When you’re stuck it can feel like your limbs are bound so tightly that you can’t move enough to get wiggle room. What binds us is often our perspective. We’re stuck in our thinking.
This can catch us by surprise when, as expats, our situations change so frequently. How can so much time go by before we realize that what was working for us no longer serves us.
If you feel stuck in any area of your life, listen in on the process our guest went through to get unstuck. Her journey may just provide you with a roadmap for you to do the same.
What You’ll Discover in this Episode:
- The first question you should ask when you feel triggered by a recurring situation
- Where to start when you are unhappy
- Key questions you can ask yourself to get unstuck
- Why feeling fear is a sign you are doing something right
- And more
Continuing to not do things differently impacts you and others negatively – while keeping you stuck. We are all hesitant to go towards what scares us, but ironically that’s exactly what’s keeping us stuck. This episode hands you some simple yet powerful questions to unlock new perspectives and help you break free from the expat quicksand.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour, recording from Williston, North Dakota, my hometown where I was born and raised. This is Sundae Schneider-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.
“We’re setting our ways, bound by our perspectives and stuck in our thinking.”
Joel Osteen’s words are so true when it comes to this aspect of expat quicksand.
As you know, I am looking at four areas of expat quicksand over a series of months. We started with connection and this month kicks off our discussion on being stuck.
How do you get unstuck?
Because we are so set in our ways, so bound by our perspectives and so stuck in our thinking as well.
There is no better way for me to support you in helping you get unstuck by showing you how I’ve helped others do that.
So this episode is special because we have the generous participation of someone who is stuck, and through a process together, they were able to get one step further. And when you watch that happen before your eyes, it gives you strategies for you to do it for yourself and hope that you can get unstuck too.
So I get it, like I’ve been there, I’ve found myself stuck because the strategies that were working weren’t working, because my situation changed and I haven’t taken the time to look back and say “Hey, is this still working for me?” I know one summer I was off like I am now, 10 weeks of location independent work, doing my best to work hard and play hard and along the way I was like, “I’m so tired, this doesn’t feel right, I’m using the same strategies I’ve always used, but for some reason it doesn’t feel as good this time.”
And then I realized, it was because in one year the amount of content, I was creating and the amount of clients I was serving doubled, but my strategies hadn’t changed. So we might be stuck because we’re using good strategies for a situation that is no longer present. So we don’t even think about re-looking at our thinking, re-looking at our perspectives. We are looking at our ways because those are all really good ways of thinking and working.
So that’s why I’m gonna invite you to see today to witness today and think for yourself.
Even if you’ve got something good going on, maybe things are stuck because there has to be a shift in something that’s good, but you need to tweak it. So it’s even better for the you now, for your situation now and there might be some of you who are listening and you’re saying “I’m stuck because I don’t even know what I want.” Or you don’t even know how to know what you want.
If this resonates you’re going to want to check out episode 128 for more on this where we talk about this idea of debunking the feeling of when you lose yourself, when you no longer know how to know what you want. If that resonates go check out episode 128.
The other thing that might be going on is your stuck because you haven’t looked at your situation from the inside out. Often we look at the outside in, “Okay, what can I change about my situation so that it feels good to me right now?”
And what you’re going to hear in this episode is inside out “What’s going on with me that can help me see the situation and react to the situation differently?”
Okay, so here’s my invitation to you, listen in on this one amazing woman how she shares where she’s stuck, so that you can see that; One, you are not alone and two, by the time you’re done listening you’re going to have useful tools in hand to help you get unstuck as well.
All right, so listen in and see what you can take from this for you.
Sundae: Okay, Diane what has to happen in the next 25 minutes for you to say this is worth your time?
Diane: To have to have one step forward in how I’m going to handle this situation the next time, because it’s a recurring situation, so one step forward.
Sundae: So the situation you shared with me privately before was that you have a repeating theme like where you prepare, you show up, the others don’t, you feel perplexed, irritated, maybe even resentful and curious.
So I asked her to say more, and she went on to share the details of exactly how she had prepared this free event and what had happened and that she had multiple people pull out at the last minute and all of that impacted everyone because it resulted in having to cancel the event. All the time that she invested was lost and nobody got to even benefit from this amazing thing.
So here’s what she said.
Diane: So I got really curious all those feelings that you just mentioned are true. I got really curious though, like “Why is this happening?” I have a tendency to say “Well, what about what I’m doing is allowing this? How is this happening? And what is my contribution? What can I control?”
Sundae: What’s popping up for me, where’s the word boundaries, so what I’m sharing is kind of from a coaching perspective, but maybe more from a business owner perspective, so let’s hear it through that lens. What I’m hearing is your boundaries are either not clear or not transparent. So they’re just showing up for them, but they’re not knowing that they’re not showing up for you.. Tell me where I’m wrong?
Diane: Yes, you’re not wrong. When I thought about this ahead of time I thought, it is about boundaries. And so here’s the thing that I noticed that I do that I don’t know how to do differently the next time that I wanted to differently. Is that I am usually very supportive and flexible, that’s my nature, I’m a coach and I have always been in the helping profession, I do have boundaries, I’ve always prided myself on professional boundaries. But what happens is I’m really flexible. I do set you know, like “This is the day I need to know by.” I give really clear lines of my what my expectations are and then when those get broken I go from one extreme to the other, so there’s no middle and I am just like so offended that I was so clear about my expectations and that somebody would break those without an emergency. You know, I’m okay with an emergency.
So then I get I get mad and then all the feelings come out and I start going “Okay what’s going on here?
Sundae: Okay, so what’s going on here, why are you offended?
Diane: I felt I took it personally. I did catch myself taking this personally like, “Why do they do this to me? Don’t they know how much energy I put this time aside.” I don’t see clients during that time for instance, or I don’t work on my business that week when I’m preparing. So I take it personally.
Sundae: Okay, so I’m going to ask you to slow down for a second, take a deep breath. The thought that’s in your head, so your emotion, you’re offended right? And then you get defensive or resentful. What is the thought that you’re believing? That’s offending you they what?
Diane: They don’t value me, they don’t value my what I’m giving, which kind of can widdle down to me
So I’m going to step back here and pause this so that we can look at what has worked for her, notice that the first question we explored when she was stuck is “What are you making this mean?” So for you, if you’re stuck, think of your situation and then ask yourself honestly, “What am I making this mean?”
Because when we’re stuck and we’re feeling emotional we take it for granted, we take it at face value instead of looking back and trying to see it another way.
What she does next is name her emotions.
So what I want you to do is look at your situation, what’s the situation? What are you making it mean? And write down; What are those emotions? What are you feeling? And a lot of people that I work with, they don’t even know what they’re feeling.
So what I can do for you is in the show notes, I can put a reference from Marshall Rosenberg’s nonviolent communication, it is a list of emotions and it sounds so basic, but when you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s hard to name what you’re feeling until it pops out at you. Are you feeling bitter? Are you feeling resentful? Are you feeling angry? Are you feeling disappointed? Are you feeling shame? What exactly is the exact color, flavor, shape of your emotions?
So it’s worth taking a look, if you’re feeling stuck, ask yourself, “What am I making this mean?” And then courageously name your emotions. If you need help, I’ve got that list for you in the show notes.
Number three is the next step; So based on what you’re making that mean and how you’re feeling, you have to extract what you’re really thinking. What are you believing that is making you feel that way?
And to get you started, you name the person or the people in the situation and you fill in the blank. So just like we did with Diane you start and say; “Okay, I feel whatever it is.” Just allow yourself that space fill in the blank. I feel overwhelmed
So once you’re clear on all of the things that you’re feeling, the next step as you saw Diane do is to really name what she’s thinking.
So what are you believing that is making you feel that way?
So to get you started you can do what we did with Diane, she named the person or the people in the situation and then she filled in the blank. “I feel resentful because they ….. , I feel offended because they ….” And she filled in the blank “Because they don’t respect my time.” So for you, fill in the blank of how you feel and then see what pops up. I fee,l let’s say you’re feeling overwhelmed because they’re giving me too much to do. Give yourself some space to name what pops up and that will help you get unstuck. Remember, what are you making this mean? What are the emotions that you’re feeling? And what are you really thinking about the people in this situation for her? It was they don’t value what I’m giving.
Here’s what happened next.
Sundae: So they don’t value what I’m giving, whatever that is and then by extension they don’t value me.
Diane: Yeah and time, there’s a time thing in there too. There’s also like “You don’t respect my time.” That’s where I get offended when people don’t respect time, that’s an old story for me.
Sundae: That hurts, right? Like “They don’t value me or they don’t value my time.” I can see how that could get offensive.
Diane: Yeah, and when I’m creating this really supportive container for them, that’s how I feel, I felt a little bit sorry for myself, then I caught myself but still.
Sundae: I think it could be true, I don’t know. I want to dig in there a little bit, which one feels that it’s causing the most pain, so “They don’t value what, I’m giving, they don’t value me, they don’t respect my time.”
Diane: Time, because I think about my small amount of time that I have to put towards these kinds of things as a mom and I have strict business hours and when they’re gone, they’re gone.
Sundae: Is that true? “They don’t respect my time.”
Diane: They all had their own things going on.
Sundae: So is it true “They don’t respect my time?
Diane: It could be, it could be true that they don’t know how much time I put into it.
Sundae: Where like they don’t understand.
Diane: Yeah, they think I just whip it up, you know, just flip it up real quick.
Sundae: So this is why I find it’s interesting here because where I would wanna go as a coach is like, you don’t respect your time and look at your boundaries and it sounds like you’re really very clear about your time and your boundaries and you respect your own time and that is my instinct from you and I have a hunch actually that they don’t understand the time you invest or they don’t understand the impact on you.
Diane: Yeah, there’s no way for them to know because I’m I’m doing it behind the scenes, you know solo and I show up.
Sundae: So you said you want to do it differently next time? How does that Impact how you could do it differently next time?
Okay, so for those of you who are listening and are serious about getting unstuck, take what you’ve just done and look at your answers. What are you making this mean? What emotions are surfacing and what are you thinking that is causing you to feel this way? And step back ask yourself, “How does all of this help inspire me to do this differently?”
Here is what Diane discovered.
Diane: Well one thing that’s crossing my mind is what I feel better if I had been paid for that time. And is it time after two years of doing this and having a couple of situations like this, not many but a couple, would I feel better if I was if I knew I was being paid? And if no one shows up, at least I know that I was paid for the time I put in.
So you know what I’m afraid of is that then people won’t come if I start charging after two years. And it is a chargeable event, I mean it could be.
Sundae: So this is interesting. So one, the fact that you’re adding immense value and not charging for it. It all loops back to that, “I don’t respect my time.”
Diane: I think you know, it’s like we talked about as you grow in your in your own, you know, when your work it changes and now it was appropriate in the beginning and maybe it’s not anymore.
Sundae: So your body is saying this isn’t feel right anymore.
Diane: I feel it like right under my solar plexus like right in my belly, because I love it aI know people love it when they’re there, they love it. I don’t want to stop doing it.
Sundae: Sounds like you want to do it differently.
Diane: Yeah, but I do feel funny about shifting it into monetizing it, then it feels like it’s about me and making money off of peoples connection with each other, because that’s really what I am creating is an opportunity to connect deeply. And it feels strange to try to profit off of that even though that’s my work. So I’m a little stuck there.
Sundae: I think you’ve got bumped up against some of your money stuff. What I’m hearing, is that what you do offers immense value, I’m also hearing what you do is very connected to your professional background. It’s not something someone could do who doesn’t have that, like my engineer friends, my finance friends, my who knows what, they they couldn’t create that.
And I’m hearing, there’s something you are afraid of. What are you afraid of? You’re afraid people will think what?
Diane: That I’m self-promoting and that one of the premises of this event, and maybe it would just need to change is that you’re not you shouldn’t have your own agenda like were there for each other, that’s one of the principles of the practice and so yeah, then I’m promoting my own agenda. But at the same time I’m putting my time in the planning it, so maybe it’s not that I’m profiting and I’m just being paid for my time.
Sundae: So I’m thinking, I’m sitting in your group, and I’m there and I have an awareness you’re feeling Icky and undervalued. And then I’m sad you’re sacrificing for the group. It makes me sad that we as a group are draining you emotionally and maybe even physically. Because we love you and we want to support you, you support us so much and we don’t want to drain you, we want to honor you and we want to lift you up because you lift us up.
Diane: Yeah, and as you say that I think of the times I brought the energy, a bit of resentment to the circle and I don’t think it’s been obvious but I felt it, so I’m bringing that energy, so I don’t get to participate the way I want to participate either in exactly the same energy that I want to. And so I kind of coax people, that’s the energy I bring is “Hey anybody who’s ready to help with this.” Kind of like “I know one of you are ready.” So yes, thank you for saying that, it just helped to hear that.
What Diane did was identify where the fear was to do it differently, acknowledging where that was coming from. To get there she got clear on what she was afraid of and she even went further to explore how continuing to not do those things differently can impact herself and others and she was honest about what she feared if she made a change.
So that is massive, if you can do that if you can allow yourself to explore how continuing to not do things differently can impact you and others negatively.
And if you can be honest about what you fear, if you make the change, you are seriously just one step away from being unstuck.
So that’s my invitation to you. What’s holding you back? What are you afraid of? And to identify the impact on you and others if you don’t find a way to do things differently.
I went on in this session to ask her, “What’s the alternative if you don’t?” And she went on to make a list, she explored things like “Yeah, if I did this, wait a minute that wouldn’t work, and if I did that these would be the implications.” ,We looked at her choices and what would happen if she did it, some of them kind of felt like dead ends others felt like pretty good alternatives. And we focused on what alternatives felt good.
So for you when you get to this spot ask yourself, “What could I do instead?”
And that’s my warning for you is when you do that, you’re going to ram up against something and what you’re going to ram up against is probably the thing that is keeping you stuck. It’s what I call your mind crap or your fears. That is when we’ve hit gold because now we know what’s holding you back.
For Diane, she discovered it was her money crap thinking that was holding her back and she started out years ago doing this for free and that felt good, but now that she’s develop professionally and personally, it no longer fits and her beliefs about what people will think and her beliefs that are tied to money are what’s keeping her stuck and now she knows.
What’s keeping you stuck? How do you unstick yourself? If you don’t know what you’re stuck in that is the gold from going through this process. It might feel scary, like you’re going toward something that you don’t like. Who likes to go toward the things that were scared of? Who likes to go toward the things that are uncomfortable? But it’s exactly the thing that’s keeping us stuck.
So draw from what Diane just did, what are the alternatives? Literally make a list, what are your choices? And what happens if you do it?
And when you get clear on your alternatives ask yourself “What do I want to do instead? Don’t shy away from naming what’s holding you back from making that change, because that is likely what’s keeping you stuck.
Listen, we all get stuck, we’re human and this episode is all about helping you take the steps forward to get unstuck. so you can keep moving and keep growing and keep serving others.
We looked at a few powerful questions that can help you get started, remember?
- What are you making this mean?
- What emotions are surfacing?
- What are you believing?
- What are the thoughts that are there that are making you feel that way?
And then you go further, explore what will happen if I don’t do anything differently, how will that impact me? How that impact others? What can I do instead?
The last big step is openly naming anything that is holding you back and it probably has something to do with fear or some mind crap that we all walk around with tied to money or self-worth or whatever those things are but that’s the gold.
Those are the things that are keeping you stuck.
So my wish for you is that you will, after this podcast print out the transcript or scroll through the transcript that’s available on the website and do the work. Because this might be interesting to listen to but you’re not going to get the value of this unless you actually do the work.
This is part of the whole series on expat quicksand. I am here to help you focus on where you’re holding yourself back from making the most of your life abroad. Last month we focused on connection, this episode kicks off our focus on “How do you get unstuck.”
What’s ahead in the coming months is more on purpose and direction. So stay tuned, I am here for you to help you get unstuck and explore all of these areas of expat quicksand and don’t miss out on the next free workshop coming up. It’s “Stop filling your time, how to get out of a rut and start doing something meaningful.” If that seems interesting for you go to the show notes and sign up, you don’t want to miss it.
You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Schneider Bean.
Thank you for listening.
I’ll leave you with the words from author Shannon Alder, “Fear is the glue that keeps you stuck.”