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This time of year, everyone’s out for self-improvement. We’re making (and breaking) New Year’s resolutions, pumped up to change and determined to take over the world. Then, we surrender to defeat once we realize that getting what we want isn’t easy or very much fun. Hey, if it was, we would’ve done it already, right?
New Year’s resolutions are useless because humans are crappy at willpower. The goal setting is good, but the execution is poor.
Progress happens outside the edges of your comfort zone. Once you decide you’re ready to leave safety and embrace feeling uncomfortable, then you’ll enter the growth zone where legitimate and enduring transformation takes place.
Growth zone success looks different for everybody, and I’m going to help you define what it looks like for you. More good news? You can restart today (or tomorrow, or next week) because it’s not based on a calendar, it’s based on filtering through intention.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- “Naming” your year based on who you want to become
- Deciding what you should stop, start, & continue
- Listening to your gut vs. strategic planning
- Proclaiming your vision to your support system
- The collective impact of micro-moments & “close ones”
Listen to the Full Episode:
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Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Featured on the Show:
- Your 2020 accountability booster is happening now in Expats on Purpose. Sign up for the Uplevel Challenge and join us as we jump into the growth zone, together. (It’s free, and yes, you should bring a friend.)
- Thinking of joining the Expat Coach Coalition? Don’t hesitate to hop on the interest list here.
- Ready for a Year of Transformation? Get onto the waiting list here.
- Episode 88: A Message From Your Future Self
- Episode 104: From Military Sergeant Mom to Marry Poppins Overnight
- Episode 154: The Perfectionist Recovery Room
- Episode 156: A Telescope In The Rearview Mirror
- Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose
We’re delighted by our 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
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it. If you’re listening to this on the day that it goes live January 13th, you probably had high hopes for the new year. But by now there’s been enough time for the high of New Year’s resolutions to wear off.
I don’t know. Have you been going to the gym? Did you stop wine-o-clock? Whatever it is that you had in your mind on New Year’s Eve that you wanted to change, I get how easy it is to ditch these resolutions a few weeks later.
Here’s the thing, this is what’s great about resolutions, it helps us get clear on our intention, what is our intention to change? But I feel like we go about it the wrong way. So in this episode of Expat Happy Hour, I’ve got a ton of forward-looking things for you to actually help you create in your life what you held in your heart on New Year’s Eve.
And there’s some things I think we do wrong when it comes to resolutions and there’s some things that we do right that we should go further with. But we’re not just going to talk about that, this episode is, excuse my French, is going to cut through some of the bullshit that is out there around growth and getting out of your comfort zone. And I’m going to share a really honest perspective based on what I’ve experienced, what I see with my clients that I don’t think we talked about enough.
So let’s go for it.
So if we’re looking at your intentions for the year, I would suggest you go back to episode 104, it’s called From Military Sergeant Mom to Marry Poppins Overnight and they look at two questions.
The first one is who are you becoming? Who are you becoming this year in 2020? Or if you’re listening to this in another year, who are you becoming this year? And what are you no longer available for? Those are really two important questions. If you stopped listening right now and you answered those that would already be a huge guide for you in the year ahead.
But let’s go deeper for that, my word for 2020 is “fresh” and it’s even more fun if you say it like this“fresh” but a lot of people choose a word for the year and you might be asking yourself “How do you find the word?” For me the only way to find the word is to listen for it with your guts, like what’s the thing deep in your guts that you’re hungry for creating this year? This is about a need not a strategy, it’s about how do you want to do life this year? What is it that will guide you?
Super-powerful if you are choosing a word make sure that in your guts this is what you want. This is your word for the year and for me, “fresh” is with my entire body, I know it’s exactly what I want. And I’ll tell you a little bit about how I came to the word “fresh.” I think it was in August 2019, my coach challenged me to do something which we started to call “The Capacity Challenge.” I was stretching in brand new ways, getting completely outside of my comfort zone and doing two if not three times more work, but with the same amount of hours. Done at five, still exercising, not skipping meals, and just relaxing after work with my family, etc.
You might ask yourself “How do you do double even triple of the work in the same amount of hours.” Well, that’s what a “Capacity Challenge” is, it’s to help you find out what it feels like, and what it felt like for me was that I put a ton of gas in a pressure tank, it felt super full, not like it was going to explode but there wasn’t much space left. So I think I felt proud of doing the challenge, really grateful because I learned a ton, but I wanted more space in the coming year so “fresh” came up.
I’m also someone who needs to change every three to four years and because our assignment has been extended, I’m going to stay in the same house, I’m keeping my husband, I’m keeping my kids. I’m not going to chop my hair off a footlong like I did four years ago and I had my second kid, I figured I might as well change some other things. So “fresh” was important for me. And as soon as I decided that, it became the filter for everything, I didn’t wait till New Year’s Eve to start doing it, as soon as decided in December 2019 that was now the filter I looked through everything.
We went surfing on vacation and it was a blast, the way that I’m approaching my schedule, the way I’m working with my team, all of that is now filtered. So that’s what I invite you to do. What’s that word deep in your guts and use that word as a filter for everything you do.
I mean, it’s so silly, but I did a photoshoot on Friday and that word help me choose my nail polish color, it influenced how we did this shoot, I’ve started lessons on things I’ll tell you more about as the year goes on and I even contacted a reptile recovery specialist for dance lessons. If you’re not following my Facebook page, you don’t know what that means. So check out what’s happening on Facebook under Sundae Scheider Bean LLC and you’ll know what that means when you get there.
So that’s how you get started, if you want more of diligence in your life, you want more love in your life, you want more joy, you want more depth whatever it is. Use as a filter so that you can experience it every day. And stop working so dang hard, like just using that it’s a filter that does the work for you.
I do think what we do wrong when it comes to resolutions is that we tend to rely on our willpower to make things happen and let’s be honest, humans are really crappy at willpower. We’re good at it for a few days and it just completely tanks. And don’t take my word for it, look at “Atomic Habits” from James Clear, he’s got the science behind it, we cannot rely on willpower. And to be honest if you were, I’d wonder if you were enjoying your life, I think there’s a better way to do it.
So those micro-moments every time you filter it through the lens, that’s what makes a collective impact, that’s what makes a difference in your life.
Another thing you can do when you get your word, you got to get other people on board. So with me with “fresh”, you’ve got to tell people about your vision. So when I contacted the reptile recovery specialist for dance lessons I said, “Hey my word for the year is ‘fresh’ and here’s what I’m trying to do.” When I contacted my photographer for the photoshoot I said, “This is my word, how are we going to do this photoshoot through that lens?” Get people on board, your partner, your kids, your clients, I don’t know whoever is important to you, your teammates, people you lead, share your vision with them and I’m sure if you’ve got something cool like that they’re going to want to help you make that happen.
One of my friends, her word is “execution” and I don’t mean like killing people, I mean like following through. So you can imagine with this word “execution,” if everything is filtered through that then you start asking different questions like “Okay, I have this great idea what has to happen for me to follow through? Who can help me follow through? When should I do it so I follow through?” You just take back control of your life by using that as a filter. If your word is “fierce”, you ask yourself “How can I get more ‘fierce’ this week? How can I approach my work out more ‘fierce?’ How about my job hunt? How about how I love on my partner?” Anything.
So that’s my invitation to you is start looking deep in your guts for the word. I’m sorry just because it’s mid-January doesn’t mean this conversation is over. In fact, this is a conversation you need to be having January, February, March, April. It’s the only way you’re going to get to the end of the year satisfied with how you did it. I really get sick of this sort of like mid-December hype around setting goals first week of January and then it just drops completely, everybody stops talking about it. No, now is where we start have to focus on it and I’ve got plans on how to do that. But I’ll tell you more in the end.
So if you caught Episode 156, which was the last one I recorded in 2019, I invited you to have a conversation with your 30 December 2018 self which might have surprised you. “Why are we talking about myself from a year ago?” If you haven’t listened to it, do it because it’s what I’ve noticed from the listeners who’ve actually done the work. It is tear-jerking, I’ll just say it like that. Go back to episode 156 and listen to the advice your 2018 self has for you. And as I said the examples that I’ve been shared brought tears to my eyes and they’ve really been a wonderful demonstration on how you can love on yourself and learn. So self-work, let’s do it, if you haven’t done episode 156 do it to get started.
But now we’re looking ahead to this year. We’re going to filter everything we do through the thing that is deep in our guts. Then let’s have a conversation with our 30 December 2020 self. So the reason I chose 30 December it was on the cusp of the new decade and it was coming out in the 30th of December and that’s what I want you to do is now look ahead one year almost at the end of this year as you hear it. And that conversation I know will inspire you, because I originally was going to record this podcast just giving you the questions and then have you run off with it and go. But something about it kind of felt preachy like I was just going to tell you what to do and then take off, that didn’t feel right.
So what I did is I actually walked through the questions myself, yeah, I’m going to share that with you what happened but stuff emerged that I wasn’t expecting but I know is deep down there. So I’m going to share with you what popped up for me as an invitation for you to do the work for yourself and I want you to see what clarity comes by doing it for yourself.
By the way, if you hear that my voice is scratchy it wasn’t because I was up partying till 4:00 in the morning on New Year’s Eve, I somehow got a cold a week ago and now I sound like my grandma Bean. She would clear her throat every Sunday when we were having coffee together. So, excuse me for that, I promise you I did stay up till midnight this year, which was a total exception, but I wish I were, but I was too tired and too old to be partying till 3:00 in the morning.
Alright, so let’s get going again. Here you are, I want you to imagine that you were having a conversation with your 30 December 2020 self, what’s she going to say based on where you stand today and where you want to go? What do you want her to say? How this word that you have in your head and heart led you to where she is now in 30 December 2020. What has to happen so he looks back at you and says “Hey, you crushed it.”
What has to happen for your future self to look back at you and say, “Hey, you crushed it.” We’re going to start there. So I’ve got my piece of paper right next to me, the notes that I used when I did this for myself. So here’s what happened, I wrote “You crushed it.” At the top and instantly when I wrote that I was like shit shit. I was like, oh, inside my body was like “I’m actually going to have to stretch myself.” That’s my job, that’s what I do is I stretch myself, I help other people to stretch themselves, that’s my gig and that was my reaction, I’m not kidding you.
And I realized that the thing that makes me so crazy is when you hear people say “You got to get out of your comfort zone.” Oh, I could just punch them in the nose with my closed fist because there are people who say it but don’t do it. It’s just in your head, like “This year I’m gonna get out of my comfort zone.” But you don’t do anything different. And I get that cognitively. I mean my 2010 self probably would have said she would have deserved a big quick, you know pop in the nose from myself now because I would have been that girl going, “Yeah, get out of your comfort zone.” Like it’s in my head, it’s all academic.
The definition of your comfort zone is where you feel safe and you feel in control and if you have listened to my podcasts about the The Perfectionist Recovery Room, I call myself a recovering perfectionist. So if you are someone who identifies as having perfectionist tendencies, guess what? I bet you’re spending a lot of time in your comfort zone. So I just want you to have an honest talk with yourself right now, are you truly stretching yourself? Or are you honestly in your comfort zone? Because the people that I know that are not in their comfort zone, for example, my clients who are constantly being challenged to do new things, courageously showing up in their life every day and they inspire me because of how they’re courageously showing up. I can’t not do it because it would just be like be so unfair for them.
So really have an honest talk with yourself right now, are you in your safety zone? I just want to say if you don’t think that – the growth zone – that they talk about comfort zone, fear zone, learning zone, growth zone. If you don’t hear the word growth zone and want to vomit you’re not in it. You’re not in the growth zone if you don’t want to vomit. I have more to say about this obviously, but growth zone is truly stretching yourself. So people who say they want to find their purpose or live their dreams, it is nice and fluffy, but the road there should make you want to vomit otherwise, you’re not doing the work, otherwise, you’re still in your comfort zone.
I know when my clients are listening to this you’re going to identify with this right now.
Okay, so comfort zone. I realized when I was answering this that it triggered me because I knew I’d have to be in the vomit zone, I mean the growth zone. If you are in the growth zone I know you get it. I work with a colleague who does similar work to me and I know she gets it. She also talks about how damn challenging it is to continually grow over and over and over again.
So I feel like, for example, when I’m in my growth zone it’s beyond fear. Like if we look at the comfort zone we feel safe and control, then we go into the fear zone where like, “It’s too hard or people aren’t going to like it or I’m not good enough.” That’s the fear zone, when we go there amygdala reacts, I call it my Amy G Dala, he starts talking, keeps us scared and which she wants to push us back to the comfort zone.
Then there are people who really stretch themselves, they learn new skills, and they’re like heading up against new challenges and problems. That’s the learning zone, it is not an easy zone but it is still somehow comfortable when you’re learning.
But the growth zone is for me, and this is could be different for other people is where you’re truly extending yourself in new ways. And I personally feel like a cat who’s exposing her underbelly and it’s like any moment I could be attacked but just hold my paws up with my belly showing and go “Pfew, just hope this works out okay.” And that’s how, I mean when I was doing this exercise I realized what growth often feels like for me. I used to just talk, you know, get out of your comfort zone, not do anything. Maybe you’re like me, when I was in the fear zone like “Oh, it’ll take too long, it is going to be difficult, I don’t know if I can.” Or you know, “No one will like me.” That would be the fear zone, and then I would courageously step out of that and then start learning new skills, extending my comfort zone.
But real growth is like brand-new goals, creating the dream, really getting clear on purpose and making it happen. And like I said, it might make you want to vomit and that’s a good sign, that’s just my opinion.
Okay, so here’s the thing, so I went online to look at a graphic about this comfort versus growth zone. And again, if you go online and you go to “Google Images,” you put “comfort versus growth zone” you’ll get the inner circle is the comfort and then the outer one is fear and then it gets bigger with learning and then the growth zone is on the edge. So when you’re feeling fear, you’re actually breaking through your comfort zone and growing and learning. But I came across this graphic and God bless this person, whoever it was. Let me just see if I can find it online because I don’t want to throw them under a bus. There was this great post about comfort versus growth zone, but the illustrator added graphics to this that had a donkey in the comfort zone. So that is hard for me because donkeys kind of mean like that’s a jackass like you’re a jackass if you’re in your comfort zone. No, like why would we ratify the judgment that we feel for being comfortable. And then in the growth zone there was a unicorn, kind of like My Little Pony unicorn and I was like “For real? It is not rainbows in the growth zone.”
And that is what I want to talk to you about today, I want to demystify the ease in which we think growth happens for others. So any of you who have been watching my journey over the last year or two, if you think it’s My Little Pony, unicorns and rainbows – you’re wrong. No, just because it might look comfortable doesn’t mean it has been comfortable. Like even something silly like a photoshoot might look like a natural smile or whatever, but you don’t know what an individual had to overcome to feel comfortable in that situation. So that’s what I want you to take with you when you think about crushing it in 2020, I want you to give yourself space for some discomfort and I want you to celebrate it when you do, because that’s normal and that’s growth.
So when I realize, you can tell I went on total rant about this, when I realize what’s going to happen for me to crush it in 2020 to do the things I want to do, I know I’ve got to quickly get into the fear zone, fly through that, learn something new and then be in the growth zone where I am extending myself in a way that feels like a stretch.
And here’s the thing, just a caveat, this is all relative, so, for example, I have a stable life in the country that we live, there’s no political upheaval, my continent isn’t burning. I don’t have any battles with addiction happening in my family right now. Like things are stable, I’m personally not battling an illness, so whatever my growth is, it’s relative to what my capacity is. Your growth might look like a millimeter to others but for you it’s giant. So there’s no judgment here, it’s all based on where you are, what your life looks like and what your capacity is. This is not who can do more, this is “What can I do to grow?”
And one of my clients words is “calm,” so growth for her would look like adding a ton of chill in her life, which looks completely different than what I would do to grow. She would probably do way less to achieve her growth than someone who is word was “fierce” for example. So that’s something I really want you to know about when you’re going to crush it this year, it is all relative to what you want to do.
The second message I want to make sure that you’re taking away is that growth doesn’t look like a rainbow unicorn. It is something that stretches you and it’s okay if you feel uncomfortable and it makes you kind of want to vomit a little bit because then you’re growing.
So that is the first question that I answered for myself, I want you to do that now and push pause and do it for yourself or do it afterwards but what has to happen so you can look back at your 2020 self in December you can look back and say “Hey, you crushed it. High-five.”
Next question is, it’s called the close one, and here we have got to get really really honest with ourselves. Close one, what is that thing, you know is hard for you? And that if you’re speaking as the 2020 December you that you had to overcome so that when you look back on what you did this year you’re beaming with joy? So for me when I wrote down the close one, if I stand there as Sundae December 30th 2020 and I’m having a heart-to-heart with myself now, I know the close one was again this ongoing recovery of perfectionism to shiny object syndrome. I have so many opportunities, people asking to partner, I’ve got wonderful people that inspire me, ideas I’d like to follow, that I need to focus.
I know what my goals are for 2020, I need to stay focused on them unless there’s undeniable evidence to shift along the way. I cannot let “fresh” slide, “fresh” just can’t be this thing for January and then it goes away. For me to proudly stand there December 30th 2020, I want to look at how I carried “fresh” throughout my whole year. In fact, I’m going to be listening to this podcast December 30th 2020, and I’m going to hear right now as I’m listening in the future whether I did that or not. I know for me to really get to the December 30th 2020 version of myself I’m gonna have to push my edges and I’m going to have to stand in faith that it’ll be okay, like that cat with her paws open and her belly exposed is going to need to hold that pose and have it be okay, continue to put myself out there.
So that’s what I know are my close ones. What about you, you know yourself, you know, your tendencies? What the things that you fall back into? This is your chance to think about what are the close ones knowing yourself and the way that you do what are the things you know that are going to be tricky to overcome for you? Put them at the forefront of your mind now so that you see them coming and you’ve got a plan to get around them.
Okay, gets a little bit easier from here on out, at least for me, maybe it’s different for you. The next question is who helps her along the way? So for me I thankfully have an amazing support system in place, I have my own business coach, I got my closest business peeps, I’ve got my dear old friends and I’ve got my team. So for me the “Who helped me along the way to reach what I want to do in 2020”? I’m pretty confident that’s okay, but I’ve worked hard to create that system.
What about you? How strong is your support network? If you’re trying to grow your business, do you have a mentor? Are you trying to double your revenue as a coach? Do you have someone who’s done that and can show you how? Do you have people to support you emotionally? How about fitness? Whatever it is you’re trying to work on, how strong is your support network? If you’re standing there like a deer in the headlights and you don’t know, this is probably priority number one in January, develop a strong support network so that you can crush it this year.
So the next question is the stoplight question. So what does this future version of yourself say you should stop, start, and continue? What should you stop, start, and continue?
For me if I’m truly honest and here I am cat with my belly exposed, I need to continue to work on whether I care what people think or not. I’ve done a lot of work to let that go, but I know there are times where I can still play it a little safe. So that’s something I need to stop. Continue for me for sure is continue with “fresh” that is a lot of stuff I’ve chosen is very physical, I need to continue to exercise and continue to keep promises to myself. What do I need to start? I need to start getting more space in my calendar and start on taking even bigger risks.
So what about you? What should you stop, start, and continue this year so your 2020 version of yourself, the end of this year is so flippin proud of you? So by this time if you are not shaking in your boots, I don’t think you’re dreaming big enough and you’re not giving yourself enough credit for what and who you can become. If you are personal development junkie, like myself or you want to keep going with this you can dive into Episode 88 A Message From Your Future Self, because there’s more there waiting for you.
All right, let that be your guide, I’m excited to be by your side this year is you become this amazing 2020 version of yourself. I get how hard habits are to change, especially when you’re on your own and that is why I will be here every step of the way to help you up level in 2020.
And here’s just a taste of what that’s going to look like. So the week that this is going live right now, this is my birthday week, so if you’re subscribed to be on the lookout for a gift from me on January 16th, because I’ve got something to help you uplevel.
Now I also encourage you to sign up for my Uplevel Challenge taking place on Expats On Purpose, all you got to do is go to the link in the show notes so that you cannot miss out on any of the special announcements and videos that will be sent during that time. It’s not just my birthday this month, but it’s also Expat Happy Hours birthday, she turns three at the end of this month, don’t tell her I bought her a present, I can’t wait till she gets it.
But there are more surprises to come when we get closer to Expat Happy Hour’s third birthday. And the thing I’m probably the most excited about is that there’s been this overwhelming response to my program called Expat Coach Coalition and we’ve already started. It’s going really well and there were so many people who wanted to be part of it, but couldn’t join the first round that they asked me to open up a waiting list for round two, so get on the waiting list in the show notes for Expat Coach Coalition if you are working with expats and/or people in global mobility, especially if you’re a coach because I’ve got something special for you coming up.
And if you are not a coach, but would love to work with me in 2020, you guys my schedule is already getting pretty full. So it’s important for you to get on a waiting list, I’ll make sure that’s in the show notes too, but there’s a few ways that you can work with me in 2020 and I want to make sure that you don’t miss out. So let’s get in touch and start having conversations because I want to help you get to that amazing 2020 version of yourself the end of this year so you can fast-track the whole way and know that you’ve got someone by your side to make it happen.
So do you have it? It’s gonna be a great year, we’ve got really big and beautiful things to do and now you’ve got this game plan on how you can make it happen. So if you’ve just listened and didn’t take notes, I really encourage you to go to the show notes, download the transcript, I’ve got a PDF there. You can also scroll through and read this, print it out if you want to and scribble your answers in the margins or into your journal. Because just listening isn’t going to be the same as actually doing the work, just like what I did for myself where all of a sudden I realized all the crap that came up when I discovered what would have to happen for me to crush it this year.
I can’t wait to check in with your 30th of December 2020 self and celebrate how you crushed it.
This is Sundae Schneider-Bean with Expat Happy Hour, thank you for listening.
I’ll leave you with the words from French-Cuban-American diarist, essayist, novelist and writer of short stories Anaïs Nin, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
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