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!
Full Episode 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.”