The lotus flower is revered in many cultures for its perseverance and beauty. It sprouts out of the mud and stubbornly climbs up against the heavy water pressure that’s trying to keep it down in the murky darkness.
Along its journey towards the sunlight, the delicate, ferociously-determined lotus flower dodges predators and circumvents obstacles from its surrounding environment. Then, it breaks the surface and blooms into the most magnificent plant in the pond.
And that’s where the lotus flower was always meant to be — not below in the sludge, but looking down from above, triumphantly stating, “OK. It was a hard road, but how do you like me now?”
2020 is over. We want to forget it but before we do, let’s reflect on what it took to get through it and bask in the hope that’s shining off 2021.
This week, I’ll show you my simple self-review system to give you a new perspective on your highlights and lowlights from this past year. I’ll also candidly share my own personal and professional 2020 wins and losses. Expect to be surprised.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- The heroism of the mundane
- 2020’s visible & invisible impacts
- Remembering the “thank you” list
- Finding tangible references
- Did you do too much?
Listen to the Full Episode
Featured on the Show:
Hopefully, you’re doing like I am and replenishing after this depleting year. Soon, you’ll refocus your well-rested eyes on your #goals for 2021, and I have something HUGE launching in January to take you from tired to on fire. Get on the list right here and be the first to know.
- Ignite your passion and be unstoppable in 2021 – Join First to Know List
- Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Sundae’s Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose
Catch These Podcasts:
- EP51: Top 3 Mistakes People Make Leading In New Year
- EP52: Show Up In Your Life This Year
- EP156: A Telescope In The Rearview Mirror
- EP104: From Military Sergeant Mom to Mary Poppins Overnight
- EP105: Tiny Moves. Big Impact.
- EP106: Letting Go of the Old To Create Space for the New
We’re delighted by our nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts!
Full Episode Transcript:
Hello. It is 3:00 am in New York, 10:00 am in Johannesburg, and 3:00 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.
This is a year we want to forget.
So many people are counting down to 2021 ready to throw 2020 in the trash can and I totally get it. We’ve been hit by visible and invisible losses. We’ve been impacted visibly and invisibly and we just want to move on.
But not so fast. My first instinct was to do that too but I actually forced myself to sit down and take stock of what really happened in 2020. So in our episode, The Great Depletion, we did take stock of some of the visible and invisible losses. And that was important because most people are feeling depleted at the end of this year and I count myself among those who are feeling depleted. I even shared in that episode how I’m physically depleted and got confirmation from my blood results directly from my doctor.
But the thing is, the last few episodes I’ve been so focused on helping you end 2020 with a little bit of replenishment so you can start well in 2021. And today this final episode is that last piece of the puzzle.
So I’m going to share with you my process, where I went through and I focused on highlights and lowlights of 2020. Both my personal sphere and professional sphere and what I discovered, it actually surprised me. And that is why I want to share that process with you today because your results might surprise you too. So no matter how much you want to walk away from 2020 like a bad breakup, I’m going to ask you to just grab a chair and sit with me as I walk through my process so you can walk through yours.
I guarantee you, you are going to learn something. And I guarantee you, you are probably underestimating just how well you showed up this year and why is this important? This is important because if you are feeling depleted and you do want to replenish and start the new year well, you’re going to need all the help you can get. And this reality check is a really important way to do that.
As I mentioned in episode 206, we need to end 2020 differently. But if you want a classic kind of end-of-year looking ahead, goal setting podcast, you can check out my episodes 51, 52, and 156 of Expat Happy Hour. For those of you who got by this year a little unscathed and are raring to go just like a normal year, go ahead and check those podcasts out. For the rest of you, I want you to stick with me. Plus stick around to the end because I’ve got something special coming up! And you’re likely going to want to get on the First to Know List. I’ll tell you more about that at the end.
All right. So here’s the thing, I have in front of me four pieces of paper. You might hear them jiggle throughout the podcast as I reference them. What I’m going to do is simply share with you the chicken scratches I made on my paper about the year looking at the spheres: Professional, Personal, Highlights and Lowlights. And walk you through that experience. And I hope that you see through that there’s hope for you to gain positivity, and insight, and fresh learning from your own.
So basically this exercise is very simple. I love when I’m doing reflective exercises, I don’t want to do that on the computer, I want to do them on paper. So I just grabbed computer paper and a pen that I love writing with. And I focused first on: Highlights. And I thought, “Okay. Highlights of the Year. Let’s be more systematic. I’m going to focus on my professional highlights.” And because I operate in multiple spheres, I broke that down.
So I started with Expats on Purpose, my Facebook group. So for you if you want to start your highlights think about the area that comes to you first. So I’m doing something on the professional realm. Maybe it’s your job. Maybe it’s your business. And If you’re not employed, maybe you want to focus on something that’s important in your family or a purpose project, right? So write that one down, get focused, put highlights and then pick an area of that bigger project.
I started with Expats on Purpose and I thought, “What am I celebrating?” And one thing came to mind, I did something called Expat Coach Secrets. And then I’m like, “What else can I celebrate about Expats on Purpose?” So that says something right there. Right? Like I wrote one stinky thing down and I had to go to my membership group for my Facebook group Expats on Purpose. And actually scrolled through just the media so I could see, “What was I posting about throughout the year?” And I went backwards. So the most recent, to the one that started at the beginning of the year.
And I’m like, “Oh, yeah. Okay Expat Coach Secrets, I just did that. Oh wait, yeah, that September Summit, I forgot about that. Oh, we talked about identity, anxiety, and making a social impact. Yeah, that was pretty cool. Oh yeah, and then we did the Purpose Challenge, that was fun. Oh! And then had that pop up workshop. Oh, and my God! We did the Rush Challenge too, I remember that. That was crazy because it was during lockdown. Oh yeah, and I celebrated my seventh year of business this year. And oh, in April I did that whole thing with Expat Coach Coalition, where we did April Brain Food. And they came in, they helped with ‘learning snacks’ during the initial adjustment after the lockdown. Oh, and I actually began the year with Uplevel Challenge.” And then I went and I wrote down how many members of the group I had and it had grown significantly in the last year.
So. What does this have to do with you? One, I only had one stinky thing to write down when I first started thinking about it. I actually had to go back and refer to something tangible to remember all of the things that I had actually gotten done. So for you if your purpose project or your job, look through your Outlook Calendar. go through your phone, look at your pictures. Find some tangible reference to remind you, “What have you done this year?”
I have someone that I know professionally that has to make professional connections to make an impact in their work and they went back and counted like 801 connections made in one year, right? And no idea, “Wow, that’s how many people that I really impacted.”
So step one for you is start your list. See how many you come up with but then go back to whatever is tangible for you. For me, it was going into the Facebook group, and then write down the other things that you missed.
Now. I have to be honest. When I wrote that down, a question popped up and I’m like, “God did I do too much? Did I do too much?” So I’m going to hold that question there because the fact that I’m feeling depleted might be a sign that I might have done too much, right? But that was what came up as well. So notice when you make your list, professionally what comes up for you? Are you surprised at how much you did? Are there things on your list that you didn’t automatically think about? And then you only thought about after you saw your reference?
I went on then to go to another area of my professional scope which is, Expat Happy Hour. And Expat Happy Hour as you know, I want to give you straight talk on the things that matter. And one, I’m really excited that I continue to give consistent content, even despite the wonkiness of this year. But what I really pride myself on is talking about topics that people don’t talk about. And we talked about trauma this year, menopause, midlife marriage meltdowns, and racism in international schools. So those are some things I’m really celebrating that happened this year.
So when you think about things that you really value, your core values, what are the things that you’re really celebrating about how you showed up this year? You know, in terms of your work, maybe it’s the quality of connections that you have, or the cool products that you produce. Whatever it is. Think about how that’s in alignment with the things that are important to you.
I went on then, so I thought, “Oh, yeah. Well, what about my clients” So let’s look at my clients. How did that go? And I thought about a few new programs that it did. We celebrated the first year of Expat Coach Coalition. And then I thought about the amazing people I get to work with. The caliber of my clients is outstanding and they’re creating amazing things in the world. Working towards social justice, putting books out into the world that break down stereotypes, and podcasts that reach people’s hearts. So by the time I was halfway through this list, I’m feeling pretty amazing. Now 2020 is actually feeling like an amazing year.
So again, I’m encouraging you to stick through this process for you. Because I discovered things, like I even have a lump in my throat when I think about it. When I think about the people’s lives I’ve been in contact with this year. Just writing this down and acknowledging it has helped me look at this is actually, when I take off the layers of COVID, a pretty beautiful year, despite all the discomfort.
So my encouragement to you is to do the work and walk through what you’ve done. And these are business things, these are very visible and tangible.
But for you, what if you’re managing a household, right? You might think, “Oh Sundae. It’s not like having clients. Or it’s not like producing something tangible like a podcast.” Well, then I would really encourage you to hone in on the mundane, right? For example, what if you looked at how many times you did the dishes, right? You do the dishes twice a day? There are 365 days in a year, do the math. How many times did you make beds? How many times do you tell your kids to put their shoes on? Start listing the mundane in your life that you do and then multiply that by the amount of days that you’ve been doing it, and you will see the magnitude of how you showed up this year.
One of my clients talks about the heroism of the mundane. That the people that are really the heroes are the people who show up and do repetitive tasks, day in and day out. Thankless tasks, day in and day out. But it’s in service of something bigger than them. You are the real heroes. and it’s worth pausing and counting how many lunches you packed for your kids? How many hours of homeschooling did you sit next to your children and do?
How many times did you drop your kids off somewhere? Do the math and look at the magnitude of what you’ve done this year. Even though you might have spent many days wishing that you didn’t have to get out of bed.
So that is looking at your side of your purpose. Whether that is, you know in service of your family, your community, or your business. Whatever that looks like for you. Put down the numbers, list the projects because if you’re like me, you’ll discover that you did a heck of a lot more than you’re giving yourself credit for.
And now look at your list. And take it in.
I even had chills up my arms when I did this. The immensity of what I was able to create this year, right? But I kept having this nagging question, “Did I do too much? Is this part of why I’m feeling depleted at the end of the year?” Of course it is. There’s so much that we did, that on top of all the visible and invisible things, but it is great to have it written down on paper and take a hard look at how you’re showing up this year, right? The good, the bad, and the ugly. But my hunch is there’s way more good than you’re giving yourself credit for.
So after I had looked at all the highlights of the professional side, I wrote down a few sort of lowlights of what was going on, and they were pretty minor. They felt important at the time but they were barely even worth me noting down, right? The lowlights also were very, very connected to the impact of COVID.
So after I did that, I decided it’s time for me to focus on the personal side, right? So I thought, “”Okay. Gonna put down some highlights, gonna put down some lowlights.” And I was surprised to peer through the lowlight of COVID and the isolation, not seeing family, feeling the loss of what I didn’t get to do. And after the obvious was written I was able to see the beauty of how working through the hard things created so much more growth in my life.
So actually when I was writing my highlights and lowlights, I didn’t even want to put them in that category. They were neither high nor low because they held deep growth.
So I created a separate category and it was just called: Big and Intense. So on the personal side: The Challenges That This Year Brought. We’re in the middle of the COVID crisis, I hope we’re more than the middle way, but we’ll see. And you know, the fight for social justice has never been more apparent. Never mind the environmental crisis that’s been going on for a long time. That when I think about those pressures and how it pushes you to get really clear on your values and what’s important to you. That hard was also good.
Right, so under big and intense, I wrote down about some epiphanies I have for me personally, and about the people that I love. And it actually helped create a positive impact on the quality of my relationships and how I was showing up in them.
It forced me to be more diligent with following up on my normal health checks and get really clear on, “How do I want to be showing up for my friends, if long distance is going to be even further extended.” Right?
So I’m sharing that with you because I want you to see how the unexpected can pop out if you do the work. If you’re just listening to this right now, if you want to you can go to the PDF and print it out and then highlight the steps we’ve taken so far and do the work for yourself.
Just to recap we started to look at the Highlights and Lowlights. I broke it down into categories. For me, it was my Professional side and my Personal side. For you, it might be purpose oriented or family or community.
Then I want you to add one last category and that one is your Thank Yous. Now, these are thank yous you can make publicly or you can keep to yourself. But when I think about ending this year, I want to think about, “Who do I need to thank that helped make this possible?” So for me, especially when you think about the professional, personal side, I absolutely cannot do this alone.
So I wanted to take this chance to say, “Thank you,” to you the listeners of Expat Happy Hour, for showing up and engaging. Because without you, I wouldn’t have a podcast, I wouldn’t have a platform to share the learnings that I’m gaining in my own life and through the work with my clients.
I want to say a huge, “Thank you,” to my clients for your trust in our work together and in our process. And thank the members of Expats on Purpose, who show up every week to engage in that special community.
When it comes to my work, I can’t thank my team enough. I’ve been supported by some amazing women this year. Women who are by my side, I call them, “My right-hand women.” And those who are producing my podcast, helping with my website, and are there by my side as my own coach. So a huge thank you to Kendal and Natasha, Danielle, Diana, Jen, and Susan for all of your support this year. And of course my friends and family who accept me as I am.
So those are some things I want to think about for you for this coming year.
Your Highlights or Lowlights. Your sort of purpose area, maybe a professional space, or something family or community related. And then very personal, in your interpersonal relationships. Maybe it’s your health. Go through and look at the highlights and lowlights and watch what surprises you, and where you have something to learn.
So for me, when I look at my list, when the first question came up to me is, “Did I do too much?” And I’m feeling that physical depletion at the end of the year. That is a really good question for me to bring into 2021, right? As I’m planning my year ahead, what has to happen for me to have more physical energy at the end of the year? And how does it impact what I’m planning?
So I’m curious to hear from you! If you’re listening to this and you’ve got your aha moment, don’t hesitate to post on Expats on Purpose, or to write me privately and tell me what aha moments you have from your process.
If you’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour, you know that I am committed to making this year the best worst thing that ever happened to me. And I have to say when I look back, I did a pretty damn good job and that feels good.
So stick with me in 2021 as I bring my own learnings with me and those of my clients. I am excited about what’s ahead and I promised that I’ve got something fresh coming up in 2021. It is something I have never done before. So a brand new thing. So if you have thought about working with me in the past, or you’re kind of worried, it’s outside of your budget, but you still would like to engage in some way. If you’re looking for a community of people who get you and want to commit to yourself to make progress in the first part of the year that is yet to unveil itself, then get on my First To Know List in the show notes. I would love to tell you more as soon as that information drops.
You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Schneider-Bean. Thank you for listening.
We are now officially closing out 2020 with you here on Expat Happy Hour and I want you to celebrate how you’ve shown up this year.
The highlights, the lowlights, the good, the bad, the ugly, and realize you showed up for this special chapter in the best way you knew how. And what we’ve got ahead of us is yet to reveal itself.
So I’ll leave you with the words of Leonardo DiCaprio: “Every next level of your life will demand a different you.”