We have an instinctual aversion to loss.
We proclaim oblivion to buffer reality and muffle the truth by living in denial.
Understanding what you’re up against is the first step to defeating any danger. If you uncover the monster, then you can start beating it. Let’s flick on the lights, turn, and look it in the eye.
What You’ll Discover in this Episode:
- My easy formula for discovering your uncomfortable truth
- The top 10 regrets of expats (including some of my own)
- The value of checkpoints, sounding boards, and creating space
- How to celebrate the gains while recognizing the gaps
- 5 simple steps that end with you doing it differently going forward
It’s dangerous to stay stuck — it threatens your health, your relationships, your career, and your experience abroad. It compromises everything you’re trying to achieve.
This is the final focus on getting unstuck of the Expat Quicksand series before we move on to purpose and meaning. I’ll arm you with actionable solutions to start slaying your monsters today.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Sign up for Sundae’s FREE online workshop series and learn key strategies for expats struggling to get back on track.
- Episode 108: Bounce Back From A Backslide
- Episode 130: When You’re Stuck But Don’t Know It
- Episode 131: Feeling Stuck? “It’s Not You, It’s Me”
- Episode 132: You Have A Responsibility To Get Unstuck
- Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose
Full Episode Transcript:
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.
Oblivious, in denial, dangerous.
Although this is a description that comes from what the media report as Pelosi’s account of President Bush, I think it applies to all of us at least at one point of our lives.
Oblivious, in denial, dangerous.
Now, you might be defensive here, but hear me out. I know myself, I’m known for being solution-oriented, I’m moving forward in my growth, my business and all of those things, but I know I can be in denial. I know the most dangerous thing to achieving my goals can be me. Sometimes I too get stuck and I don’t even know it until months go by.
So if I’m going through this, if I see my clients go through this, I have a hunch if you’re listening you’ve been there too. Now this is the final episode in our four part series on expat quicksand where we focus on getting unstuck. We started the series with connection, this month has been about being unstuck and then we’re going to move on to purpose and meaning, but we can’t do that if we’re stuck.
And that’s what today is all about, we’re dangerous to ourselves when we are oblivious and in denial. So if you’re listening right now and you’re like “Whoa Sundae I get it, I’m with you, I feel like I’m in a rut.” Make sure that you listen to the end, because I’m giving a free workshop about getting out of a rut and that’s going to be coming up soon, and you can find out more information in the show notes.
So let’s talk about this big mistake that I just made which help me wake up again to the fact of our potential to be oblivious, in denial and maybe a little dangerous. Because when I do it, I know other people do it and I see my clients do it all the time.
So here’s the situation, I just got back from a five-day retreat with my business coach, and it all started in the airplane where I had two hours till I landed and I thought “You know what, I’ve got to prepare for this retreat and look at my notes from our last year of coaching and see what have I done well, what’s open, where am I falling on my face.” And I looked through the notes and I hit April 2018 and I was pissed; I was so mad at myself because I was staring at the page and looking at the things that I said I was going to do, and I still hadn’t done them. I’m recording this in July 2019, over a year of working with my coach, making a huge investment my business and there were still significant things on my list that I said I was gonna do and I hadn’t.
I was stuck, not on everything, of course there was a ton of things I had accomplished on the side, but there were still those things where I was in the denial, oblivious or dangerous, you decide. I thought “What in the heck, Sundae, seriously, how can you work with someone for a year, invest that kind of money, have the best of intentions and not take action on those things?”
I was mad, I caught myself shaming myself for what I hadn’t done, and then in true nerdy coach style I took a step back and I’m like, “Okay Sundae where was I making progress? What did I achieve? What were the circumstances in which you are operating?” And I call this celebrate the gains not the gaps, I forced myself to look at what is working and that admittedly that already helped a little bit, the frustration and the sort of heaviness I was feeling had lifted a bit.
I forced myself to write down all that I did achieve.
And then it hit me.
It’s like “Why did it take a whole year before I realized I wasn’t taking on the action of the thing that I wanted to?” And in that space, in that metal bird high in the sky 10,000 feet up, the silence of the engine humming slowly in the background helped a light go off, that was like “Sundae, you were so busy, the reason why I didn’t do those things is because if I took action on a specific task, it would mean you would have more work.” So there’s something inside me, subconsciously didn’t even know this, oblivious that I was protecting myself.
And I’m like “Why now, why 14 months later am I finally realizing this big surprise?”
Because I had created space.
I had these two empty hours, I just let my brain go, peruse through the notes, gave myself some quiet, invited in clarity. And suddenly I was able to give myself a big bucket load of empathy and say, “You know what Sundae I get it, this is why you stayed stuck, I hear you kind of wish it had happened a little faster, but I’ve got it now and now I can do something about it.”
So I got to my coach, we had this fabulous retreat, it started on a boat. It was amazing, I’ve never had a retreat on a boat. Everybody thinks you go to this boring hotel, but I was able to have a wonderful time, really focus on my work and play and running and my health and have some fun. And we sat together in our first session and I shared this experience with her, all my notes, the gains, the gaps, the celebrations etc.
And of course she reminded me of what I knew already. That what I had been doing was compromising what I really wanted to achieve instead of solving the root of the problem.
So today’s episode is dedicated to helping you start solving the root of the problem and stop compromising on what you’re trying to achieve. And for me and my business it was very pragmatic. It was about hiring the specific skills that were missing in my business so that I could move faster, so that I could do more, that I could reach the people that I wanted to reach.
So simple, but I was oblivious.
Is it dangerous? Dangerous I would argue is that if I kept working so hard and kept compromising on what I wanted to achieve it would threaten my goals. If I kept working so hard on trying to achieve my goals, but not making it as fast as I could, it could even compromise my health if I wasn’t careful. And that’s the big mistake that I made, I was compromising on what I was trying to achieve instead of being hell-bent on solving the root of the problem.
And I know part of the problem was I was moving so fast and I was doing so much that I missed it. I didn’t even realize I was compromising and what was most important to me.
So if you’re feeling stuck it’s time to start solving the root of the problem and stop compromising on what you’re trying to achieve.
This is a huge reminder for me, and that’s why I don’t want you to miss it. And I know what you’re thinking some of you are like “Sundae, I’m not even aware that I’m compromising on something important, so I what am I supposed to do? What can I start if I’m not even aware yet?” Just like I was before I hopped in that plane.
“How can I be aware of what I’m not aware of?” Is essentially the question, and here’s what you can do, it’s actually really simple.
What you can do is by looking at what you might regret.
So in episode 108 of Expat Happy Hour we talked about how to bounce back from a backslide and we look at the top 10 regrets that I hear from people who are living abroad. So you use your regrets to start raising awareness on the thing that you’re oblivious to.
So let’s get started. Here are the ten regrets when living abroad if the thing that’s on your mind and you suspect has nothing to living abroad, that’s okay, you can just start your work with “I regret ….” And write down what comes up.
For those of you who want to explore a little more specifically here are ten to get you started.
Top 10 regrets when living abroad:
- I took myself too seriously while learning a language;
- I didn’t use my time well while I had the chance;
- I didn’t get support sooner.
You might be thinking “Oh, why didn’t I do this four years ago?” When you finally got help.
So do you see how just naming a regret helps you wake up from oblivion?
Because I know I’m the first person to take myself too seriously. So when I stopped taking myself seriously I start having a lot of fun. When I start having fun, I’m like “When didn’t I do this earlier?” So when you hear that and something resonates, boom that could be waking you up from oblivion, keeping you away from danger and keeping you stuck.
So we talked about taking yourself too seriously, not using your time well, not getting support sooner.
- Don’t make connections with locals. If you’re feeling stuck in your relationships, you’re not making connections with locals.
- Let stress impact my relationship. Maybe you regret how you’re talking to your kids or that you feel like you’re disconnected from your partner because stress is impacting you. Maybe you’re oblivious to that, but when you hear that you like “That’s dangerous for my relationship, that’s dangerous for our connection.
- Didn’t plan enough in advance for the move, for the goodbyes, or getting set up in advance. Didn’t plan enough for the move.
- Didn’t get out of a negative mindset. This is a really important one, didn’t get out of a negative mindset. Do you see how that spirals? If you’re not aware that you’re in a negative mindset it could easily slip into depression, it could damage your relationships, it could impact your performance.
- Didn’t take care enough of myself. One really big regret that impacts many other things, is that you didn’t take good enough care of yourself. And that’s a whole thing, it’s so easy to be oblivious, and may be dangerous if you let your health slide. Suddenly you’re drinking wine every single night without exception, suddenly you’ve put on 20 pounds and it’s putting stress on your heart, suddenly you’ve stopped working out and the stress is mounting in your body. That’s when you’re oblivious to that it can get dangerous
- Didn’t figure out my thing. I have clients who come to me and they’re like “Sundae I’ve lived abroad for ten years and now I’m ready to work because my kids are getting older.” Or you’ve gotten a divorce or whatever is happening, you are repatriating and you’re like “I spent ten years not knowing what I wanted, and I have no idea what to do next.” That fear that you have, it’s like “How am I going to figure this out?” Didn’t figure out my thing. It’s easier to figure out your thing two years in than ten years later. Well, whether it’s hard or not doesn’t matter, you could have been doing your thing for eight years.
- Didn’t stay in touch with my friends and family as much as I wanted to. Maybe three years go by and you’re oblivious to the fact that your friends miss you and haven’t shared with you the struggles that they’re going through, maybe you’re disconnected from people that are important to you and it’s putting your relationship in jeopardy.
So that’s what we’re talking about when we’re looking at getting stuck, oblivious, in denial and dangerous. These regrets are not mentioned to shame you, in fact it’s the opposite, they are shared lovingly, they are shared now so that you can wake up from denial wake up from oblivion and step away from the dangers that these regrets pose to your health and happiness and success while you live abroad
So you can see how when we have regret creeping up it’s because we’re compromising what’s important to us. When we’re feeling stuck or that sense of regret is creeping in, it is time to start solving the root of the problem and stop compromising on what you’re trying to achieve. And that’s why I shared that with you, because it’s like if I had taken a checkpoint seven months ago and had honest talk with myself about the specific things in my business that I wasn’t doing that I said I wanted to, I’d be seven months ahead of myself, I’d be seven months ahead of my goal.
And I know one of my clients with her regret was that she wasn’t using her time well, she said she wanted to write more, like a book, but she was doing you know, all of the things instead. So in our session we dove in deep to find out the root of the problem so she could stop compromising on what was most important to her and what we found out was how she was spending her time wasn’t really the problem, it was writer’s block. She wasn’t writing because she didn’t know what she wanted to write about, the root of the problem we discovered was actually not creating a space that invites creativity. And as soon as she did, she had this creativity explosion. I mean, we’re talking a metaphor for a book or principles, basically a chapter outline. It unblocked everything, solved the problem so she could start working towards her goal.
The compromising of her goal over it was something as simple as creating space and activities to stimulate her and invite her creativity and the rest flowed. When that happens, when you do that, when you solve the root of the problem, it’s so simple you almost feel stupid. I mean for reals, I can’t even tell you, me just my situation, I say that with total empathy. I was like, “Duh, why didn’t you see that before?” And I have my clients, every time we’re in a session they’re like, “Sundae, why didn’t I see that before?” We didn’t see that before because you weren’t going at the root of the problem and we need to together, we co-untangle the root of the problem. So don’t shame yourself if you don’t figure it out, and don’t feel bad if the solution is simple, because usually simple is the challenging thing to create. We confuse simple with easy.
So I guarantee you, if you start solving the root of the problem, you’re going to have those, why didn’t I think of that moment, that this is so easy, I feel stupid. And that’s awesome, you know you’ve hit the jackpot when that happens, I want it to feel fun and easy for you.
So here’s how I did it and here’s how my clients do it. When you want to get unstuck, when you want to stop compromising on what you’re trying to achieve and want to start solving the root of the problem.
Here are five tips, this is exactly what I just did.
- Take the time to reflect. I created the space for that clarity by just shutting out the world for two hours and getting my nose in my life. I was able to notice the gaps and celebrate the gain.
So one is take out that time to reflect, create that space to allow clarity to come in.
- If you’re like, “I don’t know what to do.” Then just brainstorm on regrets, I know it sounds like the last thing you want to do like, “Oh, I’m going to think of all the things I regret.” It sounds terrible but you’re oblivious, you’re in denial to the things that are dangerous and so regret is a great signpost for that.
Okay, so we’ve reviewed the top ten regrets that I’ve listed in the podcast, you can go to the transcript and read them and see which one is popping up for you. If none of those resonate than just write out, “I regret”. And list two or three things that come to mind. Those I’m pretty sure you’re going to be connected to compromising. what is most important to you and helping you look at the root of the problem.So number one is create that space for clarity, number two is zoom in on regrets.
- Dive in, ask yourself like honest-to-god, honest honest honest, “If I’m really honest with myself what’s going on?” See what pops up. One of the methods I give to my clients is I say, “What’s the uncomfortable truth?” Look at your uncomfortable truth. “What are the uncomfortable truths of my life right now?”
I know for me. I’ve shared this widely in my podcast, but one of the uncomfortable truths that I had is, I was working too much and not doing a good enough job at taking care of my health, that’s uncomfortable truth. Who wants to say that out loud? Like “I work too much and I don’t make enough time exercise for myself.” Like ick, but you know what, I know I wasn’t alone, millions of people out there do that. So it’s uncomfortable and then once you see it, it’s hard to look away.
“If I’m really honest with myself what’s going on? What’s the uncomfortable truth? What is holding me back?”
If you want to journal about that, ask yourself that question, go for a run, go for a walk, talk to your friend, dive in.
- Get a sounding board. A sounding board is where, it’s like for me it’s like I don’t know what I think until I hear myself speak, kind of like when I do a podcast and I listen to it later I’m like, “Oh yeah, that’s what I said.” Get a sounding board, hear yourself think. And that could be journaling and then you go back and reread it, it could be talking with a friend, you could reach out in a group, I know we’ve got Expats On Purpose, one of my favorite Facebook groups because it’s my people that I love so much. Expats On Purpose reach out to us for support as a sounding board of people who get it.
Or if you are really ready for lightning-fast crystal clarity, give me a call, email me, we can talk about it. Because I’m trained to help people see what they can’t and draw out exactly what’s holding you back.
And that’s the sounding board, I have clients sometimes who are like “Sundae, today all I want to do is just share with you what’s been on my mind and help me see what’s going on.” Other times they tell me what’s going on and I’m able to mirror back truths that are hard for them to see, but they’re grateful they can get started on. Sounding board.
- Do it differently, all of the awareness in the world is for nothing unless you actually do something differently, if you show up differently, if you be differently, because that’s what’s going to create that chain reaction of different behaviors, different impact.
Okay, so identify the one thing you need to do differently to work on the problem level rather than compromising on the goals level. Let me say that again, what is the one thing you need to do differently to work on the root of the problem and stop compromising on your goals? So for example, if one of your goals is you want to make 10,000 a month, you’re not making 10,000 a month. You don’t say well then maybe I should only try to make 6,000 you say what/how am I spending my time and energy that is preventing me from making 10,000. There’s a big difference and I say that with love because I know how easy that is for me because it feels safer to make my goals smaller than to not reach it.
So I say that with love I get it, that’s our vulnerability coming out there, but that will not serve you in reaching what’s really most important. It doesn’t have to be about your business, it can be about your relationships, it can be about your health, it can be about a hobby, something creative, it could be about something you’re trying to do in society or fight for social justice, whatever it is.
Staying stuck is dangerous, being oblivious and in denial about the root of the problem where we’re staying stuck is dangerous because it threatens this beautiful thing you’re trying to create. And if you don’t believe me, then go back to the episodes 130, 131 and 132 where we talk about why it’s so important to get unstuck, because you can’t find purpose and meaning and direction from a place of stuckness, you can’t serve others from a place of stuckness.
Okay, and to start is really simple, take some time out to reflect, create that space for clarity, review the ten regrets. Three is dive in, what’s holding you back, four get a sounding board and five do it differently.
And if you want me by your side then join me in my workshop that’s coming up. This is time-sensitive, so if you’re listening to this in July 2019 get on the show notes and register for my workshop coming up on getting out of a rut. I’d love to see your face and be there live with you, answer your questions. When I do a podcast I’m speaking into the void and have no idea who is actually listening to it. I want you to talk to me, tell me what’s going on, let me help you get unstuck.
It’s a great way to get free coaching for me in ways that are harder to access otherwise, so that is a great way to get started.
You have been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Schneider Bean. Thank you for being here.
Today’s episode is all about starting to solve the root of the problem so we can stop compromising on what you’re trying to achieve.
I’ll leave you with the words of a writer Merrit Malloy “Compromise is simply when we change the answer to fit the question.”