I’m ending the year with a throat-lump inducing conversation, so get out your Kleenex. I’m traveling back in time 365 days, to get advice from “2018 Sundae.” Knowing what she knows now, what warnings and wisdom would she have to prepare for 2019?
As a coach serving expats, I preach connection; nurturing meaningful relationships will have a medicinal effect on your transition.
Living abroad often means making fast friends with other expats. They get you, and you have endless new things to talk about together. I don’t care how much you Skype and text with those back home, nothing replaces face-to-face interaction.
The obvious downside is that, sooner or later, one of you will relocate. This past year, one of my close local friends moved. I had become so accustomed to a daily dose of her wonderful company, her leaving left a gaping hole in my heart and disrupted my routine.
More permanently shattering, I had a dear friend die. She was young and vibrant and stolen from us far too early. I traveled with other women from our circle to spend time with her before she passed. We surrounded her and each other with love, confronting our own mortality while soaking up memories of how she made us all better.
Join me as last year’s Sundae tenderly gives me a pep talk to celebrate 2019’s wins, lament its hard parts, and look boldly ahead into a new decade. Because there’s a lot to be said for just being here to see that ticker flick.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- When someone leaves you and it changes your routine
- Why high pressure isn’t always a negative
- The power of sisterhood
- How self-care saves your sanity
- The inevitable introspection caused by another’s death
This is my invitation to get advice from your 2018 self.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Episode 51: Top 3 Mistakes People Make Leading in the New Year
- Episode 52: How to Show Up n Your Life This Year
- Episode 104: From Military Sergeant Mom to Mary Poppins Overnight
- Episode 110: Grand Gestures
- 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 2 am in New York, 9 am in Johannesburg and 2 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I’m a solution oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition
I just can’t get this lump out of my throat. Something strange happens to me when my emotions rise up but they stay stuck, kind of like I want to cry but I can’t and it’s hard to put into words because I’m not sad but I think my heart is just wide open right now.
And I’m going to tell you why, right now, December 30th 2019, when this podcast is being aired live for the very first time, you’re teetering at the end of one year and almost into the next.
And this is a time when we look back on the year and think about how it went and we’re looking ahead to what we want to create in the new year. We’ve got all these good intentions about doing something different and it’s sort of an awakening of how have things gone and what do I want to do in new ways next year. This is an important transition. This is a life transition that we need to pay attention to — transitioning from one year to the next.
And today’s episode is going to be short and a little different than what you might expect. So if you want something in depth to really look back and how your year went and create strategies and goals for the next year, you can go to episode’s 51 and 52 way back in my first year of the podcast, because I’ve got some very specific guides on how you can do that.
You might want to go to episode 104 where I talk about looking at your year and asking yourself what you are no longer available for and who are you becoming?
Great ways to get started and thinking about the new year.
But in this episode I’m going to do something different.
McKayla Maroney says, “Looking back isn’t going to help you, moving forward is the thing you have to do.” With all due respect McKayla, I disagree.
In this episode we’re going to look back and have a conversation with our 2018 self. So if today is December 30th, 2019, let’s go back and talk to the December 30th 2018 self. If you’re listening to this on another date then just do the math and go back one year.
And I’m going to share with you a little bit about the conversation I had with my 2018 self. Mind you when we have this conversation we can’t really change anything and nor would we, because if you are who you are and you’re okay with that more or less, you got there for a reason. But what you can do is kind of give them a heads-up, you can give them the energy to keep going, to know that one year later you’re still standing.
So here is what I would say to my December 30th 2018 self.
“Hey Sundae, it’s kind of cute how you’re sitting there with all your business plans and your objectives and strategic thinking, but I kind of gotta warn you, this year that’s ahead, you’re going to feel super vulnerable, you are going to bring your guard down even more than you know you can, your heart is going to stretch and you’re going to have some really big questions. But Sundae, this is good because it’s going to make you feel alive, it’s going to make you be grateful that you’re alive. And you know what, I’m so proud of you because regardless of what happens this year you’re going to stay on track with your health and your business and you are going to be so grateful that you did. And the most exciting thing is that you are going to create new things that feel big and scary but when you do that it’s going to feel so right.”
Those are the things I would say to my 2018 self. And when I say that, again that lump comes up in my throat and it’s like my eyes are going to well up in tears.
Here are some of the things that happened since this 30th of December 2018. I’m going to share a little bit on the business side because those are significant, but if you’ve been following my journey, these might not be new. If you’ve checked in and out there might be some things that surprise you, but what’s probably more important is stuff that’s happened in the personal side that actually fuels my business and how I show up.
So when I think about what’s happened in this year, and I want you to do this the same, I want you to think about the wins and the hard parts. So for me, if I look at my business and the easy wins to come out for my business is, okay I got a new website in January 2019 that I’m really proud of with images that reflect more of who I am and that share more into not just my business side but also my personal side. I am celebrating that because of the personal work that I did, finding a thought that was “That’ll do” has actually created a complete transformation in my wardrobe and also in my energy. Getting rid of things that were just “That’ll do.” And that, those external changes, brought me energy and confidence into my entire year that fueled my business, helped me show up in new ways.
I’ve done things like challenges where people were actively participating in them, so proud of the results that my clients and the people in my group Expats on Purpose have made in the up level challenge, the global parenting challenge, the purpose challenge and of course the transformations in my clients’ lives.
Huge wins that make me immensely proud and grateful to be doing the work that I do. And on the outside you see what’s working, but there is some tough stuff that happened behind the scenes, I’ve had some internal changes on my team, have to onboard new people, learn new systems, not everything is always going right, I’m moving faster, I’m throwing more things at my team, sometimes things get dropped, but we’re moving forward fast.
In summer, I use my regular strategies with the location independent businesses, serve my clients and get ready for the coming fall while still visiting friends and family. But you know what, the volume was high and it felt hard to keep my energy high so that when I was with my family I could give them the best of me. Like I reached a maximum capacity of my volume of work and my strategies and that maybe I need to change things for next year so that I can work smarter and relax more actively and be more available for my friends and family when I am traveling.
I didn’t know what was coming after that, I started kind of, I don’t know willingly or unwillingly, I did something called the capacity challenge with my coach which meant I launched three products basically at the same time. Year of Transformation right off the back of Business Idea Accelerator that I do with Amel Derragui and then a brand new thing which I am so proud of and I’m loving every minute of the Expat Coach Coalition. I’m bringing in specialized coaches who are also going to serve in global mobility with the tools that I’ve been using and testing for over a decade.
So capacity challenge kind of felt like one of those gas bottles that you use to fuel your grill but it was overfilled, where everything in my life felt like it was under pressure, not a bad pressure, but pressure and the part of the capacity challenge was to do basically triple of what I was doing but in the same amount of time and rest as much if not more. I learned so much during the capacity challenge and I have to say in hindsight I’m glad it’s over. But what I realized is that when you’re taking on that level of volume that it is so critical to keep first class self-care, I know that and I teach that and having gone through kind of Olympic level challenge of that it’s even clearer to me. I also realized that when something goes wrong and you’re in the middle of that kind of capacity challenge that it can completely throw you off.
And what I’m most proud of is that when I asked some of my closest friends about what they noticed about me, that they were so kind and reporting that they didn’t notice a huge drop in my own energy and level of connection. So I’m proud of having gone through the hard parts, but I’m now ready to let you know what I would do different. For example, if I were going to take on so much more in a short period of time I would proactively block off time for massive rest, like I don’t know, book a massage or half day to go running. Whatever it would be, I would make sure that was integral not trying to fit in when I noticed the pressure was building high.
So that’s a lot from the business side, but from the personal side, you might even remember yourself in my episode on grand gestures. My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and I spent basically the same amount of hours flying to get to an event with them that I did actually there with them. We went to a rock concert together, my entire family, my mom, my dad, my sister, my brother and it was such a privilege to be able to be with them, to celebrate as a family for their anniversary, a highlight of my year for sure.
I think what I didn’t see coming in terms of personally in the year that I’m really celebrating is that there are some friends in my life that aren’t friends I’ve had, let’s say for 25 years, but have become friends fast and deep, and having friends who I can see you before you can even see yourself is really powerful. And these friends have made a huge impact in my year because there’s something really powerful about being seen for who you are even before you see it yourself. And the role that they’ve had in my life is like switching on a light where it was a dark corner I didn’t see, but once they named it I couldn’t switch it off. And that is a gift like no other. So I’m so grateful to my friends this year in spurring my own personal growth and being there by my side through all of the ups and the downs, definitely a highlight of 2019.
And so the hard parts that were happening in 2019 is something that we all experience, one of my closest face-to-face friends in South Africa left, leaving a hole in my heart and a change in my routine. And I realized because of her she actually brought me out more into other social circles and seeing more friends face-to-face. And I realize that her absence not only was hard because I miss her but because she was also my connection to other networks of friends. And I kind of isolated myself a little bit where I got into my routine and did my thing and wasn’t out and about in the community as much. And it took me a while to realize that, so that was a hard part and it really shows you how important your face-to-face friends are and when they leave it might actually disrupt your whole routine.
Other hard parts that I’ve shared throughout the year is losses that I have experienced. You might remember from the year before we had some loss that was unexpected and painful, but that was on the back of the one-year anniversary of the loss of my sister-in-law, I lost my mother in law this year, followed by the sudden loss of my cousin who is only one month younger than me and then the loss of a dear friend who had battled cancer for two years. I was there weeks before she passed by her side to cuddle her and to laugh with her and to talk with her. And although that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, how do you go to a friend and know it’s the last time you’re going to see each other? And that experience was so transformative for me, because when you are facing others mortality you’re also facing your own mortality and it makes you get really clear on what matters and it makes you realign with what you’re doing and say, “Hey, is what I’m doing the right track, am I living on purpose?”
And so this summer was a stretch on my heart in the best of possible ways because I go, I’m a solution oriented coach, I’m on the go and in those moments where you’re forced to pause and let life in and watch the realities of life, like mortality is one of those things we like to ignore. I have this joke with my friends where, when I go in denial, I send her a GIF with my fingers in my ears and it’s like lalalalala, like don’t talk about it. Mortality is one of those things and I think cumulatively over the last year and a half we’ve lost five people that we care about, makes it hard to ignore.
And so those losses have stretched my heart, have opened me up to be vulnerable and something I didn’t expect is it gave me the courage to be more vulnerable and open also professionally, a daringness to show more of my quirky self and not worry if that was considered appropriate or palpable by others. And what I’ve noticed is that the right people really appreciate that, it’s like giving others permission for them to be themselves.
And there was a moment when I was on the hospital bed in her home visiting her, my friend who was battling cancer and we were curled up together and another friend from my coaching sisterhood was there, we were just surrounding her with our love and soaking up hers and it reminded me how important sisterhood is. And I think that makes sense in a year where one of my good friends leaves the country and in the wake of loss and in the wake of friends who are showing up deeply for me, how important it is to have community. And that was a turning point for me where I decided, this is really good for me, this feels right, we need this, like hungry for this.
And it impacted my business, so it’s when I decided that I wanted to offer a group format for what I’ve traditionally only done one-to-one, bringing my community together and let them know each other and create sisterhood themselves. And why when I work with other coaches I bring them together and let that magic happen. Because we’re so much more than what we do, that there’s a level of depth that is available to us at any time if we just let it in.
It makes me think of an anonymous quote that I stumbled upon and it says, “I’ll look back on this and smile, because it was life and I decided to live it.”
So speaking to my December 30th 2018 self, “Sundae I say to you, you lived it, this year you’re going to live life, all the highs and all the lows. And I’m proud of you for riding those waves because it’s going to open you and it’s gonna move you and it’s going to impact others and that’s good.”
So that’s a sneak peek into my year, stuff that you might have known, stuff that you might not want to have known, but a glimpse of the highs and lows in my business and personally. And you see how they impact each other, and I’m sure it’s the same for you.
So now it’s your turn, I want you to have that conversation with your 2018 self, you can even write a letter, let them know what’s going to come and how it’s going to be okay. Tell him or her “Hey, are you going to really live it?” And then you can name it, celebrate what you have done, acknowledge what has been hard. This is a celebration of your resilience, a celebration of your humanity and your perseverance. It’s good and it’s gonna get better.
So in celebrating the journey that my 2018 self took, I’m here Sundae 2019 at the cusp of the next year and looking back it gives me confidence to become Sundae 2020.
And I want you to look back so that you can become the 2020 version of yourself that you hope for.
And I cannot finish 2019 without telling you so sincerely, thank you for being here, thank you for listening, and I mean that with my whole heart. I show up every single week in my podcast. This is episode 156, that means for 156 consecutive weeks I’ve done a podcast for you. Sometimes I’m super prepared and I know exactly what I want to say and sometimes I’ve got one hour and I’ve got a rough bullet point or two down and I do it on the fly. And because of the work I’ve had to do with myself, I have to say it’s good enough and move on.
And you’ve been there through all the highs and lows, all the life-changing podcasts and the pretty good ones and the ones that were good enough. For the ones you skipped, it doesn’t matter, thank you for being here.
Thank you if you are my client, thank you for trusting me and thank you for showing up every single time. Thank you for your courage to move forward and create the 2020 version of yourself.
And if you are an Expats on Purpose, thank you for being there and asking questions and showing up in whatever way you show up, you could be my auntie who listens every time, I love you Glenyce. You could be one of my best friends from college or high school who just checks in on how I’m doing and listens to keep tabs on me, because of our time difference we can’t always stay in touch.
Thank you for listening, you’re an important part of my life and I appreciate you and I wish you all the best for what’s coming in 2020 and I’m proud of what you’ve done since 2018.
So let’s honor 2019 with a celebration and get ready for the next year.
You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Bean, thank you for listening.
I’ve got some surprises ahead for 2020 and I cannot wait because it’s going to be full of fresh and exciting things and it is best when you’re by my side.
I’ll leave you with the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “All life is an experiment, the more experiments you make the better.”