Expats and travel go together like Santa Claus and Christmas. We’re the poster people for airline transport. Some of us like to fly, many don’t care for it but do it out of necessity, and some battle through crippling fear and white-knuckle every trip.
It doesn’t matter where you’re heading, how experienced you are, or how you would typically feel about flying. When you find yourself midair on a really bad, “what the heck is happening” flight, you just want to get it over with and land on solid ground.
That pretty much sums up 2020 — an experience you want to end. And guess what? The tarmac is in sight.
But just like that bumpy flight, you wouldn’t start packing up your headphones, fling off your seatbelt, and head to the bathroom to touch-up your mascara. No. You’d have to alter your offboarding routine because the same strategies don’t work when the context changes.
My friends, 2021 is on the horizon. And this week, I’ll tell you what we need to do to end 2020 differently, and usher in the next chapter guided by your values.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- Schedule buffers & 7:30 pm bedtimes
- The trapped, wet bug at the bottom of my glass
- Identifying the most “on purpose” times in your life
- Relying on your values to get you through a crisis
- The holiday potluck alternative
Listen to the Full Episode
Featured on the Show:
One lady signed up for Expats on Purpose for “inspiration, ideas, and networking.” Another joined to avoid negativity, become the best version of herself, and find support while “trying to survive a tough life.” A gentleman became a community member to expand awareness and “make meaningful contributions.” And another expat joined because she wanted to “learn how to specifically support expats” and restart her career. Whatever your reason, we welcome you right here. Big things are coming soon.
- Transform your confidence, coaching practices, and bank accounts – Join Expat Coach Coalition
- Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Sundae’s Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose
Catch These Podcasts:
We’re delighted by our nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts!
Full Episode Transcript:
Hello. It is 7:00 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.
Pop Quiz, what do these things have in common: A bad breakup, a visit to the dentist, third-grade recorder practice, 2020? You got it! Experiences you just want to get over with.
I know what you’re thinking. You just want this year to be over. I have heard that again and again from my clients and from my community, right? So you’re not alone.
It’s just like the Christmas bug that accidentally got trapped at the bottom of my water glass as I was preparing for this episode. You feel trapped. Your wings are wet, unable to fly and you’re walking forward in a slippery bottom, hitting a wall. You can’t even see with every single step.
But today I have two pieces of good news for you. Number one, I saved the bug. Number two, you can save yourself. And I’m going to help you with that.
Two summers ago. I was in New York City working and I was exhausted. I didn’t understand what happened and what led to the depletion because I’d actually used some strategies I’d developed over years to really balance being with my boys, and running my business full time, and traveling and working in multiple locations. But then it hit me.
The strategies that I developed over time were based on a context that had totally changed. From the time I started to the time where I was now, I actually doubled my client load and doubled how much I was doing things like articles or podcasts. And it was at that moment I realized that we can’t use the same strategies when the context has changed.
So this episode is all about doing end-of-year right because the thing is, if we have had our sort of November going into December practices on how we wind down and lead up to the new year, and we’re going to use those things that work before, you might end up like I did that summer in New York.
So I have some ideas on how you can do end-of-year differently. So what is the first step? Step one is to say, “Yes” to replenishment and “No” to depletion.
If you remember we dove into this topic and episodes 204 and 205. So if you miss those you’re going to want to go back and check them out for more juicy tips. Most people that I’m talking to right now are saying that they’re depleted. So you do not have the luxury to be sloppy with your time and energy right now if you want to have a chance at going 2021.
All right. So here’s how we want to think about ending 2020 differently. How do we wind down this year? It all starts with your routine. So think about how can you disrupt your routine to move away from depletion and move toward replenishment?
Now I’m along with you. I share in episode 204 that I was feeling depleted even had my doctor told me some parts of my blood were depleted. When I realized that I made a few adjustments. One of them was adding more buffers on my schedule. And the other one is, I’m not joking, was going to bed at 7:30 at night. I would be in bed at 7:30 and around 7:50. My husband would come in and see me with the duvet over my head and just laugh and like in disbelief, “I can’t believe that woman is already in bed.”
And yes, I know that makes me sound a lot like my 92-year-old grandfather. And to be honest, I actually do crave, like dry toast and a fried egg at five o’clock. Now that I think about it, but I don’t care. I know that’s what I need to do to feel less depleted.
So take a good look at your routine. What has to change so you feel less depleted? What has to happen so you can add more time to replenish. Now at the time of this recording, we’re looking at like two, three, four weeks left of the whole year, right? So it might be wise to be radical. And again, I don’t know about you, but I want to start 2021 fresh not depleted.
So it feels like it’s go time on rejuvenation. On replenishment, right? So the energy is way different. It’s gentle. It is full of space. And it feels like rest. Okay, and I know that there are people here who are listening are saying, “Yeah. Thanks a lot, Sundae. I have a toddler and there’s no way in hell I’m going to rest.” Right? Or you might be working two jobs. I mean, I’m not expecting you to change your whole context. What I’m inviting you to do is look at the craziness of your life and find micro windows where you can make tweaks to move away from depletion and toward rejuvenation.
And it might even just be playing different music in the car on your way to work. Or it might be having your lunch alone instead of with your work colleagues so you have peace and quiet. Like whatever it might be.
And it could be renegotiating some boundaries that you have at home. Asking someone to disrupt their routine a little bit so that you can move toward rejuvenation, right? Pushing meetings back to January, blocking off 15 minutes in your calendar. Do nothing. Whatever makes sense for you.
So regardless of how chaotic your life is, some of you I know are actually making a global transition in this pandemic. And you might be chin high in boxes. What can you do to make your day just a little less depleting, a little more rejuvenating, right? And this goes too for those people who are doing a staycation or a real vacation, if you’re that lucky, in the coming weeks.
Just because you’re spending your time with a “tion” at the end of a word, doesn’t mean that you’ll be doing things that actually lead to replenishment? We think just because we’ve blocked off that time or we’re going to a new place that we’re going to replenish but it’s not true. My last vacation actually surprisingly left me feeling depleted, even though it was relaxing and fun.
So if you’re doing the “cation” thing then make sure that you get clarity. And what I mean by clarity is you ask yourself questions like this: “What has to happen for these two to three weeks to be replenishing? What are things we normally do that are depleting that we need to say ‘no’ to? What are the things that I need to feel like this is going to rejuvenate me?”
I had this conversation with my partner about our mini-vacation. And for me, I mentioned it’s really important that I’m able to exercise. This idea of hanging out by the beach all day is not rejuvenating me, I need to move my body, right? My children are long haul flyers, not car riders, and we’re going in the car for hours. So for this to be less depleting, I need to make sure I’ve got things to entertain my kids in the car.
So those are some things you can ask yourself. How can you make these two to three weeks replenishing? Okay, and with your family or with a partner on this staycation or vacation then compare notes. Because you have your needs and then you can brainstorm on how to get them met. And your partner might have their needs and then you need to think of strategies to get them met and make sure that the strategies that you have aren’t conflicting with each other.
Maybe one of you is going to get up early and go for a walk by themselves. And you might do a kid swap for two hours at a time so each of you has a moment to read. Maybe instead of hosting a really traditional meal, you’re going to turn it into a potluck, right? So those are some small things you can do to get replenished.
Okay, then after you have your plan, if you are taking this break over the holidays then check after a few days and find out what is working. What still feels depleting? What can we do to make a small change so we can better replenish, right? These are the things that you can do to really do your best to end 2020 well because there’s a lot that we can’t control right now. At least these are some things that we can control.
The bug was trapped but you’re not. Let’s talk a little bit more about that bug. That bug must have had a real come-to-Jesus moment when it got trapped in that glass. You know that moment when you’re in super big trouble, you have clarity like no other. And it’s not like when you have a hangover and you say, you know, “I’ll never do that again.” It’s different. It’s real clarity. And in that moment of intensity, you can sit in it and the big questions come that are important.
So this is an important step. I want you to think about before we’re in 2021. And before there’s a vaccine or before who knows what. Now, while we’re in it, this is a great time to ask ourselves some questions so that we can truly learn from it and make our next steps really smart ones.
Alright, so here are a couple of questions when you sit in it: What have you learned about yourself in 2020? What did you do well? What was hard? What has this taught you that you really cherish?
So for me when I think about what I’ve learned in 2020, one positive thing I learned is that thanks to, sort of in quotes, thanks to some of the crisis situations we went through in Burkina. I was less of a hot mess unlike sometimes in Burkina when we were faced with a crisis now because I knew we’d been through this before we had strategies. And that was really exciting to see that growth.
Right, what did I do well? I think I did a really great job at maintaining and growing my business in crazy circumstances, rather than just putting my hands in the air and blaming everything on COVID. I really looked at how I could steer this ship steadily. What was hard was my transition in Switzerland because we were transient and had been at seven places. And I wasn’t getting the space and the rest that I normally needed. Although I kept running, that just took a toll on my body, right? And what this taught me that I really cherish, I really cherish face-to-face time with my family. And what I said to my mom and dad is, “Come hell or high water. I’m going to find a way to see them in summer.” I knew I cherish that but feeling that absence is here made it crystal clear.
So those are some things when you sit in it, find out what comes up for you, right? You’ve got now your replenishment plan. You’re looking at your routine. If you are doing a staycation or a vacation, you’ve got your plan there, you’re going to check-in as well. And then you sat in it to really identify what you learned.
And if this is going too fast for you, don’t forget every podcast episode is transcribed. There’s a scrollable function for you. There’s even a PDF you can print out so then you can copy this out later and then hand write your answers in the margins when you’ve got more space. So that’s something you might want to do later when you’re ready to rejuvenate and replenish and do the work to make that happen.
Okay. So now it’s time for us to look ahead. Remember this episode is all about doing end-of-year differently So I’m not going to ask you to come up with a list of your top goals for 2021. Instead, I want you to focus on something very different. And that is your values. These are big. These are important anchors in our lives. So this is an invitation to spend the next few weeks exploring them, right? And you’re going to need them next year, trust me.
Think about it, we need to base our decisions on something when everything else is uncertain. And I promise you more on that in episode 209 in the new year.
Values are what lead us through crises. Values are what help us live with no regrets. So a value is simply something that you hold dear something that steers your priorities, your actions, and your choices.
So to look ahead as we end 2020 and look forward to 2021. What are your top five values?
Now there’s going to be some of you who can’t name them on the tip of your tongue. In fact, maybe most of you will be that way, right? You’ve got some work to do in this area and it’s truly worth it. I know I can list my values but only because I’ve put in the work.
My values are Connection, Growth, and Playfulness. And I want these to stand on the foundations of Equity and Love.
I had to do some work to get clear on that and to identify the things that I want to base my choices on. So if you can’t name your five values, you might be asking yourself, “How do you find them?”
There’s a lot of ways that you can do that. I’m going to name just three here quickly. The more important thing is that you do the work to find them right? Here’s one really easy way is to make a list of all the values that come to mind. Give yourself like, I don’t know five minutes and then look at the list and then order them. Force yourself to order them from least important to most important and then find those top five and circle them.
Another way to find your values is to look at the past right? Think about some of your most fulfilling or “on purpose” times in your life. Think about times in your life where you felt real meaning. Okay, what needs were being filled? What was going on then? What were the values that pop up in those experiences? That’s when you were really in alignment with your values.
And the third one can be like a game. If you go on the internet, you can find lists of a hundred values, right? And you can just cut those out and do a forced choice game. Where you make three piles look at the word and you say, “Does this resonate in a really high way, medium, or low? Do I really resonate with this kind of so-so, la-la or not at all?” Make three piles and then ones that really resonate, have a look, and pick your top five.
Write them down, put them on a Post-It note or something and then pay attention to the next few weeks if they stick. Use them to make choices or see if your choices are actually in alignment with them, right? Because believe me, you’re going to need them in 2021. I promise I’ll tell you more in our New Year’s episode.
All right. It is time to do end-of-year differently. You’ve got what you need. You know, you can start with step one: Do what you can to move away from depletion and toward replenishment. That begins really with disrupting your routines and making sure they’re toward that goal? Number two: Sit in the discomfort, because there’s so much to learn from it and you’re going to want to make sure you name that learning. Because again, you don’t ever repeat that next year. So you’re going to want to bring that with you and your back pocket into 2021. And number three: Look ahead. But don’t think yet about big goals, but focus on your core values.
There you have it. You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Schneider-Bean. Thank you for listening. I’ll leave you with the words of John C Maxwell: “It’s better to prepare than to repair.”
Enjoy The Show?
- Don’t miss an episode, subscribe via iTunes or RSS.
- Please leave us a review in iTunes (or here for Android).