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I won’t even try and pretend this week is business as usual. Nothing is “okay” right now. Just like everyone else on the planet, I’m putting one foot in front of the other, minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day.
Some days you’ll cry in the shower, and other days you’ll be the strength in the room. I want to stress how critical self-care remains to your resilience. Force yourself DAILY to find small ways to keep your routines and create moments of respite.
No one was ready for any of this, and we’re figuring it out. Clumsily, but forward.
Last week, I promised you a series addressing the 4 common excuses that prevent you from making the money you want and deserve. And in my effort to keep as many of my own commitments during this impossible time, here it is, and very appropriate, the first on the list is “I’m not ready.”
It’s not lost on me how the folks from our expat community are some of the hardest hit. Closed borders, isolation, distance from friends and family, having to make rapid-fire hard decisions under the pressure of gut-wrenching uncertainty.
Expat Coach Coalition specialists are here for you and ready to serve. That’s why we’ll be announcing a series of free online workshops, each tailored to the member’s area of expertise and in relation to the COVID-19 crisis. More details coming soon, and please join us to learn, share, and connect.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- Pearls on the ocean’s floor
- Identifying what readiness looks like
- Combatting the presence of self-doubt
- The common fear of failing in public
- Staying a few chapters ahead
Listen to the Full Episode:
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Featured on the Show:
Operating an online, location-independent business is no longer avant-garde. We’re witnessing a permanent, urgent shift in history. We need professionals to serve the global mobility community now more than ever. Round two of Expat Coach Coalition will start as planned late April, and you can secure your spot by signing up right here.
“I feel more educated on expat issues and needs, and more confident in my ability to serve expats.” – Shannon Jones, Relocation Coach for Accompanying Partners
- Sign up for the Power Sessions
- Thinking of joining the Expat Coach Coalition? Don’t hesitate to apply here.
- Ready for a Year of Transformation? Get onto the waiting list here
- Episode 129: Self-doubt After A Career Break
- Episode 135: 10 Signs You’re Standing On The Sidelines Of Your Life
- Episode 151: Boundaries with Jennie Miller
- Episode 154: The Perfectionist Recovery Room
- 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 4:00 am in New York, 10:00 am in Johannesburg and 3:00 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to 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.Now, I promised you in last week’s episode that we would look at the four excuses that I see happening among people who are living a globally mobile life when it comes to running their own business, especially people who want to do a location independent business.
But before we dive in there, I want to say two things, one thank you for those of you who were wondering if I made it back from Qatar. I am back in the Johannesburg area and all is well. In the last week since the recording came out things have changed rapidly around the issues of the coronavirus.
So I want to just recognize all of you who are hunkered down and self-isolating in this uncertain time. I have decided to move forward with my plans on talking about the most important things when it comes to moving through what’s blocking us to do the things that we really want to do. Because the level of uncertainty that’s happening right now is real and is not going to go away anytime soon.
So rather than staying stuck in uncertainty, I want to embrace this opportunity for us to take moments for ourselves and focus on something else and invest in you. So that as you move forward and as things become more clear, you haven’t been stuck in paralysis.
Another caveat is everybody is affected differently by the situation and some people are in more precarious situations than others. I’m really just wanting to reach out and say for those of you who are feeling anxiety and feeling the uncertainty. My invitation to you to reach out to the Expats on Purpose Community. We’re here for you. If you are not part of my Facebook Group on Expats on Purpose, join us. I do weekly questions. If there’s something on your mind, we’re going to be there to help you work through the dilemmas that you’re currently facing.
And more on that soon. I’m working on a plan on how I can do more to serve in this crazy time while we’re still moving forward.
So before I dive into the four excuses, I want to just say one more thing. This is now more than ever the time to practice first class self-care when you’re managing uncertainty. It’s really important that we take control where we can and have to let go of control where we don’t have it. And you do have some level of control on how you take care of yourself. So let’s do this together. I’m moving forward. I want you to join me.
And I hope that Expat Happy Hour will be a moment of respite and something uplifting for you despite the craziness that you might be feeling in your life. And if you’re listening to this later. It’s like hey, I hope that you’re looking back going “Phew, glad that’s over.”
So let’s get started.
So we are going to talk about the four excuses that people commonly make when they’re thinking about running their own business. Especially people who are living in globally mobile situations and want to have a location independent business. So while you can get insight from business owners around the world on excuses to stop yourself from starting your business. I really feel it’s worth talking about in the expat context. Because our lives are distinctly different from people who stay in one location. So I am going to share with you the excuses I see among clients and my community. And we’re going to look at that layer of global mobility and help you see whether you’ve got that excuse holding you back from running your own business.
So I mentioned in the last episode that the four excuses I see all the time are;
- Number one; “I’m not ready.”
- Two; “No one will buy it.”
- Three; “I don’t have time.”
- Four; Is going to surprise you. It is actually, “We don’t need the money.” That one’s going to be interesting but won’t surprise you when you hear what I’ve got to say about it.
So we’re going to look at those excuses in the coming weeks. And this week we’re starting with; “I’m not ready.”
Now, “I’m not ready” manifests in multiple ways. So the thought that you’re believing is, “I’m not ready.” That’s the excuse you’re telling yourself. But what’s underlying that might vary. And the first one that I see happening for people is they’re saying, “I’m not ready.” What they’re saying is, “I’m not qualified, I don’t know enough, I don’t have enough experience.” And how is this amplified in the expat context? Because often In the global mobility context we are around high performers, even global leaders. There is this high performance expectation among the people that we’re with. So it can feel scary that we’re not the head of that global organization. We’re not as good as them. So then we start to diminish what we do know. So I think in the expat context is high performer exposure might be something that limits us even more than others.
The other thing is about kind of, it’s a really tight knit community. I know for me how I’ve met people in Ouagadougou Burkina Faso and ended up living 45 minutes away from them in South Africa. I was just at lunch with someone and we said that the seven degrees of separation isn’t true in expat life. It’s actually only two degrees. So you feel observed, you might feel watched. And you don’t want to fail in public when everybody is so connected.
And I just wanted to acknowledge that that might be something going on with you. And what that really means is that “I’m not ready” actually is just a disguise for “I’m not good enough.” What we’re masking with the words “I’m not ready” is fear, uncertainty and self-doubt.
So let’s look at it straight in the face. Let’s stop saying “I’m not ready.” And let’s start acknowledging, “Hey, I’m feeling self-doubt, I’m feeling afraid, I don’t want to fail in public.” Because we keep using “I’m not ready” as a shield. Because honestly, if you’re not ready for something, for example, you’re going to go to a gala and you’re still in your towel from a shower, you’re not ready. That’s objective. “I’m not ready” if you want to compete in the Olympics, but you don’t pass the preliminary trials. “I’m not ready.” That’s legit. But “I’m afraid” is a totally different thing.
So I want to just put that up. We have to stop using “I’m not ready” as a shield. And I see this all the time. I have a client who it took over 40 years to finally say, “I’m an artist.” Although when she looked at it, she had been doing illustrations for years. Even had things published. But it was that voice of doubt in her head. That uncertainty about being good enough which led her to not own it. A lot of us grew up in cultures where you need to have a certificate for things and that validates it. So if you don’t go to art school, then you’re not an artist. But the proof was kind of in the pudding on this one. So when we looked at the facts, when we looked at the proof, we looked at the evidence. It was much easier for her to see that she was good enough and has gone on since then to run a business and make money as an artist. But until we notice that it’s self-doubt, not readiness that’s in our way. We’re not going to take action.
Same thing I have a client who was a copywriter. Also was saying, “I’m not ready.” When we dug deep we realized that the self-doubt was not founded on evidence because she had been working professionally as a writer for years before she started to do it for her own company. The writing was different, but it was still paid to write professionally. Her degree supported it. So it wasn’t readiness, it wasn’t about competency. It was about fear. What does that mean? And we dug even further about the fear and it was actually tied to, “What if I get too busy?” She was protecting her time. It had nothing to do with the quality of her professional skill.
I had an interior designer who was hesitating about taking the leap and offering her services professionally. Again, through our coaching together, we found out it wasn’t about real readiness, it was about self-doubt. And as I asked her to give me evidence on why she was ready. She tells me like, I don’t know down example number 12, that she actually won a top award at a design school. Hello, ready! Again fear and self-doubt are a terrible disguise when we’re thinking “I’m not good enough.” And we’re saying “I’m not ready.”
Absence of readiness is not holding you back. It’s the presence of self-doubt.
So if this resonates with you. Here’s a tip on how you can break through this facade of “I’m not ready” when it’s wearing the disguise of self-doubt.
One; Simply list. What would someone who looks ready look like? Someone who is ready, what does it look like? You can put that on the left side of the page. And then on the right, I want you to give me evidence of your accomplishments, of your skills, of things that you do easily. And then compare those two lists.
I had to do this over a decade ago when I was working as the head of Intercultural management and people were introducing me as an expert or a specialist in intercultural communication and I felt like, at this time I didn’t know the words for imposter syndrome, but I felt like a fraud. Like I was going to be exposed for not being good enough. And I went home and made this list. And it was kind of embarrassing. Because on the left all of the things that I would say would make a good intercultural specialist, I had at least as much if not more on the other side. Kind of waking me up to the fact that “Okay, maybe I am good enough.”
So that’s what I want you to do. List what you think defines someone as being ready to start this business. Their qualifications or experience, etc. And then on the other side list your skills, accomplishments, abilities and what comes easy to you.
And then if that’s not good enough, I want you to take it to the next level and I want you to ask your friends. Have your friends tell you what are you good at? “What kind of business do you think I would be qualified to start?”
I guarantee you that will be an eye-opener. When my clients do that they often come back reporting having been brought to tears from the positive feedback from their friends. Seeing themselves in a whole new light.
Remember absence of readiness is not holding you back. It is the presence of self-doubt.
Now connected to this. When you say, “I’m not ready.” Some of you maybe have a different form of self-doubt. And you’re saying, “Well, I haven’t mastered it yet.” So what we’re really talking about here is our crew of perfectionists. You’re looking for mastery before you start. And how do you get Mastery? That’s the joke, right? “How do you achieve Mastery? It’s through the doing.” I don’t remember who originally said it but they talked about 10,000 hours. You become a master. You perfect something as if perfect exists. But you get really good at something in the doing. So you’ll never be ready if you’re waiting for mastery.
I know for me. How to become a podcast host. I recorded episode 1. Had I mastered it? Hell, no. In fact, I won’t even listen to episode one again. I do not want to even go back and listen. But how do I master it? I start. You just start and then you bring people along on your journey.
So I have a client who really did believe this idea about “I’m not ready.” And we discovered that there was this hidden idea of waiting for mastery. And when I discovered what she’d already created, what she’d already done. I honestly felt like I discovered a pearl at the bottom of the ocean. I could not believe it. Most of the people that I work with have a skill that they haven’t practiced at actively or they do it only on occasion. And then together we own it and then they really get good enough to go out there and do it. Well, this woman was already perfect for it, ready. And there was nothing I could polish. And I told her, I said, “It’s like I saw you deep deep down there in the bottom of the dark ocean. And you’ve been hiding away. And it’s time to bring you to the surface so people can enjoy you. So people can benefit from you.”
There are so many of you out there who are like pearls at the bottom of the ocean with so much to share and you’re hiding. And I wonder what that is. You know pearls are formed when an irritant is placed. People think it’s usually a grain of sand. But it’s probably something more like a parasite and it gets into this oyster or muscle or clam and it’s a defense mechanism. This fluid comes out and it coats the irritant layer upon layer of this coating. This deposit is made and creates a pearl. And I wonder what’s going on? Is it because whatever you’ve been doing and creating all started with an irritant that you might underestimate the beauty of what’s being formed, because you’re still in defense rather than ready to share?
So this is my invitation. For those of you who really feel like you’ll only be ready when you’ve mastered it. You’re probably way beyond that point.
Okay, so here’s my tip on what you can do to move through that. I know when I was teaching intercultural communication to bachelor’s students when I was getting my master’s degree. I had a lot of life experience. And of course I absorbed the material well. I had done some training. But still there was some resistance like “Shouldn’t I be further along to teach bachelor’s level students at the university?” And one of my friends and mentors at the time she said. “Sundae, all you got to do is stay a few chapters ahead to add value.”
Just stay a few chapters ahead. And in fact when I work with my coaches from Expat Coach Coalition as well. There is benefit from being a few chapters ahead rather than volumes and volumes ahead. Because you still get it. You can see where your people are standing.
So when I need help with IT, I need someone who can explain what’s going on with my computer in a language I understand.
So there is value in learning from someone who is a few chapters ahead and not volumes because they still get you. So instead of expecting mastery get a couple chapters ahead and then serve. What do you know? What could you teach someone who is a chapter or two behind you that has value and that shows readiness? So mastery could actually create distance from some of your clients that you could serve.
So when you’re waiting for mastery saying you’re not ready, it’s not true. It is not true.
So my tip for you people who are waiting for mastery. First of all, you got to check out my podcast around perfectionism. Check out episode 154 for The Perfectionist Recovery Room. I think that’ll help you. Because it’s probably perfectionism that is holding you back.
And the second tip is to make a list. What are the areas where you could serve? Where you’re a few chapters ahead of others? That is an amazing place to start for your business.
And then another thing that I see coming up when people are saying, “I’m not ready.” Is the excuse of, “It’s not the right time.” And I’m going to be really honest with you. If you are living a globally mobile life that excuse can feel true. Especially if you have kids. “The move is coming up.” or “We just moved.” or “We’re going to move.” or “We have to decide on the move.” or “The job might change for my partner.” or “My kids are just ….” Whatever.
There’s always transition. So seriously. This is expat life. It is full of transition. And saying it’s not the right time. It will never feel like the right time. And what I want for you is to avoid what I’ve seen with my clients who look back hungry for purpose and meaning and wishing they had started something. And say, “Sundae, I don’t know where the last 10 years went. What was I doing?”
I know that transitions are crazy. I know that it feels not the right time when you have kids or you’re moving. Especially in uncertain times like now. But when we’re really honest with ourselves not the right time is code for everyone else’s priorities are more important than mine.
So when you say it’s not the right time it’s another disguise for, “I’m not as important as my kids or as my partner or as the organization.” It is time to stop that excuse and start making you a priority. So in 10 years you have no regrets.
And I get it. Some people’s lives are much more complex than others. No problem. All I’m asking you to do is ask yourself, what can you do now to make reasonable progress? What can you do? It might be five minutes. It might be 20. It might be four hours. What fits in your life to make progress so you replace “It’s not the right time.” With “I’m doing what it takes to make progress.” For you, on your terms. Where you are part of the priority.
And I might have shared this before but it’s something that I hold really dearly in my heart. One of my friends had terminal brain cancer, and I went to see her this summer. And while I was there, she shared a piece of wisdom to me that has changed how I see the way people show up in their expat families. She talked about how she sees beauty in the outside world, but she was struggling with seeing the beauty inside of herself. And she realized what she needed to do is floor to ceiling, wall to wall, everything being equal. Meaning, if you’re looking out at others, but never within, you miss something.
And I see my clients take care of their family as if they are on the outside of the window looking in at the room. Looking at the floor to the ceiling and the wall to wall and they are on the other side. But you’re in that family. In your priorities are important. So get inside. Step inside and be there among the floor to ceiling, wall to wall. Your priorities are important and your progress is possible.
So stop the excuse of, “I’m not ready.” When you’re waiting for this right time. When really what it is is that everyone else’s priorities are more important than yours.
I want you to live abroad with no regrets. I want you to say in one year or two years, “Hey, I’m really proud of the progress. I made even though we were in transition.”
So there you have it. This week’s excuse. “I’m not ready.” Often is disguised for self-doubt, perfectionism or the failure to make you a priority.
And this is big, this is really big. And you can go deeper on these topics and other episodes of Expat Happy Hour. If something has resonated check out Episode 129; Self-doubt After A Career Break. Episode 135; 10 Signs You’re Standing On The Sidelines Of Your Life. Episode 151; Boundaries with Jennie Miller. And Episode 154; The Perfectionist Recovery Room. Just to name a few.
You don’t have to have it all figured out yet to get started. You just have to start. And I am here for you for that. And one of the ways I’m here for you is through Power Sessions that I’m offering coming up this week. The week that this episode is airing. The power sessions have been very popular. We did them last year and they’re back again.
It’s a continuation to break through more excuses.
So power session one. We’re going to learn a tested coaching method that is a foolproof cure for expat homesickness. Some of you might be feeling even more homesick right now because you’re not able to go see people or feel limited in your travel capacity.
The other thing we’re going to look at in power session one is how to boost your business by learning three money blocking rookie mistakes. So just beyond the readiness excuse. I know money is going to stop you. So that power session is a way to identify the next steps to amplify the impact for you and for your life or your business and your clients. So I want you to join me in power session one.
Another thing. I’m really excited about is that the doors are open for round two of Expat Coach Coalition. Expat Coach Coalition is a complete industry proven turnkey solution for professionals who are serving expats. And the inaugural class of Expat Coach Coalition. When I asked them about how it’s been, they unanimously agreed that Expat Coach Coalition exceeded their expectations.
So if you’re serious about busting through your excuses, and you want someone by your side. This would be a great opportunity when you’re sick of your own excuses.
One of my participants of Expat Coach Coalition said, “I joined to help me get a business off the ground I’ve been talking about for over a decade. Now I have the resources, more confidence to use them, specific plans, action, steps in a network of women that support me.”
Another participant said, “I knew I had it in me to start a business. Even my friends and husband tell me I look totally different, lighter and brighter. It’s quite profound. It’s really built my conviction that I can help others succeed.”
And finally another participant said, “You’ll get sisterhood, clarity and practice. To anyone who’s considering joining I say do it. It’s a robust program from beginning to end and you won’t regret it.”
So that is another way for you to bust through your excuses and you can boost your confidence, your revenue and your progress.
So please if you’re interested in Expat Coach Coalition apply and you and I can meet virtually and get all of your questions answered.
Enough of the excuses. We are going to focus on excuse two in the coming weeks. But join me in Expat Coach Coalition. Join me in Expats on Purpose in the Facebook group if you’re looking for more support. And don’t miss the power sessions coming up.
You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Bean. Thank you for listening.
I’ll leave you with the words from Robin Sharma, Canadian writer. He says, “Your excuses are just the lies your fears have sold you.”
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