back of their mind, again it becomes quite an enriched way to travel and to visit these countries. And there’s a lot of these safari lodges that employee the local villagers, the people from local villages, where they can help kind of uplift things around the areas. It’s just kind of engaging and seeing what is it that, where would they like to invest their time their time in and kind of just tap into that and they’ll be surprised how many initiatives there are out there.  Sundae: I love that you mentioned that travel with more purpose and some of the more off the beaten path options. I know Baobab trees are one of my favorite trees, I found Baobab in West Africa when we were in Burkina Faso, I fell in love with them. And there’s a lodge that we go to here in South Africa that what has one really big Baobab tree and it just feels so sacred.  I just can’t explain, there’s something about a Baobab that feels sacred and it’s worth seeing when you are on the continent. This idea of going to a Pangolin Reserve, I just think that’s fantastic and that now I can get for my son for a birthday present. And then really challenging yourself to go to other areas and have different experiences. I know for myself I get so busy and I know this sounds super out of context, but it’s like, because we go on safari a lot when our guests come, there are times I’m like, “Oh another safari.” Because we invest in them and we’ve seen the antelope, we’ve seen the elephants, we’ve seen the whatever. And every time I get there, I’m like, “I’m so glad I came.” I can’t explain it.  Chantal: Exactly it, because you know Botswana for example is so vast and just the expanse is just so incredible, where you would have two lodges per/ 65,000 hectares. Whereas in South Africa, you’ll have 45 lodges in the same amount of space. So it’s the terrain, it’s this lush Savannah, it’s the sunsets, it’s just the stars and it’s just tapping into those beautiful. gems that you wouldn’t necessarily have to pay for you just have to be open to it.  Sundae: Yeah, and I guess it’s I mean, I guess I’m speaking a little bit to the people who are in the region and are getting a little complacent about where to go and what to do. And I’ve been there, it’s like, “Oh, I’m so busy in everyday life, is it really worth the effort?” And that’s why I’m like, one of my friends is South African and she’s been so kind to help us book our tours and understand where to go and I didn’t realise there was actually a company that will help you do that.  So it’s wonderful, and thank you so much for joining us. I realized for so many people we’re talking about bucket lists, last week we talked about running a marathon as a bucket list with Nicole Whiting, some things that people set as a goal to do for their life to run that, to run that marathon. And I thought the safari would be a great second focus on bucket list, some people want to go on safari for a lifetime bucket list. Others are in Southern Africa and are running out of things on their bucket list to do because they think they’ve seen it all and you can go deeper and look further. Chantal: Yes absolutely, so just me being open to that and just communicate, you know, if they make contact with Safari.com you just have to communicate what you are looking for and we will basically tailor everything around you or whatever you have in mind so that you can tick off those bucket lists, because often you don’t know it’s about this bucket lists but as soon as it gets brought to your attention you get a bit of inspiration that comes to play.  Sundae: And one of my philosophies, and if you’ve been a listener of Expat Happy Hour for a long time, you’re going to know this, but how do you live abroad without regret? And you know, I was in Burkina Faso and we suddenly left, actually about 18 months earlier than planned. And there were one or two experiences I had on my bucket list in Burkina that I was never able to experience because of abrupt transition. And now, being in South Africa I’m thinking about what’s on my bucket list.  I don’t want to fly out at the end of our assignment and say, “Yeah, I wish I had gone to….” So this is also an invitation for those of you who are on the continent or living abroad and have an opportunity, a luxury of privilege to choose where you spend your time on holiday, to really think about “What is on my bucket list? What kind of experience do I want to offer my family?” And all of the things that we’ve talked about are really no alignment with reconnecting with nature and connecting with yourself in a different way when you’re out in nature as well as connecting with locals.  And in this high-tech environment that we live in, where we’re constantly connected and constantly on devices, I can’t think of a better place to go to disconnect to get reconnected with your family and yourself.  So thank you so much Chantel for joining us an Expat Happy Hour, if people want to know more, Safari.com is it really easy web address to remember.  So if you want to know more, of course, you can hop on over to Safari.com. But Chantal has also shared her direct email in the show notes.  I hope today’s episode has given you something to dream about. If a safari is not on your bucket list where do you want to go, where do you want to take a break from the tech, from the busyness, from the hustle and bustle of your life and reconnect with your friends and family. And only last week we talked about doing something really challenging and testing your limits, like a marathon with Nicole Whiting, this week we’re talking about something where you actually shut down and open up to nature in ways that you haven’t done in a long time. Maybe for you it’s something else, maybe it’s going to the ocean and watching the whales or maybe it’s going on a long walk in the forest with your family on a Saturday.  Whatever that is your resilience counts on taking time away for rejuvenation, your connection with your family counts on breaking out of the routine and connecting in fresh ways.  I hope this episode has inspired you to think of your own bucket list and how you’re going to make it happen.  And remember if running a successful business that serves expats is on your bucket list,  don’t miss out on Expat Coach Coalition.  This is Sundae Schneider Bean and you’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour, thank you for listening.  I’ll leave you with the quote from Annette White, “Stop dreaming about your bucket list and start living it.” Enjoy The Show? Don’t miss an episode, subscribe via iTunes or RSS. Leave us a review in iTunes (or here for Android). The post 149: Paradise Found with Chantal Young appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
When a lovepat decides to leave their life behind and start somewhere new, it’s because they believe their sacrifice serves the greater good of their spouse and family. Of course, it’s also under the premise that their forfeited happiness will eventually replenish itself in other ways.  No one expects to forgo self-fulfillment indefinitely. That’s never the deal. For so many of us, our identity is tied to our “professional self.” And if for whatever reason that no longer suits you or fits with your new normal, don’t surrender to living uninspired. Reinventing to reinvent. This week, it’s my pleasure to welcome Caroline to share how she took her humdrum life and turned it into an extraordinary one. Decorated with multiple university degrees and with decades of upper-level executive positions, Caroline reluctantly hit pause when her family moved to Brussels.  Typical of a high-achiever, Caroline became bored; everything in her life seemed grey and mundane. Most of all, Caroline was tired of lacking a kick-ass answer when people asked her what she did for a living. So, she got one. Now, Caroline’s the impressive conversation centerpiece at every party.  What You’ll Learn in this Episode: Opening new channels in your brain Cryptocurrency, seaweed, & the blue economy The mismatch between your head & your heart From housewife to retiring your husband The luxury of full-time motherhood Listen to the Full Episode   Featured on the Show: A teleport machine doesn’t exist. Caroline got from where she was (unhappy) to where she is now (happy) by consistently dedicating small blocks of time to transforming her situation. Are you ready to get clear on your self-fulfillment plan, shut out the distractions, and move forward in micro-goals? You deserve something positive, productive, and fun that’s just for you this summer. Focus Camp registration is on now, so sign up right here before all spots are gone. Here’s what one past Focus Camp attendee has to say: “If you want a push in the right direction or need to get on with something you have been avoiding for a while…Focus Camp is for you. The bite-size time frame guarantees finishing tasks each week.” Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC Sundae’s Facebook Group  – Expats on Purpose Expat Happy Hour – EP75: How You Introduce Yourself Says Everything Focus Camp – Join now   We’re delighted by our nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts! Subscribe: iTunes | Android Full Episode Transcript: Download Transcript Hello. It is 06:30 am in New York 12:30 pm in Johannesburg and 5:30 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-orientated coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations. I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.  Ordinary, by definition, is tied to standard. It’s synonymous with natural, normal, traditional, typical, and for some, there’s some safety in ordinary and for others, there may even be validation in being “normal.” But what if that feels confining, claustrophobic even? What if at the same time the non-traditional, the non-typical, the non-ordinary, feels daunting as well?    If this resonates with you, please know you were absolutely not alone. I have walked the journey with many of my clients as they’ve stepped out of their cages of ordinary and stepped into the wilderness of non-ordinary, and that journey isn’t quite as simple as you would think. And one of the things I’m really excited about is to share with you another person’s journey on how they came to living an unordinary life.   You might be in that tension right now, feeling bored by the traditional, the normal, or what other people say is typical, and wanting to break free, but you don’t know-how. I’ve got something actually in the works to help you do just that that might be perfect for you. So stay tuned to the end of this podcast and check out the show notes where you can learn more.   But to help me explore this question right now, and give you a behind-the-scenes. Look at how she navigated this journey. It is my heartfelt gratitude to welcome Caroline, a client of mine, who has walked this journey as a special guest on Expat Happy Hour today. Caroline, thank you for being here.    Caroline: Thank you very much Sundae, very exciting to be here.  Sundae: Okay, so I’m going to tell people a little bit more about you Caroline, and they will decide for themselves if they think that anything about your life is actually ordinary. But what’s important is, where you were feeling. So, I’ll tell you a bit more about Caroline right now. So, basically born and raised in Stockholm, got a business degree from Stockholm University and also a degree from France. Spent early-on times hungry to travel and see the world, did some work overseas after graduating and working in a few positions, got into PR and communications while living in Johannesburg.   So kind of a neighbor at one point of our lives, crossing and then what happened? This is a story that many of us know, she met a South African, her husband now, South African, and became an expat spouse in the United States, England, and Switzerland. So people who are listening to this, who are expats, see a story that might resonate with you because your life looks like that. Of course, people who don’t live globally mobile lives might think this is a wild life but this is a story for many of us.    So in that process, she shares about how she chose hard, fought hard to remain in her career because of all of the degrees that she had. But after 10 years of running an internal communication business out of Switzerland for a pharma industry, and starting a family, looking after small kids and helping your husband as he worked abroad, things can get hard.   In 2017, they moved to Brussels and that’s when she said goodbye to our communications agency and hit pause. So, I know there are so many people listening to Caroline that resonate with your story. That ambition, that hunger for travel, the falling in love with someone from another country, really working hard to make it work and then deciding in midst of it all to hit pause. That’s such a courageous move.    Caroline: Yeah, maybe, but also I think sometimes it’s unavoidable. You get to a point where you just, I mean, maybe you get to a point because it’s like an opportunity to hit pause like I did a move and it just made me reflect and I just realized that “Okay, I can’t carry on like this.” Or sometimes it’s just something that you just feel regardless of change or no change, you just have to stop. Something has to change. So you stop and that is what happened. We moved and I just decided I can’t carry on the same way.    Sundae: That’s the hard part, and I know this is from a lot of clients I’ve worked with, if your partner has an assignment and it creates stability for kids, let’s just say to be in an international school or to pay the mortgage, and you have a career as well, oftentimes families choose the one who has the less fixed role, to pause.    Because of gender dynamics and the way things have developed over time. It’s often the woman, not always, that is changing, but it’s often the woman who does that. So you hit pause and then between 2017 to 2019, you were living your family life. You said your husband was finally home almost every evening, but this is when you and I met right? You were feeling dissatisfied. Can you say more on how you were feeling before? Like right before you hopped on the phone with me, how was life going?    Caroline: So from one perspective it was going better because we had a better family life. My husband was actually working and we were living in the same city. So we were seeing a lot more of each other, the kids were seeing him, he could join for school events and sports events, and all those normal things that are nice to do together, but we had never really done because he was always working in another country.    So he was the kind of person who was away Monday to Thursday or Friday. So from a family life perspective, things were better. I thought life in Brussels was much more suitable for my personality, my interests. I was living in the city or still is, but all those things were good, and it was also nice to have put the communication work behind me. Like I didn’t have that pressure anymore, I didn’t have to think about the industry in that way anymore, and that was nice because honestly, I was feeling like It wasn’t giving me what a job should be giving you in my view.    So that was good, but I was feeling lost because essentially all the family things and the busy family life, that’s great and it can occupy all your time and that’s fine if you’re happy with that, but I wasn’t happy with that.   Sundae: I’ve said this so many times in podcasts and I’m going to say it again for new listeners, one of my participants in a workshop explained it really well. She said when in Burkina Faso, when you go to the market and you are trying to negotiate a price with someone at the market and you make a proposition for how much the thing should cost. And the market seller will say, “C’est bon mais n’est pas arrivée.” Which in my bad sort of West African accent in French, from an American. And she said that’s how she felt about motherhood.    This is where you would get stoned alive from people. If you said that out loud, like how dare you ever say that! That’s not enough, because it’s such an important role, it’s such a wonderful part. Because we don’t have permission to say that, but her point is, “It is good like this is really good, and I want even more in my life.”   Caroline: Yeah. Yeah, and I don’t think that’s a very unique feeling.   Sundae: We don’t have permission to say that as a culture though, and to recognize that even having the option to be a full-time mother or be a full-time mother and do something outside the home is actually a luxury some people don’t even have that privilege to choose.    Caroline: Exactly, and I think that’s what makes it kind of a taboo topic, because who am I to complain and also that my situation is very good. I don’t have financial problems, I don’t have to worry about how we’re going to pay the rent, so I’m one of those fortunate people who really should just shut up and get on with it.    Sundae: I hear that. I hear that from a lot of people, the one thing, this is just my personal opinion, if anyone who has a similar situation where you’re you’re feeling like you’re hungry for a deeper sense of purpose, or more meaning and yet you have all kinds of other sort of core needs met, you can easily feel guilt or shame for that at the same time.    I can’t tell you how many examples I’ve seen of wonderful clients I’ve worked with when they find that deeper sense of purpose and meaning they actually contribute to their community and their society in much bigger and more impactful ways. So instead of just enjoying privilege, they’re actually doing something with their privilege to make an impact with their community members or family members and those around them. So without that sense of empowerment, they’re actually not making an impact anywhere.    In fact, they’re going down a downward spiral in their relationships, their health, and their self-esteem and self-worth. So, alright, I’m going to bring people back, so you were feeling a little bit of sense of lack of purpose. We actually spoke twice, once we spoke a year prior.    Caroline: Yeah, I think I was quite soon after I arrived in Brussels actually. I arrived in June and we spoke I think September time. I wasn’t ready to commit right? I didn’t think I was worth it. Let’s face it. That was what it was.    Sundae: Thank you for saying that out loud. I can’t tell you how many people I work with, who eventually when we work together, they find out along the way that the reason why they delayed so long to do something for themselves as they didn’t feel comfortable with investing in themselves. They buy their kids the most high-quality, athletic shoes to protect their feet or they pick out really nice quality things for their family members for presents but they always get the cheap stuff for themselves.   Caroline: You and I have discussed all of this and it’s so true.    Sundae: I mean, you’re not the only one this happens a lot. So then a year went by right we hadn’t talked to each other and then what changed? Why did you contact me again?    Caroline: I just realized that I was in a good place in Brussels,  I could no longer blame it on my surroundings because where I live before there was a lot of things that I wasn’t happy with. Just for the sheer fact of where we were and now we were in Brussels and I knew for a fact that my surroundings were good. I had friends, my husband was at home, so I suddenly went “Clearly there it’s still not right, there’s still something missing and I need to get this sorted.”   It felt like time was just going past and nothing changed. I think that’s how I came back to you when I think you asked me “So where are you now?” I was admitting that I was in exactly the same place where I’d been a year before when I called you.    Sundae: And what? That’s perfect because honestly, this is the thing about when I have a coaching relationship with someone, I can’t coach motivation into somebody. You have to be motivated to do something. It sounds like what you needed was to get installed and try everything and see if it got better, and once you did try everything and it still wasn’t different, you were ready to do something else.  Caroline: Yeah, absolutely.  Sundae: So I’m going to give them a sneak peek into how we started working together. This loops back to why you’re even on the show today. So I’ll bring the listeners in on how this all started. One of the first questions I ask when I work with people is “What are your top burning issues?” And she has  given me permission to read a short excerpt from her answer and she says, “I need to be able to happily and confidently respond when someone asks me what I do!!!”   I’m going to censor may be some of the language here, “It feels kind of bleep to not have an answer as it feels like I’m working my bleep off from morning until evening managing our lives and keeping everything going and everyone happy. All that makes me and my family comfortable but it gives me very low satisfaction.”    And then you say, “My goal with the whole coaching thing is, when someone asks me what I do, I have a kick-ass reply that will make me feel great. And that if someone is interested in hearing more they can ask questions about that, and not about my husband’s job, my kids, what school they go to, where I’ve lived or where I’m from.” So Caroline, tell me, what do you do?    Caroline: It feels quite good. I’m not 100% there yet, but jeepers, I’m 99%. I’m going to tell you what I do. I’m an investor. So I invest in various things and I invest in cryptocurrency, I run a pharmaceutical company, and I also invest in the blue economy, and that in my case means that I’m investing in seaweed farming in Europe.    Sundae: I mean how interesting is that? I didn’t know the word “blue economy.” No, It sounds so good, and when I hear “Seaweed,” I just want to know more about seaweed, I’m intimidated by cryptocurrency, all of this stuff is so fascinating. So what I love about this, and I’ll give you a little back story, why Caroline is even on the show today. This is her real answer. This is what happened as a result of our coaching and you and I had exchanged a couple of emails, and it was actually Caroline’s idea to say, “Hey, we’re done coaching, you’ve done your job, I’m so happy this is where I’m at, is there a way that we can share this so it benefits others.”   So Caroline actually, you suggest that yourself, and it’s so generous of you because I know someone who’s listening right now is like, “That’s me! And I want to be able to go from that place of low satisfaction to that kick-ass answer.”    Caroline: Yeah. No, it’s good. It feels really good.    Sundae: So tell me, help the listener understand too. How did that happen? How did you go from that part of low satisfaction to now?    Caroline: So, it was definitely that I wasn’t ready to accept being so dissatisfied with my life. I think that’s the first thing that I really was like “This is not on, how can it be this way?” I have so many opportunities or more like it felt, I had so many opportunities, what happened? So it was from dissatisfaction and wanting to change things, but I mean it was going on for years before I found you and contacted you. It wasn’t good, it was this unlike me.    Then also I think what happened when I finally came to Brussels was that I had more time too because I didn’t work anymore. So then I went like, okay, well, I’m going to do this, I’m going to find out about this thing, I’m not going to just hear something and then go “Oh, I don’t understand that.” It was a bit more like “Well, I’m gonna understand that.” Why couldn’t I be able to learn about that.    Then in 2018, I met this guy who spoke about cryptocurrency and I just decided “This is it, I’m going to learn about this.” There’s something about it that is appealing, so I signed up for a conference in London, went over there, had two days of immersion, learned, learned, and then it kind of just took off and it was great. It was exciting. I finally learned something new and I did it. It was only me and I found all the online resources and I taught myself how to do this and it’s kind of an ongoing topic and Industry that will change, and there’s so many aspects of facets to it, but I do my part of it and I’m also kind of satisfied with that.   There are parts that I already know, parts I can never understand, conquer or be interested in, but I can do my bit and that gives me satisfaction. So that’s great, and then I think it was this curiosity of changing and allowing myself  to explore areas that I never had time to explore before.    Sundae: Right and what I’m hearing from that is, there’s something from my nerdy intercultural side, is when I hear that, one, there was something inside you that had a growth mindset,  where you said “Hey, I’ve learned other things in the past, I can learn this.” And from an identity perspective, it’s like you didn’t believe the lie: “I’m not the kind of person who learns about cryptocurrency.” You weren’t going to accept an identity that was limited.   Caroline: I think once you take that step, and you decide basically “*bleep* you, if I want to learn this, I’m going to learn this.” There are no limits, it’s not like you’re applying to go to Harvard. My God, you got the whole internet, you’ve got all the courses, you’ve got everything there. You can learn almost anything on your own, you can do it without a lot of resources, it doesn’t cost a lot of money. Once you’ve taken that first step, I think then you’re ready to explore, and that starts something within you, it changes you.   Sundae: There is another belief that a lot of my clients,  even myself have. This is one of my favorite lies that I like to tell myself is, “It’s going to be difficult and it’s going to take a long time.” Those are my two favorite lies. I discovered they were kind of my default in 2008 and I still work on that. They’ll go away for a while, and then every time I’m up-leveling, they’ll come back again and I’ll giggle because I’m like “Oh you’re back, nice to see you again.”    So what I’m hearing you say is you weren’t believing the thought “Hey, it’s gonna be difficult.” You’re like “I can do this, I can break it down, I’ll do the first step.” That’s super empowering.    Caroline: But remember you and I had a good session on that as well, to reinforce that. I mean, I remember that session, it was great because it helped me to change my perspective and kind of “I can do this. I can do it in small bits and chunks, right?”   Sundae: Yep. So, small chunks, take the first step, focus on what you can do. I love all of that. That’s wonderful. Wow, so that’s a lot. That’s a lot already that you’ve done. So what else did you do that got you? Tell me about the messy bits in between. This is great that you’ve done that, but there must have been messy bits for you.    Caroline: Yeah, there were lots of messy bits, and I think they were confusing but I think that the one thing, when I look back now especially at our period, from when we started and we had our first session up until when I suddenly went like “I think I’m kind of good.”    We did some exercises in the beginning that I would never have done, unless you ask me to do that. I remember our session with you said to me “Before I see you next time, I want you to have done three really fun things.” Fun things that have got no purpose to them. They must just be fun. Something that makes you excited, and I realized my mind went blank. I had nothing fun. Nothing fun came up in my head.   There was nothing, and I just realized how depressing, like how sad of a state of mind this is! I’ve dug myself into a hole, where someone says go and do something fun and nothing comes up, nothing pops up, I mean, that is sad. So that exercise, when I was thinking about doing something fun, I think I achieved at least two fun things. It was very liberating because it forced me to think In a different way and I started to allow myself to have fun.   Sundae: Yep, totally and that’s where the creativity comes; that’s where the opening of new channels in your brain starts.   Caroline: Yes, absolutely, and what I was going to get to. So that changed something within me, but of course, if you would say “Is that exercise actually going to make it come out at the other end and know what you want to do with your life?” Of course, if you look at it like that, no, you’re going to say no, but the point is when I look back, every step I took and everything I did, although in the moment, it didn’t feel like they were the ones that were going to change anything. All of those adds up and then suddenly a period of time later, you look back and you look at your life now and you realize “Wow something has changed, I have changed.” Sundae: That’s so good, and what that really requires is you need to trust the process and that’s the thing, I trust it because I’ve been doing this for a decade. I’m like a giddy little schoolgirl every time someone new signs with me because I’m like “Yay, we get to discover the thing.”   I don’t know what the thing is yet, but I know the process works and I’m just going to quickly step back for a second for people who’ve never worked with me before. The process happens, unique to each person – there’s no cookie-cutter approach. But what you can often expect is, people usually come to me when they’re feeling like they’re not happy anymore and whatever has been happening isn’t good enough and they want to… they feel stuck and something has to change.   When people are feeling that kind of level of frustration or pain, that’s usually when we start working together and then we look at the *bleep* that we tell ourselves. Like I said, two of my favorite lies is it’s going to be difficult, it’s going to take a long time. You might have heard other versions of that as well, and we just start to see those and how they are really flowing through our lives. I’ve also shared another podcast about how a thought like “That’ll do,” was in my own life and how it led to completely transforming my entire wardrobe, and life because of one thought.   So the power of what we’re thinking really impacts our emotions and our behavior and how we show up in the world, and then we get to the part where we went to dreaming. We’re like, “Hey, you could do stuff more with cryptocurrency, you could work in the seaweed industry. What if you spent your day like the CEO of your own company?” We got to play in that dreaming space and then you had to do the hard work and that’s where I was there to make sure that you stayed on track.   Caroline: Absolutely.   Sundae: That’s when my job is done, when you’re like “What I’m really happy, all I’m doing is tweaking my level of stress down and my level of happiness up.” You don’t need a coach when you’re at that point of your life.    Caroline: No, but then also, I think I was very open with you. “That feels good, everything feels fine.” But I also totally can see that maybe I’ll need you again. I need someone to push me back on track, and that’s the beauty of the whole thing, isn’t it? That you get to a point where you’re fine, but then again, things change all the time and they evolve, but now it’s more like I have trust in myself to do the journey.   First, everything was grey and boring but now it’s not. It’s exciting and I know it’s still going to be hard but I feel like it’s going to be okay. I just have this positive feeling which is amazing.    Sundae: It’s so amazing. So tell us now, give us one or two examples of how you’re living a non-ordinary life.   Caroline: Well, first of all, my unordinary life, in my whole period from university up until very recently I just met with people who were basically, very similar. They were all chasing big careers. They were all working for big companies. They were all moving around the world and staying in offices all day, traveling, and that was success. That was how I thought success looked like. I never met different people or if I met them they weren’t around. I didn’t have anyone to look at that could show me this is you can live a different life.    So that was what I thought would be good and there was something I was looking for but then again I never threw myself into the full corporate life because I always just took a step back and looked at “What the hell, I and my husband are doing this corporate life. Who’s going to be with our children?” and I could never accept that, like the kids are always top priority.    So there was this mismatch, what I thought success and happiness was with what I felt in my heart and that I needed to do as a priority, which was to always look out for the kids because my husband…    Sundae: I’m just going to step back for a second, I’m sorry to interrupt. You said there was a mismatch between what was in your head and what was in your heart. I think that’s really important to recognize and honor. To anybody who’s listening and feels a mismatch between what’s in their head — and often what’s in our head is what society says or what we believe is true — versus what’s in our heart of what we really want.    Caroline: I have struggled to do what my heart wanted which was to be there for my kids. If my husband would have been at home, we could have shared more but that just wasn’t an option. So, it fell on me and that’s not criticism of him. It was our life. It was what we decided to do consciously or unconsciously. But I always felt I needed to be with these kids because like seriously, I wasn’t going to have some au pair look after them for most of their time. So the point was that was what I thought life should be like, and that was success and there was going to be happiness.    Now when I’m going through this whole process, and maybe because I reached a certain age, I just realized “Stuff it!” And then Corona, I mean that was kind of the last nail in the coffin. That’s nothing to strive for, to be away and sit in an office. It doesn’t work for us people anymore,  so now the non-ordinary is that I’m doing challenging staff business-wise. I’m combining that with my passion for the environment and for the ocean.   I’m into investing in the current cryptocurrency field because I think it’s new, it’s novel and I’m just really keen on things that are new and novel and that is disrupting the status quo. Something that is just shattering the way it used to be and I think both of these industries, the blue economy, and the cryptocurrency, it’s creating something new in the world and that’s amazing to be part of.   The pharmaceutical side of things, I think that’s going to be a really good income for my family which means that I can allow myself to be, and my husband, that’s the plan. I’m going to *bleep* make him stop working and get off that corporate wheel.   Sundae: That’s one of the things I always joke with my husband, I’m like, “My goal in my business is to retire you.”    Caroline: Yeah and it’s a realistic goal. It’s here and now, I want to make it happen. It’s not going to happen in 10 years. It’s gonna happen soon. We need to seize the day, which Is amazing.   Sundae: You’re the perfect example of what I was just saying. You’re someone who is investing in the blue economy, you’re putting your energy and heart there. And if you hadn’t given yourself permission to step up to line your head and heart, you wouldn’t be working on the front lines of the blue economy. So you are actually making a contribution in your way for the environment and to reverse climate change because you did your own work. It all started with a dissatisfaction on how you introduce yourself at parties.    Caroline: Yeah. I think you’re right there. It’s as easy as that.    Sundae: That is why I love to do what I do because it’s that one moment where you’re like “no”, and you had no idea it was going to lead you here.   Caroline: No, absolutely not.    Sundae: I said you have to trust the process and what you said earlier was “I trusted myself.”  Caroline: Yeah, and I gave myself permission to go and change, and get some help to change.    Sundae: That’s why you just blew me away with your suggestion to share your story because it’s your story, it’s your journey. You don’t have to share that with anybody but I hear from you if you can make that change imagine if 20 people listen to this and they all made a change. That would make a collective impact on them and the communities. Caroline: That would be wonderful. That would be absolutely wonderful because if there are a lot of women or men like you and me, who have lived this expat life or expat spouse life, we all know how many amazing people are living this life, but they’re a bit lost. They’re a bit lost on a personal level and they solve it in various ways.   We all know the whole brigade that runs half of the school and they do amazing things at the school and it gives them a huge amount of satisfaction and it’s fantastic. And it’s fantastic for the rest of us who are not involved in it so much. They do it for our kids as well, and for some people that works right? Like for me, that was never going to be an option. I help, I want to be involved but that’s not what’s going to give me a kick and give me this energy.   Sundae: I just want to say too, it’s around the kick and the energy and for some people. It might be leaving a position and deciding giving yourself permission to stay home as a full-time mother or full-time father or whatever there’s no judgment in what shift you make. It’s about honoring that where you feel lost or where you feel stuck, is valid and worth listening to and that you can get into a different place. It actually doesn’t have to take a very long time and it doesn’t have to be that hard. You can actually have some fun along the way, can’t you?   Caroline: Absolutely. I don’t think it took us many sessions before it started to kind of lift. I totally feel excited and there was a feeling that I had missed for a long time. So yeah, so good, It’s great.    Sundae: Oh, thank you so much for sharing your story. It means the world to me and I’m just hoping that there are people out there right now who are like “That sounds a lot like me!” Maybe in a different context, maybe a different direction, but that same process of something’s not working.    When you’re feeling lost or feeling stuck, you are such an inspiration of how that doesn’t have to stay that way and I’m sure your family thanks you for it. Yeah, any last words of wisdom that you would give to people who are kind of feeling energetically in the same place you were when we started working together.    Caroline: I think one of the things that you taught me very early on which would never have occurred to me, it wasn’t part of my past and how I behaved or what I did and that stopped me from changing. I never put myself first. I always went “Okay, I’m going to do some chores instead of going training.” And then I did chores and then maybe I still had time to train. Am I going to have a cup of coffee and sit and think for five minutes or am I going to rush off and do whatever?   Now I’m the opposite and it doesn’t mean that I don’t do all of those things, but it’s just like they have to wait. My training is first if I need a cup of coffee and sit and stare at the window for five minutes, I’m going to do that.    Sundae: Yeah, you fill your tank, so you have the power to do.   Caroline: Then suddenly new thoughts come into your head and that’s amazing.    Sundae: And it’s that simple, it’s as simple as starting the day with 5 minutes of coffee, it can catapult your entire day in a different direction. Caroline, thank you so much for your awesome offer to come and share your story with people. It’s really meant a lot to me. I love your journey and loved how you’ve shown up courageously for yourself and for your family and for these really important priorities that you’ve defined for you.   You’re an inspiration and I’m really grateful that you’ve taken this platform and you can share and inspire others. So, it means the world to me.    Caroline: Thank you. My life is different now thanks to you, so it’s been amazing. It’s been great, thank you so much. Thank you.    Sundae: All right, you guys, you heard it from her. It’s been so wonderful to share that with you. I see amazing stories like this all the time and sometimes I wanna scream from the rooftops but obviously that’s not my job to do, and she was so generous to offer to come on today and use her journey as a jumping point for you if you’re thinking you’re in the same place and it all started with her saying “The way I feel right now is not okay and I want to do something else.” And then she reached out for help. No matter whether it’s help from me or someone in your network or someone outside of your community, but to sort of say “I’ve come as far as I can on my own now, now I’m going to take action and do it differently.”    So you have been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Schneider Bean.  So, I promised you something to help bring some fresh energy and focus into your life so you can do the work to create momentum on what matters most to you. Like Caroline did. You are going to want to pay attention if you’ve slipped into a rut, and you find yourself replacing hard-fought positive patterns with some not-so-healthy behaviors.   Are you kinda worried that you are giving up on the personal and professional goals you actually committed to achieving in 2020? 2020 is not a write off yet, even though it feels like it is. But there is plenty 2020 left, and this is really where the rubber meets the road. You’ve spent your attention everywhere but on yourself, and there’s no way your goals should take a back seat forever.    That’s why I’ve created Focus Camp, because this is an opportunity, use this weird limbo time and restrategize your 2020 goals, refuel your energy and get fresh focus and make real progress on the things that mean the most to you. I absolutely know the world is upside down, but you still need to move ahead. Okay, so I’m filling up spots right now to Focus Camp, and I would love you to grab one of them.    Don’t take my word for it, I’m going to share with you some things that my Focus Camp attendees said after they completed the Focus Camp. They said things like “It gave me a clear strategy for the rest of the year.” One said “I’m much more productive and focused in short slots of time” because you’ve got multiple priorities that you’re balancing. Someone else said “I feel like I’m working on a team, I don’t feel lonely in my solopreneur routine.” I mean how amazing is that! Another said, “It’s a perfect mix of challenges to keep you going and on your toes, first-class support, fun calls, straight forward feedback on your work, and the feeling of working on a team!”   Right, this is what you get when you work in Focus Camp. So join the Focus Squad. I want you to be saying these things, even as early as next week. So check out Focus Camp in the show notes, I would love for you to join us.    Thank you for listening. I’ll leave you with a quote from The Minimalists. “An extraordinary life doesn’t just happen. It is constructed, crafted, and curated.”   Enjoy The Show? Don’t miss an episode, subscribe via iTunes or RSS. Please leave us a review in iTunes (or here for Android). The post 184: How to lead an unboring life appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
Think of everything you do on-the-daily in the business of managing your life as an individual and as a couple. Imagine I gave you a wheelbarrow and asked you to add a boulder for each physical, mental, logistical, and emotional task you did for yourself or your family. How full would your wheelbarrow be? How would that volume compare to what’s in your spouse’s cart? And perhaps most relevant, who decided where each boulder should land? You can only push extra weight for so long before you find yourself stuck in expat quicksand. Then, if you want to go any further, you’ll need to unload a few boulders. Get ready because this week’s going to be an eye-opener. Just like those tricky pictures you stare at to see what at first glance appears imperceptible, I’m about to point out all the invisible burdens you carry. Then, once they’re named and in full view, we’re going to reexamine your responsibilities, renegotiate them to stomp out resentment, and make it fair for everyone. What You’ll Learn in this Episode: Quiz: Are you stuck in expat quicksand? An Excel spreadsheet exercise every couple should do How resentment is a cocktail of multiple complex emotions Replenishing the tinfoil & calls to your mother-in-law Taking on tasks that no one asked you to own Listen to the Full Episode {audio track)   Featured on the Show: What do you want to be proud of at the end of this summer? Take that wish and turn it into fact. You have to do this for yourself, but you don’t have to do it alone. There are just a few last-minute spots left for Focus Camp, which starts TODAY, so sign up right here. Here’s what one past Focus Camp attendee has to say: “I get support from a small group to know if my ideas have the potential to work. I get feedback and further guidance.”   Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC Sundae’s Facebook Group  – Expats on Purpose The Emotional Load: And Other Invisible Stuff (Book) – By Emma The Mental Load (Book) – By Emma Focus Camp – Join now   We’re delighted by our nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts! Subscribe: iTunes | Android Full Episode Transcript: Download Transcript Hello. It is 07:00 am in New York, 1:00 pm in Johannesburg and 6:00 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-orientated coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations. I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.    I remember we sat down together at the table we had recently bought in an outlet store and in front of my partner was an Excel sheet. I’d been in the country for, I don’t know, maybe a year and a half and there was something on his mind. He was frustrated.   We looked at the laptop and the Excel sheet, and what we did is we listed all of the household chores, the tasks, the cleaning, the shopping,  all of the things that have to be done for life, for operating as an individual and for us as a shared couple.   And then next to each thing, we put our name, whether he did it or I did it and to my surprise when we stepped back and looked at it, he was doing far more than I was. No wonder he was frustrated. But the thing was it wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t something either one of us planned, but it kind of just grew out of the context, and when I first moved to Switzerland, I didn’t speak German, so I wasn’t able to make phone calls or I didn’t know how the system went to do a, b, or c.   My husband took on that burden in the beginning and thankfully because I didn’t have the capacity or the competency, but we kept going on and on with that routine until one day, it just felt imbalanced, and I didn’t even know it was happening until the weight had set too heavily on his shoulders. So what do we do? You can imagine what we did with that Excel sheet, we reassigned names and balanced the tasks.    There was a solution that we found and maybe you’re the one who has felt frustrated? Maybe you’re the one who feels like things are imbalanced and that sense of resentment is coming up. At the same time, you might have a completely separate struggle and that might be feeling stuck, like you’re hungry for more purpose and meaning in your life, you’re looking for more direction. So not only do you have the problem of resentment and frustration from imbalance, you’ve got this other thing that you’re dealing with.   And that’s what today’s episode is all about. We’re going to look at how these things are surprisingly connected and what you can do to get unstuck. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know, how I talk about expat quicksand. These are the things I’ve noticed over a decade of working with people who are living abroad where they get stuck.   So feeling like you’re hungry for more purpose and meaning, hungry for connection with yourself and loved ones, feeling unclear in your direction, and feeling like you don’t know where to go, feeling stuck! I call that expat quicksand for a reason because it feels deadly even though it might not be, it feels like it’s going to kill your joy abroad. The other thing about expat quicksand, like real quicksand, is that the harder you resist against it, the more you get stuck.    So if this is a topic that you’re on fire about, stick with me in the next eight weeks because we’re going to dive in. If you can’t wait eight weeks make sure that you go back to episode 127 where I talk about expat quicksand in detail and episodes 130, 131, 132 and 133, on all about how to get unstuck.   All right. So by this time, you might be asking yourself “What does my intro example have to do with being stuck?” And I want to promise you hangout because, by the time you’re done with this episode, you’ll find out more. You’ll notice that last week’s episode, episode 184, we heard from Caroline, and she was feeling stuck in ordinary and there were some tips there on how she went from feeling bored by her own life to living an unordinary life that lit her fire and made her excited to talk to people at parties about what was going on in her own life.    Today, I promise we are going to find out about a hidden practice I’ve discovered in my clients that actually keeps them stuck and if we keep doing it, there’s no way we’re going to free ourselves from this expat quicksand. So before I tell you that, let’s take a little quiz. Give yourself one point for everything that I list here that you know, you do pretty automatically. All right, let’s go.   Number 1. You ask your partner “Hey, have you called back your mother?” Number one, give yourself a point. If you often ask your partner “Hey, have you called back your mother.”   Number 2. You decide what is for dinner almost every night.   Number 3. You’re the person who ensures that your kids favorite snack is always in stock, so it can go into their lunches.   Number 4. You keep a close eye on whether the aluminum foil is low and make sure that you write it on the list when it’s getting there.   Number 5.  You make sure that you have contraception. You’re the one who makes sure that you have contraception.   Number 6. When your teenage daughter is caught in friend drama, you try to fix it.   Number 7. You often hear yourself reminding family members about other people’s birthdays or important celebrations.   Okay. So there you go. We’ve got about seven items. Do you have at least five points? If you do, I really encourage you to keep listening because these things that seem to be super disconnected, have a connection directly to why you’re stuck in a way that you might not expect. I invite you to be really honest with yourself. Are you the manager of the household chores? Are you the primary relationship nurturer? Are you the carrier of the mental load of all the things that you have to remember for your life and your family to function? Are you the bearer of the emotional load?   If this sounds familiar, it’s like no wonder you’re feeling stuck. Aren’t you exhausted from doing all of this work? There is a wonderful artist who does books called Mental Load by Emma and the Emotional Load by Emma. She is a feminist illustrator and she talks about the mental load and emotional load that we bring into relationships, that weighs us down. So if you’re curious check her out in the show notes and be sure that you look at her books to see if you’re the one carrying that mental load.    Because here’s the thing, what I’ve seen for over a decade when people come to me who are feeling stuck, there’s something else that needs to be freed before they get unstuck. Before you get unstuck. You have to get unburdened, and most of this burden is invisible. Okay, and here’s what I’m going to say next is going to make you want to stab me in the eyeball with a sharp object. I know it, but I’m going to say it anyway.   Most of this burden is invisible. You’re the one carrying this heavy load, and my hunch is that no one asked you to do it. That’s where I’m going to guard my eyes right now from sharp objects. What I’ve noticed in my work with clients is that when someone is burdened with this kind of load, it was not as a result of a direct request. For example, we’ll go back to our quiz, when you’re the one always reminding your partner to call back their mother; it’s usually not because you and your partner agreed that you would be the one to remind them.   When you noticed that the aluminum foil is low, naturally you’re the one who writes it down, but you might not have had a conversation in your relationship about “I am gonna be there rememberer for all that is.” When you’re engaging with your teenage daughter, did your daughter say, “Hey intervene and try to fix this for me.” How many times do we do this? How many times do we burden ourselves with something and no one asked us to? I say this absolutely with full knowing that some of the burdens that come are a result directly from our social conditioning.   We enact roles in the world that we absorb through our history, context, lenses of identity, and culture. This conversation is not a cultural one, it’s not without power, but we find ourselves in it and the point of today’s discussion is for you to find your power in it and you might find yourself. Then, as a result of this, challenging status quo, going against the grain of cultural norms, challenging gender dynamics, relationship dynamics, because if you’re coming from a place of resentment and frustration, that is born of a feeling by definition, of feeling like you’ve been treated unfairly.   Resentment is this multilayered complex emotion where we’re mixing up disappointment, disgust, anger, and fear, all together under the umbrella of resentment. Something feels unjust. So if you feel like you’ve got this burden and it’s making you frustrated or resentful, maybe there’s something wrong with our society, right? But before we fix society we have to look at where we have our own power, in our own lives, in our own relationship.   So an important caveat that means full awareness, we’re bringing that into the discussion. But let’s start where we do have control and that’s with you, and that’s what the people in your immediate surroundings that you love. I came to this idea around “before you get unstuck, you have to get unburdened,” after years and years of helping people find more purpose, meaning, and direction in their life. And before we get on that hot track, we have to lift the weight that you’re carrying and sometimes it’s in the simple stuff.    One of my clients was getting really clear on how she wanted to spend her time and energy differently and she realized that what was going to change is how she spent her time in the morning. And she was the one who cooked like big family breakfasts and one day she was like, “wait a minute, no one really asked me to do this huge big breakfast. Why am I doing it?” And when she made a change, the entire family was unfazed and she was left with more joy and energy. So what I want you to think about is, where are you feeling the burden in your life, because before we can get you on a track of purpose and meaning, and direction, we have to lighten your load.    Okay, so look at the list we started with in the quiz, and see which one of those things that you do. This is my ask of you, if you want to unburden so you can get unstuck, the first step is simple, ask yourself these questions. Look at your long list of what you have to do today, we have to do this week, this month and ask yourself these questions.   “Have I been asked to do this?”   “Who gave me this job?”   “Who asked me to do this?”   If you are like a lot of my clients, my hunch is that 30% of your list,  no one has asked you to do it, and that includes the mental load and the emotional load we were talking about before. So your first task or experiment you can do is throughout your day. If you’re feeling resentful or if you’re feeling frustrated, answer the question, “Who gave me this job?”   Maybe you did and do you really want to do it if you’re feeling frustrated or resentful? So step one, is to ask yourself when you’re noticing that frustration and resentment, “have been asked to do this, who asked me to do this, who gave me this job?” Then get in the habit of making the jobs, the burden, the emotional and the mental load, and the actual physical load, visible. I guarantee you when I watch my clients put down on paper all that’s on their mind and heart in addition to their task list, they are surprised at the volumes that they write.   Now if you are in a partnership, some of this might impact the entire family positively so you don’t want to stop doing it but until it’s visible. No one sees it, no one understands the burden that you’re carrying. So you have a couple choices. Make it visible,  and you can do one of two things.   A – Just stop doing it. Just stop doing it. Watch what happens. Like what would happen if you stopped reminding your partner to call their mother back or you stopped reminding people of other people’s important birthdays. What would happen? Stop doing it and watch what happens.    Look at your long list of things that you have to do and what if you stop doing it, what would the implications be? Some of you are going “there’s no way I can stop doing that.” So then look at those things that are on the list, what can you renegotiate? Remember resentment is a result of feeling like you’re treated unfairly. So maybe you are being treated unfairly and it needs to be renegotiated. Or maybe you just have their perception of being treated unfairly because maybe your partner has invisible things on their list.   So the renegotiation doesn’t mean that you’re completely passing something off, it’s about relooking at it and saying, “is this important to everyone?” It would look like this, so you’ve made your list, you’ve added the emotional burdens, the mental load and your tasks you have to do to get done, and then you say with your partner, your children, whatever is relevant in your family dynamic, “Hey, I’ve noticed that I’m the one who’s constantly thinking about what we want to eat every night, but all of us eat every night. Is it important to you what we eat? Because I can just automate a schedule and everybody eats what I decide or would you like to have a say in this?”   “Can I give my 17-year-old Tuesday nights to cook? How else could this be shared as a family? Can we do takeout on Wednesdays to give me a night off?” I don’t care how you renegotiate it, but you know you’re getting closer when it doesn’t feel unfair anymore. So if you feel unfairly burdened by having to decide what everybody eats every night, maybe you just say, “You know what, Monday is pancakes, Tuesday is tacos, Wednesday we’re eating out, Thursday is Spaghetti Al Tonno, Friday is pizza, etc, etc.” And you decide and everybody deals or you delegate who’s cooking until you feel like it’s fair.   Another way that you can lead into this conversation, is what has to happen for us to function on this topic, whichever topic it is, without frustration or resentment. Then we can negotiate it. Then we can understand who is ready to drop the thing, or who’s ready to do their part differently. So renegotiation is an important part of that. My hunch is that when you write down this list, there’s going to be a decent percentage of things that just get dropped.   The other thing I’ve seen with my clients is that another percentage of things can get redistributed which is actually in alignment, more closely, with your family values. Maybe you’re giving your eight-year-old an important job to take the garbage out and now they’re learning accountability and Independence. You’ve taken a task off your list and you’ve taught something to your child, that is meaningful for you. Maybe your partner is fully on board with having equal distribution of tasks in the home but just wasn’t aware of everything, because it so much was invisible and is happy to take part of that on.   You won’t know until you get to the renegotiation phase. Emily Maroutian is an Armenian author and poet and I love what she says about being stuck. She says, “You’re not stuck, you just committed to certain patterns of behavior because they helped you in the past. Now those behaviors have become more harmful than helpful. The reason why you can’t move forward is because you keep applying an old formula to a new level in your life. Change the formula to get different results.”   Thank you Emily for articulating that, it goes back to the conversation that I had with my partner at the Excel sheet, about old patterns we had when we first moved abroad. We needed to stop the old formula and move forward with this new level in our lives, your children have maybe grown since the last time you looked at household tasks and it’s time to move forward.   Apply that distribution to a new level in your life. Maybe 20 years ago, when you married your partner you were very much in a role of traditional gender distributed tasks. But as our decades have changed, our culture has changed, and maybe you’ve grown, you’re ready to stop old formulas and start showing up in new ways in your life.   Change the formula to get different results.   So this is my “please see it as a loving nudge” for you to unburden yourself. So then you’ll have a level of lightness and turn your energy toward you because that needs to happen before you can get unstuck. This is like the pre-work to feeling unstuck and then going on to finding more purpose and meaning and direction.   I love this topic. It’s so near and dear to my heart and we’re going to spend the next few weeks diving in. If you want more, don’t forget to check out my episode 127 on expat quicksand, episodes 120 and 129, we talk about reconnecting with yourself and others and more on getting unstuck is in 130-133. You have the power to take control over your lives and get different results.    If you want to start now, it’s not too late to do that with me in Focus Camp. When this podcast goes live, we’re going to be in the onboarding week of Focus Camp. It is a five-week program where we take control over the limited time and energy that we have, and work in a hyperFocus way, with your fellow Focus Squad as your cheerleaders and accountability partners by your side, for you to make progress on an important goal for you. So you can move forward.    If you’re curious about Focus Camp, check it out in the show notes. I would love for you to be part of it. You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Schneider Bean. Thank you for listening.  I’ll leave you with a quote from an unknown author, “Sometimes you don’t realize the weight of something you’ve been carrying until you feel the weight of its release.” Enjoy The Show? Don’t miss an episode, subscribe via iTunes or RSS. Please leave us a review in iTunes (or here for Android). The post 185: Invisible Burdens appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
Few things taste as bitter as humble pie. We all have cringe-worthy moments of pause, where we shudder from acidic disbelief and ask ourselves, “Wait. How did I get here?” Mine came as I was sweeping bread off the floor at an international school. Broom in hand, I reflected on how far I’d professionally fallen from grace. “What happened to you? Where’s that high-profile job making more money than all her girlfriends? Now, look at you…” I can talk about that now, light-years later, repaired and safely on the other side. This week, I welcome Mandy as she courageously shares her story of trying to find a job in Europe as an accompanying spouse. It’s honest, gut-wrenching, familiar, and (spoiler alert) full of hope. Mandy’s struggle to secure employment is compounded by the financial pressure that she needs one. Pile on that her marriage has hit a rough patch, plus some stubborn weight gain that makes her feel uncomfortable in her body, and Mandy’s self-esteem has taken multiple hits. Together, we unravel what’s really going on to respark Mandy’s motivation with facts, optimism, and a plan. What You’ll Learn in this Episode: Validating self-fulfilling prophecies How unemployment destabilizes your identity Loosening your moral preferences & doing it how the locals do it The proven formula of volume (applications) + time (patience) How to shut your amygdala up Listen to the Full Episode: Featured on the Show: Do you need a fresh perspective on a stale problem? My call with Mandy is a benchmark example of what we can achieve in a single intensive coaching session together. I hold a few spots open each month for private, one-off huddles. Get in touch and let’s chat! Expat Coach Coalition Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose We’re delighted by our recent nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts! Subscribe: iTunes | Android Full Episode Transcript: Download Transcript Hello, it is 8 am in New York, 1 am in Johannesburg and 6 pm in Bangkok.  Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I’m a solution oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition I remember sweeping up a mix of sushi, Oreos and swiss bread called Züpfe from the floor of the elementary at the international school. I’d only been in the country for a few months and I was asking myself,  “What am I doing here?” I just left a high-paying job in the consulting industry to give up everything, move across the world to be with my partner. Let me just tell you this was one of many low moments. Finding a job abroad can be so hard, I had no idea what I was getting into. In fact people who saw my resume, my experience, my grades, were like, “Oh my God Sundae, no problem, you’ll find a job so easily.” Which was not true, did not match what I faced in Switzerland when I first moved there. I get it; it’s hard, it can bring you to your knees and knock your sense of self-worth right out of you. And I’ve been on the other side, I know if you do the work and you stay committed that you can find a way to find the job you’ve been hoping for. So for this episode of Expat Happy Hour I’m doing something special. I’ve invited a guest who is struggling with her job search in Europe. I’m going to let you listen in at a coaching session, which was not practiced, no rehearsal, we just hit record and went for it. And I want you to listen to her story, her struggle and her challenges, because in this interview there was one question I asked her, one thought I challenged her on that changed everything. And in fact today I got a message which said “Sundae, thank you for that statement that really kept me going, because today I finally got a job, not just a job, but a job at the level and vision for myself at this country.” She said, it was so sweet, she says, “You really have a gift, in just that 30 minutes you change my attitude.” So I’m sharing this interview with you so you can listen in on what that one question is that changed everything and inspire you to keep going so you can find your job abroad. Sundae: All right, so Mandy, you’ve got my full attention to the next 25 minutes. What has to happen in the next 25 minutes for you to say. “Wow, that was really worth my time.”  Mandy: That’s a really good question, I don’t know, I guess, so I think right now I’m just completely frustrated with like a million aspects of where I am, you know what I mean? And I’m like, I’m normally a very ambitious person. So like I moved here and I was like, “I’m going to be an expat,  I’m going to be the expat that I can.” I was active in some expat groups, now I’m president of the group like, I’m one of those people.  So lately I’ve had like the perfect storm of, like I need a job, I seemingly can’t find a job. I’ve been looking for a job for forever and I really wasted a lot of time because I was applying for entry-level positions. We have like 15 plus years of experience in the United States mostly with International Companies, but I was thinking it didn’t really matter. And then I finally put a spreadsheet together and looked at all the job titles  I was applying to and nobody, at the lower positions which were the ones that I was really focusing on, nobody was calling me. So now I’ve flipped the switch and I’m applying to things like HR manager, HR business partner. But then there’s like the language and or experience in Germany problem. So that’s just really frustrating that I’m like starting at 0 again, you know what I mean?  Sundae: Yeah, I’ve been there, I’ve been there. In fact, I did the same thing you did, I applied lower than my level and everybody said I was overqualified and when I started applying for things I thought were too high for me  I started getting job interviews.  Mandy: Exactly, exactly.  Sundae: So what is the one thing you would like clarity on? Mandy: I guess at this point it’s like self-motivation. Like I didn’t apply to any jobs today. I haven’t, so I had like one big huge interview for a job that I would literally probably possibly if not kill, maim somebody for and I’m just kind of like sitting back.  The unemployment office has gifted me with six job coaching sessions I think could be really really beneficial because again my field is human resources, so I have some opinions and some strong opinions about applications, interviews, etc. that may not be valid. Or I may need to think about other things and I’m open to that. You know what I mean? Like I could be too stuck in my ways due to that being my profession. Sundae: Right, now Mandy help me understand, how long are you going to be in Germany? Is this a forever thing? Is this two to three years? Tell me more.  Mandy: So my marriage is not fantastic at all, my parents are not getting any younger. I’m not sure. Definitely the next two years I would say, but I think you know like the pressure to get a job is pretty serious because my husband has a lot of debt and I have some savings that I’m currently living on. He doesn’t pay my expenses and I don’t pay his so and when we’ve had financial problems before it’s made the relationship that much worse. Sundae: Right, so you said what you would like support on is self-motivation. It sounds like you’re getting strategic help, like how do you get a job in Germany, that sort of thing but the selfishness hard. When you say self-motivation, what would it look like on a regular day or regular week if you were self-motivated? Mandy: I guess like I’m in a rut, like I had been applying to like, I don’t know ten jobs a week, something like that. And I recently injured my back, I can’t go to the gym, so that’s I mean, I think that that’s part of it, is not getting that exercise because that really energizes me and you know makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. But before it was like maybe applying to like ten jobs a week sometimes more.  I know I need to volunteer, one that’s important to me, especially when I have the time and two, I think it looks good on your resume that you’re not like sitting on your butt. And it’s a matter of motivating just to make a call. Like I had been working at of food shelter, what are they called? A food bank. And then that I quit because the supervisor was just nasty and I was like, “Wait, I really don’t need to be yelled at.” Which looks terrible, but so it is. I guess it’s just like advice on like getting out of a rut, like I know I need to get my butt in gear on a number of things, so like steps to take to sign up for this job coaching, have them take a look at my resume, etc. I need to find something constructive to do with my time, some type of a volunteer thing, and I’m just not doing it. Sundae: Right, so the strategies are not the question, it’s the motivation to implement them. So tell me, this is probably not the first right you’ve ever been in your life. I want you to think back over the years, think of another time you’ve been in a rut. And that rut might have lasted a week and might have lasted a month and might have lasted a year. Let me know when you’ve got one. Mandy It’s a good question, I mean sort of I think that, yeah, sort of, yep I’ve got one.  Sundae: Okay, so you’ve got that time, just give me a ballpark figure was it a year ago, was it five years ago, two weeks ago, what’s this rut? Don’t tell me about the rut, I just want you to think about the timing, how long ago was it? Mandy: Probably two years ago. Sundae: Okay, so tell me, think back to the rut, and you were there and you knew it, you know you’re in a rut now. What was one of the first things that you did that got you a little unstuck? Mandy: I think I got a job. Sundae: What happened before you got the job, to get the job? Mandy: Well, I applied to jobs and interviews, yeah, I think it was actually a similar situation. Sundae: So I’m hearing that you’re going to get out of the rut when when things tick, when something connects. But how did you keep applying? What was going on there? How did you Keep moving forward? Mandy: Well I think at that point, and I guess that’s also tied to my marriage, because at that point my husband was unbearable and I was like, “I need to get out and I need to be self-sufficient.”  Sundae: So what I’m hearing is what worked then is you were crystal clear on, kind of like your big why or why you’re doing something or why this goal is worth the effort, tell me where I’m wrong? Mandy: I don’t know, I mean like right now I mean it is the same thing, like I’m terrified that I won’t be able to find a job.  Sundae: So when you’re terrified that you’re not going to find a job, how do you behave? Mandy: Apparently like an idiot. Sundae: But what do you do when you’re terrified, when you believe the thought “I’m not going to get a job.” What do you do?  Mandy: I think when I think I’m not going to get a job, I think why bother applying. Sundae: Right, why bother, then you don’t apply, what else? Mandy: Well, and then I think that that turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy because I’m not applying so then I’m not getting calls for interviews. Sundae: Right, so you’re believing the thought “I’m not going to get a job” So let’s play with that little bit. You can go back to believing that after our call, but right now I’m just gonna play.  “I’m not going to get a job.” We’re going to do a little process here, just give me yes or no, is that true? “I’m not going to get a job.” Mandy: No’ish. Sundae: Is it like scientifically true, one hundred percent true, yes, or no “I’m not going to get a job?”  Mandy: No.  Sundae: Okay, good, so how do you feel? Who do you become when you believe the thought “I’m not going to get a job?” Mandy: I feel worthless, I don’t know like sad. I’ve thought about it strategically, if I really can’t get a job here do I move back to the States? But being in Germany for six-plus years isn’t exactly fantastic for my résumé either.  Sundae: Right, so you’re like thinking you feel worthless, sad, you kind of think about exit strategies. How do you behave when you believe the thought “I’m not going to get a job?” Mandy: I don’t put effort in, or as much effort into it, because I guess it doesn’t make sense. I mean, I think you’re right, I think you’re totally right on this line of thinking because yeah, you know just like I’m not going to try to push my house across the street, you know, that’s not gonna happen.  Sundae: Right, so let’s just play. Who would you be without the thought “I’m not going to get a job?”  Mandy: I don’t know that I understand that. Sundae: Okay, so if I had a magic wand where I could go into your brain and zap out the synapses that fire, zap out the synapses that allow you to think the thought “I’m not going to get a job.” If it was physically impossible for you to think that thought, who would you be without that thought? “I’m not going to get a job.”  Mandy: I would probably have the same level of motivation as I did when I graduated or when I completed my writer building as personal reference and I was like on top of the world. And oh my God, I did that in German and I was I was feeling some success.  Recently I’ve gained some weight of unknown cause and I think, so I was recently at an endocrinologist, I’ve been to the doctor, the regular doctor, the gynecologist and then they referred me to an endocrinologist. And this is despite going to the gym like six days a week. So I think that that, also like there’s like a feeling of being out of control with that, that maybe might be part of it as well. But when you don’t feel comfortable in your own body, and you also don’t have that like, working out an hour, hour and a half six days a week and doing things like cutting out alcohol and nothing. So I think that might be the timing I had, I hadn’t actually really put that together, but the timing could be part of it too.  Sundae: Yeah, well I just want to say I mean first of all I’ve been unemployed in Europe, I understand how hard that is. I’ve gone from graduating with honors, being paid more than any of my friends, to without a job. I understand how destabilizing that is for your identity and how you feel like the ground has been put out from under you, it can feel really out of control. And on top of that you’ve got this unknown weight gain, it adds to the feeling of loss of control, I get that, that’s hard, that’s really hard. So what the first thing I want to just stay here is, I want you to step back and see yourself, what you’re going through. I always talk about Olympic level challenges, you’re in year six of living abroad, people think that the longer you live abroad, the easier it gets, it can get harder. You’ve learned a language, you’ve gotten another certificate, you’ve done another training, you’re dealing with a marriage that is challenging, you are looking for work and you’re having this health issue.  I want you to just step back and see how strong you are for still carrying these things.  Mandy: Thanks, but I really never put together the weight gain and the lack of motivation, but I think that it could be that because that’s why I said to my doctor was like I feel like I’m out of control. Normally when you eat less and exercise more you lose weight, period end of story.  Sundae: Yeah, so you got a lot going on. Okay, so let’s just look at the thought, the thought just from, let’s step back on the meta level, the thought “I’m not going to get a job.” Creates emotion, like sadness and feelings of worthlessness. They create behaviors where you stop putting effort into your search and you start thinking about an exit strategy.  This might compound some health issues that you’re having and that leads to the impact of less motivation, fewer job applications, etc. This is that chain reaction.  Let’s just play for example, “I’m not going to get a job.” We’re going to do what’s called a turnaround. What’s the opposite of “I’m not going to get into any get a job?”  Mandy: I’m going to get a job. Sundae: Okay, so now again just play with me here. Give me two or three examples of “How I’m going to get a job.” Is as true or truer than the original thought “I’m not going to get a job.”  Mandy: So Germany’s unemployment is low. Sundae: Yeah, that’s a good example, tell me another example. Mandy: I’ve had interviews, I’m waiting for this dream job and an answer there. So I have had interviews for jobs and there are jobs out there that I’m qualified for. Sundae: Good, just go for it. Mandy: I guess it isn’t really realistic to think that I would be unemployed for the rest of my life. Sundae: Your amygdala, the fear center of your brain is trying to protect you and make you be safe. But when you step back from that you see that right? I’m hearing two things from you. It’s a matter of volume, like applying to the right jobs and it’s a matter of time. And I’m also hearing like with the strategies, if you’re applying the strategies that work in Germany, not just any strategy, it’s a matter of volume.  Mandy: Well, I refuse to put my picture on a resume I do, I know that’s bad. Sundae: Yeah in Germany you need to do what the Germans do. Mandy: Yeah, I actually had had an appointment with a photographer and then I canceled it, I probably should do that. Sundae: I’m hearing that underlying thing, coming from the US and being from HR and understanding what they ask you to do in Germany, I’m guessing that there’s an ethical resistance to what I asked you to do in Germany.  Mandy: I blacked out with a sharpie when I got electronic resumes with pictures I would print them, black out the picture with a sharpie and then physically hand it to the hiring manager. Sundae: So there’s two there’s two themes emerging, one is the thought “I’m not going to get a job.” Is creating a sense of worthlessness, sadness, exit strategies and less effort. If you believe the thought “I am going to get a job.” Which is true or as true, based on the low unemployment in Germany, the fact that you’ve had interviews, the fact that you’re qualified and that it just isn’t possible that you would be unemployed for the rest of your life if you’ve got a background. That there’s that dynamic, so I’m seeing that dynamic playing a role in your life.  So what I would suggest as homework, is that you go one step further and you look at the thought “I am going to get a job.” And you write down, you brainstorm ten pieces of evidence of how that is as true or truer. And what we’re doing is your fear center of your brain, the amygdala is sending out fear signals and it’s like we need to give it evidence to make it know that it’s safe.  Mandy: I like that, we did that in our intention setting. Sundae: Yeah, so that is that’s your assignment. I want you to do that because what I’m seeing is you’re believing a thought that is not as true as the one that’s going to serve you.  And then the other thing I’m seeing, just separate from this, from an intercultural perspective. I’m seeing a resistance to do it like they do it in Germany, and that might be slowing down this process for you. There’s probably lots of things that you’re doing that’s speeding up the process. This might be one thing that is slowing it down.  Mandy: Yeah, I don’t know if I can do that though.  Sundae: Yeah, that’s your choice. I’m just putting that out there,  there are things that I’ve had to do in Switzerland that don’t feel right by default. And part of Intercultural competence development is through the adaptation. So where are you willing to adapt so that you can get a result that is appropriate, satisfactory and effective.  So if I hear that you’re resisting the German way to apply for jobs, that might make you feel satisfied because you’re not putting the picture. It might not be effective for your goals. So how can you find a way that you can feel that you’re engaging in the interview process and the application process that is for both sides, not just one, also you. For both sides effective, appropriate and satisfactory, that’s the right cultural challenge.  So, I mean that’s another assignment I want you to think about, is look at the measure of Intercultural competence in the most basic form. Is it appropriate, satisfactory and effective? And just see when you go to your coach for the jobs and you get the advice from the experts in the local market, how can you tweak what you’re doing so for you and for them it’s appropriate, satisfactory and effective.  Mandy: I will do that. Sundae: Okay, so you’re invited to do that homework and then you send me an update in like a week and let me know what’s going on.  Mandy: I will do, I really appreciate your time, thank you so much. Sundae: Okay Mandy, you are welcome.  Before we go just give me quick feedback. What are you taking away from today’s session that wasn’t as clear as when we started. Mandy: I want to say the connection to my health, that was like a lightbulb moment. it’s the same thing like, you know applying to all these jobs and not getting results is very similar to going to the gym and not eating sweets and cutting out alcohol and not getting any results or getting a negative result.  I would say that, I hadn’t really thought about it from like a brain or like a physiological standpoint that you can retrain your brain if you consciously say, “I will get a job, I’m going to get a job.” You can reset those negative thoughts that you’re having.  Sundae: Exactly, so give it a go, let me know how it goes and if you want to you’re invited to send me an update in a week and let me know how it’s going.  So there you have it, there’s your sneak peak between the two of us and her journey, I know how hard that feels and I know the delight when you get on the other side. So I hope that you take away from this Insider’s view of our coaching session that you should be careful of your thoughts when you’re going through the challenge of finding a job abroad or any big endeavor, because you are just one thought away from persevering. You have been listening to Expat Happy Hour, thank you for listening.  I will leave you with the words of Bryant McGill, “Your future begins with your next thought.” Enjoy The Show? Don’t miss an episode, subscribe via iTunes or RSS. Leave us a review in iTunes (or here for Android). The post 150: Job Hunter Wasteland appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
The pandemic dropped romance into a pressure-cooker. Some couples are forced apart, while others are confined together. Both situations come with extraordinary challenges, so I’ve brought in reinforcements to help us stay sane and make it work. Long-distance relationships are tough, and rarely a permanent intention. Typically, the two people involved decide they’ll gut it out for a predetermined amount of time. They make this choice because they’re in love, and the momentary agony will be worth it once they reunite. Fast-forward to our current COVID-19 world, the option to just hop on a plane isn’t available, and the geographical divide has no end in sight. We first spoke with Christine Gerber Rutt back in episode 161, when she gave us a long-distance relationship survival guide. The plan always was to have her return for an encore. With so many couples separated temporarily but indefinitely by the pandemic, we need Christine’s expertise now more than ever.   An intuitive guide with a background in physiology and social work, Christine helps couples thrive individually and together while physically separated. This week, Christine shares key principles she uses to keep her own 20+ year long-distance relationship strong — and co-raise two kids — while extendedly apart.   It’s my pleasure to welcome Christine back to teach us her tried-and-tested four-pillar system to keep love alive through the distance. What You’ll Learn in this Episode: Why resistance causes pain Permitting yourself to sit in your discomfort Language tricks to get cooperation from your kids Establishing sustainable communication routines Thinking outside the box for physical touch    Listen to the Full Episode: Awful April is OVER. You can let this new month pass you by too, with nothing to show for it, or you can commemorate it as the time you said YES to giving yourself a better future. Sign up right here and start serving the globally mobile community right when they need you the most. This is your LAST CALL to join me and our superstar team of professionals for Expat Coach Coalition 2.0. Empower yourself now so that the best version of you comes out on the other side.   Featured on the Show: Thinking of joining the Expat Coach Coalition? Last chance to apply here. Episode 161: Long Distance Survival Guide with Christine Gerber Rutt Christine’s Instagram: ChristineGerberRutt Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC Facebook Group  – Expats on Purpose   We’re delighted by our nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts!   Subscribe: iTunes | Android Full Episode Transcript:  Download Transcript Hello, it is 6:00 am in New York, 1:00 pm in Johannesburg and 6:00 pm in Bangkok.  Welcome to Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. And I’m a solution oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.So I was on a social distancing walk with one of my good girlfriends in Switzerland. And she told me that she read that the divorce rate spiked in China as soon as they started loosening the lockdown. I heard her say it. I’ve heard so many other people say it around me, but I didn’t know if it was really true or if it was just like one of those things that you hear. That kids used to have to have their candy checked because there were people who put razor blades in their apples at Halloween time. So I thought I better check it out myself before I repeated the same story to someone else. And I went online and I took a look and the very first article I opened was from a pretty credible source, Bloomberg BusinessWeek. And the title is “China’s divorce spike is a warning to rest of lockdown world.” The article went on to share how as soon as the lockdown loosened that offices were filled with couples standing in line. Making the employees so busy that they didn’t even have time to drink water. And this is one of the reasons why I wanted to focus on love on lockdown.  If you are listening to this now, it’s during the COVID-19 crisis and things can be hard if you are locked down with those that should be closest to you and you’re finding strain in your relationship. It might be even harder if your love is literally locked down. In a sense that you’re stuck in one continent and they’re stuck on the other indefinitely.  So this is a two part series ‘Love on Lockdown with Expat Happy Hour.’ Part 1 we will focus on being separated temporarily due to the lockdown but indefinitely. And part 2 we’ll look at being locked down together and the impact on your relationship.  So stick around because I can’t think of anything more important than how this lockdown is affecting relationships.  By the way, if you’re listening to this later and it’s not the COVID crisis anymore. Stick around if you are in a long-distance relationship because this information is going to be highly relevant. And PS before I begin with part one. If you have applied for Expat Coach Coalition, we are in the final week of closing up applications. And if you haven’t heard back from me. Check your spam. Because I’ve responded to each and every person individually. And if you have met with me and you’re still sitting on your decision, get back to me because I would love to get the Expat Coach Coalition rolling for May 13th our first call.  Okay. Love on lockdown. Many people have been separated temporarily and indefinitely. Not only are you looking for new strategies to take care of yourself, get your groceries in the house, not go crazy and maybe even homeschool your kids. But you’re going to need to figure out how to do relationships from a distance.  And this is why I invited back our guest expert Christine Gerber Rutt from Episode 161.  Because she’s got such a wealth of experience. We already had part 2 in the works and we knew now was the right time. Christine Gerber Rutt is someone who’s experienced long-distance relationships for over two decades with the same man. And has raised her family successfully in these circumstances. Professionally she’s an intuitive guide. She’s also trained as a social worker. And has an emphasis in Psychology. And she also finds the time to be a writer, a workshop facilitator. She is what you call an oracle card reader and the creator of the card deck “Sincerely your Intuition.”  She’s amazing. One of the things you’ll find out is how deeply she believes in dumping self-judgment and shame and speaking our truth.  So today’s episode is building from our first time together. So if you haven’t listened to Episode 161 now is the time. Sundae: So thank you so much Christine for joining us again on Expat Happy Hour.  Christine: Oh I was so thrilled to be here. Thank you Sundae. Sundae: So first of all, for those of you who are listening to this and have not yet heard Episode 161, Long-distance Survival Guide. It’s like a prerequisite. It is so good. And I was actually just listening to it again this morning. Not as the someone who runs a podcast but as a listener like “Yeah. Oh, that’s good.” So thank you Christine. It’s such a valuable episode and I’m so grateful you agreed to come back again.  Christine: Oh, I’m so happy about this. I can’t wait.  Sundae: So before we dive into the pragmatics. Christine and I agreed that part two from our first episode would be more on the pragmatic side for navigating long-distance relationships. And before we do that Christine, let’s just touch base. Where are you in terms of your own relationship? Are you still doing long-distance or are you guys together?  Christine: We are currently doing long-distance. I’m based in Switzerland with our two children. They’re 14 and 19. And my husband is in Qatar. And he’s been there since July. We did see him for two weeks over Christmas. And we are now looking at very probably about another year before we get to see each other.  Sundae: Wow. I can’t believe you just said another year. Christine: Yes. Welcome to the new world,  Sundae: You know, it’s so crazy because both of us have done long-distance relationships for various periods of time. And one of the things that’s always been a consolation for long-distance families, is you can hop on a flight and see each other for example. And this is what’s different about the COVID-19 pandemic is that we just don’t don’t have that luxury anymore.  Christine: Absolutely and the longest I’d ever done it before with seven months. Which was a significant period of time and really challenging. But as you know, it’s one of these things of acceptance. I mean, of course we talked about all of that in our previous podcast. But I think maybe touching on it very briefly now is this mindset of we don’t know. And actually we never do know and we never did know. It’s just kind of we think we knew but things can always change. Things are always changing and now it’s just visible.  Sundae: You’re already blowing me away, Christine.  Christine: I’m sorry. Can we just jump right into this conversation.  Sundae: But you’re right. We’re always under this illusion of knowing.  Christine: And I find the really massive thing is this acceptance of the current reality continuously. I mean change and transformation is always constantly happening all the time. And you can see it when you move to a new country, you see it when you have a baby and you see the children grow. This is actually our lives. That’s how it’s meant to be and resistance causes a lot of pain. So that’s why it’s really great when today we could talk about “Right we have these long-distance relationships now, what do you do with them? Let’s accept it. We got it. How do you deal with it?” Sundae: Right but I mean we need to pause on that, that resistance causes a lot of pain. That’s when we deny, what is the definition of suffering? I think Dali Lama is probably the one who’s leading on that thought. It’s when we are saying “Well if he had taken that last flight, if the company would have approved that.” Etc. We’re living in resistance.  Christine: I also want to acknowledge here. And this is something that so far too few people are talking about and it must be talked about. Yes, resistance causes pain, but the resistance to the experience of pain also causes pain. So let me explain. If you are feeling sad, feel sad. If you are feeling frustrated, be frustrated. If you’re feeling happy, be happy. Feel your feelings. Let them feel and move out of your body. Sundae: I call it: sitting in it, like trying to sit in it. But we’re taught that we shouldn’t. There’s this culture of this happy culture. Everybody has to be happy and productive. And if you’re not happy and productive there’s something wrong with you.  Christine: Yeah. Well, this is the old way that has gotten us to where we are. And you can continue to do that if you choose but do know it’s a choice. But there is another way and you can choose it. And there are people that are choosing it.  So I would highly recommend the other way. I mean, it’s challenging because you do have to feel your feelings. I mean right now everyone is having feelings and everyone is having opinions about everyone else’s feelings. And there’s opinions about the opinions. And it’s really like shut out the noise, get back to yourself.  I mean, this is why I like intuition so much because you can shut out the noise. You can say, “Wait a minute. How do I actually feel right now? What do I need to do right now?” For me the biggest thing that’s coming out of all of this is self-responsibility. I am responsible for myself. And this is actually, I mean astrology talks about this a lot. We’ve been in the age of Capricorn and now we’re moving into the age of Aquarius. This is an astrological thing. I mean people probably are aware of their sun sign and all of this. But we’re talking about this from a much bigger perspective. But you can see it here or in reality. Governments are changing, social structures are changing, school structures are changing, work structures are changing. We’ve had five years of change in five weeks. And this is no joke. Sundae: Right. No joke. And I feel like this is kind of a different subject, but I feel like expats are perfectly poised because we’ve seen transformation and change and transition all of our lives. And we’re also the hardest-hit because we’re so defined by our mobility.  Christine: Yeah, absolutely. And I believe that expats are in a really beautiful space to be able to show up and share what they’ve learned with other people. Because other people who are not used to this they’re like, “Whoa, what just hit me? I’ve separated from people.” And expats are like, “Welcome to the club. We’ve been here.”  Sundae: It’s almost like you’re bitter. You’re like, “Guys, Zoom has existed for many years. We could have Facetimed five years ago.” Christine: Exactly, exactly. It’s like so now it’s a great time. It would be so easy to be so bitter and resentful to your people who have resisted your change for so long. And it would be so easy to say, “See I told you so.” It would be so easy to go into that. But if we want to really create a new society we’re going to have to do it from love. Well we don’t have to, we have a choice. Again, I prefer to do it from love. So how in this situation could you spread love? It’s like, “Hey, I have a really great way we could communicate.” Leave your bitter sarcasm for your other expat friends so you can  vent. Because get it out. You know, I’m all about moving stuff out or dance to get it out dance all of your frustration get it out. Whatever. Expats know how to do this. Sundae: So in the last episode you talked about choosing love not fear. And now you’re talking about choosing love instead of resentment. So it’s always been, I mean who doesn’t love. It is such a beautiful pure emotion. It’s like if we have the choice, it’s so nice. But it’s so hard to go toward we have to let go of all the other stuff. Christine: I mean and again this love. Love is so misunderstood. And if you haven’t listened to the first episode go back and listen to it. Because I’m going to repeat myself ad nauseam. Love is misunderstood. Go back to the first episode to hear why. Let’s leave it at that. Sundae: I mean, I’m already, my brain is already scrambled and I love it. So here’s the thing. We’re talking about long-distance. You were in a situation with long-distance. You made the choice to continue long-distance. This one year is a time that we have to wrap our brains around. Our personal situation is actually the opposite where we didn’t expect to be together. But because of the shutdown we are together and we should be long-distance. This is an interesting dichotomy that’s happening.  Let’s think about the people who are now in their long-distance relationship. They’re dealing with their resistance around whether or not this is a good thing. They are hungry to make the most of it. Because they actually frankly don’t have a choice. Like it’s happening.  So based on your experience. You’ve had so many years to test this. What can you pass on to those who are finding themselves in longer distance relationships they never anticipated or for the first time?  Christine: Well, my experience comes from multiple long-distance relationships through various periods of my life. So from over a span of 20 years.  Sundae: With the same partner who is your husband? Christine: So I think that’s important to qualify where I’m coming from and what worked for me. You figure out what works for you. I can just share my experience and hope that you find something that helps.  What I’ve discovered is that there’s really almost like four pillars of a really solid long-distance relationship. It’s kind of like the legs of a table. One of the legs can go out and you could probably still keep the table up if you prop something. So these are like the four. Try to keep three of these really solid. Maybe it’s easy if I just tell you what I see those four are and then we can go into really pragmatic details of how to actually do that. Might be easiest for people.  First of all the mindset, the beliefs, that’s all in the last episode. That’s the foundation, that’s like the floor this thing is set on. If you don’t have that, there’s no point building a table because you’re really going to have some problems. Go back to the beliefs and mindset. One pillar is for the person who has, especially if you have children, which has been my experience, arrange your daily life in a way that suits you and the people around you and your environment. I do not worry about my long-distance partner, when I am organizing my daily life. Sundae: That’s interesting. I was expecting you to say the opposite when you started your sentence.  Christine: Everyone does it differently. The reason I did this the way I do it was because it’s in alignment with me. That goes back to your beliefs and mindset. This is why that one is so vital. Sundae: Because you can’t set up a daily life that doesn’t fit the foundation of what you need. Christine: I am holding our family together, and I know that. I have had to step into that. It’s very uncomfortable for me to say that publicly. And I told you I never have before. But I know I am holding our family together. If my daily life does not support me and nourish me the table is crushed. It’s gone. I need to do it so that it works for me. And I trust. So that’s the self-responsibility piece. The second piece is trust. I trust that my partner, my husband is doing the same for himself. He needs this also touches back on something we talked about in the last episode towards the very end where I think I exploded your brain. So it’s like this. Trust your partner that he could take care of himself or she whatever it is.  So four pillars. Arrange your daily life in a way that suits you.  The second one is to standardize your communication with your partner. That will have a lot of details to go into as well.  Third pillar is. Ask for support and receive it.  And the fourth one is physical touch. You’re going to have to think outside the box on this.  So those are the four pillars. Sundae: Okay. So let me just back up here. One our mindset and getting clear on what our needs are as the foundation, the floor. The first leg is around daily life and making sure that the daily life suits you, the people around you, the little people that you’re probably taking care of and the environment. Trusting and relying on self-accountability for your partner to do the same.  Those are the four pillars. It starts with daily life.  What else? I’m going to be a little systematic here. What else do we need to think about when we’re thinking about daily life?  Christine: For me, it goes back to this acceptance of the reality that we’re in right now. So whether we’re talking about during the COVID pandemic or whether we’re talking about after we’ve moved on to other other issues. It really is acceptance of what life is right now. So when my kids were really small we had a separation where the youngest was four years old and the oldest was 9 years old. So we’re talking about really small kids. You’re talking about a completely different type of situation. Right now. My oldest is 19. So I’m in a significantly different situation.  So for the nine year old. First thing I did was realized bedtimes are really problematic. I was going to say something else but decided you don’t need to censor this. So I said to myself so you don’t have to. So I took all of the mattresses and put them in one room. And that was the best thing I ever did. The kids still remember that. The time we all slept in one room. They were all on the floor. We all just slept in one room. And now it’s the exact opposite. I made sure each of us have our own room and I live in a small apartment. We have a three-room apartment. That’s room not bedroom, room. And there’s three of us that live here. So we made sure each of us have our own space so we can go and be alone. And this is of course very important for daily life. So this is how you could arrange your together time and alone time? So depending on the age of your kids and who you’re living within your space possibilities changes that. So find out what works for you. Sundae: I’m going to chime in here because when I first had to solo parent unexpectedly in 2016, my son just turned 4. And I think so we’re talking about the same sort of small people situation. What I’ve noticed around my clients who have small people in their lives, that their demands are so high it’s as if they’re not even allowing themselves to think about their own needs. It’s because it’s like a tidal wave of demands from little people. And in terms of day life one of the things that I worked really hard on in the beginning was teaching them, “You have your needs and I’m going to do this to meet that need. And now we need to be on the same team and help Mama get her needs.” So it would be like, “You guys need to go outside to move. So I’m going to go onto the soccer field with you. But keep in mind at eight o’clock you’re going to have quiet time in your room because then Mama needs quiet.” Like being really transparent with your kids, even when they’re four, they get it.  Christine: Absolutely agree. I mean we’re teaching our kids how to do by example. If we give them everything they’re going to think that’s what we do. I’m not the handmaiden to my children. Even when my daughters were how old? I think it was like one and a half when I started this, so they were really super young. I would tell them I would take daily coffee breaks. And I’ve had clients also do this as well and have said it’s miraculous. I would have a daily coffee break and I would use language that my child could understand. “When the coffee cup is in my hand. You’re not allowed to walk into this room and talk to me. As long as the cup is in my hand. I’m taking a coffee break.” And I started by doing it for 1 minute and eventually worked up to I think it was an hour.  Again, age-appropriate all of these things as well. But you can start with really small things. You can also do this with a timer. Again trust that your child can take care of  themselves. You do not have to give everything to your child. Start small and build it out.  Also, I am responsible. Again self-responsibility. I am responsible for getting my needs met. No one else. I need to do that. I am responsible. So how do I do that? Sundae: Totally and I think our kids are, we underestimate how much capacity our kids have. One of the things that I do is if I’ve had a busy day or I haven’t had enough space in between my work and my family life. I found language that works for us. I’ll tell them that grumpy van is about 10 kilometers outside of town. I’m like, “Grumpy van is circling in, it’s getting close to town you guys. Can you please, before I get grumpy, can you please help me out here?” You know, like keep it down or participate or whatever it is. And I’m like, “Oh you guys grumpy vans like three miles out of town.” And then I will be upstairs and they should be brushing their teeth and they’re not and then I’ll be upset about something and then my son will go, “Mom, I think grumpy van is in town.”  Christine” But that’s a beautiful way of also introducing humor to the situation while being really clear. Sundae: I just take myself so seriously all the time. Like come on I needed to find another way.  Christine: Yeah, I think we need to lighten up a lot. I mean I found with older children. So I have 14 and 19, well, almost 15 and 20 year old. So I’m on the other spectrum now, I had to with the current situation, make a decision about bedtimes. And I decided, and this will not work for everyone, I totally have decided to let them self-regulate their entire day. The only thing that is, I wouldn’t say expected, is there’s a lot of things. but the family thing that is expected, is we all eat dinner together. This is the time we have dinner, you’re all there. Self-regulate, you go to bed when you need to go to bed. You’re old enough to know to brush your teeth. You’re old enough to get your own food and between you all are old enough to figure out your own lives. If you need help, I’m here.   But actually, this is a beautiful opportunity for them to recognize how much sleep they need. How much time they have to set aside for studying. How are they going to make sure they get on their online classes at the right time and how can they make sure they get food? And it’s amazing to watch how they do it. My youngest daughter is staying awake usually until about 4:00 in the morning. That’s early for her. So usually like about 5, she’ll kind of go to bed and then sleep all day. And then she’ll get up and she’ll do her thing and she loves it. She’s thriving.  Sundae: Yeah. Well why not actually she doesn’t have to be physically somewhere anytime.  Christine: But I had to get over this idea of what should be done.  Sundae: So daily life. There’s so much we could talk about and I want to make sure we have time for the other three pillars and I know they overlap. All of these are intertwined. Tell me more about them. I want to hear more about your second one which is about standardizing your communication. Christine: I’m all for going with the flow, very much so. But this is one where I found that it was really helpful to be really clear what time of day we’re going to call and how. So for us that means very practically that we call, we have dinner together.  Sundae: The whole family has dinner? Christine: Yeah, so he’s on, what are we? I think the thing we’re using now is Facetime. It changes depending on what year and century we are in. But right now it’s FaceTime. And I got a tripod. And that was another thing that was really helpful to get to put my phone on so he can just be at the end of the table. I put him on a little stepladder and he’s at the end of the table with us.  Sundae: So it’s something like predictability. You know you’re going to have that one touch point that day. You’re doing something together.  Christine: And sometimes we talk for five minutes and sometimes we end up talking for two three hours. So we don’t regulate the length, just the, “Hey, how’s it going? You know what? I don’t really feel like talking today. Do you need to talk? If you do I have the capacity for that, but I don’t have the capacity.” The other thing that I think is important in these calls, is again going back to that love. Like love yourself and don’t try to hide your emotions. Like love your fear. Love your hate. Love your bitterness. Love your joy. Love whatever is coming out and show it and express it. Don’t try to hide your feelings. Feel your feelings and let the other person feel their feelings without you having to feel like, we just had it recently. I was having a fabulous day and he was having a horrible day. And so it’s like I had to let myself have my fabulous day and share that with him not try to hold it back and let him have his horrible day and share that and not hold it back and let us both be in whatever we were in without trying to take on someone else’s burden or without trying to change someone else or the situation. Just let it be. So that I think is really pivotal for all conversations. Even outside of this. Sundae: And I just want people to pause right now and scroll back 30 seconds, 60 seconds. Because I think that’s something most people do and they don’t realize that they’re doing it. They are monitoring their feelings and hiding them or masking them for the comfort of other people.  Christine: Yes, and that is a train wreck waiting to happen. Sundae: Right, to say it lightly.  Christine: The other thing that I’d really like to say here that is super key and important, is when the other person is feeling bad. Really if you want the train wreck to happen immediately. Try to change their mood. Like if someone’s feeling bad, if someone’s feeling sad, do not try to go into rationalizing, do not try to go into pep-talk. If you try to change this, I am sorry I could go on for a really long time about this. I used to have depression quite severely and whenever I would tell someone I was doing bad, they would try to tell me all the good things in my life. And there were a lot of expletives that came out of my mouth. I don’t care. And again, feel what you feel right and let other people do the same.  Sundae: Oh my gosh, can you imagine. Like this is my challenge for everybody who’s listening. What would your week look like if you just allow yourself that space to feel your feelings? Like what would that week look differently? I just think that’s massive. So take that on if you’re interested in that. Like what if your entire family gave each other permission to feel their feelings and give space for other people? I think it would be transformative. Christine: It will be transformative. Let’s put a parentheses around this before people who have never done this before. It’s uncomfortable. Like both the good and the bad feelings. It’s uncomfortable, if you really let him feel them. So give yourself some gentleness around this. Be gentle with yourself. And the other thing I’ve learned about feeling your feelings is feel them and also allow them to move and to release and to go. Movement is the best way to do this. Sundae: That’s why I run every day. I have to run every day because it’s like if I didn’t they would get stuck in my body somewhere. This is why I’m watching on Facebook and watching my clients, watching myself and just looking at what’s going on. And I see this, like wine sales must have skyrocketed. People are masking their feelings or they’re running from their feelings, you know by going to coping strategies like Netflix or alcohol. And I’m not judging that at all. Because people have got to do what they’ve got to do. And I’m not going to weigh in on that at all, but it’s interesting to watch. I’ve watched people in my life who have gone completely sober in their transformation. They’ve said how they noticed how it was actively trying to run away from how they felt. And they had to sit their feelings. So this is kind of a side note, but I feel like it’s relevant because I’m watching that go on on such a global scale right now.  Christine: And I think it’s a really important point to notice what you’re doing for coping mechanisms. Whether it’s drinking whether it’s Netflix, whether it’s napping, whether it’s texting, whether it’s working. What are you doing to escape your feelings rather than to feel your feelings in order to release your feelings? Sundae: Yep, totally. So movement. Absolutely. So what I’m hearing from you is if you’re going to take the move and really sit in your feelings then a way to deal with the discomfort and healthy way is movement. We’ve talked about dances. I mean, this is, I always recommend a five o’clock dance party for people who need to. Or if you can physically, run or walk or whatever you’re doing in your area.  I wanted to share something really pragmatic about the communication strategy. You talked about dinnertime. One thing that we did in our family was my husband was responsible for bedtime. And you might be asking how do they do that from a distance? He would read a story on his phone and my son would have that same story on the iPad and they’d page through together. So that’s a little tip for people who want to have their partner as an anchor in their kids’ lives. And one part of the day, you can get creative and read stories and do bedtime. So I guess what I’m saying is you found a creative way to do it. You guys do dinner. We did bedtime. So I’m challenging everybody who’s listening. What is that one creative thing that you’ll do? Maybe you’re going to walk together and bring the phone along and you’ll be walking all the same time and talking and sharing the view or whatever that is. I think it’s worth it.  Christine: I love that. I love that thing. I think it’s really important that the partner that’s away from the children has time with the children alone without the other partner being around. So I do that by, now with the children being older, I do that by introducing a topic of conversation. Because sometimes he just doesn’t know what to talk to them about. You know, they’re teenagers. They’re not as communicative at this point as four year olds may be. So I will introduce a topic of conversations like “Oh, did you tell him about the email that the teacher sent about what’s coming up for school?” And she’ll be like, “Oh no I didn’t.” And I’ll excuse myself to go get a glass of water and let them talk. Sundae: And for me, it was a break. I was like, okay I’m going to go empty the dishwasher while he’s doing that. Like it was just also a pragmatic break for me. I called it, this is my thing right now, I call it #Momspa. Especially as we have no space. I’ll do the laundry and listen to music or I’ll go do the dishes and have a glass of wine or whatever. That’s my #Momspa. Create a mom spa if you’re the one who’s taking care of the kids and the other parent is gone. Or Dad Spa. Whatever has happened in your family.  Let’s look at this idea of asking and receiving support before we go on to the one that’s the most confusing which is touch. Especially when it comes to physical distance. So what about asking/receiving support as your third pillar?  Christine: So this one really is about just really asking for that pragmatic support. So for you it would have been, “Hey, can you read a story to the kids at bedtime?” For me? It’s like “We’ve got a birthday coming up and we thought you were going to be here for the birthday. But oh look flights are canceled. So can you now research and order a birthday gift and have it sent here for her?” It could be something like, “Can we schedule two hours to fill out the tax forms together?” It could be something like, “Hey, could you call your mom? She’s driving me nuts and I don’t want to talk to her anymore. Can you deal with that? Let her know that we’re okay.” Or whatever. This actually didn’t happen to me. But I know this happens to other people. It’s like what do you need from your partner that you can ask for? Sundae: I think it’s interesting because most people wouldn’t even think about it because they’re not there. So it’s like, “Well, he’s not here. He can’t help me with the taxes.” You know what I mean like that sort of frustration. But actually why not like, “Let’s hop on the phone for two hours and do this.”  Christine: Well, it’s so much easier sometimes to do it yourself. But if you’re talking about a long-term separation. And let’s be honest we never know how long it’s going to be. Why not say, “What can I delegate?” Be the boss of your life. Like, “What am I doing that actually is really draining that I could ask him to do?” So there’s some bank things where I’m like, “Listen, I know you have access to our online account. These things need to be done. Could you just do it? I know I could but I would really appreciate if you could do it.” And another huge part of it is to receive that support.  So every once in a while he’ll, it was so funny, so before all of his COVID stuff started he sent us a surprise package in the mail. He didn’t tell us it was coming. Just all of a sudden there was a package there for my daughters. And ironically enough it was just a joke gift of toilet paper. This was before COVID. One had toilet paper with like unicorns on it and the other had paper money. And of course, it wasn’t more than one month later where we were like, “Thank you for the toilet paper we can use that now.” But it’s like these little touches. Sundae: And I think it also, one might be asking, “Why is one partner asking for help and the other one isn’t? I’m thinking about it from the one who’s solo parenting. There’s a disproportionate amount of parenting being done by the one who was physically with them. So it’s a way to create a little bit of balance and lift the weight a little bit for the one who has the solo parenting role. And it’s also for the other person a way to contribute and be participative in the family still despite the distance.  So now we got to get to this last one. This one’s gonna be interesting. So the fourth pillar is touch. And when we’re talking about a romantic relationship, families, couples who are long-distance. This could be an interesting topic. Christine: You have no idea what’s going to come out of my mouth right now. You’re just kind of like, “Oh my God, where are we gonna go with it?” I love it.  Sundae: I am putting my hands open and surrender to whatever comes.  Christine: You’re like we could always edit it out if we need to. This one is so important and it’s so little talked about. It’s kind of like one of those. “Let’s whisper it in secret.” But the truth is, we know this from psychological and scientific studies, humans need physical touch. The problem comes when we rely on, most people do this, that most people rely on one single person to fill our very human need for touch. And I believe another really huge challenge of this is that touch has become sexualized. But it’s not actually.  So I would encourage people to, again that’s the belief in mindset thing that’s really specific for this. What are your beliefs in mindset around touch? Because you’re going to be confronted with that when you have a long-distance  relationship.  So really go back and look at your mindsets and beliefs around this, and you have to be in integrity with yourself. And do understand that touch could come in so many different healthy forms. The other thing is when we’re talking about human needs. I mean we see this from psychology. All humans have some really basic human needs. If you want to go back to Maslow’s pyramid, that’s a classic of what the needs are. This is one of them. And as we know with needs from psychology, a need will get met one way or another.  It’s going to get me. It’s going to be positive or it’s going to be negative. You’re either going to sabotage yourself or you are going to nourish yourself.  Sundae: A need will get met one way or the other.  Christine: Always. Tony Robbins actually also has some good material on this as well. I can’t remember, he talks about needs as well. I can’t remember the exact terminology. I didn’t think we were going to go here or I would have it ready. But that would be something else to look into because he has a slightly different angle on it. But it really is, “Hey make some choices about how you’re getting your needs met.”  So when we’re talking about physical touch, let’s talk really pragmatically. First of all, we’re talking touch. We’re not talking sexuality. We’re separating these two for this part of the conversation. Put lotion on your body, like touch your own body and feel, actually feel your fingers on your skin. You could do it right now. Take your fingers and put it on your arm. Just feel, can you feel the hair on your skin? Just feel that. Some people actually do this for the first time and feel like an electric jolt because they’re so unnaccustomed to paying attention to their own touch. It’s even when you touch your fingertips to your fingertips, if you really focus on that contact, it changes your perception of reality. Sundae: And I can imagine where my mind is going, is if you’re touch-deprived you can easily go from touch as a human need to a sexual need. Like it can quickly jump to another category.  Christine: And sexuality and your sexual needs are a completely different category. These are not even the same category. So I know that in and of itself just separating those two for many people is just going to be a challenge.  Sundae: I’m laughing because I did a social distance walk with one of my best friends. We haven’t seen each other in a long time and we promised that we wouldn’t hug for the Integrity of social distancing. And when we saw each other I was like I just need to hug myself right now because I wanted to hug her so bad when we were walking down the street and I must have looked so funny that I was like giving myself like this big pretend hug because I couldn’t hug her and I wanted to so bad. Christine: Sundae, that’s how I fall asleep every night. I’ll be honest. I didn’t realize I was doing this but I realized, it was a few weeks ago, I realized all of a sudden that when I’m falling asleep I’ve actually got my arms wrapped around myself. Like, “Whoa, this is actually quite nice.” But it makes a difference if you’re putting your attention and your focus on it. So all through the day we’re touching, you rub your hands to wash them, you have physical contact with yourself throughout the day. But it’s paying attention to it. And this physical contact can of course become sexual. And I would highly advise that it does with yourself. This is a really important aspect of our beings and it’s important for it to be met. Because again a need will get met one way or another.  So right now we have the COVID situation. So let’s just stick with the sensual, the physical touch, not the sexual one. So after the COVID situation is over or before it happened, I actually had a friend where we would arrange just to meet to hug. That was it. And we would just for two hours, we would just hug. And sometimes we would talk and sometimes we wouldn’t but that’s it. And it was a man, so it was highly unconventional. But my partner was okay with it and he was okay with it. I think he had a girlfriend at the time and she was okay. Like everyone was cool with it.  Sundae: Yeah just spooning.  Christine: And there’s nothing sexual about it. So to get to that level of acceptance and neutrality is a really beautiful place. Sundae: You’re going to have so many people up in arms right now, Christine. There’s so many people who are listening right now who are going, “Nope, that’s going to lead to danger,  you can’t be doing that. You can’t be doing that.” Christine: Then you should not be doing it. Sundae: Then you should not be doing it.  Christine: Yeah, do not do anything out of integrity. I would never do anything that jeopardizes my marriage. And that’s why I want to say it was okay with everyone. It was not a secret. I mean, I would not be talking about it on a podcast if it was. It was in full integrity. That’s why I’m saying do what works for you. But do know that for some of you I’m sure you’ve never even thought this was a possibility. Can now say, “I wonder if?” Or what is possible that you didn’t think was possible.  For example now with COVID you’re not allowed to get that close to people’s faces. But we could actually touch feet. We could actually meet on the lawn and put our bare feet against each other. I actually did this yesterday and it was so beautiful. Sundae: Well, I’m sorry to interrupt you. I think what’s so beautiful about this is that we have this opportunity to do things so differently. We as humans are navigating, how do we get our needs met for connection, support, for touch, for all of these things, for communication in our daily life. All of the pillars you’ve mentioned is the bigger picture of what we’re trying to do globally. How do we meet our needs in new ways?  And I love that. I mean, I can’t say that I love it because people are suffering and there’s all these other things that are really hard about it. And a beautiful part that is coming out of this as a result I think is that we’re discovering completely new ways.  Christine: And I think that it’s so important to hold both the beauty and the brutality in both hands at the same time. Because that is life. And once you start to be able to do that, hold seemingly contradicting emotions and feelings, it’s revolutionary. Sundae: Yeah, totally. Beauty and brutality at the same time. So there’s a part of me that is really prudish and doesn’t want to talk about this. There’s another part of me that’s like really hard to talk about. But what about the sexual aspect? So you’re a partner, you have that in your relationship and now suddenly you’re apart from each other. What advice do you give to people who are in a long-distance relationship and are not able to be sexually intimate with each other anymore.  Christine: There are so many ways of doing this. And again each person really has to be in Integrity with themselves and their partner and make decisions together. Like this is really something you need to talk about. So I’ve heard the whole range of options. Because people tell me things. People tell me all the things, and I’m like, “Yes tell me more.”  So really find out what works for you. And there’s a whole range of things. I’ve heard of people sexting. So you send text messages that are sexy. I’ve heard people who do, and I’m not going to tell you what my personal practices are in this area because this is an area that’s private that my husband and I have discussed together and said this is not public information. So I am now going into generalities on purpose. Some of this is my experience and some of this is from all of the people, hundreds of people I have talked to over the past 20 years. So it’s these things. Like I’ve heard of people doing online sex where it’s like self-masturbation together. Like each of you are masturbating with video. I’ve heard of people doing recording like stripteases and sending it to their partners. Parentheses around that, any sexual activity online is on online. Sundae: Oh my God my head is just dying right now.  Christine: Another parentheses / exclamation point. Any recordings should probably not be sent to a cloud if the family has access to the cloud.  Sundae: My cheeks are red right now. I’m just dying for everybody who’s been in that situation or people who are so brave to do that. Christine: Thank you to all of the people who have shared their stories with me so that the rest of us. Every time a girlfriend tells me something they’ve done that’s turned out to be a disaster. I always put my hand to my heart and I say “I am so glad you had such a fucked-up experience so I don’t have to, thank you.” It’s like I genuinely am grateful.  But no matter what you do, find ways to give appreciation to your partner. You can be talking on Zoom or whatever it your thing is and you can say, “You looking really good today.” Like appreciate the physical aspects of your partner. Remind them that like, “I like the way you have your hair today.” Sundae: Like I still see you in this way.  That’s nice. I still see you. So because of time I’m going to have to rope us in. And probably because I’m such a prude this makes me uncomfortable. Christine: Can I just add a note? Yes, it makes people uncomfortable to do this. So do it in a way that works for you and your partner. Sundae: And the one thing I’m gonna put out there is have this conversation and make the decision together sounds like really wise advice around that. So we have talked about the four pillars of a long-distance relationship that people can think about no matter what’s going on in the world. But especially now for the COVID-19 people were unprepared for this at all or unprepared for the extent of it. I really really want to emphasize to everyone who’s listening how important these four pillars are that Christine has identified. Because relationships are hard enough. And then when you add the distance it can be even more challenging. We need to be close and have our own autonomy at the same time. So, how can you create closeness when you have all of that autonomy?  So Christine, thank you so much for being here again on Expat Happy Hour.  If you want to follow Christine, she’s on Instagram at Christine Gerber Rutt. I’ll put that in the show notes. She’s doing these great Instagram stories right now in a series on learning the language of your intuition, which will help you guide yourself during this challenging situation whether you’re living long-distance or not. This is a compass that will be priceless for you.  So, thank you again Christine for joining us.  Christine: It’s been my pleasure. Thank you so much. So there you have it Christine and I dove into four pillars of a successful long-distance relationship. Looking at daily life. Setting up the schedule for you, your people and your environment. Asking, receiving support. Having standardized communication. And recognizing the importance of touch. There’s so many things I’m taking away from today’s episode. But I think the things that will stick with me the most is going back to this idea of how resistance causes us a lot of pain. So really embracing what is if flights are blocked, they’re blocked.  The other thing I think is really important when we go on the big picture level, is our ability to sit in the discomfort. When sort of quote unquote regular life is going on we can escape into our hobbies, into nights out with friends, into our work environment, whatever it is. But when we’re locked down at home there’s really no escape. So learning how to sit there. Christine offers not the old way but a new way. A new way that’s founded in self-responsibility and trusting yourself and others to make choices that are in alignment with their integrity. So this is important. Love on lockdown. This is part one. Get ready for part 2 coming up next week where we look at how to nurture relationships when you’re feeling like you have no space. And what I think about it, maintaining connection with people who are right next to you and you might be struggling. Or maintaining contact with people who are far away can get tough. And that’s exactly what my work has been all about. And that’s exactly what I teach in Expat Coach Coalition. So if you are someone who serves or would like to serve expats. This is my last call to consider Expat Coach Coalition. Because we’re getting started early on in mid-May and I’d love you to be a part of it. You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Bean. Thank you for listening.  I’ll leave you with the words from Esther Perel, author of mating in captivity: “Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy. Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness.” Enjoy The Show? Don’t miss an episode, subscribe via iTunes or RSS. Please leave us a review in iTunes (or here for Android). The post 174: Love on Lockdown – Part 1 with Christine Gerber Rutt appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
At perhaps the best time in history to be a woman — fearless, bold, limitless in our capabilities, and unapologetic in our empowered femininity — why are we still so embarrassed to age? Menopause happens. It’s natural, inevitable, and universal. It’s not as if you can blink and miss it. If you consider the peri-and-post symptomatic phases, the average woman can spend a dozen+ years affected by “the change.”  And if you’re an expat woman who’s going through menopause, you could be experiencing transition in triplicate. Then, you can misconstrue your feelings, think you’re in the “wrong place,” and make a big mistake. Even though menopause is something that every middle-aged woman will go through, we continue to cower about it. (Instead of initiating conversations that focus on facts rather than stereotypes.) This week, we’re not just making peace with menopause, we’re celebrating it. It’s my pleasure to welcome Jane Ordaz, founder of The Menopausal Expat. A trailblazer for destigmatizing this taboo, Jane’s a subject matter expert on going through menopause while living a globally mobile life.  What You’ll Learn in this Episode: How to prepare now for old age Why hormones can influence everything Balanced nutrition & natural solutions Gaining awareness through journaling Choosing to suffer less Listen to the Full Episode: Want exclusive access to no holds barred discussions with experts like Jane? They happen in Expats on Purpose ALL.THE.TIME. It’s where you’ll get private invites to participate in global challenges, hot topic workshops, and daily love from Sundae. All 100% online and 100% FREE. Bring a friend and join the fun today. Featured on the Show: Channels to reach Jane Ordaz Facebook:  The Menopausal Expat Website: The Menopausal Expat  Jane’s Expat Happy Hour Training Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC Sundae’s Facebook Group  – Expats on Purpose   We’re delighted by our nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts! Subscribe: iTunes | Android Full Episode Transcript: Download Transcript Hello, it is 10:00 am in New York, 4:00 pm in Johannesburg and 9:00 pm in Bangkok.  Welcome to Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. And I’m a solution oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.And I really mean it when say any life transition. The transition we’re going to talk about today is one that most people think lasts only one year. But actually it can last more like 12 or 13. You guessed it. We’re going to pause to talk about the transition of menopause. You might be asking yourself “Sundae what the heck does this have to do with expat life?” You will find out it actually has a lot. Sundae: And it is my absolute pleasure to welcome our special guest Jane Ordaz the founder of The Menopausal Expat. Jane, welcome to Expat Happy Hour.  Jane: Thank you so much Sundae.  Sundae: So here’s the thing. I’m going to brag about Jane a little bit and tell you more about her. She is the founder of The Menopausal Expat and her purpose is to create a rebellion. To stop the silence. to make it easy to say “I am menopausal.” As if you’re saying “I’m asthmatic.” Because so many in the globally mobile population will go through it at some point or they’ll be partnered with someone who is and we just don’t talk about it. And the part of the purpose about Jane’s work is to change that.   So Jane, thank you so much for adding a voice to something that feels so taboo. Jane: Yes and hopefully doing things like this can stop it from being so taboo. For example when I put the idea out to some friends, “So I’m going to start this business and I’m going to call myself The Menopausal Expat.” I got “Why would you do that?” And someone else said “Do you think that’s a good idea? Do you think people really want to be associated with that word?” And so I had a little bit of hesitancy for like 20 seconds and then I thought, “No I’m going to be loud and proud and call myself The Menopausal Expat because I know that I’m not alone in this.” Sundae: Well in the thing is, you know, Jane I work with a lot of people who are going through transition.  They’re looking for purpose and meaning and they’re feeling stuck. And because the women that I work with are often, you know, 40s, maybe right on the cusp of 50 or a little bit older. They’ll be going through menopause and not even name it. And there’s this shame around, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I gaining weight? Why am I forgetful? Why am I no longer happy with my expat life? Why am I upset and my partner?” There’s a lot of shame going on and I’ve noticed in my coaching that it does impact their transition.  So it’s like we’re in a life transition. Maybe the kids are moving away for college. Then there’s a transition around wherever you’re living in the new country and the exoticism of expat life has worn off. And then you’re biologically going through another transition. I think you’re the one who said it, “It’s like a transition within a transition within a transition.”  Jane: It’s massive. So I suppose if I can just go back one step. I came to Mexico when I was 49. And some of the things I was experiencing. I thought I was experiencing because I was making the transition into a different culture. And when I look back, you’re exactly correct, I was experiencing the transition into a different culture and the transition into a new body, into a new way of being. But I conflated both of them together and didn’t even recognize.  So one of the parallels that was very strong for me is I’ve always been a confident, quite courageous, quite out there person. And all of a sudden I was sitting in this room in this house in a country I didn’t know and I didn’t want to go out. I wanted to just hibernate, to cocoon. And I thought “Gosh, I’ve lost all my confidence here, what’s happening?” So I think I read about 40 books in the first few months I was here because I was like, “I’m not stepping out of the door.” And now I realize, gosh so many women go through that as part of the menopause. A loss of wanting to be social, a loss of feeling that ease being with different groups of people and with networking.  So some of the things you have to do to settle or to maintain relationships in a new country are very very difficult to do. Because your body, your instinct in a sense is telling you “Don’t do that. Why would you do that?” So I think I hid away and I didn’t have anyone to talk about it with really. And the other side of that was I also became very irritable. So, I remember going to, I did venture out a few times, and I went to a few things, and I remember someone saying to me “Oh, what does your husband do?” And I was like, “Oh shut up about my husband. He’s really boring. Let’s talk about something else.” Thinking I could do that. But of course this person had never met me in her life before. And they were probably like “Who is this prize grump?” I listened to your podcast about the party faux pas, party fouls. I was thinking I was one big grump on the end of some of that stuff. Not understanding it I thought that something had psychologically and physically changed me when I went through immigration in Mexico. But it wasn’t, it was more than that. It was more complex than that.  Sundae: And isn’t that dangerous? Like when I hear you say that, think of how easy it would be to say to yourself “I’ve made a huge mistake. I should have never moved here. The reason why I’m feeling that way is because of Mexico.” Or “The reason why I’m feeling that way is because of my partnership.” It could be so easy to miss that and then blame it on something that it’s not and then reverse a decision that felt right. Jane: Yes. Yes it can. And my saving grace if you like, was going and studying to do a course and it forced me to get on the bus. It forced me to talk to people. And I suppose in that situation I could fall back to being a comedian. So fanning myself all through the classes  and thinking “Why did I come to this bloomin boiling hot country when my body is on fire?”  But I did know then, because I wear my heart on my sleeve a lot of the time, I did notice then people looking at me very strangely when they were saying “Oh, so you’re struggling to to adjust to the temperature?” And I was like, “No it’s my internal thermometer. I’m menopausal.” And then you notice people trail away from you because they don’t quite know what to say. So the idea of being able to come together and bring a group of people to connect with others is one of the ways I want to try and change that really, to say you’re not alone. There are many many groups on Facebook for women with the menopause. I haven’t come across any that are with the menopause and living abroad. And so then it’s just two very particular circumstances I think that come together.  Sundae: And I love that you put that out there. Because it does take this shame away. It’s like “Why do I have to be so private about something that actually happens biologically to women around the whole world for a decade?” I can only think about myself, when I think about hormones and changes I don’t think if I am anything I’m probably perimenopausal, if I were to put myself in a box. But I know that my hormones were changing. And I remember going to my doctor to look at my blood levels what was happening.  And it was almost frightening how your hormones can impact your confidence, your moods, your level of aggression or emotional well-being. When I first went to the doctor to check what was going on with my skin, because my skin was breaking out and I was having like, I was a little bit testier with my kids and I normally am. And I’m like “This isn’t me?” But my skin was like the physical manifestation of “Wait, there’s something going on my body.” And I went and I checked with the doctor and she said to me, she’s like “Sundae, we’ve looked at your hormones and you’re basically a man.”  Just like something was going on. And what was so, unnerving for me was she helped balance out what was going on with my body through nutrition. It was all natural supplements. And when we got back to a more balanced situation, I realized that when I was on that higher level of the spectrum of what was going on was from testosterone and everything. I was actually way more confident. I would do a podcast. I’m like, “Oh, that’s great just send to my producer.” But once my hormones got balance back and they were more on the estrogen level. I was noticing I took longer to make decisions and I was feeling less secure about my work. And that terrified me because I felt like “What is my personality?” “Am I just a hormonal makeup of whatever is going on in my body at the time?” And then the next time I went into my doctor, she said, “I think we’ve taken this a little too far because now you’re off the charts with estrogen.”  And it was like during a time where my theme was feminine rising. And I’m like, “I think I’ve taken this a little far.” But for me, it’s like “Who am I?” And I don’t know if the women that you’ve talked to, I started to ask myself then “Who is ‘Sundae’ no matter where her hormones fallout?” So you start to question who you are. Jane: For sure, and I see lots and lots of comments and talk to women and they’re like “I don’t recognize myself anymore. I think I’m going crazy. I wake up and I cry. I wake up and I don’t want to get out of bed where I was once very energetic and motivated. I’m shouting at everyone. I look in the mirror and I don’t like what I see.” So there’s a lot of questioning. And some women suffer on, if you’ve got a scale of 1 to 10 and 10 is very bad, there are images of women at that end that have severe severe mental health problems.  And this week is mental health awareness week. I know in the UK, I don’t know if it’s a global one. But there are a lot of posts right now around being kind and being gentle and being understanding. And I think we need to extend that to ourselves. Because once you’re kinder to yourself and you kind of accept, that’s how you’re feeling, it can be an easier process. Or you can ease the process to start to learn to understand this person that’s coming through.  But if there’s no one to talk to about that and it’s just you and you feel that you’re changing into this monster, which some people do feel, or you’re changing into this very very depressed person. Then where do you turn to?  I mean to be honest until I went through it. I didn’t think about it. My mom passed away many years ago. And I remember her sweating a lot which I now know was the menopause. I think she was having hot flushes. But she never spoke to me about it. We didn’t talk about it.  Sundae: It’s not part of your culture. It’s too much shame. And for me, I’m so grateful that I went through that small period where my doctor was there to help me see what was going on with my blood and my hormone levels. And now I think when I notice with my clients, when I see something come on, I’m like “Go get your blood tested. Go check out with the doctor.” Because even as a coach, you can’t coach biology. This has to be a team effort. You need to have a holistic support, one to say “This is a natural process that’s happening. It’s not comfortable. It’s okay, and let’s see how we can support you naturally.” And in your mental health or your physical health so that you suffer less.  So you are all about helping individuals find their voice, follow their own path and succeed. I know that you do that based on 25 years of experience that you’ve had in the creative sector and in your coaching. Tell me what advice do you have for what women need to know about this? And what tips do you have for them?  Jane: I think the first thing you need to know is there are over 30 symptoms. And that’s just the symptoms that come up constantly, to do with your mental and your physical well-being really. So I think it’s always worth getting a checklist of those and looking, “Which do I have?” And search for them, share them. Because I can guarantee any symptom you’ve got, even if it’s rarest, somebody else will be having as well. So I think it’s always good to clock them and to know that you’re not on your own. And the big bee in my bonnet at the moment is, look after yourself. The well-being is so important. Because it’s almost like how we look after ourselves now is a blueprint for how we will age. How we will live this part of our lives. So to get the habit and to practice is a good thing to do it now. And you know, whatever exercise you like. It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous. I think I’ve talked about this before, I’ve kind of always been allergic to exercise. So I’m not a natural exerciser. So I’ve had to get savvy with it really. My thing has been yoga which has been the thing that’s really really helped with the strength building, some of the physical symptoms, breathing through the hot flashes.  That whole holistic body has been very very good for me. And one of the other symptoms that I can guarantee nearly everybody I talk to suffers from is anxiety. So meditation, anything that’s mindful to get that anxiety under control is a very good thing. Because it seeps into everything doesn’t it? Once you become anxious you don’t find your purpose anymore. You don’t find your focus anymore. Everything gets ten times worse.  Sundae: And downward spirals. Then your relationship gets worse and then you feel bad about that. And then you feel upset and it goes into your parenting. And it goes into you taking care of yourself and then you eat or drink differently. It’s just a downward spiral.  Jane: And I mean the next one I say and it’s a really hard one, is to try and talk to our partners about it. I mean, I’m in a heterosexual partnership so it’s been an education process for my husband. Because if I haven’t talked about it, then he certainly hasn’t talked about it. And I imagine that’s very similar for lots of heterosexual couples. So if you are in a partnership, I think it’s really important to try and find a way to talk to that person about what’s going on. It’s very easy to scream “I’m menopausal.” Which I have to say I’ve done on occasion. But to try and help someone to really understand. And I think sometimes just presenting them with “Gosh look, look at all these things that can happen when we go through this period of our lives.” Is a good place to start really. Because you need someone who understands why you are going to bed in the afternoon and collapsing. Or when you say you feel tired it’s not just because you didn’t sleep a little bit, it’s because your whole body is feeling completely drained and fatigued. So they’re the things that I start with really.  Sundae: But you know this kind of frustrates me. Like why that, after 10 months of pregnancy and childbirth and breastfeeding. menstruation. Like there’s a part of me that wants a resistance. Like why can’t we just get that over with and why does it have to last 10 years and 12 years. But it is the way it is. The one thing that I want people to know I think. Is that feeling like crap is not okay in a sense of, you have to acknowledge when you feel like crap, but do not settle for feeling like crap. That being uncompromising about “I feel like crap today and that means I need to relax or I need to take a nap or I need to change how I’m eating.” That I feel like there’s some acceptance of when we don’t feel good and just being a martyr and moving forward. And so these strategies that you’re mentioning are ways to go against that. Not that you’re going to feel perfect and you know all of that. But giving yourself permission to make 45 minutes for yoga or five minutes for meditation so you feel less like crap.  Jane: Yeah exactly.  Because it’s true. The bottom line is nothing necessarily takes it away. I didn’t go down the medic or HRT route, I know some people do and that I hear women tell me it helps a lot. But I didn’t go down that route. So there is always a thing of carrying on regardless. And it’s very hard to carry on regardless. I mean I did it for a while. I had never taught before and when I came to Mexico I taught in a school. And I would be standing in front of a class of teenagers with my fan. Really just dripping with sweat. Actually forgetting what I was about to say and having to say to one of them “What was I talking about before?”  And I just plowed through it and carried on. And it was very very hard. And I suppose that’s the other thought it leads me to is at the moment I’m in a very lucky position where I can set my own schedule. And sometimes I don’t feel so great in the mornings so I will take an extra half an hour to rest or read or do whatever I feel like doing. But if you’re maybe the lead on an assignment or you’re working in the country where you’re currently living, that can be really really hard.  And if you look at the stats in the UK not that many businesses have menopause friendly policies. So you have to be even more careful about taking care of yourself if you’re working where you can fit that time in to recharge your batteries and to try and do things that make you feel better.  Sundae: So to be extra diligent. Take care of yourself. I call that to double down on your first class self-care.  Jane: Yeah. for sure.  Sundae: So you came into my Facebook group Expats on Purpose and you delivered training. And the center of it was about, “There’s a reason there’s a pause in menopause.” So for those of you who are listening who didn’t watch that. I want to hear from you Jane. Give us the gist of your core message there. What’s so important about the pause in menopause.  Jane: For me and I don’t want to in any way dismiss that people go through a very difficult time and that it’s tough to go through the menopause. But I also hold out for the fact that it’s becoming the next stage of you. Not necessarily changing you but just becoming that next manifestation of yourself in what can be a brilliant exciting time of your life. So for me, that’s why the pause is there. The pause is there so that if we listen to ourselves and we take stock of what’s happening with our body and celebrate all that we’ve achieved in our lives to becoming more wise and more wonderful. Then it could potentially be one of the best times in your life. Even though that might sound really dismissive when you’re listening to this and you feel like absolute crap.  But what if, I always come back to this, what if it really could be this time when the ideas flow. The energy might go but you can have great spurts of energy. Now I have great spurts of clarity. I’m still suffering symptoms, but my memory is getting a bit better now. And I have great moments where I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to do that. I’ve got to write this. I’ve got to make that.” And I feel really really energized.  And so part of me is like, what if we change the narrative about how we talk about it, if we’re realistic about what it means and we give women the right support and we can bring women together to support each other so we’re not alone? And alongside that we change the story that we tell about the menopause. You know, someone sent me a message today with age defying cream. I don’t want age defying cream. I want someone to send me a message with age enhancing potions do you know what I mean? It’s like it sounds like a really simple thing. Someone was talking about the new avatars you can put on Facebook and there isn’t an option for any gray hair. Well, I want to have that. Silver sister and silver, you know vision in my life. So that’s how I see it. And by flipping the script a little bit and flipping the story I was telling myself. I was really able to basically first of all take charge of myself and then take charge of what I was doing in Mexico. Which I hadn’t; I had gone along with other people’s ideas because I was floundering really. And so I was able to take charge of that for myself.  And I got this statistic by 2030 1.2 billion women will be menopausal. Now that won’t be 1.2 billion of us all moving around the world, but it will be a lot of us. And if you could enhance that energy rather than making us all feel so terrible that we might be on this trajectory that’s now the downward spiral or the downward slide. I think that’s a really exciting prospect. Sundae: I just have had goosebumps on my arms the entire time that you were talking. And what I love about that is if we’re doing the work to take care of ourselves physically, high self-care, acknowledging that you’re not going to feel like you did 10 years ago, doing what you can to work with what’s going on in your body rather than against it. Then we open up this portal for spurts of creativity, spurts of stepping into this next phase.  And I love the quote that you shared during our conversation from Margaret Mead, she says “There’s no more creative force in the world than the menopausal woman with zest.” And this for me when I hear you talk about that and I hear your call to imagine it is this counter to the shame that we currently feel. So thank you for that. I thank you for that voice. And you know, it’s no surprise that you help individuals find their voice. I hear your voice. I hear the path that you’re carving for yourself and for your clients. So this is really actually a call for hope. This isn’t just a decline. This could be a catapult to creativity.  Jane: Yes, exactly, and it’s very interesting. So I was just reading something earlier about, I can’t remember the name of the writer, but I’ll put it up later maybe. She’s a writer and she has written a book with older female characters in it. And she cited some studies that basically say as we get to our 50s there are many studies that show that we get happier. Maybe because we finally got the child we wanted or we’ve got the job we wanted or we’ve got the life we wanted. For whatever reason, maybe we’re free of the children we had. There are many reasons why that might be. So mine is like a call to all the warrior women out there that we have this message that okay, we get happier. And then on the other hand we have this other thing going on that’s hammering us into the ground. So why not take charge of the hammer ourselves and let that creativity flow out of us in whatever form that might take. I think some people do get more creative in terms of producing things. Some people get more creative in terms of how they’re thinking, what they’re doing with their lives.  I want this to be a really exciting time. I spent a lot of my twenties thinking I wasn’t good enough and thinking I was too thin. I’ll be buggered if I’m going to spend my 50s thinking I’m not good enough and I’m too fat. It’s just like I have had enough, I am not too thin or too fat. I just am. I think for all of us, it’s always a work in progress, isn’t it? Being happy with yourself. But definitely when you come together with other women and you see their responses and you hear their responses to things you’re doing it’s great.  I sent my website out and someone wrote “Oh my gosh, this felt like a call to come home, it felt welcoming.” And that was really nice because it’s like, let’s all come to this little menopause mansion and take care of each other. Even if from a distance with our words and with our deeds. Sundae: It’s so beautiful. You know, what I was thinking as you were speaking there is that, I think we’ve lost ritual. And you know indigenous cultures are still working hard to keep ritual in their lives and their community and pass on rites of passage to sort of honor that in their culture. And I feel like you know fast-paced western cultures, like ours have lost that. And what you’re doing essentially is bringing back some of that. You know a space and now for expats, a digital space for people to gather and to be part of a community who is going through this transition together. And the other thing I can’t help but think about is if anybody knows how to do transition, it’s the globally mobile. So we have skills that we can access that we’ve used in other contexts that can be valuable right now. And that’s what’s beautiful about it that expats are well poised to take on this transition that’s going on in their bodies and in their lives because we’ve done other transitions well, we can do this one well too. Jane: I was thinking this morning in my whole list of ideas. That in my life when I was a bit younger I had certain, I used to call them my wise women that were usually women who were kind of 20 to 30 years older than me. And I used to ask them stuff. But obviously then I got to be older and now they’re no longer with us so I can’t ask them. So right now I don’t actually know women older than myself who passed the transition if you like. Now I was thinking, wouldn’t it be great if we could have like a wise elders expat network of women that we could go to to ask what happened? Because we don’t all have the comfort of families and mothers and aunts and carers and older women around us. And sometimes I think we’ve lost that kind of risk being respectful for that elder wisdom who could help us pave the way really . Sundae: And I’ve had the pleasure to work with experts who are 70 plus. And it is so amazing. Like the wealth of knowledge they have so yeah, absolutely. There are people in Expats on Purpose who are in that stage of postmenopausal and that sort of life phase where they’ve got the wisdom. So this is a call specifically to them to be part of it too because they have a lot to share with those of us who are behind them.  So we’ve talked about what women need to do and we’ve talked about the importance to involve their partners. What else do we need to know when we’re thinking about this transition within a transition within a transition.  Jane: Gosh, I think, well when you put it like that isn’t it within a transition? We’re carrying a lot of weight. I think we have to know that, we’re carrying a lot of weight and you have to go easy on yourself and cut yourself some slack. So don’t beat yourself up and give yourself some time to think “What is it that I want with the next part of my life?” You may already have that. You may already have a successful career. You may be on a lead assignment. But where do you want that to go? What do you want might be the next step? Do you see a next step? I think it’s good to think about that. Is the next step that you’re going to create something of your own? That you’re going to write a book? That you’re going to do more gardening? Like let’s become more.  I mean you use this word a lot. But let’s do that thing with more purpose. With a bit more conviction. Because it’s so easy to put those things off and put them to the back. One of the things I started to do was actually write down a diary of what my body clock was like when I was good, when I wasn’t so good. So I’m quite accurate now. I know the window of time that I have. So really now unless I get things done by 2:20 in the afternoon. I’m a goner. I don’t really function very well after that. So I will do the easy stuff after that, if anything. Sometimes I don’t do anything. So I think it’s important to start to recognize your own rhythm and your own pattern. And program in “When can I think about what I want?” Be very specific about it and be ruthless about it. If you do have a family or you live with other people just tell them to leave you alone for 20 minutes to do that thing you want to do. Sundae: Totally. So the theme that I’m noticing Jane, first is drop the shame, second work on yourself in terms of taking care of you, third is come together with people in a similar situation so you can be supported and support. And this beautiful thing that’s coming out of it is to change the story. What if this is a story of you as a warrior woman. And this process of you becoming that next stage of you.  So thank you Jane for your voice and for helping put out the call to the warrior women out there. If they feel a call and they want to know more about you tell us where they can find you and what you’ve got going on in your corner of the world.  Jane: Okay, so I have a website The Menopausal Expat. So you can see more about me on that. I also have a Facebook group called The Menopausal Expat so it’s quite easy to find. And what women are doing in there is talking to each other. And I’m also starting a series of expert topic  Tuesdays. Maybe every other Tuesday. I have one coming up that I’m so excited about next Tuesday, which is a week on Tuesday. Which is with Dr. Sara Kowski who’s a sleep expert but a menopausal sleep expert. So she’s not just any sleep expert she deals especially with the menopause and sleep. So we’re going to be doing a Facebook Live together. So if you join up for that group, you can hop in, you can ask your questions to her life or you can join and post your questions and she’ll be able to answer them.  So that’s the place I want to bring women together and invite guests in so we can get some of the specialist knowledge that we need. Because the other thing is there is so much information out there. You need to try and navigate it in small bite-size chunks I think. So I’d love for more people to join us in that group.  Sundae: So if you’re listening to this the day that goes live, it probably will go live on a Monday. That means that immediate Tuesday she’ll be showing up live. If you’re listening to this later then go into The Menopausal Expat Facebook group and grab the recording. I’m also going to add in the show notes the contribution you did, Jane, in Expats on Purpose about “There’s a pause in menopause,” If you want more, plus we’ll put in the show notes links to your website and to the Facebook group.  Jane is so wonderful. Thank you. I have to say this kind of felt risky for me to bring up the topic of menopause in a forum that talks about expat life. But I decided to do it because like you I’m so committed to dropping the shame around life transitions, especially those that affect women that are hidden. And this is part of the ups and downs of our expat life when we start to question whether we’re doing the right thing, have we made a big mistake. We’re making it more about you than it is about your physical transition that you’re going through. So thank you so much for your time today and all that you do.  Jane: Thank you, Sundae. And it’s true. There’s no shame in menopause. No shame whatsoever. It’s bloody hard, but we have to refuse to feel shamed.  Sundae: Yeah, absolutely.  So you’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Bean. Thank you for listening. I will leave you with an anonymous quote that touches on transition in general. “Your life is a story of transition. You are always leaving one chapter behind while moving on to the next.”   Enjoy The Show? Don’t miss an episode, subscribe via iTunes or RSS. Please leave us a review in iTunes (or here for Android). The post 177: Mellowing Menopause with Jane Ordaz appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
A plugged bathtub will overflow from a constant drip. Eventually, the tiny droplets accumulate and cause the equivalent damage to your floor as if you just filled it all at once with a firehose. When a big “T” trauma happens to you, it’s often easier to expect and explain the physical and emotional injuries from having survived it. However, just like the water trickling into the bathtub, the residual harm from your small “T” traumas piling-up can be just as destructive. In episode 162, we made emergency preparedness a priority. This week, continuing our Expert Series, I welcome Shellee Burroughs to teach us how to recover after trauma. A transition and trauma specialist, Shellee’s also a registered art psychotherapist with renowned global experience across generations and cultures. Her methods extend healing by reaching beyond the sufferer. Shellee equips the whole inner circle with tools, creating an entire trauma recovery system built on proper understanding and pressure-free support. Simply put, Shellee’s valuable strategies piece people and families back together. Join us as she shares her professional insights for healing after trauma. What You’ll Learn in this Episode: Involuntary body responses Opening the Pandora’s Box of therapy Warning signs of impact & monitoring regressive behavior Allying with teachers for what you don’t see The power of witnessing without asking Listen to the Full Episode: Featured on the Show: Are you inspired by Shellee’s work serving expats? Does it light a fire under you to do more with your talent and expertise? Good. Then, sign up right here because we’re busy assembling our expansion team for Expat Coach Coalition, and we need you with us. Don’t miss this chance to amplify the value of your work and make a lasting impact on a global scale. Thinking of joining the Expat Coach Coalition? Don’t hesitate to hop on the interest list here Ready for a Year of Transformation? Get onto the waiting list here Shellee Burroughs Website Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC Facebook Group  – Expats on Purpose We’re delighted by our nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts! Subscribe: iTunes | Android Hello, it is 7:30 am in New York, 2:30 pm in Johannesburg and 7:30 pm in Bangkok.  Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I’m a solution oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition. I had just arrived in Switzerland. The days before me were what you call sheltering in place. And to shelter in place is when your government says don’t leave your home because what is going on outside your doors. It happened to be that I was in Burkina Faso at the time when there was an attempted coup d’etat. And my husband happened to be in Switzerland at the time. So I was in Burkina, he was in Switzerland and the borders were closed. Sheltering in place with my kids, hearing what we told my kids was the sound of popcorn, which was the sound of either bullets or blanks outside of our door. And wondering if anything was going to go amiss.  Thankfully we found an opportunity when the borders opened to leave Burkina and find a bit of peace in Switzerland temporarily to regroup. And that day when I got back to Switzerland, we were welcomed by dear friends and they said, “Sure you can spend the night here.”  My husband was actually going back to Burkina in a day or two. And we were standing outside looking at their beautiful house and their pool. I decide to go in and take a shower. As I’m down the stairs getting ready to get in the shower I hear a siren and I duck. I was surprised at how my body responded. And the siren was simply a siren from the alarm for the pool. If a child jumps in then the alarm sounds and everybody knows you need to be alerted to check the child and the pool.  But I was shocked at how I ducked. Later that week also when a plane went overhead I felt this sensation to duck, and I thought “Is this like a little bit of PTSD? Is this a little bit of trauma from that situation?”  And in that moment I had so much respect for people who really do go through trauma, who have deep traumatic experiences where what is happening to them has an impact on them that goes beyond their control.  So this is an important topic, trauma and transition. One that affects globally mobile families living all over the world who have sudden abrupt transitions, might have sudden family loss or even political upheaval.  An important topic and I’m so grateful to have an expert with us today. Shellee Burroughs, who is a transition and trauma specialist and also a registered art psychotherapist, to help us understand trauma better.  So welcome to Expat Happy Hour Shellee.  Shellee: Thank you very very much for your wonderful introduction, Sundae.  Sundae: I want to tell a little bit more about you. So they understand why I’m such a big fan. So I know that you were born in England, you moved to Wales, you have a Canadian father. So you’re basically a TCK from birth. Now, you’re raising TCK’s, Third Culture Kids. Although you’re right now based in the UK, you’ve lived and worked in the US, Australia, Japan, Canada and Malaysia. You get it. You understand expat life.  Not only has Shellee lived the life, but she specialized in supporting highly traumatised and abused children and teenagers since 2003. I mean how amazing does a person have to be to say yes to that kind of support. What kind of resilience can you imagine Shellee has when that’s the work that she’s doing. She’s worked for the National Health Service in the UK, with First Nation teenagers in Canada. And this is the interesting thing, with international school students in Malaysia. And what I found most interesting was that Shellee shared with me that she was amazed to find similar levels of trauma and PTSD  symptoms in all three of these groups. So that is amazing Shellee.  So thank you for being here today. And I just want to say thank you for the important work that you’re doing for the global mobility community.  Shellee: Thank you very much.  Sundae: It is so important. I can’t do this work. That’s way beyond my professional scope. Regular parents can’t do this work. It’s really truly an important contribution. Before we dive in, could you define for us in the most basic sense, what is trauma?  Shellee: Well, there’s different types of trauma and very simple way that I found of describing it that actually made sense to a lot of people was, there are small T traumas and large T traumas. So large T traumas, big ones are kind of the transition, loss, bereavement, war, terrorism, very very high levels of trauma.  The things that are more obvious to us and for a lot of people, it can be physical attack, it can be neglect, physical abuse, all of those big T traumas. Small T traumas are the smaller traumas that are more to do with how we are going on in our daily lives. So it can be things like for instance a loss of a pet could be a small T trauma for many people. But it’s how your brain perceives the trauma. So small T traumas can be frequent moves, frequent changes, friends leading school, you moving to another place at very very short notice. But over time those small T traumas can kind of stack up and have more and more of an effect.  The jury is out at the moment whether the small T traumas can add up to make big T traumas or even post traumatic stress disorder called PTSD. And some people say that it can and some people say that it can’t. My rule of thumb as a clinician is that if I am looking at a case-by-case and individual. Their symptoms are increasing, they are struggling more, they are disconnecting with daily life, there is more avoidance, there is either higher shows of emotion where they are crying or becoming very angry or they completely shut down. This is where I assess on a case-by-case basis. And children, teenagers and adults all perceive trauma quite different, right?  Sundae: I have chills when I think about this, because when there is either a big T or a small T trauma, it’s not that just one person is impacted impacts the entire family. Shellee: Yes, yes it does and you may have for instance, if you have say in my case children. When I moved, the older children, they perceive it in one way, the younger children perceive it in another way. So you may have younger children that are not developmentally able to fully understand what is going on, who might seem to breeze through transitions. Whereas you will have older children or teenagers that have to say goodbye to their friends, don’t want to move. Or conversely you Just have different factions within the family where some people want to leave and some people want to stay.  Sundae: So here’s the thing is, my intention today is not to paint global life as this traumatic experience that people should avoid. Because if anybody’s ever listened to my podcast, you know I am all about making the most of your life abroad and enjoying it and embracing it, cherishing it. And I think that when we’re smart about small T traumas and big T traumas, we can make smart choices in how we support ourselves, how we support others. And these when we hear the word trauma, it feels like an exception to the rule.  However, when I look at the global community that I’m in touch with it is not uncommon for someone to reach out online and say “Hey, my kid is going through a really rough time, is anybody here to help?” So I think it’s worth looking at in terms of the bigger sense on how we can be more savvy to look at the signs and empower ourselves for what can we do to either prevent some of this or proactively work with this when it happens. So that was something important I just wanted to say as a caveat.  So to help me understand here, we’ve got small T and big T. I kind of when I was listening to that list I’m like “Boy, we’ve been in situations where we’ve had big T and small T happen at the same time.” Sometimes those come in packages, where a family is dealing with big T trauma and small T trauma all at the same time.  Can you tell me what are some symptoms or signs we should look out for, that there is some stress from the trauma big T or small T that someone’s going through.  Shellee: So you have two ends of the spectrum, you can have what’s called emotional numbing where effectively the individual will kind of shut down. So you will have, if I’m thinking about when I worked in International School, you would have some students that would come in and they would cry and they would rant and they would get all their feelings out there on the table. And be very very clear on how they felt, how they didn’t want to do this, how they didn’t want to do that and the impact on their life.  So they were very very clear, but they also reacted in an emotional way. Now when you have this reaction, it gives you something very very clear to see you can clearly say “This is something that I have noticed, it’s increasing over time. If we’re transitioning it is getting higher and higher and closer and closer to the leaving point.”  But the other side of the spectrum is when effectively the individual shuts down or switches off. So they’re so overwhelmed, they might come into a session and they really might not say anything. I mean you have that kind of classic sort of teenage boy response where they just sort of make this kind of noise and maybe roll their eyes. Sometimes we’ll get that in younger children, but they do not want to open that box. And in therapy we quite often refer to it as Pandora’s Box. “We are keeping the lid on the box. We are not going there.”  When you get to that point that is when we would be looking at, I would want a conversation with the parents, obviously this was in a school context, but as much information as you can get from teachers, parents or even just by watching what they’re doing. If it’s your child and you’re at home with them it’s just, what are they doing? Is there anything that they’re doing differently? Are they struggling at bedtime? That’s a very common one. Are they waking early and unable to get back to sleep? Is there any regression? Regression is key. If it’s a child where they are maybe wetting the bed again or in some cases soiling, problems with eating. In older people it might be a case of issues with eating, self-harming or just a kind of changing behavior, which seems to have come completely out of nowhere. All those are very very common.  Sundae: I’m struggling here with some of these signs to differentiate between being a teenager and suffering traumatic stress. Shellee: With this communication is key. I know I have a teenager myself. That communication with teenagers can be quite difficult. And also they’re wanting to assert their control and be in control of what’s going on. So they’re not usually the most giving of information. One thing that I found to be very useful if wanting to talk and strike up a conversation with a teenager, or maybe someone who’s less verbal and might not want to say as much, is quite often in a car because it’s a safe contained space, it’s a good place to have a conversation and they kind of jump out of the car when you get home and they are in control of that ending.  The other part of the equation as an art psychotherapist is the use of images. Now, I’m not condoning that people be in their mind an art psychotherapist, an art psychotherapist is several years of training. But if you have younger children, and they are drawing maybe things that “Just tell me a little bit about your picture?” That may be different to what they’ve done before. Or playthings and if they are playing with their toys and you are either seeing repetitive, they’re kind of going round the same things over and over again or there is no clear ending. Sundae: This is so interesting about the drawings. I’m going to just share a quick story here from that same synopsis I shared at the top. During this time of sheltering in place I was staying with an American friend. And we really tried to create a fun environment as if it was like a five-day sleepover. And we put movies on, you know with young kids you put movies on, and made popcorn and did all these things. And I really thought, if we did talk about stuff it would be like in another room and quiet tone, etc. And I thought “Okay they just thought they had a five day sleepover with a little bit of questions around what’s going on?”  When I landed in Switzerland I watched my kids drawings and at a relative’s house and they were of tanks, they were of people in camouflage, because there was a tank that we drove by when we were getting to the airport because that was what was going on from a military perspective when we were there. So even though I thought I was sheltering them from that they were absorbing it. And I discovered that by paying attention to drawing. Shellee: And with drawings a lot of children find that for a huge amount of children it is part of them processing what they are seeing and experiencing. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are traumatized. It does not necessarily mean that there are going to be problems further down the line. This is just how children process.  And an example of a First Nations child that I worked with in Canada every session I saw him you would come in and we would have our session at the end he would draw on the corner of the blackboard a little figure of a girl and then he would rub it out and leave. And he would not talk about it. He would not address it. And this went on for months. And I was kind of increasingly intrigued about this figure, but thought “He’ll tell me when he’s ready.” We got to a year worth of sessions and it was our actual last day before my training ended and before he moved schools and he said, “I suppose you want to know about the person on the board.” And I said, “Yes”. And he said, “That was my sister who was killed in an accident.” And that was his way of processing. But he said, “I also wanted to see if I could trust you enough to tell you and you didn’t ask.” So just a very very deep moment.  And this was right at the end of my two years training in Vancouver where I just saw the power of witnessing without asking and believe me there were repeated times I was desperate to know but I knew that he would tell me when he was ready and that was his way of processing.  Sundae: Well that gives me chills up my arms. The power of witnessing without asking. That’s powerful. In coaching what we talk about is a compassionate witness, how you are just present and listen. And I think as a parent, for talking about what parents can do, I think there’s an internal dilemma that we feel as parents. Because while cognitively we know that they need a compassionate listener and a witness to their struggles. We also want to fix it and make it better.  Shellee: Most definitely and I mean the day, the last day that we left Kuala Lumpur as we were leading up to leaving. So for the last two months me and my family, mainly my children, would do a drawing every couple of days to just see how we were doing with our transition. So all these different things came up and some were quite humorous and some are a bit sad and some are quite dark, and mainly mine were the dark questions with my adult, “We’re going back to the UK” head on. But my children’s just became, their pictures shrunk, they got smaller and smaller. I have actually got them on my website, the process is there for all to see. But on the last day my son drew a Petronas Towers, the Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, and it looked like they were crying. And he would not talk about it. And my daughter basically said on, we were going out for our last meal, and she completely broke down and just begged us not to leave. And I think as a parent it was one of the most distressing moments I’ve ever experienced. I was her parent, but I was also the school counselor, I was always there to make sure that things were as good as they could be and I just saw my daughter completely and totally heartbroken. Sundae: It’s so hard. I mean the same thing. I’m an intercultural specialist. So that’s my job to help people through transition. And then when I watch my own kids struggle, it’s hard, it’s really hard. Shellee: It’s the hardest. And I think also for her, I mean she said a few weeks later that she felt a bit better afterwards because she knew I was listening. And I think about listening. I wanted to make it better. But I knew at that point I couldn’t change what was going to happen. And that is the hardest part for me. But the images when we look back on them, when we got back to the UK and a few months later I found them, she talked me through what she’d been thinking and she said she found it very helpful because she didn’t have to share with me using words.  Sundae: Well, I want to know more about this. So can you tell us more. There’s a lot of ways in which trauma can emerge in a globally mobile context. But let’s just focus on transition. When we have to leave, whether it’s planned or whether it’s abrupt. Help me understand what can parents do? I’m hearing there is something with drawing, I’m hearing listening. Chat can a parent do who is not trained in art therapy to support our kids in transition, to minimize the negative impact and still hold space for that. Shellee: The school that I worked at in Kuala Lumpur, we realized that this was something that we were coming up on a timely basis. Because the turnover as it was an international school was very very high. So every term we would run this workshop say, how to say goodbye workshop. It was all about how to say a good goodbye before you transition.  And that to me has remained and is key to pretty much all of the experiences that I’ve witnessed. Whether or not the person has a years notice or three months notice. And for a couple of individuals that was very very painful to witness, where they found out that they were going to be changing schools that morning was their last day. Which I cannot disagree with more. It caused huge outpourings of grief. They did not have time to consolidate anything. They did not have time to say a good goodbye.  So saying a good goodbye is saying goodbye to everything. Whether it’s collectibles, whether it’s restaurants, whether in our case in England when we left, we had a huge tree outside our house and we called it the Bee Tree because all the honey bees liked it. We said goodbye to the B tree that was important. And said goodbye to our friends of course. But it was saying goodbye to our car. We said goodbye to so many things. But you are acknowledging and you are saying “I am grateful for you and we are moving on.”  Secondly. It’s very easy to underestimate the making sure that you’re getting as much sleep as you can, that you’re eating properly. That you’re not, in teenagers cases up on devices half the night, that didn’t help. But for them it was just a case of communication is key, even if you’re having a bad day, we try and share something about how we are feeling. With parents the need to prove that you are the parent who can hold it all together, that can be the person that’s in control and make everything effortlessly run from A to B to C. I would say forget that. It is about showing who you are, being the container for everybody else’s needs. But also it’s a family container, you all support each other, but you are also there for each other without needing words. Sundae: And what I love about this one. There’s a couple things I’m just going to step back on. You know this idea of saying goodbye. There might be people out there who are listening who say, “Well if I say goodbye to all these things it’s gonna add salt to the wound.” But actually it’s a really healthy part of acknowledging the connection that you had with people, places and things, the gratitude and allowing people to move on.  I love that you talked about the sleeping and eating. In my work what I notice is when pressure gets high, and that’s in transition because you have so much more to do on top of your regular life, that the first thing to go is your self-care. And I always say double down on yourself care in those times because that’s when you need it most. And then the third thing that I’m seeing is checking in on how people feel. And what I love about what you shared is we ask our kids to say goodbye to their friends and we say it’s okay to cry. But we won’t cry in front of them. Like how is that? How is that okay? So giving yourself permission to actually process your own transition I think is so healthy for kids. Tell me more about this without words. I’m a words person, I’m a communication person. My poor kids I always ask them to articulate stuff. Like how do we do this without words? Shellee: So from my perspective, and this is where my more therapist hat comes on, is what are they saying without actually saying it? What is a child or teenager or an adult, what is the person saying without actually verbally saying anything? And again, we all work in a globally mobile community, if you’ve lived in a country where you have not spoken the language you become more attuned to this. What is somebody saying without using words? And what I’ve found over time is that a lot of people have a kind of pattern, that they will have a way of showing things. I always ask them the question, “Are you upset because you are angry or angry because you’re upset?” Most of us tend towards one or the other camp. So I get quite quite angry and grumpy when I’m upset because it’s easier for me to show that, that’s very much my conditioning. Whereas I meet people that will be in floods of tears because of their anger. Sundae: I hate that by the way, if I’m angry and then I start you slobbering crying, like it really takes out the impact of my anger. I’m so mad and then I’m like this slobbering mess. Like I want to show you how mad I am, but I’m not. I can’t. Shellee: And also from a cultural perspective, British people don’t do mad. They don’t do mad in the same way that I do. So I would say that it’s a part of my Scots-Irish background. So they are kind of banging heads together. But it’s the person trying to tell you, is there some just get that gut reaction saying take a bit of notice of this, this is important  because there is loss. And this is where saying goodbye comes in, thank you very much gratitude, and we can look at this as an important milestone. It’s painful, but we’re acknowledging it. And if you don’t have that then there is unresolved loss and unresolved loss is further down the line. It’s a bit as if the last word that you say to somebody isn’t very nice and then they die. A very extreme example, you cannot go back. Sundae: So I love what you said milestone there. I just want to touch on that for a second. Because I think continuity in our global mobility, if you’re rotational expat. I mean you might be a lovepat, you might be living abroad for other reasons. But the ones who are rotational, who know they’re going to leave every two to four years let’s say. There needs to be continuity in the story if everything is always changing. And I love that you talked about milestones because when I think about that, this is a stone, a celebration, a moment in our entire journey. It’s not disconnected, it’s part of the journey. Shellee: Yes, and it gives it momentum and it makes you realize that it has meaning. It’s, what meaning does this have? You don’t have to tie up all the ends. You don’t need to be projecting in your head, “Oh where will going to this school get me in 10 years time? It isn’t that kind of ego way of looking at things. It’s a very intuitive gut feeling where, say for instance from my position, where I returned to the UK and UK is obviously in a state of flux at the moment which everybody knows, but that’s another topic. I can’t work because the legal requirements for me to get my permission to work have changed significantly. My children are at school living their life. My husband is at work leading his life. And I’m at home cleaning the toilet and wiping mold off the walls. It’s very difficult to see milestone in that kind of point of view when I’m in that place thinking “I hate this, I’ve left my nice warm big apartment in Malaysia and now I’m here dealing with this.” But there is that looking forward. “Where does this fit? What can I learn from this? What is this bringing to my table?”  Sundae: What can I learn from this and what does it bring to my table? Very good. Oh, there’s so much to do. So we’ve looked at what parents can do. I’m hearing so far, is observing your children, which of course it sounds obvious, but let’s be honest when we are in the middle of transition it is so easy to get self-absorbed. Like you have all the things you have to do, you’re feeling your own stuff and you just want your kids to have clean underwear and food and sleep and shower. Like let’s be honest.  So just taking a step back and a moment to observe the patterns. I think my husband’s better at that than I am. He’s really good about noticing slight changes in the kids. and I feel like I’m the one who’s like running the show, the routine. Like get up, brush your teeth, eat the food, get on the bus. And I think that’s because he’s not as physically around as much as I am. He’s the one who notices it from the meta level. Shellee: Yes, I think a lot of people find that. That’s a really good point. Sundae: Or maybe you can ask your partner. Like if I know that about myself, I can say, “Hey have you noticed anything different?” Or “Can you help me look to see what’s going on?” So I think that if you’re in a partnership and your co-parenting that might be something you can do.  I’m hearing this planning and ahead. Really how important it is to acknowledge the goodbyes and show gratitude. I liked what you talked about what meaning does it have? You could ask your kids that, what meaning that experience has for them? And then inviting some things like if you do have younger kids watching the drawings. Tell me more about this thing that you were doing leading up to the transition. Did you make your kids sit at a table and draw? Because I don’t know if my kids would be into that. Tell me what you did? Shellee: I did to start with and then I realized that, I think several drawings in, that that wasn’t going to happen every day. My children by that point were just as drained as I was. So I realized that if it was going to just be me then it would just be me. If they were going to join me then I would give them the choice. And that’s basically how it worked. So some of them are just mine.  There was another one where we got the Monopoly game, the Kuala Lumpur Monopoly game, and we used all the pieces, which saved drawing. That was interesting. But the images, like I said, my son’s in particular, took up less and less and less space the nearer and nearer we got to leaving. And then when I got back to the UK, I pretty much continued because I was the only one at home and it was a really interesting looking at my images. But it was my kids, they basically said that they wanted to come back because we came back to where we started. And the one I would touch upon in transition and difficult transitions, coming back to exactly the place you started in can be one of the most difficult transitions to ever go through. Sundae: My kids are resisting it. I mean one of my son’s was like, “Nope. Nope. I want to go somewhere new.” He doesn’t even want to think about it.  Shellee: My children, I mean they came back. And I mean just to make a point. About six weeks ago, so my daughter’s a year before high school, so she is in UK year 6, she’s 11 years old. I took her to see her teacher. A new teacher was reporting about her work and how well she was doing. They said “I’ve got some sort of queries about the way she writes, the way she phrases things?” And I said, “Well, she’s come from a different system.” And the teacher had no idea what I was talking about. She said, “What do you mean new system?” And I said, “Well she went to school in Kuala Lumpur.” And the teacher said, “Oh, right.” She said, “So that’s why in our RE class last week your daughter stood up and told us all about Islam.” She said, “I had absolutely no idea.”  So it’s communication with, so if you’re looking at it from a parent working with a school, the communication with the school so that the school is aware that the transition is going to be taking place or that your child has just transitioned, which is equally important. The other part of it is, if you are looking at “We are going through our transition, how is our child doing?” School is always a great place to find out because teachers see so much the parents don’t see. So I would always say you could contact your class teacher, you could contact the school. If there’s any involvement with school counselors, then I would just see “Is there anything that you could give me information about?” But the teacher, the class teacher is a really really good place to just say, “Look I’ve got a few queries, we’re transitioning, could you just keep an eye out and let me know if there’s anything that’s different or that you might think is related to this?”  Sundae: That is so important. It’s like your teacher is an ally on the other side of transition. And what I know is for example, if my children were to transition to a Swiss school. It would be incredibly challenging just from language and culture, etc. And the teacher themselves probably would have no idea the way my kids have been raised. So you really have to create understanding between the teacher and the parent so they know what to look at.  Shellee: Yes. And I mean my children. If you saw them, if you hear them speaking, you would think British children a hundred and ten percent. You would just have no idea they grew up in a Muslim country. And then this is where it doesn’t take very long for the realization. So my son refused to wear Speedos to swimming because he was uncomfortable wearing Speedos. I had to go to school and explain why he didn’t want to wear Speedos. And they were fine. But it was just that well, he’s British, he’s like everyone else, he’s not different, why is he acting like this?  And school can be fantastic allies. Some international schools have great counseling services. Some counseling services will run workshops like these on a termly basis. Because the expat lifestyle,  the highs are incredibly high and the lows can be incredibly low. But that is the price that globally mobile parents pay. I wouldn’t change anything. Sundae: I just heard this from a client. She said her father used to say “If you want to dance you’ve got to pay the band.” So it’s like, we gotta pay the band. And I also believe truly, even though I wouldn’t have said this probably 20 years ago. The hardest moments of my life in retrospect were some of the richest moments of my life. And the deepest place of learning. And I think I grew up in a way where you should avoid discomfort, like everybody’s happy, everybody’s fine, let’s minimize conflict. And at the same time when, excuse my French, when shit hit the fan and I was in the middle of it, what I learned afterwards as it’s so much depth in my life, I’m grateful for it. Shellee: And it’s that gratitude that comes from that experience. I mean sometimes I think that that fear can almost be telling you to do something. You learn to listen to fear. And especially my job when I’m listening to people talking about fear and the emotions that come with it. And at the moment I work with quite a few Asian children that have been adopted by European parents and I’m listening to the trauma in their backgrounds and the fear. And the part of you that doesn’t have words, the limbic part of your brain your gut reaction. There aren’t words. There are only feelings. And that is very very hard to manage if you’re a words person. But I would also just like to say, is that with most individuals transition is something that we learn to manage. It doesn’t mean that it’s easy. We find our own processes. We find what works for us. For children it might just be a case of “Well, this is what I did and I’ve got new friends.” But the more you do it, the more you can either become numb to it, which is something that could bring its own issues further down the line, or triggered by it. And it’s just everyday you’re just kind of walking a line. And you might have a numb day, we all need them. And you might have a trigger day and we all need those as well. So it’s just about recognizing that we have these to’s and from’s but it’s also when they go further than that, which might be the next point to discuss is “What should I do and when do I need to find professional help?” Sundae: Absolutely. That was exactly my next question. Help us understand as parents. When are we reaching our limit? And when do we need to reach out to someone who like you who’s a professional? Shellee: So what I would say is that for a lot of children, it is just a spectrum of behavior. And it’s how far along they move along that spectrum. So if you are looking at a child who, okay brothers and sisters kick and hit each other they fight and there is sibling rivalry, but if a child is doing it with classmates they are becoming aggressive to more people then they might turn the aggression on themselves in the form of self-harming.  So if it is anything that concerns you that is moving on along a spectrum increasing in severity. So say self-harming, it might be little slight cuts on their arm and then all of a sudden it’s big cuts on their legs. How long it’s been going on before, so it’s something that you thought was going to happen for a month and then all of a sudden three years later, they’re still doing it and it’s got worse. That is a very extreme example, I know. Or regression again, but you suddenly have an eight-year-old whose wetting the bed, talking in baby talk. I’ve seen quite a few traumatized children that are eight, but will kind of talk in baby voices like three-year-olds when they’re in very very high stress situations.  Or lack of eating, eating disorders. You would have to look, again his is the teenagers. Some of the online things that they are doing or that they are involved in all their histories. That is what we had a lot of input on in the school I worked in because we had so many problems with the anorexic and bulimic students visiting these kinds of pro-anorexia sites. Not just, “How much weight has my child lost?” But it’s a composite picture because, yes teenagers will go up and down, all children do. But it is something where I have a parent come to me and said, “I knew then that I had to send them to you.” Now we all have that little voice in our head. And I know as a parent myself I’ve had to go in to speak to teachers about what my children have been up to. It’s not a very nice feeling.  Sundae: Here’s what I’m thinking of we talked about aggression, moving on the spectrum. It’s like in hindsight you realize it was going on for three or four months. But during that time those are tiny little moments and we’re not connecting the dots.  And so I’m guessing, I mean I think about my own situation where even something simple, like physical like signs of asthma let’s say. I had with one of my son’s, we were like “Wait a minute, he’s been having breathing problems for seven months. Like how did I miss that?” You’re not connecting the dots. And I’m wondering, this sounds kind of nerdy of me because I want it to be very scientific, but should we be journaling about these things? What can we be doing as parents to sort of connect the dots faster? Shellee: What I would recommend is firstly developing good communication with teachers because they’re very good at joining up the dots because they have a bigger activity. But also if you have, so we would have at our school kind of parents groups of children that were in transition. So they could kind of have these coffee mornings together so that they were chatting. And it was really common for one parent to say, “Oh, you know my daughter started doing this and it’s driving me crazy.” And then all of a sudden you would see that. But in that setting it’s not therapy. So there was no shame attached. There’s no embarrassment. One person had voiced it and it would be maybe the oil family parents. They tend to be quite chatty about things that were going on.  But then you also had the parents that were very very clear that everything was perfect and that nothing was wrong. So when we have these group settings it develops relationships between these groups where they could actually talk a little bit more about what was going on.  The mums that were at home, the dreaded trailing spouse title that I detest. They had backup from each other, but they were also often able to reconnect to the next country that they’d gone to because that’s just the nature. That’s one of the amazing things about our lifestyle.  Even myself as a psychotherapist. I’ve had moments where I’ve looked back and thought, “I missed that. What was I thinking?” You can handle things, but I would suggest that connection with other people going through the same thing can help because they will start talking and your brain starts processing it in a different way. Sundae: So I’m hearing, keep curious for the people who have contact with your kids. Whether it’s the teachers, fellow parents and your partner, maybe even siblings. One little trick that I’ve learned along the way is, and I hope my kids don’t listen to this because then they’re going to know. But I’ll say something like “Hey, how do you think your brother’s doing right now?” Like I’ll ask the younger one about the older one and ask older one about the younger one to see if they’ve got their hand on the pulse of the other sibling. And that’s a little secret way to find out too.  Shellee: That’s also a great way of doing it.  I forgot to include carers. If you have a long-term carer that knows your child well enough to say “They’ve not been eating their tea when they come home.” Or “I’m noticing that they’ve been quite cheerful but nobody knows why.” It’s like being a detective, getting as many jigsaw pieces as you can. But I’m aware that when you’re transitioning and you’re exhausted and you’re exhausted and you don’t want to go there yourself, that can be very very difficult. Sundae: So let’s just accept that as part of a matter of course when we live in transition. Which we are always in transition. We need to take regular checkpoints about our kids. And that’s the same thing with any relationship, you check in to make sure that things, the wheels don’t fall off too far down the road before you readjust.  So listen, you have so much to offer and I would love to speak with you for hours and hours and more. But I know that I have to respect your time. Tell me if people would like to get in contact with you. Where can they find you? Shellee: Yes, if you go to my website, which is www.shelleeburroughs.com  Sundae: I will put the link in the show notes. Shellee: All the information and contact details are on there, the images that I did with my family and myself are on there. And any questions, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you. Because the trauma field is coming into its own. Four years ago nobody wanted to really go there and now people are joining the dots. Sundae: It has been amazing. So thank you so much.  Shellee: Thank you, Sundae. Sundae: My hope is that by sharing your wisdom and your insight that one parent is going to hear this and make a choice and connect those dots just a little faster and support their kid in a new way that wouldn’t have been possible without you. So thank you so much.  Shellee: My pleasure. You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean. Thank you for listening.  I’m going to leave you with the words of Michelle Rosenthal “Trauma creates change you don’t choose, healing is about creating change you do choose.” Full Episode Transcript:  Download Transcript  Enjoy The Show? Don’t miss an episode, subscribe via iTunes or RSS. Please leave us a review in iTunes (or here for Android). The post 163: Trauma Recovery with Shellee Burroughs appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
We’re setting off the fireworks for our big finish in the last segment of our 4-part series on expat quicksand. Whether it’s their health, career, marriage, or leaky kitchen faucet, most people wait too long to rally help. They only insist on change when they’re sick of listening to themselves complain about it. That rock-bottom moment becomes their motivation to break out of whatever emblematic quicksand has them trapped and get fixing.  Part of being a good coach is becoming acutely aware of patterns. In my many years and hundreds of clients, there are seven self-made barriers dissatisfied people have in common. Some will have one, most have a few, others check off the full monty. That’s okay… I have simple strategies to resolve them all. More good news? It’s much less complicated than you’re making it out to be right now in your spiraling mind. Even the biggest elephant is easily chewable when chunked into micro-bites. What You’ll Discover in this Episode: Coffee cup compass theory Knowing your enemy Partnering with people who’ve been there before The 100% effective cure for overwhelm And much more! You’ve stared at the problem long enough. It’s time to switch into problem-solving mode. Listen to the Full Episode: Featured on the Show: Doors are CLOSING soon. Have you secured your spot for Year of Transformation? Apply right here, and enjoy the brand new FREE mastermind as a bonus. Episode 140: Expat Expectations with Janine Christie Episode 89: Peek Behind The Curtain Of Real Life Transformation Episode 37: Time To Change Direction Sundae’s battle cry for being more on purpose: Expats on Purpose Manifesto Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose We’re delighted by our recent nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts! Subscribe: iTunes | Android Full Episode Transcript: Download Transcript Hello, it is 8am in New York, 2pm in Johannesburg and 7pm in Bangkok.  Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I’m a solution oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition. Who’s with me? I don’t get what I want until I am sick of hearing myself talk about it. You know what I mean? Where you talk about what you want or what you wish or what you could have and then you just get so sick of yourself that you finally get motivated enough to take action. So who’s out there, raise your hand. You are sick of just thinking about what you want, you are ready to take action but you just don’t know which direction to go. Then hang on I have got something just for you today. This episode wraps up our four part series on expat quicksand. Since June 2019, we’ve been focusing on connection, getting unstuck, purpose and direction. All good stuff you guys, so if you missed it, you’re going to want to go back to Episodes 127 to 141 to catch up. I’ve got a heck of a lot more than that as well, but if you want to go back even further you’re going to have to go on my website under Expat Happy Hour to hear more. For this episode we’ve got something special. I want you to get into a space where you can write a few things down. So if you don’t have a pen and a paper now is a time to grab those really fast. And if you’re driving or on the go, okay go ahead and listen now, but make mental notes. You might even revisit the transcript in the show notes later so you can keep things top of mind.  I want to end this four-part series on expat quicksand strong.  Let’s do it, because what I’m going to share with you is based on the challenges I see every day in my work with my clients. These are all the real life struggles and successful strategies that clients apply so that they can make real progress in their life and that is why I want to share it with you. And if you’ve been following me for a while, you might have heard some of these before but I want you to still pay close attention because where you are right now is different than you were a year ago. Now is the time for you to get unstuck and finally take action to do something different so that by this time next year you don’t even recognize the gorgeous transformation your life has taken.  So I’m going to share with you today seven struggles and seven strategies and I’m going to give you an inside glimpse, almost like a crystal ball, of what can be possible for you if you apply these in your own life. Are you ready? Okay, so let’s get started.  Here’s the thing, you’re sick of thinking about what you want and you are ready to take action and no you don’t know which direction to go, because you’re blocked. And by the end of this podcast, I want you to look in the eyeballs, seven ways you might be blocking yourself from taking action on what you really want. So pay attention to these seven ways, listen to your reaction, listen to the thing in your body that goes “Oh yeah, that’s me.” And then pay attention to those strategies that will get you in stock. My bet is that you don’t know because you’re blocking yourself in one of seven ways.  We’re going to start with number one; You’re not taking action because you don’t know what you want. It kind of makes sense doesn’t it? Like why would you start taking action if you don’t know what you want to be taking action on and that’s great. But here’s the thing, you’re waiting for this big thing, you want to take action, I don’t know, on your life’s purpose or your next business or a change in your career or shifts in your health, like big things and you are sitting there in inertia because you don’t know what you want. But here’s the light bulb for me. How in the world are you going to figure out what you want for this big stuff when you don’t even know what you want for the micro stuff, and I’ll tell you an example of what I mean. I’ve shared this before but I was at a physical therapist because I was using my laptop and not a screen monitor an I was having neck problems. So she brought me into physical therapy to do the work and she had this one this one exercise where basically she wanted me to swallow, I was practicing muscles in my throat and it was swallowing and it kind of made a sound like people do in Burkina Faso when they’re agreeing with you. It was like a kind of a gulping sound. Anyway, that was the exercise I was doing and I thought “You have got to be kidding me, I am paying, I don’t even know how much per hour to practice a swallowing movement in my muscles and my throat?” And I looked at her and I was like, “Can I just do Pilates?” And she looks at me and she goes “Miss Schneider, do you think that you’re going to build your muscles and prevent injury if you can even do this little exercise?” And I was like, “Oh, yeah okay.” I realized it’s the same thing what I ask my clients in coaching is “If you can’t even train yourself to know what you want for the little things, how are you gonna know when you land on the answer for the big stuff?” We’re so scared of not knowing this big thing, but we ignore the opportunities to train that in the little ways.  So what I give to my clients is a strategy is what I call the coffee cup compass, where I tell you, “You know in the morning when you get your tea or coffee, look at the cup, which one do you want? Because if you can’t even feel in your body which one you want, how are you gonna decide what professional direction to go to?” So do the micro work like I was resisting at the physical therapist so that you can build your bigger muscles later and not injure yourself or choose the wrong one. And the problem is here, when we’re not taking action because we don’t know what we want, is we’re stuck in imagining a life, but we’re not actually out there experiencing it. It’s about doing the steps, like I had to practice this in my throat in my muscles. And you know, there’s this one sort of ongoing cycle that I heard in a podcast between Adrienne Dorsen and Susan Hyatt about how actually people think that you need to have clarity and that will lead to confidence and then you’ll take action, so what we’re waiting for. But actually action leads to clarity and then that leads to confidence, so you just have to get started, pick the cup. If you’re stuck in a place where you don’t know what you want, start looking at what you want on the micro level.  It’s just like in Switzerland where they do something called a Schnuppertag, maybe they think “Oh, I wouldn’t mind being a baker.” So they go to a bakery for a week and check it out, right Schnuppertag, start sniffing around and taking action and seeing what feels right, pick out the coffee cup.  So you’re not taking action because you don’t know what you want.  That’s your assignment, start paying attention to the small things because those mini wants will build your muscles so you can do the big work later. Number two; You’re not taking action because you’re afraid. Now, what I recommend with my clients is, get to know Ms Amy G Dala. Amy G. Dala the amygdala, that fear center of your brain, where she whispers at you to try to keep you “safe” in air quotes, but she’s really just scared and trying to protect you.  So you’re not taking action because you’re afraid. You’re believing things that are making you stay frozen.  So you’re not taking action because this fear is holding you back and it could look like this, now tell me what resonates with you. When you think about getting the thing that you really want, which one do you really think about when you imagine getting what you want?  It will be difficult. It’ll take a long time. I’m too old or too young. I’m not strong enough. I’m not good enough. My guess is that you’ve said yes to at least one, if not all of these right?  These are the ways that we hold ourselves back and it’s important for us to know our enemy. If you have all five of these, you’re like a lot of people that I talk to, we hold ourselves back in that way. And now we know what’s holding us back, These are the thoughts that are stopping us from taking action. So if you’re ready to check action, but you don’t know which direction to go and you believe the thought “I’m not good enough.” You might go down a path that you do not need to. Like some of my clients have gotten 2nd or 3rd master’s degrees before coming to me and they realize what they were doing was believing this thought of “I’m not good enough.” There you go, goodbye, $35,000 and two years of your life. So if this resonates with you, I want you to know you’re not alone. I am in a group of really wildly successful female entrepreneurs and it’s inevitable. We’ll be together and one of these thoughts will pop up and we realize it’s holding us back and the way that you move forward is by recognizing this, because everyone has fears and it is what we choose to do with them that defines us.  So your assignment if this is you, is choose to work with them not have them work against you. Okay that your not taking action because you’re afraid. Number three; You’re not taking action because you’re not crystal clear on where you want to go. That also makes sense, you don’t know where you want to go and you have to be crystal clear to get there. But here’s what I see happening, a lot of the people I work with are really smart individuals, I mean I’ve got people in crazy engineering jobs,  I’ve got people with pharmaceutical backgrounds, and guess what they do when they’re trying to know where they want to go? They make lists of pros and cons. Where the problem is, if you want to know where you want to go using more of your left brain to solve this problem will not get you there because you’re so smart you would have solved it already. The trick here if you’re stuck because you don’t know where you want to go, you’re not exactly sure, is you’re using the wrong side of your brain. You’ve got to start using the right side of your brain, more of a creative process, start dreaming and doing the things that tap into your inner knowing, your creativity, your sense of intuition.  So geez, let’s just stop taking it so seriously and have a little fun. Maybe do a little dream work, imagine what kind of life would you like to see yourself living in three or four years, get wild go through magazines and cut out pictures that resonate with you, do something different. You can write yourself an endgame, where you would love to be in three years if you could have it all. You could say “You know what? I’ll be doing A for B so that C.” What will you be doing for whom so that this sort of purpose can be possible. So break through that sort of rigid pro and con left brain and allow yourself to dream more so you can get closer to what you want. So far we’ve discussed how you may not be taking action because, one you don’t know what you want, two you’re afraid and three you don’t know exactly where you want to go. So let’s look at the fourth block; You’re not taking action because you don’t have all your questions answered. I’m going to be real blunt with you, stop staring at the problem. It’s like, of course you have questions, of course, they are unanswered. Let’s get into problem solving mode, I see this all the time with my clients as well, “I don’t know how people would find out about me.” or “I don’t know if I could actually make enough money to make it profitable.”  These are great questions, like let’s figure it out, let’s solve that problem, let’s understand. That’s when we look at natural change processes, that’s what we call “Square Three”, when you’re doing the hard work of solving the problems in what we call the Heroes Saga from Martha Beck’s Four Squares of Change. So if you have questions that are unanswered, let’s go to problem solving mode, let’s use that smart brain of yours. “Where can I find out who can help me? Who knows what I need to know?” So after you do that investigation, you empower yourself to solve those problems and it stops overwhelm so you can focus on what’s the right next step. So if that’s you, if you’re overwhelmed with the heaviness of all the unanswered questions, I invite you, just for one hour to go into problem-solving mode. You’re smart, you can do this. “Where can I find out who can help me? Who knows what I need to know? What is the right next step?” Okay, that’s number four; You’re not taking action because you don’t have all your questions answered.  Let’s move to number five; You’re not taking action because you don’t know how to get there. Maybe you even have this crystal clear dream, this end game perfectly in mind. Maybe you want to be a published author, maybe you want to be a marathonist, maybe you want to be a location-independent business owner. You know what you want, you can see it, you can almost taste it, but you don’t know how to get there. You don’t have to know how, but you do need to know someone who does, so find someone who knows how, who has done it themselves, who has an effective process to get there, who is three chapters ahead of you. They know how, link arms with them, link into their processes so you can “learn the how” to get there. You don’t have to recreate the wheel and maybe like DIY is not even the way for you, maybe you want someone to lead you through a process, maybe you want to benefit from the fact that they’ve made a thousand mistakes and because they’re guiding you you’re only going to make 200. For you it might be an accountability partner or a mentor or someone who’s achieved what you want. Why not fast track your success, save yourself time, energy, headaches, money. So the how is by partnering up with people who have been there before, that’s number five. Number six; You’re not taking action because you’re stuck in overwhelm. I get it, there is so much to do, especially if you’re trying to find purpose or create something that means so much to you, there is so much to do in so little time, your precious resources, your time, energy and attention. My solution to that is to eliminate the problem and most people what they try to do is by, when they hear eliminate the problem they say, “Well then I’m not going to do it.” But actually when I say eliminate the problem, I mean get rid of the overwhelm. And I’m going to say it and you’re going to say “Of course, it’s super easy Sundae.” It’s so simple, but people don’t do it, when you’re overwhelmed my solution to overwhelm is planning. Plan, if there’s a million things to do than write them out on sticky notes, put them all down, chunk them up, put them together and then make a plan. What’s your first next step? You know that sort of, what is it the parable of how do you eat an elephant one bite at a time? That’s the thing, but when we’re frozen and overwhelmed we’re not doing it.  So if you’re the one who’s not taking action because you’re stuck in overwhelm book one hour to brainstorm all of the things you need to do, chunk them together and then work backwards, and that’s the first next step.  The secret is about going from reactive to proactive. And because you’re stuck in overwhelm, it’s hard to see it. And once you do that I want you to celebrate your progress, because now you’re getting clarity. We’ve looked at some more ways that you’re not taking action because you don’t have all your questions answered, you don’t know how to get there or you’re stuck in overwhelm.  And now I’m going to share the seventh and final way you may be blocking yourself; You’re not taking action because you don’t believe that you have what it takes to make the journey. Let that sink in. Be honest with yourself, you’re not taking action because you don’t believe that you have what it takes to make the journey. You guys, I see this all the time, this is a core part of the work that I do in coaching, is helping you tap back into your self worth and self confidence so that you know you have what it takes to make the journey. I get it, your self-confidence is taking a hit, maybe you haven’t worked in seven years because you gave up your career to move with your partner abroad or maybe you lost your job because it was corporate restructuring and now you’ve been unemployed for a year or maybe you decided to take a break because you’re having children, you want to be with your children more. Or maybe you move country and your degree wasn’t recognized because you shifted languages and you can’t practice as an architect or a teacher or whatever in the new country.  And then you’re left doubting yourself. And I see this all the time with my clients and here’s one thing you can do to get started to build that back up again. Super simple, again everything that I offer is very simple, but powerful and only effective if you actually do it.  So here’s what I want you to do;  Make a list of your skills and your talents, don’t be shy, no one’s gonna think you’re bragging.  Then I want you to go further, the second step is; name a time when you’ve gone through a big challenge. Answer, how did you do it? What got you through it? How did you do it? That is going to reveal even more skills and talents. Step 3; Ask your friends to complete this same list for you. I’ve asked my clients to do this and they have been brought to tears, because it was a way to see themselves in a whole new way.  So if you are doubting that you have what it takes to make the journey, I guarantee you this will bolster your self-worth and self-confidence. If you want to learn more about self-worth and self-confidence. You can go to my Episode 138 for more because it’s that important. So there you have it, those are seven ways you may be blocking yourself from setting off in a direction to help you get what you want, to create the life you want, that you’ve been craving. Let’s look at them again and think for yourself which one’s apply to you: You’re not taking action because you don’t know what you want. You’re afraid.  You don’t know where you want to go.  You don’t have all of your questions answered.  You don’t know how to get there.  You’re stuck in overwhelm.  You don’t believe you have what it takes to make the journey. Don’t beat yourself up here, you are not alone, these are themes I see all of the time with the clients that I work with. And we break through these so they can create what means the most to them.  And if you’ve identified one or two or three or all of these blocks and you have to celebrate, because now you know the way in which you’re stopping yourself from taking action from creating direction. And we say we don’t know which direction we want to go, but what we’re really saying is that we’re questioning ourselves, our choices, our ability to identify what we really want and then have a plan to make it happen.  So if you’re stuck on direction, then it simply means we have some work to do. And then when you do it the direction and resolve, the setup in that direction is going to be steadfast. I would love to be by your side in this journey as you set the direction and go for it. By now you’ve probably heard of me talk about Year of Transformation, and as you know the doors for applications are closing soon.  And here’s what I’ve learned by calls with you, those who have applied, I’ve asked you how bad you want the change that you’re craving. And on a scale of 1 to 10, some of you have said 12, like you want it bad. And some of you have said that you’re feeling a 7, and I asked you “Well what has to happen to get you even just one more of that scale?” And here’s what I’ve heard literally over and over again, you’ve said to me, “Well, I’d be more confident if I you had a crystal ball, that if I knew if I did the work, I get results.” So many people were using the exact same words of crystal ball.  I get it, you’re on this cliff, you’re about to invest in yourself, say yes to your dreams and you thinking “Should really make the leap?” And we all know that dreaming about something is safer than actually trying to make it happen, because then we have to put our money where our mouth is, our walk where our talk is and do it. And I may not have a crystal ball, but I do have results from women and men just like you. And I want you to hear their stories so that you can see into your future through theirs. I want to share some stories from real individuals who are feeling just like you were right now who transformed their lives within one year, who were blocked just in the same ways, this time last year.  I’m going to share one with you and then I’ll give you some resources you can go to and learn more, because listen, this is the crystal ball you’re looking for. I want you to be telling the same story, your story this time next year. I don’t want you to stay stuck, I don’t want you to feel directionless, I don’t want you to feel like you’re not going to find your purpose, I don’t want you to feel like you are missing self-confidence and self-worth. Stop, it’s time to stop, on the other side is something so much better. I’ll let you listen to Marie and not me, here’s what Marie said after a year of working together. I asked her to just, as a homework assignment between session 19 in session 20, I said “Tell me the story of your Year of Transformation?” And here are the exact words unedited that she shared with me. “Sundae, here’s my assignment, unedited, may have typos and grammar errors, but it comes from the bottom of my heart. Over a year ago, I was in Germany and enjoying the expat life and finally settled into a nice routine and started to feel like home. I used to go back to France every three months or so with the kids. I was learning German and started to fit in, my in-laws were coming to visit once a year for an extended period. It was a nice life, a life of cultural differences were there for sure, but it was still Europe and so the gap didn’t  feel so huge. A life where my spouse and I were on the same footing as we were both foreigners in Germany, not just me in the U.S. A life where the gut-wrenching feeling of being so far away from my family and friends was dramatically reduced as the distance was incredibly more manageable. When we found out that we were going back to the U.S. I started to get anxious, I didn’t want to go back to the U.S. but it felt like going backwards after a taste of life or we were in a neutral country, where we were both adjusting, where the distance with my family and friends wasn’t so big, a life where I could finally be physically there for a birthday or anything important or unimportant. I didn’t want to go back, I didn’t want to go back to the craziness with the politics, what was going on back there. I didn’t want to go back, but we had to go, we had to figure out a way to be okay with it.  The problem was my family and I were not going to be affected in the same way by this return. My spouse was happy to go back to the U.S., my two-year-old at the time would have no issue, my four-year-old may have some difficulty but with new friends and a new routine, it would be fine. I was the only one that was deeply affected by the return. I felt alone, I’d spoken to my spouse about how I felt but he felt powerless because he didn’t have a solution to help. I couldn’t really share anything with my kids besides just a sadness to leave our friends in Germany, but my sadness went deeper than that.  I was happy to see my friends back in the U.S. again, but they wanted to see the old Marie, the happy one and I wasn’t that when I returned. I felt that there wasn’t anyone I could confide to. Until came Sundae. I’d come across you, and I downloaded a bunch of podcasts about expat life, to find something helpful. I loved your overall bubbly personality, but also the empathy and attention you gave your guests. You were able to perfectly phrase feelings I could relate to, probably because you lived it too. I still remember your one podcast about what your family really thinks about you living abroad. I had to reach out to you to tell you how you made me tear up in the “U-Bahn”  u Then you offered a free coaching session to get unstuck and I booked one, you gave me a concrete plan to make leaving my friends behind less painful, by scheduling FaceTime sessions and visits before leaving. You talked about the Year of Transformation, honestly I was sold on the concept of you, my fears were more about whether I was able to show up for the challenge. I took a leap of faith and made the investment. I was feeling so low that it could only help, I had bottled up a lot of feelings and our first sessions were like word vomit and lots of crying. Having someone to talk to who was already a huge help, but you helped me process my feelings and be gentle with myself, you help me reprioritize self-care to get strong again, you would not let me sink. You stopped me in my tracks of self-pity to ask me questions like ‘What are you making this mean? or ‘Is this true?’ You gave me tools to tackle things that were important to me, you gave me accountability, but more than that you gave me your undivided attention, your compassion, your support.  You were a constant cheerleader who believed in me, oh crap, I’m getting emotional. Today a year later I have clarity on what I want my life to look like, I have a lot less of an emotional mess. Dare I say I’m happy to be in the U.S. because I’m clear on what needs to happen for me to thrive there. I have a tool box of tricks to help me get unstuck when I get off course.  Now I look forward to what the future holds.  You were there for me at one of the lowest points of my life, you were my lifeline. From the bottom of my heart, a big thank you to you, you made a huge impact in my life.” Whoa, so that was for Marie.  I read it word for word, what she shared to me with her permission I can share with you about the impact Year of Transformation had on her life.  I’m sharing this because I want you to be able to write me your own letter of transformation this time next year. To go from what she was saying, this emotional mess, to knowing that she has the tools to go forward and if she gets unstuck she knows what to do to get back on course.  I’ve got more for you than that, but I’m not going to read them all to you. I’ll show you, you can check out my social media feed where Carol shares her fairytale on how she gave her own Year of Transformation in a beautiful story.  I’ve got Episode 140 from Janine Christie, where you can learn about her success mid-transformation. As well as Episode 89, which is a sneak peek behind the curtains of the real life transformation of Mel and Andrea, both of whom were feeling stuck and transformed their lives to lead independent businesses.  Another woman did something behind my back, she reached out to a woman she saw struggling and told her her own story and only after she did that she shared it with me. I have her permission to share it in Episode 37: Time to Change Direction. Okay so you can see for yourself, from all of these women who were feeling just like you, blocked in ways just like you, their stories. Hear from them yourself and what their life looks like now. All of them had blocks, all of them broke free, you can too. So let’s talk about next steps for you.  For some of you have been listening today, these seven blocks or what you came for. You are ready to implement the specific strategies I mentioned into your own life, you know what you’ve been missing.  So my request to you is to name what that is and email me at sundae@sundaebean.com. I want to know what’s impacted you. Others of you, know you need more. You can feel it in your gut and you’re hungry to make some big changes in your life and you’re ready to really show up for you.  I’ve given you a taste of what Year of Transformation could do for your life and it enables you to get crystal clear on what you want and create direction in your life.  So for you, your next step is to schedule a free call with me to get off the sidelines of your life.  Check out the show notes, I’ve got a link there, where you can apply for a call. Signing up does not obligate you to anything, apply if it resonates we’ll schedule a time to speak to speak and then we’ll see if it’s a good fit. And you should do this soon because at the time of recording there were only a handful of spots for the program left. You can find the link for the application, that is good through October 2nd, but spots are filling fast so do it soon.  This is for you, are you sick of talking about change and not taking action, then check out which of the seven blocks apply to you and apply the strategies in your own life. If you know you’re going to smash through these blocks better with someone just like me by your side, then let’s talk. Apply to Year of Transformation and we will hop on the phone and check if it’s a good fit.  You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Bean, thank you for listening.  I’m going to leave you with the words of Thomas Jefferson. “If you want something you’ve never had you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” Enjoy The Show? Don’t miss an episode, subscribe via iTunes or RSS. Leave us a review in iTunes (or here for Android). The post 142: Seven Self-Inflicted Shackles appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
The secret to being present with your kids has nothing to do with your kids and it has everything to do with you. We are so busy living our day to day lives all the while navigating  parenting abroad that we sometimes forget what’s most important: In order to take the best possible care of our kids, we need to take first-class care of ourselves. This week’s podcast follows on the heels of our recent 5-Day Global Parenting Challenge to share a few of the key lessons and how we can continue to move forward to be our best version of parents to our global kids. What You’ll Discover in this Episode: The secret to being more present with your kids. How to turn the chore of parenting into more fun. Why being “selfish” can actually help you give more to your family. Where to start when you are ready to amplify your parenting. Being more present with my kids is something I am constantly striving for, and when I manage it joyous things happen. Do not forget that as global families, we are facing olympic level challenges. Follow the steps in this podcast to experience the secret to being present with your kids and make sure that you have the energy, focus and attention for them you are craving. Listen to the Full Episode: Featured on the Show: EP94: You’re selfish if you don’t do this. EP 113: Am I Unknowingly Spoiling My Kids? Overindulgence With Dr. Bredehoft. EP 114: What You Wish You Could Say To Your In-Laws. EP 115: When You Feel Like You Live In A Different Country To Your Partner. But You Don’t. EP 116: Breaking Through The Stay Or Go Dilemma. EP 118: Why You Should Talk About Grief Before It Strikes Connection Parenting from Pam Leo Don’t miss this brand new opportunity to start putting the way in which you are showing up in your family to the forefront: Global Parenting on Purpose. Subscribe: iTunes | Android Full Episode Transcript: Download Transcript Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour, this is Sundae Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition. The secret to being present with your kids has nothing to do with your kids and it has everything to do with you. This is a core theme that came out of my work with hundreds of individuals through the 5-Day Global Parenting Challenge. To be present with your kids, you have to first be present with yourself. And this is even more true for global families because as you know, I believe we are living olympic-level lives. We’re doing relationships and parenting and getting on with our work and trying to find meaning in our everyday. And we’re doing that while making huge global leaps across continents, cultures, languages and all of that time while we’re trying to keep connected with those that we love afar. We’ve been focusing on global families in this series since episode 112, so if you’ve missed any of that, you’re going to want to go back and check out what you’ve missed. We’ve covered anything from overindulgence with your children to see if you’re unknowingly spoiling your kids in episode 113. There is a special message prepared for you in episode 114 of what you wish you could say to your in-laws. So if you’re feeling a little bit frustrated, that your in-laws don’t understand you check out episode 114. Episode 115 is focused on what to do when you feel like you live in a different country from your partner, but you don’t.   Episode 116 covers this dilemma of should we stay or should we go. And just recently in episode 117 we talked about why you should talk about grief before it starts. So for episode 118 today, we are going to look at the secret to being present with your kids, and it’s super simple. Like I said, to be present with your kids you have to first be present with yourself. And I think people get this backwards. What I’ve noticed is that when you make the intention to be more present with your children then you focus on your kids and that is like trying to pour from an empty cup. And what I’ve seen in over a decade of coaching and in my own life, is that if you are able to focus on yourself, give yourself some first-class self-care and get your own needs met, then you’ve got all the energy and focus and attention for your kids when you are together. So I want to share some things that have been going on recently. If you weren’t part of the 5-Day Challenge on becoming a even better parent for your global kids, I still don’t want you to miss out on some of the key learnings that happened. If you were part of the challenge, this is a great refresher for you to see if you’re still on track. But before I get into that, I want to share with you what happened on the very first day. We got together with over 250 people who joined and there were dozens that joined live every day about the key questions that we’re focusing on and how we can become even better parents to our global kids. And I did a Facebook live, I had a video called that morning, I was asking questions, I was so excited about the level of engagement and people that were on there, what they’re sharing. So when I stopped at five, I was kind of surprised that I had this huge headache. And my son, when I was done, just got off the school bus from soccer, my youngest, and he was like “Hey Mama, how are you doing? Oh good. How was your day? Fine. How was soccer?” We had the normal exchange and my head was throbbing. It was like “What is going on? This was such a good day why do I have such a headache?” And he goes “Mama when I’m done with my 15 minutes of iPad, will you read me a story?” And I’ve this pumping headache, I have this adorable young son I haven’t seen all day like sweetly request to spend time together and I need to make dinner. So I looked at him and I go “Sweetheart, I would love to read you a story, but Mama has to cook so go do your iPad time and then you can come and help me cook.” So he’s disappointed, he goes upstairs, he does his 15 minutes of iPad time. And for those of you who are thinking of a mean Mom because I only give my kids 15 minutes of I’ve of iPad time, then you’re just like my best friend Nicole who shamed me after I shared I only give them 15 minutes a day. Anyway, he comes downstairs and I’m just finishing taking out the ingredients to make Crêpe. So I still have this headache and I say, “You know what honey? I need a couple more minutes.” So I go upstairs and I asked him to be patient. Then I meditated for 10 minutes, because during that day I talked about the importance of meditation, to be centered and how I had skipped it that day and I was feeling kind of nervous about how do I fit that in, because I know how important it is to me. And I’m like, “Nope gonna make it happen.” So I did my 10 minutes of meditation and I came back down and I’m like, “All right, let’s do this.” And my headache wasn’t completely gone, but it was much much better and I started to mix ingredients and we’re using the blender and he was helping me with eggs. His job when we make Crêpe is he helps make them cozy, meaning I flip the Crêpe over to him and then he covers them with a tea towel. And so the other thing that we do is he wants me to make a little baby Crêpe like the little ones. So I’m there and I’m flipping these little baby Crêpe at him and they go flying and I start laughing and he looks at me and goes “Mama, you’re so full of joy.” And I was like “What? Wow, how sweet is that coming from a six-year-old.” “Mama, you’re so full of joy.” And in that moment I was like “That was why saying no and taking 10 extra minutes for me to meditate was worth it.” Because he got the full of joy Mom, he didn’t get the testy Mom, the headache Mom, the Mom who would probably crack open a bottle of wine and have a glass so her headache will go away Mom. He got the full of joy Mom. That is what I mean about being present with your kids, that you have to be present with yourself first. And listen, I share this story but I do not always get it right. I mean I really don’t. This is a work in progress over the last decades since I’ve had kids, I am human just like anybody else. This is an ongoing work in process because the way I’m showing up in my business is changing, the way I’m needing to show up in my family is changing etc. So it changes or it causes me to have to up level how I’m showing up. So that’s my invitation to you to think about not how present are you with your kids actually, but how present are you with yourself?  Because I have a hunch the more present you are with yourself the more present you can be with your kids. So let me share a little bit more from this 5-Day Challenge on becoming an even better parent to your global kids because I don’t want you to miss out on some of the goodness. If you are curious you can join my Facebook Group Expats On Purpose and you can go down into the history and find all of the challenges or you can send us a message and let us know that you want to opt into some of the videos and we can set you up. But here’s what I want you to do today to walk away feeling like you’ve got that one step closer to up leveling the way you’re parenting your global kids. Not that you need to, not that you’re not doing a good job, just that if you’re like most people I know the way you’re showing up has it’s pros and cons and you’re invested in doing the best you can for your kids. So it’s worth asking the question and we’ll start with the first one and that is; “What does it mean to you to become an even better parent to your global kids?” Because we are so different in terms of culture and language and religious beliefs and parenting styles, and the way that we think our kids should be raised, there’s not one way. So the way to start is; “What does it mean to you to become an even better parent to your global kids?” And here’s what some of the participants from this challenge had to say; the big one, and that’s why I’m bringing up today in this episode, is to be more present with them. Another that came up is less reactive, using a softer voice and tone and stop lecturing. Another parent said; being the fun mom and actually enjoying the parenting process. I know I can relate with that one, I love having fun with my kids, but if I’m the one who’s responsible for the routine then I can totally go into Discipline Mom instead of Fun Mom. Others said being more patient and one comment, that I love, says to be kinder to myself as a parent and accept that I have limits. Do any of these sound familiar? Because I hope you realize when you hear this that you’re not alone. In fact, I was just on a client call with someone who I absolutely adore and she was talking about how she’s feeling kind of frustrated with herself. She said “Gosh, you know I’m sure I’m the only one of your clients who’s trying to get their shit together as a parent.” And when she said that I just busted out in this huge belly laugh because it brought me so much joy to put in context that I just had 250 people sign up for this challenge and she thinks she’s alone. We’re not alone y’all we are in this together and I’m not even from the South I just said y’all to you, I’m actually from the North. So I don’t even know where that came from to be honest. So we are all trying to get our stuff together as parents and some of us have ebbs and flows and some of us are really rocking it. And some of us are having a look in the mirror going,“I need to make some changes so I can make a long-term impact on our kids.” I’m not going to judge where you are as a parent, but if you’re listening to this you’re already doing a great job by allowing this question to come to mind. Your intention is there in your heart that you want to up level how you’re showing up for your kids. And if you’ve been listening to me long enough you know that has to go with up leveling, how you show up for yourself. So you’re not alone. Here’s what I wanted to do next: Once you’ve identified what it means to you to become an even better parent to your global kids, I want you to get a list together. What are you already doing well? Okay, now be honest, let yourself brag a bit, what are you already doing well? I know what I’m already doing, I’m very physically affectionate with my kids. They get bunches of sloppy hugs and kisses in the morning and at night, I really want them to know how much I love them. We read books together. Those are the things that I know my kids might not appreciate it when I’m going to the bus and I’m like being the embarrassing mom giving them a kiss on the cheek, but they love it. They’d love it even if they don’t love it, you know what I’m saying? Anyway, so I think when I look at what I’m already doing well, it has to do with the demonstration of love, the using love language, of my language telling them that I love them, showing them with hugs and kisses I love them. And then I think we’re doing bedtime well. We spend, I know Pam Leo says you need 15 minutes of one-on-one time with each child to really keep that attachment, keep that connection and I know we’re doing that. Well, okay I have a long list of things that I need to improve but that’s not the point right now we need to focus on what you’re already doing well. Once you have that the next step is for you to look at that list and explore how will you amplify your current approach by doing more of what is working. So do more of what is already working. So if you’re getting in that 15 minutes of one-to-one time, why not plan a 24-hour date with your kids, because you know, when you have that one to one time everybody feels more connected. I know I felt like I needed more connection with one of my kids and we had a 24-hour date, one parent took one kid the other parent took the other kid, and we separated for 24 hours and did our own thing, just you and that one child. Oh my God, it was glorious. So that’s what I mean by amplifying. What are you doing that’s already working and how can you do more of it? That’s it, that’s all you got to do to already, take a huge leap forward to become a better global parent. Of course there’s more, I’m not going to go through each day. There’s a lot more that you can do, but this is the first step and it’s an important one.   So that’s my invitation to you to sit down and answer the question; what does it mean to you to become a even better global parent? What are you already doing well? And how can you amplify your current approach? Those who did that on the challenge said that they’ve been listening better to their kids, trying to get them involved in daily routines more so they have less to do, having their kids more involved in daily cooking and actually having fun with it. Saying no more at work, cutting myself a break as a parent and quality time for full presence was a goal that the entire family set so they had a no tech hour. That’s just the beginning that’s possible with your family if you put some intention into what you’re doing. And I know what you’re thinking, you’re saying: “You know what Sundae, I’m just trying to get by day by day, I’m exhausted, I’m not sleeping, I’m tired, I have too much to do, so I don’t have time for this.” And I would argue; “Actually you don’t, you don’t have time and that’s why you should do this because what we see from the research, Pam Leo makes a great case of this in Connection Parenting, the amount of time that it takes to argue is probably more than it is to connect.” So if you’re trying to get your, I don’t know your four-year-old to clean up their room and you have a big fight about it, you could step back instead and say okay. get down to their level and go “All right honey, how can we do this together so that your room is clean?” And then you use it as an opportunity to connect and boom, boom, boom, you make it a game and then you’re done. Because I know that there’s times, when I’m fighting about something with my kids and it’s exhausting, it takes ages and it would have just been better to like step back and really approached it, I would have saved time and energy. So if you’re too busy for this actually, this is a reason to think about it. None of the things that any of my clients or participants in the challenge have chosen to take steps forward with, have been time consumers. They’ve all just integrated, It’s the way in which they’re approaching their day, their approach is not adding more, In fact they’re actually taking tasks off and saving time. Okay, I say all of this knowing there’s no one-size-fits-all, and that’s why as a coach. I work really hard to help you get clear on what you need for you and for your family at this time, for your culture, for your context, right? And I want to share with you at the same time some of the themes that emerged with this cross cultural group, that came out of the 5-Day Challenge and have come out in my coaching over the years as being consistent in strategies that help you show up as a present parent like you want to be. And the first one is clear: To be present with your kids is you have to put you first, that means being present with yourself. What do you need? How can you get those needs met? How can you fill up whatever hole that you’re feeling in your life? When you put me first It’s not selfish, in fact it’s the opposite, because once you can give yourself what you need, you have so much more to give to others. If you want to go in more depth with that check out Episode 94 “You’re selfish if you don’t do this”. Because I’ve got lots of strategies and suggestions on how you can be more present with your kids by putting you first. If you’re skeptical and you think that it sounds selfish, check it out, I will beg to differ. Tip two; You know this already but I’m gonna say it so you actually put it to the forefront of your mind: For you to be more present with your kids you need to invest in first class self-care. That’s what I like to call it, first class self-care. That doesn’t mean money,  it might mean just five minutes of meditation, it might mean taking a walk right after work around the block before you jump in your car so you create a buffer between your crazy work day and your family life, so you have more presence when you get there. It might be meeting a friend for a run for 20 minutes so that you can blast off some of the frustration that you had with your toddler and then show up again with your children in a way that you feel more balanced. I’m not telling you to go to a spa and get a massage, I’m just asking you to invest some thought in how you can give yourself first class self-care, because if you don’t your kids will pay for it. I say this because that’s how it is with me, that’s what is my clients. When we’re not taking care of ourselves our kids feel it. I’ll tell you recently I came I flew back from Switzerland and the flight leaves at nearly 11:00 p.m. It lands in the morning and we’re in economy squished, my son is sleeping on my lap, I’m exhausted from a week of grieving with my family and I barely sleep on the flight home. I had moments of momzilla the next day. I was just I was so tired and it was not my best self. And it’s such a reminder because I do a good job at taking care of myself normally, when I’m not then everybody pays. So what I chose to do for everybody’s benefit is to introvert pretty hard the next day and go for a run and get some things done where I could renourish myself so that I can show up on Monday first-class self care for my family. Okay, so that’s two first; Is to be present with your kids you have to put you first. Two is invest in first class self-care and three is something that one of the participants said in the 5-Day Global Challenge, she said “I am committing to give all of my attention some of the time.” All of my attention some of the time, so your kids have you, you’re fully present in that moment. So breaking down the expectation you always have to be completely available for your kids. What ends up happening is that you need to peel away mentally or physically and then you pretend like you’re there but you’re really not, and your kids are smart they get that, they see that, they feel that. I know I’ve had moments where my kids are like “Hey, where you at? What are you thinking about?” So one of the habits I’ve worked on developing is saying to my kids “Hey, you know can you do blah blah blah, whatever it is and I have something I have to finish.” I’ll say  “All right, you guys let me just finish this, I need five more minutes and then you’ll have my full attention.” So what are the ways that you can give your kids all of your attention some of the time? What are the boundaries that you need to set? One participant in the 5-Day Challenge said that on summer break her kids get all of her attention at the absolute cost to her. So that’s where you need to think about boundaries, like “Hey kids, we’re going to spend an hour together and then I’m going to do x y z.” So you can create more boundaries around your attention, so all of your attention some of the time, that is showing up for your kids, that is being present for your kids. All right, and this is important you guys, if you are a parent you know how it feels we just want to do the best for them and we feel so vulnerable and sometimes struggle with are we doing the right things in the right ways, right? You will lose nothing by up leveling the amount of presence for your kids while also up leveling the way you show up for yourself. Everyone wins, you don’t lose time, you don’t lose energy, you gain. You gain for your family, you gain energy and you actually save time because you’re not fighting, you’re not overcompensating and you’re not in a circle of coping. So these are the things that I would love to leave you with today; An invitation to consider what it means to you to become a better parent to your global kids and I’ve given you a few tips to help you along your way. And I know this is just the beginning, I am super inspired by the changes I’ve seen in the 5-Day challenge and I know for some of you, you’re just getting started and you want to keep the momentum that you’ve made or you’ve been putting this topic on the back burner for too long and you want to start putting the way in which you are showing up in your family to the forefront. And that is exactly why I created the Global Parenting on Purpose experience. So it’s for anyone who’s raising their kids abroad and secretly wonders whether you’re doing enough.  It’s time to get clear on what it means to you to become a better parent, get your strategies firm in your hand so you don’t get lost along the way. I am happy to share the link so you know more because it’s all about taking back control, being more present, feeling less guilty, being more confident in your strategies and still creating a connection with loved ones that are near and far. And this is a really big important one, finding purpose outside of being a parent or a spouse. It’s four months, a program that brings together a group of experienced expats and myself armed with all of my tools as an Intercultural strategist and solution-oriented coach to help you overcome your challenges with expat life and raising third culture kids. We will work closely together side by side, motivate each other and raise the bar on how you show up for you and for your family. So this is all about uncovering the parenting approach that works best for you and your transition in your global life without losing you. So here’s the next step, if this sounds interesting to you I will pop the link in the show notes and simply have a look, and if you’re interested apply and you and I can hop on the phone for a no-strings-attached conversation to hear more and see if it’s the right fit. It’s all about learning how to name your needs and get what you want, stop doing everything for everyone, start doing more for you without the guilt, reclaiming your time even in a complicated transition and put purpose back on your agenda. Because by this time in September you could feel totally in control as a parent, focused on taking care of you and giving your best to your global family without losing yourself. So don’t be shy, check out the link, apply for the call. I’d love to meet you and we can have a quick conversation, no strings. I can tell you more about it, you can ask me anything. So remember in this episode we have been focused on how you can be present with your kids and to do that you’ve got to first be present with yourself. Remember the tips we talked about; Put me first, invest in first class self-care and all of your attention some of the time. You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Schneider-Bean. Thank you for listening. I’ll leave you with the words from Ed Asner an American actor famous for his role as Lou Grant he says; “Raising kids is part joy and part guerrilla warfare.” So join me with a Global Parenting on Purpose Program, so we can arm you with the right tools, so you can create more joy for you and your family. Enjoy The Show? Don’t miss an episode, subscribe via iTunes or RSS. Leave us a review in iTunes (or here for Android). The post 118: The Secret To Being Present With Your Kids. appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
Anybody who lives abroad knows the excruciating feeling – indecision that keeps you up at night. Suddenly, for any number of different reasons, you find yourselves faced with a decision, “Do you stay or do you go?” You wonder how your answer will shape the future. Listen to today’s podcast for three different strategies to get unstuck when you are faced with the dilemma of staying or going. What You’ll Discover in this Episode: Where to start to make a decision you won’t regret What to avoid in times of upheaval The foundation to steer your course of action How you can break through indecision There are no cookie-cutter answers when it comes to the complex factors that lead you to ask, “Stay or Go?” These three approaches give you tools to move forward so that you can make the best decision for you. Listen to the Full Episode: Featured on the Show: Don’t miss this brand new opportunity to create connection with yourself, your partner and your family: Global Parenting on Purpose. “Should I stay or should I go? An expat holiday guide”  Episode 45 of Expat Happy Hour Subscribe: iTunes | Android Full Episode Transcript: Download Transcript Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour, this is Sundae Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition. Martin Luther says “Nothing in the world causes so much misery as uncertainty.” “Should I stay should I go? Should I stay or should I go? Should we stay should we go? Should we stay should we go?” Sound familiar? How many times have you been put in that position? Where you don’t know whether you should stay or go, you know the lyrics from The Clash “Should I stay or should I go? If I go there will be trouble, if I stay it will be double!” You feel stuck, right? And today’s episode of Expat Happy Hour is to help you get unstuck when you are faced with this dilemma of staying or going. And make sure you stay tuned to the end because I’ve got other resources that will help you in this exact direction in different situations, and something very special that I’ve just announced that will help you work through big questions like these. Okay, so what we’re going to look at today are people who have been in that same situation stay or go? And I’m going to share with you how I helped them out of it. Three different strategies, three different lives, three different ways. Because one of them might be just what you need to dig yourself out of uncertainty. Okay, so the first scenario I’m going to share with you today is this; should we stay or should we go? Meaning are we in the country are we out of the country? So there was a message that I got from a Facebook group and the general question was like this. “Hey, I need help. We’re coming up on a few years here and I’ve adjusted to life and you made friends, it’s really nice, but to be honest, I miss my people. I miss my friends and my family back home. And you know what? When we talked about coming here, we saw it as a chance to explore Europe and travel and have adventure and we said sure we’ll see you there for a couple years and then we’ll go back to our home base. But our homebase, honestly when I compare it now, it’s kind of hectic in comparison. I mean the air quality is poor, kids have fewer green spaces and life is just so busy. Now I’m wondering, is home base good enough anymore? We’re in a great position because my partner has a chance to stay indefinitely, but now that my daughter is heading into school I’m worried that she’s not going to know her family back home, her Grandma and Grandpa, her Auntie’s, her cousins. I feel like I’m robbing her of something important that I had as a kid, I grew up going to Grandma and Grandpa’s every Sunday and now her Grandma is thousands of miles away, what should I do?” All right, this might sound familiar, some of you have been here before. Are we going to stay in the country or move out of the country? Here is what I have to offer; What if you can have both? What if you can live there and make a plan for your daughter to have epic experiences with Auntie’s, Grandma’s and Grandpa’s and cousins over the holidays in winter or maybe summer break. Before you look at whether you should stay or go name your needs. What is the need here? I mean, you probably heard it, the need is for connection with your family. The need that is being met right now in your current location is quality of life for your family, less hectic, higher air quality, more freedom for your kids, but the need that’s not met is this connection. So what do you do get creative? How can you meet that need? There are so many ways that that can take form. So, I grew up with Grandma’s and Grandpa’s, Aunties and Uncles and cousins in my hometown, but I also grew up with the same who I only saw in summers. Both sides I hold dearly in my heart, with both sides I have cherished memories. So if you’re in the same situation as the Mama who is worried about her daughter and not knowing if they should stay or go, my invitation to you is; Why is it so tempting to stay? What needs are being met? And write it down, because when you look at that, maybe they’re trivial or maybe they’re really important, maybe it’s your need for safety, maybe it’s a need for freedom, maybe it’s something health-wise, It’s really important. Okay, then look at that yearning inside your belly that’s making you think “Maybe I should leave.” What is that need? And for her it was connecting with family, all right well how else can you get that need met? I know for me when we decided to stay a bit longer in South Africa. I said one of the needs I have is to connect more often with some of my friends back in Switzerland. So that is the need I’m going to work on nurturing. Okay, so there you have it, if you are in a similar situation where you are having the dilemma, should we stay or should we go? Something as big as whether you stay in the country or you leave, stop thinking about strategy and start focusing first on your needs because maybe you can have both. All right, that’s one scenario. Now, let’s look at another one. Imagine you are living your life abroad, you’ve got the job, your partner is happy and suddenly you get that dreaded phone call. There’s a serious illness in your extended family. And it is so serious that your stomach just drops and you know that you’ve got to make a decision. “Do I keep going on with my life as is or do I do something dramatic and different and go be with my family member?” Maybe it is a serious illness, or maybe it is a fall that an aging parent had, something happens where you get that phone call and you know, things are going to change. Okay, so when I worked with someone in a similar situation we looked at. “Okay, what do I do? I don’t know what to do, here, I am faced with this dilemma  I feel like I can’t have the right answer.” First piece of advice is; when you’re in kind of a traumatic shock of “Oh my gosh, they had the bad fall” or “Oh my gosh, they’ve got the diagnosis” that is square one of change which is called death and rebirth, meaning everything was going along fine and boom there’s this event that happens and puts you into a new life. Like she was fine before now she’s not walking. Whatever it is and what you want to do when everything changes is you want to be careful not to make a life-changing decision in that moment of upheaval. So if you get that scary diagnosis from someone you love or the fall that puts your loved one in the hospital and you know things aren’t going to be the same anymore. You need to nurture yourself, take care of yourself, make sure that you’re okay so you can think clearly. Go to your family, be with your loved ones in whatever way you need to but don’t dramatically resign from anything before you’ve had a moment to sort of stop spinning from the news. Okay, then you can ask yourself; “Now what? What do we do now?” So on the call with one of my clients we had that thing of like “What do I do? Should I go? Should I stay? When do I go? How do I go?” etcetera etcetera. Now you’re trying to make a decision. First thing you can do is base it on your values, you’re trying to make a good decision but what does that mean? What’s good? You want to make the right decision but based on what? Based on your values, so think about that in this case, It’s about being close to family, physically close, physically present with family. So then you ask yourself “So what happens if I stay? What’s the worst thing that could happen if I stay? What’s the best thing could happen?” So in this case it was “Well wait a minute, you know after the diagnosis the condition could get worse and if I stay and it gets worse and worse and we miss out on time with each other? Best case scenario the condition gets better and okay I invested some time and money in trips across the world.” Then you look at the other side, What if you go? worst case scenario the condition worsens and you had time together. Best-case scenario, condition gets better and you made a grand gesture of love and you had bonus time together. Right? Looking not just at pros and cons because that’s so rational, It’s not emotional, It’s not value-based. If you look at what is the core value here, and in this case it was being present in the person’s life as they were dealing with the new situation, right? So if you name your value and then it’s worth looking at what’s the worst that could happen and the best that could happen, because it puts everything in crystal clarity. So as a result of this situation, it was clear it was about being physically present to support that was the primary value, but a second one right underneath there was about keeping the person’s career alive. And your career doesn’t compete with family, right, but it’s still important. It’s still about bread-and-butter, It’s still about taking care of your family. It’s also about not sabotaging, decades of hard work for something that could last three months or six months or who knows. So then what you want to explore is what if you could really be present physically and not sabotage your second value? And in this case it was keeping your career alive, Again what if you could have both? That is such an important question to ask when you’re in that dilemma because we get when we’re trying to make a decision. We’re like yes or no? Black or white? Stay or go? What if we can have both? What would that look like? Ask yourself that. And then you can say “What would help me say yes to, let’s say going with my whole heart? What are the conditions? What has to happen?” And then you might do the other side, what if you say, “Feeling like staying is the right thing, if I stay how can I stay without regret?” And this is a way you generate new questions, new solutions, instead of the simple form of stay or go. And here’s a quick caveat; There are times when you’re in a dilemma and you don’t even have to think about it, you get that phone call and you’re on the absolute next plane out, you know deep down in your whole body boom, and you’re gone. So trust yourself when it is such a clear case you’re going to do the right thing. When you are in a complex dilemma, deep breath, take care of yourself and then do the work that you’re not trapping yourself in a dichotomy of stay or go, yes or no. That you’re going the extra step to find the most optimal solution for you that’s in alignment with your values. Okay, so our third should we stay or should we go might also sound familiar. Some of you might be in long-distance relationships, some of you might be in a fly in or fly out situation, some of you might be looking at; “Are we going to make the job change which will impact where we live geographically?” So for this couple, they are in a situation where they were living separately, one of them was looking for an opportunity which was going to limit the amount of travel that was happening. The other was with the kids and happy and adjusted, running their thing. It was manageable, but it was not ideal. Suddenly an opportunity came up, an opportunity they had never thought of before and to be honest they didn’t have a lot of time to consider it. There was a little bit of like an edginess to it where they didn’t know if there would be a risk or not security-wise because of where it was in the world, but still it felt like an opportunity to meet their need of being with each other more frequently. You know, some of you who are listening have been there, where all of a sudden you get the call and then the opportunity comes up and you have to make a decision. I don’t know if you’ve got 24 hours, 48 hours or two weeks, whatever it is you’re completely uprooting your life and need to give them a yes or a no. Here’s one strategy that worked for this couple. It’s as simple as saying “If we say yes to this what are we saying no to? If we say yes to this, what are we saying yes to?” And then listen in your body to how it feel. There’s no right or wrong answer here it matches for you because what, you know for example, if I say yes to uncertainty that might be a big hell no for someone but saying yes to uncertainty might be a big yes from someone else depending on where they’re at in their life. Maybe they’re bored, maybe they want uncertainty right? So there’s no judgment, there’s no right answer, It’s the right answer for you. So for this couple it looked like this; “If we say yes to this opportunity we’re going to say no to uncertainty, no to the fly-in fly-out family life, no to solo parenting for one person, no to exhaustion. If we say yes to this opportunity we say yes to being together as a family.” If you say yes to this opportunity you say yes to being together as a family, soon regaining stability and a new career opportunity or job satisfaction. So if you’re in this situation, you can see how it helps you or the family see things differently. And then you go further. “Well, what if we say no?” if you say no to this opportunity you say no to your partner’s career advancement for sure and you say no to future opportunities in a new region or the new field depending on your situation. If you say no to the opportunity you say yes to one more year of separation and yes to more time in the home country. Okay, so it sounds repetitive. Yes, yes, no, no, no, yes, etcetera, etcetera. But believe me if you try it out It will uncover the thing that goes “Wham that is the right answer for me.” You’ll get to one part of the list and your whole body goes boom or you read it and you’re like “everything sings” and that is where you are getting the best information again. Someone else might say yes with her whole body to more time in the home country and think it’s okay with one more year of separation. Another family, that is a big no go. So give it a try when you’re looking at something where you’re like “Should we keep going? Should we stop?” Whatever the Dilemma is just try “If I say yes I’m saying no to this, if I say yes I’m saying yes to that” and then flip it around for the nose because it helps you mindfully make a choice to see what the implications are of your decision and I tell you what, your body is the compass to help, you know which is right direction because your whole body will light up on one yes or one no or it’ll sink and then you are much better able to make a decision. It also gets you out of this pro and con, pro and con is so fixed it either goes only in this column or that column and come on I mean if you ever wrote a pro and con list about having kids or be all these cons on one pro and the pro would be having kids. We all know having kids is a massive joy and is worth it but looking at it on a pro and con list you probably wouldn’t agree with it. So you need to access big decisions differently. Okay, so what we’ve done today, we looked at three different scenarios from individuals just like you trying to decide yes, or no stay or go. And what I want you to take away for your next big decision is instead of getting stuck on the right strategy, focus first on your needs. “How can we get our needs met as a global family?” Because when you’re living this International life things are not so simple. Tip two is; When your in upheaval step back and give yourself some time if you know you’re feeling the upheaval, you’re feeling the stress, don’t Make Any life-changing decisions unless it’s crystal clear to you. You can go further and play with best-case scenario, worst-case scenario and how to optimize. And remember to make your decisions based on your values. So it’s like “What should we do? Okay what are my values? and then I can base my decision.” Okay, don’t forget to try out the yes and no combination and listen to your body and what feels right? Listen, our lives are complicated, there are no right or wrong or easy answers and so many times the only person who can answer that is you. This is the one thing that I’ve learned in 10 years of coaching expats. It’s not as simple as “Should I learn the local language or not?” where you have a pretty easy yes or no based on your circumstance. These are messy complicated things with multiple factors in our global family. Again going back to our original starting episode of this whole series on global families. It is like the mobile, or if you touch one side the whole thing moves. So you’re looking for anchors you looking for alignment and these are a few strategies that should help you on your way. If you’ve got another kind of dilemma, like you’re thinking “Wait a minute Sundae, I don’t have to change my whole career or whether I’m going to stay in this country or not.” Maybe you are just wondering “Should I stay here for home break or make the trek with my kids to see my family?” Then you can go to episode 45 where we look at “Should I stay or should I go? An expat holiday guide” For bigger dilemmas in this global family life, I have got something special for you. I know one of the biggest dilemmas that I’ve seen recently after the five day challenge on becoming an even better global parent to your kids, that the desire to give your best your global family without losing yourself is burning. No matter what kind of transition you’re in we are in this place of “I want to do the best for my family and not get lost along the way.’ You want to help them through tough transitions, stay connected with friends and family afar, embrace your cultural values, while also teaching them about the local culture and be truly present so you don’t miss this golden time. I get that, and that is why I’ve designed a program called Global Parenting on Purpose. It is an experience, me, you and a group of fellow expats who are committed to helping you take back control, be more present, feel less guilty, be more confident in your strategies, create connection and find purpose outside of being a parent or a spouse, essentially making you a priority while you’re serving your global family. So check it out if this resonates with you and you’ve got some dilemmas that are related to your global family we have got your back. Check it out The link is in the blog under global family on purpose. So you might have started this call feeling a little bit like Tommy Cooper a Welsh comedian and magician. He says “I used to be indecisive but now I’m not quite sure.” I hope that with today’s Insight in our episode you feel like you’re on a new path. This is Sundae Schneider Bean and you’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour. Thank you for being here. I will leave you with the thoughts from Lou Holtz, “You will never be indecisive if you know your purpose.” Enjoy The Show? Don’t miss an episode, subscribe via iTunes or RSS. Leave us a review in iTunes (or here for Android). The post 116: Breaking Through The Stay Or Go Dilemma appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
“Dear In-laws, Never tell me how to raise my children, I’m living with one of yours and there is a lot of room for improvement.” All joking aside, dealing with your in-laws under regular  circumstances can be difficult enough, never mind trying to navigate this dynamic as a global family. Drawing on the voices of my clients and expat connections over the years, I have crafted a letter that you may only dream of sending to your in-laws, a letter that you may also secretly wish your spouse would read. Listen to today’s podcast for five steps on how to find your voice and and stand in a more empowered place in a bi-national or globally mobile family. What You’ll Discover in this Episode: The assumption most of us hold that actually damages our relationship. Where to start when you’re struggling. How to drop defensiveness. 3 questions to ask if you are feeling angry and defensive. And more. I have seen my clients relationships be transformed by practicing what I share with you in this episode. Even when it feels difficult, there are ways to create closeness and understanding. Essentially it boils down to allowing more space for understanding, even when you want to have your defenses high. It’s about giving permission for vulnerability and humanity – on all sides. Creatively addressing our differences and finding commonality can make all the difference in generating a whole new dynamic within an intercultural family. Listen to the Full Episode: Featured on the Show: Gary Chapman’s five love languages Dr. Christine Northrup and her book on women’s health mentioned here: Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing. Subscribe: iTunes | Android Full Episode Transcript: Download Transcript Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour, this is Sundae Bean fromwww.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition. “Dear mother-in-law never tell me how to handle my children, I’m living with one of yours and he needs a lot of improvement.” So this was a quote I stumbled upon in preparation of this podcast on in-laws. It’s a bit of a cliche isn’t it, like that the in-laws and how much trouble we have with them, but it’s important to talk about. So today’s focus of global families is dealing with our in-laws and I have to have a big caveat up front before I dive in. Personally I’m among those who have a wonderful relationship with their in-laws and I would venture to say that my partner has the same with my side of the family. Yes we have our quirks, no we’re not perfect, but personally speaking I am so grateful to say that I’m able to experience how it is to do binational family of ours when we get along, when the in-laws are someone we welcome into our home on both sides. And I say that because well one I just want my in-laws to know that this episode is not about them, but two because I know how good it can be when things work. And through over 10 years of coaching families in binational relationships and expats around the world, I realize how much a thorn in your paw your in-laws can be when things don’t work out. And you know me I’m all about straight talk about expat life and one of the things I don’t think we talked about enough is the role of our In-laws in our global family, in our nuclear family that we are trying to raise around the world and in our family experience when we’re flying across the world and visiting the other side. I say this all of what I’m sharing today is based on a decade of coaching with people who have brought topics up to me over and over and I also know, based on some Facebook groups I am in with expats, the people are almost competitive to tell their stories of who has the worst in-laws. When it goes wrong, it goes really wrong. So here’s my contribution today.  What I’ve done thanks to the voices of some of my clients and the compilation of things I’ve heard over the years. I’ve created a letter, a letter that some of you wish that you could write to your family, a letter that you wish that some of your in-laws would read. And just as a caveat the letter that you’ll read is in my voice, so I positioned it as a woman, but it could very well be from a man or it could be from a same-sex couple, it could be with kids without kids. Regardless of it, the focus is on making space; for difference, for individuality for identity, for your cultural practices. And this gets particularly interesting when our kids are at stake. My husband and I always joke about “Who would you pick me or the kids?” and it’s like “Kids.” It’s like we as parents want to fiercely protect our children, they often feel like the center of our lives. So if we feel like we’re doing that job and something isn’t working because of our binational family or because of the way things are done from the in-laws things can get super sticky and I know there are some of you who are listening who have had fights with your partner because your partner is actually taking their mothers side and not your side and you’re like, “Excuse me, I am your wife or I am your partner, what is happening here?” It gets sticky. We get competitive, we get wrapped up in this “Whose side are you going to be on?” I hope that today you walk away with clarity that we don’t need to pick sides. What we need to pick are good strategies and love and clarity. So let me let me begin this conversation by reading you the letter and then I’ll give you a few tips on what you can do if you are the one who’s struggling with your in-laws or if you happen to be an in-law and you’re listening to this podcast. Dear In-Laws. I’m writing you a letter I know I’ll never send. I’m writing it because something has been building up inside and I just need to get it out. But I don’t ever want you to hear it because I love you, because I don’t want to hurt you and what I’m about to write is honestly something I wish I could just scream out at the dinner table from the top of my lungs so that it would enter your heart and your consciousness. So right now I’m writing you this message and I know it will fall into the abyss and it seems senseless, but I just need to release what’s inside. So here it goes. Number one:  I wish you understood how hard it is to live abroad.  I wish you understood what it was like to raise your kids outside of your home country. I mean, I’m the minority here, it is a constant battle to teach my kids my language, my values my rituals. I am battling with the people I’m closest to, to pass on part of me. And then tell you what, your son doesn’t have this problem his kids learn his language at school, his kids speak his language in the community. Your son has his family around, he can share all of the things that he did as a kid but I can’t. Do you get that my kids don’t get to experience what I did as a child and if I want them to I have to orchestrate, it I have to battle for it. Can you just see for a moment how we experience parenting differently, even though we’re in the same house? And if I’m really honest with you, there are times when I look at what I’m trying to achieve in my family, and I wonder if I’m sacrificing too much. There are times when I just want to pack my bags and move back home. I wish you’d understand how sad it makes me feel when you ignore my small requests that I ask when you’re taking care of the kids. I know it seems so silly to you right? I’m not asking you to cook an extravagant meal. I just want you to, I don’t know, do what I did when I was a kid and sit down at the dinner table. I want you to help my kids learn what we learn in my country and that doesn’t involve blue ice cream with Bubblegum. These things seems so frivolous, I know they seem unimportant and I know you love being grandparent, but I don’t think you get that they mean everything to me. My food is my culture and when I make a request for that moment, that one afternoon where you could help me pass that along and you don’t, I feel like that tiny piece of what could exist in my culture falls to the wayside. You know what? I wish you’d ask, even just once, how you can support me? I know you don’t think you can because you don’t speak my native language, but you can.  It’s just the little things, but I just want you to ask how, because when you don’t I kind of feel like it hasn’t even occurred to you to support me. I know it’s not fair, but I’m just being honest. And if I’m really like baring it all in this letter to you that I’m never going to write here’s what else I want to tell you.  Your jokes about how I married your child for their passport or for their money or to get out of my country they’re not funny, they are not funny. Do you know how much that hurts me when you say that? I know you’re joking, I know it’s a cliche, I know there are stereotypes about this really happening but I married your child because I love them and I made a sacrifice to do it. I gave up my home country, I gave up my native language, I gave up the cultural permission all over to do the things the way I want to do them to be with your child. So no the jokes are not funny. And while I’m at it, yeah we’re doing okay financially, but you know what I had to stop working years ago so that your son could take the job that gives us that security. I had to give up on everything I had studied for and had worked for and now I’m doing it because I want to be there for the kids. Yes, I work part-time but I hustle to be there at every pick-up and drop-off and any of that extra money that we’re making, do you understand what the costs are of one single trip to my country for a family of our size, so that I can have a moment of face-to-face time with my parents? It is the equivalent of a year of daycare. So the money that we’re making actually is just to keep up with seeing my loved ones once a year. We say no to all kinds of other things so we can say yes to a little bit of contact with my friends and family. And in the process we say yes to jetlag, we say yes to kids that are grumpy because they’ve been on a plane for 16 hours. And I say yes to not seeing my family for 11 and a half other months. Okay, so that’s why those jokes aren’t funny. And I wish that you’d understand without feeling threatened that I’m not really motivated to pass on all of your cultural values to my kids. Listen, I love your country as much as you do, but there are things I just don’t want to pass on because I want to pass on my things. Maybe I don’t even agree with some of the things like, I don’t know your approach to food or the way you handled time because it doesn’t always fit my values and again, I’m just holding on to a small piece as the minority in your family. And please understand, sometimes I need to draw the line, I need to set boundaries whether you like it or not. I need you to respect that because I’m just trying to keep a tiny slice of my culture alive in this wonderful family. I don’t want to drown, I don’t want to be invisible, I don’t want to disappear.  And please hear me, there are so many things about your culture that I cherish, If I didn’t I wouldn’t be married to your son. That is indisputable but like it or not your grandkids are also partly my culture and that matters, it matters to me. Knowing that, that I get to keep that tiny slice it helps me stay resilient when I’m living in prod and feel like the minority here after year. And now I want you to look at me and listen when I say this. I wish you knew that despite everything I’ve just said I feel so lucky to have you in my life, the relationship you have with my kids makes my heart explode. The kids love you more than you’ll ever know and I never ever worry when they’re with you. We are so lucky, our entire family is so lucky to have you in our lives and this love does not erase the love that I have for my family and the yearning I have for my children to see the other side of their family more. So since they can’t because we live so far away and we can only fly there once a year I would love your support in helping me bring that small slice of my culture into our family life, our family life, my family with your family together. And acknowledging and even celebrating what feels like home on my side with this family. And finally, I wish you knew how hard I’m working to balance it all; My own cultural adaptation, my role as a spouse, as a parent in this binational family, my reinvention as a professional as I gave up everything to start a new life in your child’s home country. And you know what? I don’t blame you if you’re surprised by any of this, I know that whenever we’re together I’m happy because I love the life we’re creating and I get it that I don’t let you in to the extent of the struggle that I feel on the other side of the curtain. So thank you for listening, thank you for seeing me and all of me. As I show up to be your daughter-in-law, to be the mother of these gorgeous children, to be the spouse of your son. Please don’t take anything I’ve said personally just take it in. I love you with my whole heart. Your daughter-in-law. Okay there you have it, some of you are listening and are thinking “Holy, how did she know?” I know because I’ve heard you, I’ve heard your stories, I’ve listened for years to the themes coming out over and over. This is the letter you’d love to write but don’t dare. And maybe you shouldn’t or maybe you should, that’s not for me to judge or maybe your letter would have something else on it but what’s here is your experience. Maybe this is a kind of letter that actually your spouse should read because they have no idea what you’re going through and you wish that they got it. Or maybe part of you secretly wishes that your in-laws would stumble over it anonymously and actually listen. I wrote this for you, all of those of you who are listening right now to expat happy hour. I did it because one, I want you to know you’re not alone, that if you’re feeling this you’re one of many who struggles with finding your voice and your place in a bi-national or globally mobile family. Maybe you’re even listening to this and you have nothing to do with an international family and you still identify with it, right? And maybe some of you think it’s a message that needs to be shared with others, but what’s most important is that if this is inside you and it’s built been building up, what can you do to release it? What can you do to take charge of the things that are on your head and heart. Whatever is going on, I see you I know you are all in when it comes to family, I know that you’re all in on your marriage and I know you’re all in on raising your kids well, no matter where you are. So here I am in your corner cheering you on. And so you can walk away with a few tips whether you are the one fighting to keep that slice of culture alive in the family or if you happen to be an in-law who’s stumbling across this podcast or transcript and you’re asking yourself. “Well, what can I do about it?” Here are five things that I can suggest: Number one; I want you to accept lack of understanding as your default. Okay, so come to the relationship with the default idea that you don’t understand. Of course you don’t right? So if you are the one who’s moved abroad and married into a new family with a different culture, we really need to create space for lack of understanding from our in-laws. They’ve never done this, they don’t know, they haven’t experienced it  just like you didn’t know before you didn’t know what you’re getting into. So coming to the relationship with the default of “They don’t already have to understand,” can create a space of understanding and love so you can share, so you can give them space to be more of what they are. And if you’re the in-law and you’re thinking “Holy cow I had no idea this might be on my daughter-in-law or son-in-law’s radar?” All you have to do is say “Tell me more, help me understand?” And then listen. Maybe you’ll ask questions like “What’s the hardest part about being abroad” or “What do you love about it? What do you wish was different?” and then you know what? Ask again in six months, ask again in one year because what I’ve learned over 20 years of being abroad and serving clients who’ve been abroad for anywhere from a decade or two is that what you struggle with changes and sorry to say but some things get harder not easier with time. So my invitation to you regardless of whether you’re the one bringing the new culture to the family or the in-laws. How do you see the relationship differently if you accept that lack of understanding is a default? Okay, take a few moments and think about that, what would you do differently, What would you ask differently if you accepted that lack of understanding is actually the default in this relationship? Because I know even my own relationship, I couldn’t know what my partner was going through until I went through it myself. We owe it to our family to just entertain that question for a moment and see what happens. Accept lack of understanding is default, that’s number one. Number two is; Focus on meeting needs, and here you need to be really specific. So if you’re the one who feels like the minority in your family bringing in your culture and trying to keep some of it alive then it’s really important that you get clear on what are your needs. Because people can’t help meet your needs if you don’t know what they are. So you can say “What do I really need right now?” Maybe you need an escape, maybe you need understanding, maybe you need celebration of your culture, maybe you need more space for your thing. Right name it and then you can get creative about how can you get that need met. So if you’re clear on what you need, one of my clients needs support from her family to create, how should I say it, an eating culture in her family that feels comfortable for her. Not an erratic, you know, one time this one time that but consistency and how they do meals. That’s something simple that’s important to her. So she has named that need and now the next step is to get clear on asking for that need to get met and then being specific and also saying why that would be important because again, if you go back to number one, if they don’t understand. They can’t know. So if you’re an in-law and you’re going to focus on meeting needs you can assume that your darling in-law daughter or son that’s new to the family who brings in a new culture has unique needs that are probably not met just by default of being in this situation abroad. So what you can do is ask say “Hey, what’s what’s really on your mind right now that I can support with?” or “What’s troubling you that you haven’t figured out yet that I can help make happen?” and then you ask “Why is that so important to you?” Because focusing on meeting needs is our responsibility, it is also one way to show that you love. So focus on your needs is number two, make sure that you’re specific and explicit. Number three; Can we all just agree that in intercultural families one plus one is three, that when we come together, it’s not just two parts, but it’s something even more amazing, it’s not a question of like let’s do it this way or that way, but can we just agree that we’re going to do new things in our family and enable our kids to be more culturally agile in the world and that that is even better than just one way. Can we drop our defenses of losing something and encouraging an environment where we want these little ones to take the best from the world’s they are exposed to and create a family where we’re more than the sum of its parts. It’s this invitation to allow us to do family in this way or that way and even better this way and that way so we’ve got little kids who can code switch and not lose anything, but see it as a game. So my tip number three is to look at your family as an intercultural family and how it is more than the sum of its parts. Really focus on that, how is your family more than the sum of its parts and that helps you drop defensiveness when you feel like there’s loss. Tip four; Not going to be a surprise to you, but I always go back to love the crap out of your people. How can you love your people? So if you’re the one who feels like you’re in a minority, I see you. I know you want validation from your in-laws, I know you want to be seen, I know you want to be understood, I get that and you know what, it might not be flowing back at you and that sucks. Just to be really frank – I get that and I’m going to ask you what can you do to graciously love them? How can you look for ways to love them? How can you look for ways that they love you? I know that my father-in-law is wonderful at the, if you look at the five love languages from Gary Chapman, my father-in-law is an acts of service person. That man will drive two and a half hours out of his way to come pick me up at the airport at 7:00 in the morning. He loves me by being there. He does so much for our family and I know that’s his love language. He might not say it out loud, but he loves loudly in his acts of service. So maybe in my family, my family is like “Goodnight love you see you the morning, sweet dreams, goodnight love you I love you sweet dreams.” That’s my family, we say it. But man, you might be missing out the way people are loving you. So go ahead and check it out, how can you love your people in ways that they can take it in? How are they loving you in ways that you can see it? And if you want to check out Gary Chapman’s five love languages that will help you love the crap out of your people. And this goes for the same if you’re in-laws and you’ve got this newbie in your family – someone who’s not from your culture and does things differently. Get curious.  How did they love their kids? How do they love your son or daughter? How are they loving you? Don’t miss it. Maybe their language is gifts and you don’t even see that’s how they’re showing your love, right? So start paying attention to the way that you love the crap out of your people and how they’re doing the same for you. Now I know what you’re thinking, there are some of you who are listening who are saying. “All right Sundae, that is all great advice, but there is so much resentment and frustration built up in my family. We have no chance, we are struggling.” I get it not everybody lives in a rosy world, right? So that brings me to number 5. “How can I let go of the resentment and anger from the past and move forward?” Okay, so if you’re in a family situation with your in-laws that has been tough where you totally start off on the wrong foot or things have gotten yucky over the years, this is for you. I know you know this, but I’m going to repeat it. If you’re holding resentment the tough thing is that the one that’s suffering most is you, you know the saying “Holding resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Oh man, it’s so easy to go there I get it, but it doesn’t serve you at all. So if you are feeling resentment and frustration with your in-laws, here’s the first thing I’m going to invite you to do, especially if you are in an intercultural family. Ask yourself these questions; Now be honest, “Is my anger built on a belief that others should act in a way that I want them to?” Is your anger built on beliefs of how people should act? This sounds so banal but one of them would be grandparents should babysit. If you believe that they should, which I totally agree by the way, but if you believe they should and they are not doing it you’re going to feel resentful. It feels painful and I get that believe me, that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel empathy for you. My point is is that when we’re in the intercultural family we have cultures that are very different and you have family cultures that are very different and maybe the same rules don’t apply. So is your anger and resentment built on beliefs of how your in-laws should or shouldn’t act?  Maybe according to most people’s values they would agree with you, that’s fine, but what we’re doing is making sure that you are focused because your expectations are often tied to cultural expectations of how people should act in a family and if we’re in intercultural family that just does not apply. I mean, I know when I first got into my family, my in-laws, I was surprised by the level of formality in relationship to my informal family. So if you’re feeling anger, resent get curious, is it based on a belief that they should act in a certain way and if it is what is that behavior? I’m not saying their behavior is right or wrong for my Intercultural perspective. We should look at it neutrally, at least to start. Next thing you want to do is ask yourself, “Am I tying my emotions to their behavior” because you know how that goes.  If they behave badly, how do you feel? Like when we tie our emotions to other people’s behaviors we are just asking for trouble. Okay, and I know it’s easier said than done but I’m inviting you to think, are your emotions how you feel inside about yourself about your family ,is it tied to their behavior? So if your answer is yes to either one of these questions where you are angry based on a belief that they should act in a certain way or that you’re tying your emotions to their behavior, the hard truth is that for you to feel better you need to work on letting go of that anger and resentment, to stop drinking that poison and waiting for the other person to die. So here’s a few things you can do to get started. One, get clear on the family or cultural origins of the behaviors that are triggering you. What is going on in their culture context and their family context? How is that different from your family culture or your National culture? Okay do your best Intercultural work to look at it neutrally, just get curious. What’s going on? What are the cultural or family origins of it? You might not agree with it but what are the origins of it? Second thing is, you can work on your strategies on how you can let go of your emotions so they don’t hold you hostage. So the predictable things are deep breathing and making sure you get enough sleep, exercising, maybe having strategies for when you notice your emotions get high, for you to take a timeout, whatever works for you, but work on your strategies to let go of those emotions and maybe the first one is “I’m pissed, I’m angry” and then you go run to a ACDC, like acknowledge that you’re angry and let that emotion go through you. Dr. Christine Northrup who is sort of the guru on women’s health, talks about how women need to process their emotions to know what we think. So, you know do let those emotions run through you in a safe context so that you can move forward. The third thing you can do, and this is probably not a surprise based on what I always say, is you teach people how to treat you ,so you and maybe together with your partner you can look at how can you set healthier boundaries? So you feel like you’re being treated in the way that is you’re okay with and you’re also treating your in-laws and the way that you feel okay with, because when I’m angry and resentful, I’m probably more likely to treat people in ways i’m not proud of.I mean I fully admit that when we go to that place it just creates behaviors in yourself that you’re not proud of. Okay, and there are some really amazing things that can happen when you get a handle on this one of my clients, she set boundaries with her mother-in-law on how long she could stay in their home and what she expected while she was watching her child, and even though the conversation was hard it made a massive positive impact on their relationship. Alright. So those are the things that you can do. Number five is work to let go of the resentment and anger that you’re feeling, you can do that by looking whether you’re tying your emotions to their behavior. If it is a result of a belief on how they should be acting and then you can get curious around the family origin or the cultural origin of the behaviors work on your own strategies to manage your emotions and then set healthier boundaries. Okay, I’m not naive to think that this will solve it all but it’s a pretty good start. So tip 5 is do the work to let go of resentment and anger. So there you have it, those are the five things you can start focusing on if you feel like you’re looking for more understanding and connection with your in-laws, whether it be your daughter-in-law, your son-in-law, mother-in-law, your father-in-law, I don’t care, your sister and brother-in-law, your extended family, or maybe you’re not even legally married and in-law isn’t applicable but you’re still connected for life as family. These are five ways that you can create closeness and understanding. And I mean you see it, this is all about allowing more space for understanding even though you want to have your defenses high. It’s about allowing more space for vulnerability, allowing more space for humanity. This is the thing especially if you’ve been the one crossing cultures for years, don’t forget your intercultural competencies are probably pretty high you’ve had years of practice. It may be your in-laws don’t or maybe they’re from a culture that is super rigid and protected because of religion or history and are not as flexible as where you’re coming from. This is testing your Intercultural competencies, this is testing your ability to connect across cultures, did I say any of this is easy? No, but is it important? Yes. The ultimate test is being willing to stay open when we want to close, to learn when we feel like we know it, to love when it feels hard, to listen when we just want to scream at the dinner table. And you have got to start somewhere. So this is one step forward, get clear on what your needs are, meet them where you can, ask them to be met when you can’t, keep an open mind about what you’re gaining in this intercultural family and work hard to love the crap out of your people. That’s all we can do. So that is my love letter for you, for all of you who’ve shared with me the challenges you’ve had with your in-laws. My hope Is that you’ll walk away with one piece. Maybe it’s simply just feeling understood and if that’s the case, it means the world to me. You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sunday Schneider Bean. Our entire focus right now is on the global family. We started looking at the global family as a system and today we brought in how the in-laws are part of the system that make an impact on our total happiness and contentment when we’re raising our kids abroad or just living life. We talked about how If we’re over indulging our kids we might be doing them a disservice, which is also connected to grandma’s and grandpa’s right because we know the cliche about grandma’s and grandpa’s wanting to overindulge our family. Today is an invitation to focus in on that one part of your family that you might have married into or joined through another relationship.? How can we focus on this aspect to help you thrive in your global family. This and more coming up in Expat Happy Hour in the coming weeks. If you missed it, I have a three video series on stopping the guilt for raising your kids abroad. If that feels relevant go to the show notes and get that free video series. We also have a challenge coming up on how you can be a better parent to your global kids in a five day challenge. All of this is about amplifying how you show up in your global family and it is my absolute pleasure to be by your side along the way. Again, you’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour, thank you for listening. I’m going to leave you with the words of Grace Hopper a computer scientist and United States Navy rear Admiral. She says “The most dangerous phrase in the language is; we’ve always done it this way.” So come on families, let’s get creative on the way we are doing things around here. Enjoy The Show? Don’t miss an episode, subscribe via iTunes or RSS. Leave us a review in iTunes (or here for Android). The post 114: What You Wish You Could Say To Your In-Laws appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
You are living abroad with someone that you love, but a wedge is being driven between you because you feel as if your experiences are so different that you might as well be living on different planets. You both see the country you’re living in from totally different perspectives and your priorities are on opposite ends of the spectrum. No matter how much you hate to admit it, you are essentially living completely separate lives.  Truth is if you’re unable to see things from their perspective (or them from yours), this can lead to a break in your communication, connection or even ultimately end your relationship. Listen to today’s podcast for a surprisingly playful way to create a shared understanding of these two differing realities and start creating more connection. What You’ll Discover in this Episode: A game that you can play together that will fast-track understanding that no “talk” can The step most people miss after they have received a glimpse into their partner’s mindset and life The stark reality of how you can start turning things around for the better. Feeling like you live in different countries, or even on different planets does not feel connected. This is a first step to bridge that divide, without having “the talk” or creating defensiveness. It is time to start seeing each other each other and what’s important so you can find ways to move forward together and fully embrace your global experience together. Listen to the Full Episode: Featured on the Show: Don’t miss this brand new opportunity to create connection with yourself, your partner and your family: Global Parenting on Purpose.  Subscribe: iTunes | Android Full Episode Transcript: Download Transcript Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour, this is Sundae Bean fromwww.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition. “It feels like we live in different countries, but we don’t.” That’s what she said to me sitting in my living room. And it was not the first time I had heard that. You know what I’m talking about, your days, your experiences are so vastly different that sometimes you feel like you live on different planets or maybe based on the way your partner talks to you, you get the impression that they are from a different planet, but this is what I’m talking about, when you are abroad with someone that you love and your experiences are so different it feels like it’s driving a gap in between you. Imagine these scenarios: Your partner is a leader in international organization. Your mother tongue is Dutch, but works in French, leads a West African team, drives in erratic traffic to and from work, is exhausted at the end of a long day every day and just wants to hang out with friends and family from the international school for an island of peace all weekend long and shut out the rest of the world. You, you’re at home, you speak English all day, It’s not your native language, but you’re good at it. You meet friends that are from Europe through the school and you guys have arranged dates for your kids to play. You do your side job whenever you can between pick up and drop off. On the weekends, oh you crave stimulation, you’re so bored. You want to get out and learn the local language and more about the culture, but your partner’s too tired and wants to say home. Or maybe your partner is always a way for business traveling from country to country and really where you live has no idea about the local culture or language. Doesn’t really have any idea what’s happening at home either because you’re the one who takes care of all of it and your partner treats the city more like a tourist site then how you feel like a local, and you know your partner could leave at any time, but you, you volunteer, you’re like deep in the community, you speak the local language, have plans with a large group of international amazing people all the time. You’ve worked so hard to set up a meaningful life here, so then when your partner comes and says, “Yeah, I’m thinking about leaving”, you feel super threatened. Or maybe your partner is from the country you’re living in he has a local job, speaks the local language, has friends here maybe for at least 20 years and knows about everybody. Of course, your partner finds opportunities easily and can change jobs at the drop of a hat because your partner’s embedded in the community. You, you gave up everything to be with your partner. You’ve worked so hard to learn the local language, but your accent gets flagged every time you go outside, can’t even order a beer at a restaurant with someone asking you what you said. You struggle so hard to get work, it’s not even close to on par with your experience, but you’re happy to have a job. Every day is an effort to do the basic things to go grocery shopping, to get the bus just to get things done and you’re constantly trying to adapt and to learn and not mess up at the end of a long day you lay awake at night missing your friends and family back home. What do you notice? Right one of them might sound just like you or maybe it’s familiar but with different details, I mean in these partnerships they are together, but they have completely different experiences, Just like what she said to me in my living room, “It’s like we don’t live in the same country.” You might have actually thought that once but the problem is does your partner know that? I think this is important that each of you understand that it’s like you’re living in different countries because your experiences are so different. I mean, what’s the problem If you don’t know that you end up feeling misunderstood, you see the city or country that you’re living in from totally different perspectives And then of course you have different priorities, maybe you’re afraid that they ASSUME that your experiences are similar, but they really aren’t. And the biggest problem is that if you live in different realities and the other isn’t seeing it, It has the potential to create a gap between you. So how do you change that? Now I could recommend to you that you sit down and you have a heart to heart talk, I could recommend, you know Marshall Rosenberg and nonviolent communication, etc. etc. But today I’ve got a completely different approach. I’m going to offer you three steps, but the first one is all about being playful. Afterwards, i’m going to ask you to kind of buckle down, but this first step is the most important and I’m so excited to share it with you because it’s going to be fun and it’s going to tap into something, I guarantee you new things that your partner and maybe you didn’t even realise yourself. Okay, so step one is what do you do when you feel like you don’t live in the same country as your partner is to get playful. And what I want you to do is something very similar to what I grew up with and it was called “The Newlywed Game.” It was a show, a game show, popular when I was a kid and it would be the situation where a couple, a newlywed couple, would sit there back to back and they would have to answer questions and compare them, and big laughs would come when he or she didn’t get it right or they had completely different perspectives, and the whole point of the show was to just be playful and learn, what do they know what they don’t know? And that’s why I’m asking you, I’ve got a series of 10 questions. And if you’re listening this right now I want you to know that if you go to Expat Happy Hour to this episode episode 115, you can print out the downloadable transcript and then cut out these questions from the transcript, give it to your partner and then both of you answer them independently and then share. So make it fun, do it in the evening, grab a glass of wine and it’s like a date night. If you want to get really crazy you could do this with another couple, but I would suggest doing it on your own, because sometimes some deep stuff comes up and you want to be able to just let it out with your partner. So here we go 10 questions, we’re going to play “The Newlywed Game” but for your expat life right now; Number one:  Complete the sentence with what pops up into your mind; Living in this country is like ______________ . Now when you’re doing this with your partner you are going to write down the first thing that came to your mind. Maybe something has already popped up to you like “Living in this country is like hell.” Okay, then can you imagine the interesting conversation that would come up if that’s what you said and your partner said “Living in this country is like paradise.” Okay, now let’s get curious, what’s going on there? Why are they different? “Okay, what’s going on? Tell me more? Why do you think living in this country is like hell? Wow that surprises me look at my own answer, look at yours. Tell me more, why do you think living in this country is like paradise?” Keep it playful. Okay, so when you hear their answer and it might trigger you, all I want you to do is go, “Wow that surprises me” or “Wow that’s different, tell me more?” Number two:  If this country were an animal it would be a ______________ . Okay fill in the blank, what would it be like? If this country were an animal it would be like an, I would say maybe elephant? Okay, if I shared that with my partner, it would be an elephant, why? Because an elephant is solid and it moves slowly but when there’s trouble it rumbles. Okay, so that’s what I would tell my partner, if this country were an animal it would be an elephant, then would share why, then I would invite my partner to say what animal they wrote down. Number three:  If I could stay in this country for the ideal amount of time it would be ______________ . All right, here’s where it can get really interesting. It would be tomorrow, leave tomorrow. Okay, then we’ve got something interesting to follow up with, it would be never leave. “Wow, why do you love it here so much?” Okay, so use these questions to get curious. My challenge for you is to not get defensive and not get triggered by these, stay in the spirit of play. All right, this is the time to learn and be curious and loving with your partner. No matter what their answer is try not to touch it and let it in. If you are biting your tongue just say, “Oh that surprises me tell me more?” Okay, promise me, you’ll learn so much more that way than if you get defensive. Number four:  What’s the best part of every day here and why? What’s the best part of every day here and why? We tend to do this in my family where at the end of the day we’re having dinner. I ask everybody at the table,  “What was the best part of your day?” You can learn a lot. Okay, if the best part of every day is coming home and has nothing to do with their day and how they spend their time, you might want to ask “Well why does your workday never show up on the best part?” You can get curious on what’s going on. Number 5:  What’s the worst part of every day here? Same thing, “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that, that sounds hard, tell me more.” Okay, so number 4 is sharing the best part of your day. Number five is sharing the worst. You can look here for sarcasm. If the best part of their day is when it ends there’s something going on here. Number 6:  I love this one: If you could get any superhero power right now to help you with your current challenges, what would it be? So this is an opportunity to share, you know maybe they say “I want to be invisible” or maybe you say you want to fly away from here, right? So, what is it that you say or your partner says, what does that say about your experience? If you could get a superhero power right now to help you with your current challenges, what would it be? So in the spirit of playfulness share it and see what pops up. Number seven:  If you could change one thing about your life here, what would you change? And then you could ask, well why tell me more? Number 8:  What is your favorite thing about your life here? Look at what is shared, do you share that, is it your children? Is it your weekends together? Is it the travel? In that question there’s so much potential to do more of that so your partner feels more joy or so you feel more joy, or you can understand what they appreciate about their experience. Maybe your partner says “My favorite thing about my life here is that I’m working on my health”, or maybe they say “It’s that I’m really finally making progress in my career.” You can hear what their values are right now with that question. Number 9:  If you could describe this country in one word, what would it be? One word, if you could describe this country in one word, what would it be? That says a lot? Okay one word, what did they choose? What do you choose? What does that say about your experience? How do you feel about where you are right now? Number 10:  What is the gift you’re getting from this experience? Not only does this help you realize where you’re growing and what you’re learning, you share that with your partner and then you learn the same from them. All right, those are my 10 questions for you to playfully explore the different countries that you’re living in with your partner. I encourage you to do this, literally go to episode 115 download the transcript, clip out the part with 1 through 10 and then do this with your partner do it together make it playful, keep it light. Why is this a great approach? Because it is playful, because if you are struggling and you feel misunderstood a little bit of lightness could go a long way, because it’s creative it gets you out of your head, it gets you out of the story you’re telling yourself,  it taps into your emotions, your intuition, your imagination and it offers a holistic perspective. And when you’re done this will help you see what you see is the same about your life here. And also what differences are important to keep in mind. All right, so that’s my sort of expat couple version of “The Newlywed Game”, my gift to you to help you invest in your relationship and create understanding. So go ahead and do that and let me know how it goes, I can’t wait to hear from you. But here’s the thing, once you do that promise me this; I want you to then (step two) check in a few months later, check in and say “Hey remember when we played that game? It was really fun and we learned so much, just want to check in with you, tell me how are things been going lately? Have your days changed any since we spoke? Has anything gotten better? Do you feel the same way about where we’re at as you did two months ago?” Check in with your partner. And here’s the thing, one mistake I see couples make is that when they share about how it’s going they say, “You know what? It’s really hard, it sucks here and I am just fed up.” So they dump out how they’re feeling, but what’s missing from that conversation is they don’t share why, why it matters. “It’s hard here because I value my Independence and I feel like I’m really restricted right now.”  Then you’re giving your partner something, they don’t just know that it’s hard, but they know why. “Okay, it’s really hard here right now because I’m super bored and I need stimulation.” Do you see how that gives your partner more understanding, more empathy? And maybe even you can brainstorm creative strategies to get those needs met. Spell it out, make it obvious for your partner, they will thank you for it. And the third thing you can do; You’ve played the game, you’ve learned a lot, you’ve had the conversation, you’re getting clear. And (step) number three; meet your own needs where you can. So if you’re feeling like you need stimulation then I want you to focus on what is one thing you can do today to bring a little spark in your life. If you feel like you are exhausted and you need rest, what is one thing you can do today to slow down and have five minutes of peace? Take your life and your needs into your own hands and see where you have agency to make changes in your life. So there you have it, if you feel like you are living in a different country than your partner and you are motivated to create more understanding and get creative about your life and how you’re going to move forward. Number one get playful check out this game, I’ve got 10 questions for you. I guarantee you will have some fun and learn something Number two check in, once you’ve done this eight weeks later check in and see how things are going, but when you do, make sure that you’re explicit about how you’re doing and what that means in terms of what you value or what you need, spell it out for your partner, he will thank you for it when you’re clear and direct And number three: meet your own needs where you can. You have been listening to the Hxpat Happy Hour with Sundae Bean, thank you for listening. I’m going to leave you with a quote from Jorge Luis Borges an Argentinian poet, essayist and short story writer. He says; “So plant your own gardens and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.” And what I want you to walk away with is that this process with your partner is about planting your own garden, so it will bear fruit and when you do you can share that with them. Enjoy The Show? Don’t miss an episode, subscribe via iTunes or RSS. Leave us a review in iTunes (or here for Android). The post 115: When You Feel Like You Live In A Different Country From Your Partner. But You Don’t appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
Today, travel and international living are more accessible than ever before, and they are quickly becoming realistic possibilities for an ever-greater number of people worldwide. As a result, the number of expats and third culture kids with stories to share about their experiences  living between cultures are growing as well. My guest today is creating important platforms for the perspectives of black expats in global discourse. Amanda Bates grew up on the East Coast of the U.S., and moved to Cameroon with her parents when she was 10. When she moved back to the U.S. for college, she realized that she had an unique experience of her own, as a living example of cultural intersectionality, and as a black expat. Amanda is the founder of The Black Expat, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and Global Living magazine, discussing the intersections of black identity and living abroad. She is also the founder and principal of A.A. Bates and Associates, a consulting practice that focuses on career development for global nomads. This conversation is the fifth installment in a six-part interview series, that looks at the far-too-often hidden aspects of expat life. The post 72: The Black Expat with Amanda Bates appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
Dealing with health challenges, whether minor medical procedures or emergency situations, can be scary and overwhelming in the safest and surest of environments. When we are presented with healthcare complications abroad, we are tasked with managing stress and other complex emotions while in hospitals or facilities with which we may not be familiar, or when receiving healthcare services which run counter to our expectations. In those most challenging moments, utilizing supportive practices to comfort ourselves and our loved ones can help us navigate unfamiliar and often disorienting experiences. Carolyn Parse is a certified child life specialist, who supports international patients, partners, and parents who want to build resiliency and vitality around a medical conditions or health challenge while living abroad. In today’s episode, Carolyn shares a range of strategies that we can use to help prepare ourselves for challenging healthcare situations we can predict, or that we can use to make our loved ones feel safe when unexpected circumstances arise. This conversation is the final installment in a six-part interview series, that looks at the far-too-often hidden aspects of expat life. The post 73: Navigating Health Adventures Abroad with Carolyn Parse appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
This episode is the second week in our 6-week expert series. We’re going to do some serious talking about self-care for the soul with our special guest Diana Dorrell. Diana is a women’s empowerment leader, healer, modern-day medicine woman, and best-selling author who helps women own and step into their power. Join Diana and Sundae for this week’s episode! The post 40: Self-Care for Expats with Diana Dorell appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
Today Sundae passes on everything she’s learned (the good, the bad, and the ugly) about expat vacations. She shares the new jetlag tips she tried and more to help you optimize your family vacations. Check out Expat Vacations on the blog for more details! The post 24: Making the Right Memories on Vacation appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
In this episode of Expat Happy Hour, solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist Sundae Schneider-Bean pushes you to focus on just one thing that you want to change in your life. Sundae discusses the steps to taking action on these desired changes and what holds many people back. The post 26: Expat Life Upgrade appeared first on Sundae Schneider-Bean, LLC..
Wouldn’t you love to know exactly what’s happening behind the scenes with your kids? What they are really feeling? How they are really coping with transition? How would you like to get the inside scoop from somebody who watches your kids when they are at their best and supports them at their worst? Our special guest, Eliza Pomiecinska, is an international school counsellor, psychologist, play therapist and she’s privy to what you need to support your international kids. What You’ll Discover in this Episode: The mistakes we often make when we think of transition   Solid advice for both the stayers and the leavers What we often get wrong with grief The unexpected posture we should take when we meet new families And more This episode invites you to give yourself permission to be real with yourself and your kids. Listen in to find out how to support their transitions and make the most of their international lives. Listen to the Full Episode: Featured on the Show: Episode 125 –  Grief and Guilt Raising TCKs with Ruth van Reken  The Discomfort Zone: How to Get What You Want by Living Fearlessly by Farrah Storr. Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose Don’t miss this opportunity to get coached by Sundae – for FREE. Subscribe: iTunes | Android Full E