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This year feels like trying to push a broken-down car uphill — a complete slog.
Have you ever tried to move a dead car? You push and push and push, and it still doesn’t budge. Then, you try a few things, experiment by necessity, and maybe a kind passerby joins in to help you. Before you know it, that thing’s flying, and you wonder how you’ll make it stop.
Now, not only will you be less intimidated the next time this happens to you, but when you see someone else stuck mid intersection, you’ll eagerly jump out to assist as the car-propelling expert. “Did you put it in neutral? Is your emergency break off? Open the front doors and let’s heave from there, together.”
Yes: transformation is messy. Also, yes: we permanently benefit from the portable skills collected from each junction and learn to face upcoming rounds better armed. These are just two of the ten transformation truths I’m revealing this week.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- Back-talking your lying amygdala
- Martha Beck’s 4 Squares of Transformation
- How to end second-guessing & people-pleasing
- Why an ugly reality beats a comforting fantasy
- Finding answers by looking inward
Listen to the Full Episode
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Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Featured on the Show:
Now is the “before” picture. It’s where all your dissatisfaction residue manifests on the outside. Will next year’s photo look better, worse, or the same? Year of Transformation is your train, I’m the conductor, and accountability is our fuel. Grab your ticket right here, and let’s begin the journey to your “after” photo victory.
- Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Sundae’s Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose
- Expat Happy Hour – EP 191: The art of a re-emergence
- Year of Transformation – Join now
- September Summit – Join Now
We’re delighted by our nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts!
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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. 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.
“Better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy.” Thanks, Carl Sagan, this American astronomer and astrophysicist kind of has an uncomfortable truth to offer. I kind of prefer the comforting fantasy. How about you? Especially in these wonky times. We’re all looking for certainty, we’re all looking for knowing what’s coming next but none of us has it. And unfortunately today I’ve got some hard truths for you because even though I hate it and I resist it, I do not want you to walk around with a comforting fantasy and avoid the hard truth.
When you come face-to-face with that truth, you are empowered to do something different in your life. So in today’s episode of Expat Happy Hour, we’re going to talk about the hard truth behind finding direction in times of uncertainty. Now, here’s the thing, what I would love to do for you, I would love to say, “okay here are three ways you can find direction times of uncertainty one, two, three.” But, I can’t.
What I can do is pull the curtain back and tell you how I’ve worked with my clients. As they’ve found direction in times of uncertainty because there are some hard truths that go along with it. When we’re looking for direction, especially in wonky times like now, we kind of want to look to the outside. We want to look to our religious leader or the motivational guru or an economist or trends whatever it is.
But when we get down, I don’t know if this is a Midwestern term to the nitty-gritty when we get down in the dirt and really look at what it takes to find direction, we actually have to stop looking outside and start looking within. So, what does that really look like? How do you know when you found direction even though times are uncertain? This is what it looks like, you stop second-guessing yourself, you ditch the people-pleasing, you are able to meet your needs and the needs of your loved ones. You wake up in the morning with clarity on how you’re going to spend your time and energy, even when you have setbacks.
So, if none of those are true for you right now, then it might be worth paying attention because this is a time where finding direction might really benefit you. And if I go really deeply into this, it’s like we’re looking for direction. And that direction if I think about it, it’s kind of like when you hop on a tram or a train, you know where the end station is, but the thing that will get you there is actually the vehicle so it’s not the end station that you’re really looking for. You’re looking for the vehicle. That’s the tram that you hop on or the train that you get on and that vehicle to reach that end destination is actually transformation.
If you’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour lately, you’ll know that I have shared there’s a difference between change and transformation. If you missed it, check out episode 191 the art of a reemergence. It’s really important that you are able to distinguish the difference between change and transformation. Change is something that you shift for a while but might not stick and transformation is where it turns out to be something wholly different. A way to solve your problems long-term rather than a quick fix.
Okay. so for us to hop on the transformation train, you knew that was coming, a really hokey reference, but I had to do it… so get to know me. I mean you should have expected this, we’re gonna hop on the transformation train. I want a little *toot toot*.
So if you haven’t checked it out check out episode 190: the Scale of Wholeness because it talks about those 10 dimensions of wholeness and how direction and purpose are part of that. So don’t miss that. We’re also doing a webinar on it next week. In the week that this goes live, it’ll be happening the very next day. So check it out.
All right, five ugly truths about transformation:
Number one. Transformation is ongoing. Transformation is ongoing. Why is this an ugly truth? Because if you’re the one going through it by the time you get to the other side, you realize, “Oh, no, I got to do this again.” Transformation is ongoing, life is full of transformations when you look at it. You become a baby, then you go through childhood, then you become an adolescent and they become an adult, those are transformations. We don’t just develop once and then it’s over.
Martha Beck talks about four squares of transformation. And the first one and I’ve mentioned this another podcast. The first one is death and rebirth where all of a sudden you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know what the heck is going on.” That moment when we feel like we’ve been swept off of our feet. It could have been, I don’t know, a divorce, a death of a loved one, a job loss or a change in family status, whatever it is, you feel lost.
The next one is dreaming and scheming where you start thinking, “Hey, what could life be like after this?” When I stop reeling from this huge change, what could life be like allowing yourself to imagine something wholly different? Square 3 is the hard work that you put in to do the work, to create that in your life, and Square 4 is where you’re now enjoying all the hard work and you’re just tweaking your happiness and reducing your stress. But the thing is, life isn’t stagnant. If once you’ve done that, something else happens and your life and you’re kicked into Square 1 again. So transformation is ongoing and that’s just a reality.
Ugly truth number two. You have to do the work. You have to do the work. This is something that I really enjoy hearing from my clients because what I find out later after we’re working together is that they had this kind of secret wish that I would do the work for them like “Sundae will fix it.” It’s not that way right. We will collaborate, we will tandem and I’ll do my work and I’ll walk you through a process right but you have to do your work.
So ugly truth number two is you have to do the work. I would love to just throw money at my problems. But the truth is I have to do the work. To be able to do that I can partner with the right people to help me. But in the end, it’s me who’s got to do the work.
Number three the ugly truth about transformation is it’s messy. It is messy even though there is a path, even though there is a process that you can support people with on this path of transformation, it is messy. So if it’s messy you’re doing something right. Life is messy, we’re messy. I don’t believe anyone of you if you’re at pick up and drop off and you’re like, “How are you doing?” “I’m fine.” I get that but I have enough behind-the-scenes view of regular people’s lives to know that not everybody has everything so tidy. Life is messy and so is transformation. So truth number three is it’s messy.
Number four is you will get in your own way. The ugly truth number four about transformation is you will get in your own way. I call her Amy G Dalla, the amygdala, likes to tell you stories or whispers lies to you about how you’re smaller than you really are or how you can’t do it or how difficult it will be. And this is the way that you get in your own way. So ugly truth number four is you will get in your own way.
And number five. Transformation is subtle. Transformation is subtle. Now, this might surprise you. You’re like, “Sundae, wait a minute, I listened to your last podcast about the art of reemergence. We’re talking about going from a caterpillar to a butterfly. That’s nothing subtle about that. You just showed before and after pictures of your own transformation that change of you wasn’t subtle.”
But the thing is, while it’s happening it’s subtle. It’s like this morning. I saw my son at breakfast and I’m like, “did you get taller last night?” And we go over to the wall and I haven’t measured him for a while and he is literally, I don’t know, seven centimeters taller than the last time I measured him. I didn’t notice it happening over the last few weeks or months, but it was happening every day. He didn’t notice it but all of a sudden when we look back and measure, boom there it is! But in the every day when you’re doing the hard work and it’s messy and you’re getting in your own way, it’s subtle. And that’s the truth and that can be demotivating when you’re going through it. But here’s the good news.
Five beautiful aspects of transformation to counter the ugly truths:
Number one. Even though transformation is ongoing you’ll have learned the skills for the next round. If you truly engage in a process of transformation, you will learn the skills so that when the next thing happens, you’ve got those skills in your hands and you have built capabilities to take on whatever is flying at you, right? So even though it’s ongoing you will learn the skills for the next round.
Number two. Yes, you have to do the work. But the beauty is you will discover you are stronger and more capable than you have ever given yourself credit for. The beauty when you say yes to your own personal process of transformation is you will discover a strength, a sense of self-worth and self-confidence, and capacity competency that you’ve never known.
Number three. Yes, if it’s messy then the good news is that you’re doing it right. Because if it’s too linear and too tidy, you are scratching the surface and you’re not doing the deep work. So the beauty of transformation is when it’s messy, you know you’re doing it right. I know one of the things literally brought tears to my eyes is a week when COVID kind of slapped everybody in the face in March where we’re like, “whoa, what’s happening.” Multiple clients from Year of Transformation said to me, “Sundae, I’m so glad that we started Year of Transformation before this hit because I know I can do this.” They had already built the skills to help prepare them for that level of uncertainty and they knew they could do messy.
Number four. Yes, you’ll get in your way, but the beauty is you’ll learn how to talk back to Amy G Dolla, to the amygdala, to the ways that you hold yourself back. You will take back the conversation so that you don’t stay stuck. And that is beautiful because you are then no longer a victim to yourself.
And number five. Yes, transformation is subtle but the beauty is it’s slow at first and then all at once and it’s so deeply ingrained, what I’ve seen happen is that when you look back at it, it’s like it’s always been there. That you can barely remember who you were and that who you are now feels so right that you can’t imagine anything else ever fitting. So, I’m not hiding the hard truth from you. I don’t want you to be comforted in a fantasy. I want to share the ugly truths of transformation, but I want you to know that it’s so worth it and that there’s so much beauty in that messy process.
Because ultimately transformation is knowing that you have what it takes to navigate whatever uncertainty is there, that you have what you need to work toward what is most meaningful for you. And that is what gives you direction and confidence in times of uncertainty. I’ve watched my clients navigate financial setbacks, rumbles in their marriages, business turning points, family disruptions, and they did this by drawing on their resources, their competencies, their strategies that they developed. And they did it with authenticity and strength.
Now if that isn’t direction in uncertain times, I don’t know what is. So, if you’re hungry for that kind of impact in your life if you’re hungry for creating that kind of security for you. Then this is my personal invitation to you to apply for Year of Transformation. I’ve been doing this for years. It is such an honor to partner with people in this process and it’s just an amazing thing at the beginning and we start to work together. I see where you’re at and how you’re feeling like you’re just lost or you’re stuck or you’re staying the sidelines of your life or you’re hungry for more purpose and meaning but you don’t even know what that is.
Or you feel like you’ve lost your old sense of self, and that moment where we link arms and we say, “Okay, let’s do this” and I don’t know where you’ll end up. I’ve watched people discover that they want to be a podcast producer, they want to be an author of books, they want to start a business, or they want to stay at home with their families.
All kinds of discoveries that have happened along the way but I know the path and I know what you need to build in you to walk that path. So join me, there are only ten spots and I would love to get to know you and see if this is a right fit for you. If you want to go from standing on the sidelines of your life to taking back control, then this could be exactly what you’re looking for.
This podcast is coming to you during the September Summit. So if you haven’t already registered, don’t miss it. We are having free workshops and expert interviews the entire month of September when this podcast goes live, watch out for the Scale of Wholeness workshop. This is sort of a brand-new concept that I’ve shared with my clients and with my community that is really changing the way they see things and we’re going to do a deep dive in the webinar this week that the podcast goes live and if you’ve missed it, don’t worry, we’ve got something each and every week for you in the September Summit, so don’t miss it.
I’ll leave you with the words of Margaret Drabble: “When nothing is sure everything is possible.”