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For expats, a big part of our identity is living globally mobile lives. Adventure is our oxygen and abroad is our home.
So, one thing I keep hearing as we surpass 6 months of what we expected would be a few weeks, is how many of you aren’t feeling like yourself. What was supposed to be a “temporary you” won’t go away. Like a stunt-double who was only scripted in for a few scenes you didn’t want anyway but has now confiscated your starring role.
If you think you have to keep watching from backstage, think again.
We’re finished waiting for circumstances beyond your control to voluntarily return your identity. Nor do we need to send in some melodramatic search-and-rescue squad to locate you.
This week, we’re going to swap the “find yourself” mumbo jumbo for a couple of fast-acting, location-proof, pandemic-proof, and mistake-proof solutions. By using these two simple concepts, we’re going to reunite you with your identity. Patience not required.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- A martyr no more
- Remembering how to want
- Making room through delegation
- That first date magic
- Finding your voice
Listen to the Full Episode
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Featured on the Show:
Do you have exciting plans this week? No? Get some. The Purpose Challenge starts today, so join us right here. You’ll be online anyway – you may as well load up on free, FRESH tools to shake yourself out of your rut, reclaim your goals, and maximize the rest of 2020. (And there’s plenty left.)
- Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Sundae’s Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose
- 5-Day Purpose Challenge – Join Now
We’re delighted by our nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts!
Full Episode Transcript:
Hello. It is 08:00 am in New York, 2:00 pm in Johannesburg and 7:00 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour and it is a special edition coming to you from Meiringen in Switzerland. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-orientated coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations. I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.
There’s one thing I used to buy into that I don’t anymore and there’s this idea of we can lose ourselves and then find ourselves again. I have clients coming to me who say “I feel like I’ve lost my Identity” or “I want to find me again” and believe me I get it. It’s not like I haven’t been there. But here’s the thing, what I’ve noticed over a decade of working with women who feel like they’ve lost themselves, is that this idea owning into this idea that “I’ve lost myself,” it catapults us into a whole other territory.
It’s like you’re on a boat in the middle of the night and your friend falls off the side and now there’s an urgent search committee and you’re feeling lost, grief, hopelessness and regret. When we say “I have lost myself” we’re in panic to find it and we’re looking for something like ourselves. It’s like a life-or-death situation and there’s intense grief and loss and hopelessness because the stakes are high. And today I want to just offer you a different perspective.
I do not want to invalidate how big it feels when you feel like you’ve lost yourself. But what I do want to offer is what I’ve noticed in my coaching practice of the two things that actually bring you back to a safe harbor. Two simple practices that help you reclaim your identity and you don’t do it in a way that feels like you need a search and rescue. Okay, so this topic of losing yourself and finding our identity is super connected to what we’re talking about in the 5-day Purpose Challenge happening this week in Expats on Purpose. So if you’re listening in the week of August 17th, 2020, it’s not too late to join.
Go ahead and check out the details in the show notes. Okay, so I have a different approach today, an alternative for search and rescue and it’s really simple. There are no flashing lights and no sirens. It is a process of reclamation that is super gentle. The first practice that I recommend when you feel like you’ve lost yourself is to:
Number one: Date yourself.
What does that mean to date yourself? I’ll tell you what that is. I’ve worked with clients, one of them we’re going to call Gloria, where I gave her an assignment at the end of our coaching session to do something that brought her joy and she had nothing. She could not think of one thing that brought her joy and it came through that she forgot how to want.
It was like she was feeling switched off or even apathetic towards pretty much anything. And through the process of inviting her to date herself, she woke her senses up again, and it’s really simple. Think about when you first go on a date you’re like, “hey, where do you want to go to eat?”, “What do you want to do?” You know you fall in love and you’re like, “oh here we have 2 cups. What cup do you want honey?”
Right that sort of gushy, slobbery phase. What if you treated yourself like that? What if you paused and asked yourself what you wanted? Because right now your relationship with yourself might be like a stale relationship that’s been going on for decades with no spark. So dating yourself could be as simple as getting up in the morning and grabbing your cup for coffee and asking yourself, “hey, what cup do I want?”
What color feels like the right one to have today which shape or size. When you make lunch, what do I want to eat? Not what’s fast or what’s in the fridge or what will my kids eat, but daring to ask yourself what you want. Right super simple. So if you’re feeling like you’ve lost your identity. Just a simple, simple commitment to starting a first date with yourself by asking yourself, “what do you want, what do you want to do?”
And listening for the answer will bring you one step closer to what you’re saying is finding yourself. It is so subtle, but it works. Believe me, after working with women for decades who feel like they’ve lost themselves, this is a powerful yet subtle tool.
The second one is really simple.
One of my clients, I’m going to call her Nisha. She had a book project and was really excited about bringing this book into the world. But the thing is she needed to sit down for four hours to actually make progress on this book, but she was so busy doing pick up and drop off with her kids. She couldn’t get that four-hour chunk in, and she came to my session labored with this frustration.
And all of a sudden in our session, she realized who she could ask to pick up and drop off the kids with her husband right there in front of her. She hadn’t even thought to share the burden. She hadn’t even thought to ask. And what happens when we’re losing ourselves is we become martyrs to our family, to our home, to our organization. And we forget to even think about “how is this impacting me, am I okay with it and how can it be better?”
And we end up having a voice but not using it. So what did she do? She went to her partner and said, “hey listen, I’ve noticed this book project is really important to me and I’m really struggling to get the four hours in because of pick-up and drop-off. I value my growth and this project and this logistical thing is getting in my way. Would you be willing to take over for one day?” The partner was like “of course happy, to support, Honey.”
And that was it. She had to recognize what she wanted, what was working and not and then she used her voice. So my question to you is, “do you feel like you are using your voice?” Because if you are struggling from a sense of a loss of identity, I have a hunch that you’re also struggling with a sense of not having a voice. And finding your identity is so hard to grab onto like, where do you begin?
Where do you look underneath the sofa? Like, how do you reclaim your identity that seems so hard to grasp. But using your voice, well, that one you can do every day with your loved ones, with your co-workers, with your clients, with your partner, with your kids. That you can grab onto and overtime helps. You reclaim who you are. Two practices, super simple, but overtime will help you move away from this sense of loss and move toward standing in who you are and what you want.
Reclaiming your wants and your voice is central to reclaiming yourself. You can call it finding your identity, that’s fine. But I like to think of it as a reclamation and that reclamation happens through two simple practices. So my invitation to you is to get committed. To remember how to want. And to remember you have a voice and actively use it. Do that over time and there’s no search and rescue, just yourself.
If you want more of this don’t forget to check out the 5-day Purpose Challenge in the Facebook Community Expats on Purpose and there’s more to come, stay tuned next week. When I have a special announcement for those who feel like they are living on the sidelines of their life and want more.
You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Schneider-Bean. Thank you for listening. I’ll leave you with the words of Austin Kleon. “The only way to find your voice is to use it.”