They say, you can’t build your castle on quicksand and expect it not to sink.
There are four areas of quicksand where expats unsuspectingly get stuck. Once you start to sink, it’s easy to get trapped.
We get trapped in an unmet hunger for connection, a sense of paralysis when all you want to do is take action, the deep desire for more purpose and a yearning to have a clear direction.
You are not alone, we have all walked across this quicksand at some stage of our expat lives.
What You’ll Discover in this Episode:
- Signs you are missing connection
- Where we get stuck
- Indicators you are standing at the sidelines of your life
- Evidence it is time for more direction
- And more
Expat quicksand is tormenting and stops us from making the most of our expat life. That is why I am dedicating the next four months to offering an alternative route and strategies to release yourself from these traps.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
Full Episode 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.
They say you can’t build your castle on quicksand and expect it not to sink.
I don’t know who “they” are but it kind of makes a lot of sense doesn’t it.
About three years ago I started to notice quicksand in expat life. And if you know anything about quicksand it’s deceiving, you think it’s solid and it’s not, and that the more pressure you put the deeper you sink, and that when you resist you struggle more. And you know they say if you do the research on quicksand that it can’t kill you because of your body weight and density, it will only come up to your chin, so your head is still out, but what can make it deadly its ability to trap and hold unsuspecting victims.
So what does this have to do about expat life you may ask.
I have noticed in the last years at least since 2016 is that there are four areas of quicksand that expats often find themselves in, and again they think that things are going to be fine, but once you start sinking in them, you can get trapped.
And the first one that comes up for expats is connection, in fact it’s the loss of connection. What I noticed over the years is that where people get stuck in their life or they’re feeling mediocre or downright crappy, is when they’ve lost connection. Starting with losing connection with yourself, losing connection with your partner and your loved ones afar.
So if this is resonating then you know exactly what I’m talking about. There’s so many people that when I ask them what they want they’re like, “I don’t know because I’ve been thinking about what everybody else wants and I’ve lost that sense for myself.”
So area of quicksand number one I’ve noticed over the years is, people have a loss of connection. They are starving for connection, face-to-face connection in their home and with those afar and most importantly with themselves.
The second area of quicksand I noticed that happens in expat life is where people just get stuck. So getting unstuck is what they might say, they feel like they’re stuck or they’re in a rut. But what they’re really trying to do is uplevel, and that means they’re working hard to manage their time better, their energy or even their health, but it’s not going anywhere.
So the secondary of quicksand is helping people get there when they’re stuck and what they’re really trying to do is uplevel some area of their life and they’re not making progress. So that’s you if you’re the one who says, “Yeah, I’m trying to manage my time differently, It’s not working or I just can’t seem to exercise.” Then you might be stuck too.
Third area, probably the biggest, probably the most critical, is purpose. You’re hungry for a sense of more purpose and meaning. You feel like you’re standing at the sidelines of your life and you actually feel crappy about that because actually you have everything. Kids are healthy, your partner has a secure job, your parents are around, or whatever it is. It’s going well in your life and you’re still unhappy, something is missing. That is purpose, people get stuck in the purpose trap and they stay stuck.
The fourth one is direction, you so many ideas but you just don’t know where to go. Or you have the one idea but you can’t seem to make progress on it. That is where the fourth area of quicksand has come up.
Direction, connection, getting unstuck, purpose and direction, those are the areas. When I look at the thousands of people that I serve, the thousands of hours I invest with my clients. If I boil it down to that, those are four areas where people get stuck and you can feel trapped like an unsuspecting victim. Because not one of those things on its own even seems dangerous, it seems solid. Everything seems like it’s going okay, but when you dig you find out it’s not.
So this is something I’m super passionate about, I’ve been talking about this for years, I’ve been observing this for well over a decade, I’ve lived it myself.
And that is why I’m going to dedicate the next four months to expat quicksand, these four areas to help you free yourself from the quicksand because you might be struggling and I want to be there by your side every step of the way because there is a way out. And if you’re feeling like you’re really struggling you might want to check out Expat Happy Hour episode number 74: When Things Are Falling To Sh*t.
So if you’re really in a place where you’re like “Sundae, I need help now.” Check out episode 74, actually spell it Sh*T.
All right, so stay tuned because at the end of this episode I’m also going to share with you an exciting announcement about something I’m giving away to the listeners of Expat Happy Hour, so stay tuned.
I’ve got more to say about the four areas of quicksand but stick around because there’s something I’m giving away for listeners.
Okay, so here’s the thing.
The trouble when we get stuck and are wanting to create a change in our lives, but not really seeing it as a danger like quicksand, is that the harder we try, the deeper we dig. Anything that we’re trying to upgrade in our life.
Most of my clients to talk about wanting to get healthier, communicating better with our partner or their kids, making more time for themselves or spending their time more wisely in more satisfying ways or just finally getting out doing the things that you know are good for you. These are all really important things and great things with huge benefits. But we don’t do it, like for real we don’t do it.
All of these things like getting healthier, everybody knows is a good idea but we don’t do it.
Why don’t we do it?
I mean, is it because we resist change or is it rather that something’s missing, something important?
From my experience I think it’s that. Something is missing like you’re not motivated or you don’t think it’s doable or you don’t know the next step or you don’t know if it’s worth all the effort. It’s usually one of those things or maybe just want a cheerleader by your side to say keep going.
So we’re at this place where we know we need to make a change but something’s missing and we’re not doing it and on top of that our international lives have so many additional challenges, right? We’re thrown out of our routine so often, I mean every time you have to take a two-month break when school is out, you go on a trip back home or you’re relocating or you’re spending all this time and energy investing in a new home, new relationships, finding out where the shops are, where’s the doctor, where’s the gym, where is the eye doctor? And then you have to leave in 18 months anyway, right?
These are the extra things that happen.
So give yourself a break, you need all the help you can get and if you were here at the start of this year of 2019 when this was recorded, you know we started the year talking about up leveling.
And what did I do a few weeks later? I talked about backsliding in episode 108: How To bounce Back From A BackSlide, because I know that good intentions are not enough and that we all tend to slip back when we’re working to go forward even with our best intentions. and that’s human, There’s no shame in that, that’s real, that’s because we are humans.
And here’s my promise to you, I’m going to spend the next four months doing everything in my power to help you get back on track, to help you get unstuck from the quicksand. I’m going to be here in Expat Happy Hour, I am on my business page on Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC for Facebook, and I’m in the Facebook group Expats On Purpose. Everything I can do to get your questions answered, to help you get unstuck, to help you create the life upgrades that you’re craving.
But here’s the thing.
I’m going to ask you to get uncomfortable, there’s no easy peasy going on here. It might be simple, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy, because I’m talking about real deep change, for reals this time. Not just that weekend or that week or that one month, i’m talking for real. I am not about quick fixes, I’m about deep transformation.
So this is going to ask you to get uncomfortable, to try new things. to look at yourself long and hard and get clear on what is not working and to do more of what is. Because you and I both know that great things have never come from comfort zones. We know this is true, good relationships, creating a family, a successful career living abroad.
So if you are still listening, are you all end with me here? Are you ready to get uncomfortable? Because I’m so serious about this.
And that’s why this episode right now is kicking off the four-month-long focus on helping you create the life that you’ve been craving.
And I’m going to get us started and to do that this is the first step. I want you to take a good hard look at where you are right now. It’s going to be like a life inventory. And I’m warning you this might make you uncomfortable. But I promise I have something for you at the end that will help, you know that it’s gonna be better, so stick with me.
Here’s part one.
You get up early in the morning, you and your partner have a conversation that’s probably limited to “Hey, do you want coffee?” or “Have a good day, honey.” You feel more like a roommate than a lover.
You scramble to get your kids to school on time, you spend probably more time yelling at your kids then reading to them, during the day you spend time with a dozen people but you still kind of feel lonely, you are out of touch with family back home, you miss your mom hard and you haven’t spoken to your best friend in months.
When you go out to eat as a family you negotiate where to go based on where your kids will like best and maybe even what your partner wants, but no one asks you what you would like to eat. And to be honest you wouldn’t even know what to say because it’s been ages since you’ve even thought about what you wanted. You don’t even know if you could say if you tried. All that you do know is that you’ve let your health slide as well as your happiness.
Does any of this sound familiar?
You feel disconnected from the people you love the most, you feel like you’re losing touch with your partner, with your kids, and most frighteningly of all with yourself.
So here’s the deal, you’re stuck in expat quicksand, you’re hungry for connection.
So if any of this resonates don’t freak out.
One you’re not alone, and two I’ve got your back, because all of June were focusing on getting back connection.
If any of this resonated know you are not alone and there is a way out.
So something clicked with you from what I’ve just said, we’ve got the awareness where there’s an expat quicksand connection.
Take note because there’s more.
You go to bed at night shaming yourself for not having done enough during the day and you wake up super unmotivated. You spend your afternoon thinking you’re a crappy parent and calculating in your head the hours until they’ll be asleep so you can finally have time for yourself. You hate to admit it, but you kind of really don’t care about local culture customs anymore and you don’t feel like going to a language lessons, you actually barely go out and you’ve noticed you started to get irritable and blame everything that goes wrong on the local culture.
And you know you’ve let your house slide because you are skipping out on the walks that you know are important, but you don’t have anything else more important planned, wine o’clock starts earlier and earlier every day and it happens more often than you care to admit.
You do things like stay up too late binging on Netflix, even though you know it isn’t good for you.
And you feel like you’re doing more procrastinating than planning, more stalling than action taking. You have the time but can’t seem to find the energy or when you have the energy to do something for you, you don’t have the time because you’ve said yes to everyone else’s priorities.
Then this is another sign of expat quicksand. You are stuck, you’re hungry to uplevel your energy or time or how you make you a priority, but you just can’t seem to get motivated.
One of my clients actually said to me “I didn’t know I was stuck until I was unstuck.” I know that story myself when it came to my health. I didn’t know how unhealthy I was living until I started to be healthy.
So if any of this sounds familiar, then you do not want to miss Expatt Happy Hour in July, where we zoom in on how to get unstuck. And again no shame here if any of this resonates because you are not alone. This is based on my work for over a decade with clients.
I’ve been here, we’ve all been here, but you don’t want to stay stuck.
Ready for more?
You used to have a lot of drive and motivation and you just can’t seem to get it back. Before you moved abroad you felt like you were so much more productive, but now you feel like you’re floating with no direction. And if you’re honest with yourself you’ve kind of given up on anything that feels purposeful or meaningful, you know, besides your family because you don’t see how you can make something happen for you.
Everything you do feels like you’re just filling your time and you’re actually getting resentful towards your partner because they get to get up in the morning and do what they really love and you just need to do what has to get done for your family. And there are days when you ask yourself “What am I doing here? What about me? Now what?”
You worry secretly that you’re going to look back in a year or two or even ten and ask yourself “Did I waste my time?”
There are a few of you out there who are listening and your heart just skipped a beat, you thought “That’s me.” And you actually didn’t see it until now, but once you hear the words you see yourself.
This is all about purpose.
You even feel guilty for being hungry for purpose because you know, you’re healthy, so is your family, you don’t have any huge financial needs, so you should just be happy, right?
But you can’t ignore it anymore, something is missing but you don’t know what and you don’t even know where to get started to find out.
If any of this sounds familiar, then you do not want to miss August in Expat Happy Hour where we are going to take a super close look at how to find more purpose and meaning again.
Again, if this resonates, you are not alone.
One of the biggest problems. I see with accompanying partners, to be honest, is a hunger for more purpose and meaning.
All right, last one.
Does this sound like you? You have so many ideas on what you would rather be doing with your time, but you never focus on one thing. You’ve got something deep in your heart you want to do so bad, but you don’t know where to start. You know what you want, but if you’re really honest with yourself, there’s a voice inside that’s holding you back saying that this isn’t possible or you’re not good enough. Are you trying to do what you want but you keep saying yes other people’s projects and you never have time for your own.
If this resonates, the area of expat quicksand, you got it, is all about direction. So don’t miss September where we look at how you can finally get more direction in your life.
But here’s the thing.
Some of you are kind of looking left and right and go “Sundae all of the above.” Every single one, you want more connection, you feel stuck, you’re hungry for more purpose and meaning and you don’t feel like you’ve got a clear sense of direction.
Don’t feel bad about that, you’re just stuck in expat quicksand like the rest of us. Okay, remember I’ve told you I’ve been there and I’ve helped so many clients get out of it. So I want you to know you’re not alone, there’s no shame and I’m really proud of you for even seeing it right now, for you recognizing that in yourself that you’re stuck.
That is amazing, It’s like you’re waking up from a fog and you’re seeing it.
In fact, I’m guessing most of you listening right now say all of the above, that you can identify with each and every one of these categories, I guess that makes you human.
And there’s some of you I know what you’re thinking, you’re saying “Sundae come on I have kids, I have a spouse that loves me, we’re solid financially, it isn’t that bad really things are not that bad, okay, so I don’t need to do anything but be grateful I need to appreciate what I have.”
You know what that’s true, be grateful and appreciate what you have. And I’m going to disagree with you here. If one of those things is missing in your life then there is a part of your life that is missing, an important part and you should be a whole person. And you shouldn’t settle for mediocre, because when you’re stuck in expat quicksand if you don’t feel like you’re drowning, at best it feels mediocre.
Who wants that?
You’re in this situation where your life could be an adventure, where you could be full of energy and purpose and inspire your children to do the same and give your partner peace of mind that you’re happy and okay and in charge of your life.
So this is your wake-up call.
It’s time to take action.
I mean, let’s get real is your life fabulous in every area we just talked about? How confident you feel about yourself, the way you connect with those that mean the most to you, how you take care of your health, how you engage with the local culture, the difference that you’re making in your family, your community or your business?
If they’re not fabulous, it’s okay to recognize that there might be one part that stuck in the quicksand. And if you’re human I’m guessing it could be one of these areas for sure, iIf not all. So it’s still like your life is gonna fall apart, but who wants to settle for half-assed when it can be great.
And that’s why I’m super pumped about the next four months.
If you are feeling stuck in any one of these areas than hop on board, get serious for the next 16 weeks. Because not only is every episode of Expat Happy Hour going to focus on these four areas; connection, getting unstuck, purpose and direction. Here’s the thing, I’m going to offer you some more and my invitation to you is to join me in a four-part workshop series, completely free, all for you, so that you can up level every single area that we’ve just talked about.
In June, I’m going to invite you to join me because we’re going to talk about how to get unstuck in your relationships, how to prevent your relationship from being put to the test when your life is in transition, that means all about connection.
In July, we’re going to look at stop filling your time, how you can get out of a rut and start doing something meaningful that is helping you uplevel and get unstuck.
In August, we’re going to talk about how you can really focus on purpose, in a workshop called, “Hungry For Meaning and Purpose? 5 Practical Ways To Get Started.”
And finally in September, It’s all about direction; “Clear Signs You Could Use More Direction And What To Do About It.”
This is my personal invitation to you to join me in this four-part workshop series.
If you are serious about making deep changes, life-long changes in your life, then this is for you.
Coupled with the episodes of Expat Happy Hour you can’t not make crazy progress.
So hop into the show notes of this episode and you can join the four-part workshop series. You’ll also catch it on social media and in my group Expats on Purpose on Facebook.
This is it you guys the next four months dedicated to helping you through the expat quicksand, because I love you and because I know what it looks like on the other side. I think about my clients who have gone from on the brink of a relationship disaster and poor health to renewed connection, taking charge of their exercise and diet and launching their own business that feels deeply purposeful and meaningful.
I mean how much better does it get than that?
Don’t miss out, don’t forget to join me in the four-part workshop series, don’t miss any of the episodes in the next four months where we talk about connection, getting unstuck, purpose and direction.
You’ve been listening to the Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Bean.
Thank you for listening.
I’ll leave you with a wise words of Steve Maraboli. “Let your past be your springboard, not your quicksand.”