In any given year, my goal is for you to gain multiple takeaways from listening to Expat Happy Hour. I want it to prevail as a voice that fearlessly tackles the hard topics. I hope it’s a break from the mundane, a fun escape from the world’s heaviness, and a place for you to find connection and understanding.
But perhaps most of all, I want Expat Happy Hour to be a vessel of relevant knowledge; to triumph as a go-to learning resource that serves our globally mobile community and surrounds expats everywhere with support.
This week, to celebrate Expat Happy Hour’s fourth birthday, I’ll reflect on a few favorite moments from last season. These highlights include key advice from Q1 expert guests, which turned out to be eerily preparatory for what awaited us ahead. (Get ready for a major case of goosebumps.)
Plus, Natasha, my right-hand woman, joins me for a fun, reciprocal, and unscripted interview. Find out juicy revelations like if I’ve experienced depression, how I became a coach, and what’s the worst part about working with me.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- Revisiting the trauma spectrum
- How emergency reduces brain capacity
- Relationship stress as a catalyst for growth
- Interact with an awareness of your own bias
- And the most popular 2020 podcast was…
Listen to the Full Episode
Featured on the Show:
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- Join Expats on Fire right here.
- Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Sundae’s Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose
- Black Live Matter Movement
- Oh Happy Dani
Catch These Podcasts:
- EP161: Long-distance Survival Guide with Christine Gerber-Rutt
- EP162: Expat First Aid Kit with Kim Adams
- EP163: Trauma Recovery with Shellee Burroughs
- EP166: Raw Edges of Entrepreneurship
- EP175: Love on Lockdown – Part 2 with Renata Andrade
- EP178: Midlife Marriage Meltdown with Vivian Chiona
- EP180: Leading Change with Ntando Cele
- EP181: Linking Arms with Naomi Hattaway
- EP182: Impressionable Young Minds with Jasmine Cochran
- EP184: How to Lead an Unboring Life
- EP200: The Consistency Commitment
- EP211: Rebound After Relapse
We’re delighted by our nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts!
Full Episode Transcript:
Hello. It is 7:30 am in New York, 2:30 pm in Johannesburg, and 7:30 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to a very special edition of 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.
It’s my birthday. Well, actually it was my birthday on Saturday. And today’s episode is celebrating the fourth birthday of Expat Happy Hour. We are already in Season Five, but the first episodes, episodes one, two, three and four dropped at the end of January 2017 so 2017, 18, 19, 20, Oh my God, four years! And I am so excited to celebrate with you in this episode to look back on the fourth year of Expat Happy Hour because it has been quite a year.
But quickly before we do that. I was kind of curious, I turned 44 and Expat Happy Hour is four so I wanted to see you. So what is about this number four? What is so special? And I’d love to hear from you. Depending on your spiritual beliefs or your cultural background, what is four significant of in your culture or the way that you see the world? I don’t know. I don’t have any special attachment to four so I looked it up and they came across a site where they talked about four and they said, “Those who walk a life path with number four have an almost unbreakable spirit and astounding capabilities of self-control. Four reminds us that equality for all sides creates the strongest structures. It is energy that is stability.”
Wow, this was gorgeous. This is just kind of a numerology website that I came across called BuildingBeautifulSouls.com, and I thought, “What a wonderful representation of so much that I believe in.” You know from my episode on the Consistency Commitment that I really believe that the importance of committing to something and going forward with it. And that is that idea of self-control, right? Of being focused on what you want.
It’s also interesting because it comes in a year where I’m actually trying to let go of control. That looking at where in my life that I have control, that really feels good. And where is it good to break that control, break that routine and liberate myself from that. So it made me think of what I’m also working on at the same time. This idea of “Unbreakable Spirit” connects to my goals I’ve had on really replenishing my energy resources so that I can continue to show up for myself, for my family, for my friends, and for you the listeners of Expat Happy Hour, as well as my clients throughout the year.
And the last one, it reminds us of equality for all sides and it creates the strongest structures, and I can’t help thinking about all of the inequity that is so obviously present when we turn on the global news. And that the answer of that is equality for all sides so that we can have a strong structure as a community.
So it was an interesting thing I stumbled on that ended up having some meaning for me in multiple ways on this fourth birthday of Expat Happy Hour. Wait till the end of this episode where I’m going to share more about what else I created just for you after reflecting on the year and what I’ve heard from you that you want from me. So I’ll say more at the end.
All right. So we wanted to do something a little fun to celebrate the fourth birthday of Expat Happy Hour. So as I did in year 3 turning over the mic to my BFF, this year I’m going to turn over the mic to Natasha, who is my right-hand woman at Expat Happy Hour. Here’s what happened, a little back story, I was like, “Hey Natasha, how about we do something spontaneous and unscripted for Expat Happy Hour. Are you down?” And what we agreed on is we were going to brainstorm three questions to ask each other independently, hop on a call, hit record, and then ask them with no preparation. And here’s what happened:
Sundae: And okay. I’m excited and you couldn’t sleep. Why couldn’t you sleep?
Natasha: I don’t know why I was so nervous because I also wasn’t sure about what questions to ask. I came up with a few but I don’t know if they are good enough. But we’ll see.
Sundae: Okay. So what I did is I prepared three questions. So for people who are listening, I prepared three questions and Natasha doesn’t know anything about those questions. And Natasha independently prepared three questions. So we’re gonna discover this right now. This is so much fun. It’s fun for me. You’re the one who can’t sleep. I’m so sorry. Do you want to go first and you ask all of yours in one go and then I go or do you want me to start?
Natasha: Let me ask mine in one go and see if they work. Okay. First question was: Have you always had this positive attitude?
Sundae: Oh, that’s a fun question. I would say, “Yes”, but I remember there was a time in college where it was probably my first real transition. I moved away from my home. I was away from everybody that knew me and I landed in Minneapolis, Minnesota for University at a school of like 65,000 people. And I was really lonely, really lonely. I had moved my sophomore semester after the first semester in a freshman dorm. Everybody knew each other. I knew no one. And I think in hindsight, I think I was depressed.
So I caught myself stomping down after work one day like stomping, like how bad my life was and how nobody understood me and blah blah blah blah. And that was not a positive phase of my life and I didn’t even have the words for it then. I think because I’ve always been so positive and happy it kind of took me over like a gray cloud and I couldn’t even see myself in it. So yes, I am usually positive but that was a phase where I was like, “Hmm,” and I honestly think that was such a good teacher for me to realize how it feels to be lonely and how, when you get pulled out of your familiar and get into an unfamiliar situation, how that’s hardened that prepared me later for expat life.
Natasha: Wow, that’s heavy. But very honest. But thank you. Second question is: What made you decide to become a coach?
Sundae: Okay, so I was an intercultural specialist. I got my master’s degree in intercultural training and that is like you’re the specialist, you’re the expert of the content. But I was working more with adults and I just felt like adults are better when they find their own answers, right? It’s good to have like strategies and those things, but I knew I was missing something from a method perspective. And I had a wonderful mentor, shout out to Sandra Capra from then it was called Anderson Consulting now, it’s called Accenture. She was a wonderful coach, trained in coaching, and also taught us coaching principles through my work there when I was an intern at the company. And she came to visit once in Switzerland and we were talking and she’s like, “Sundae. You just really seem like you have an affinity for coaching, a passion for coaching.” And I have a qualitative communication research background, so asking questions and that sort of thing is part of my training. She’s like, “This could be the next step.” So I did it and it was one of those things that countered some of the limiting beliefs that I realized I was holding onto, that It’s going to be difficult. It’s going to take a long time. Because it wasn’t difficult and it didn’t take a long time. Like it was challenging, that’s sure but there was so much of a natural affinity for me. I picked it up pretty fast.
Natasha: That’s awesome. And then the last question would be: What is one piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to pursue coaching?
Sundae: I would say do training, definitely go and do a certified training program. One, for the methodology, but also to work through your own stuff. I was already a certified coach when I did a second certification, it was actually one of my third trainings and that one was a big one. It was intensive and I freaked out before because I knew I would have to confront my own bullshit. So do your own work, like really do your own work because you have to get out of your own way, right? And then, you know, engage in the methodology. So that’s my advice.
Sundae: Okay. That wasn’t so bad was it?
Natasha: No it wasn’t. But now I have to answer the questions.
Sundae: Yeah, exactly! Okay, so this is so fun. I’m so excited. You’re so awesome to do this. Okay. So three words that come to mind when you are going to describe what it’s like to work with me. Be honest and no filtering.
Natasha: Fun, challenging, informative, if I can say I can say that. Yeah, but I told you you’re very fun to work for, even though it can be quite challenging most of the time. And I’m learning so much that I don’t feel it and I feel like the weeks go by so quickly, and time moves at you know at a quick pace because I’m always on the ball, that I’m always doing something. It’s great because I’m constantly busy, so I love that.
And you’re a great person to work for so I couldn’t ask for anyone better to work for.
Sundae: Oh, you’re making me blush. Don’t make me ugly cry! Don’t make me ugly cry. Okay so fun. I just want to respond to that for a second. So playful is one of my values and people who know me well know that that’s part of who I am. So I’m really happy to hear that it’s fun, especially since it’s challenging because you know, we run it like a ship over here.
Sundae: Anybody who’s watching who’s part of the Ignite Challenge this week, Natasha is the one behind all of that. I’m the one who creates the content and the ideas, but Natasha is really the one who brings it home and makes it look beautiful, and make sure that it’s on time. So without you I could not do this, right? And I am not a micromanager. I want to do my thing and you do your thing and that is just so liberating for me to know that I can trust you and you can do that and make that happen. So that means a lot to me.
And informative. Yeah, if there’s things that you’re learning along the way because growth is also one of my core goals. I want you to grow too, right?
Natasha: Absolutely, and I see and I feel that so I’m very happy very very happy.
Sundae: Okay, next one. What is the hardest part of working with me?
Natasha: I would say sometimes work does pile up and sort of managing my time, and what’s important can be can be difficult. Just trying to figure out how do I strategically sequence everything that I need to do, without forgetting anything, and sometimes fall on top of each other, and some things may get missed once in a while, but I think that…
Sundae: Not that often. Not that often. I don’t think so.
Natasha: Well, we handle it well, if something like that does happen and it’s immediately fixed. So yeah.
Sundae: That’s good. I mean, you’re managing not only Expats on Purpose but you’re supporting my group for Expat Coach Coalition, Year of Transformation, my newsletter with the podcast production, the transcription, you’re just doing all of that behind the scenes, So of course everything can feel always important but you’re crushing it. Okay. So this is my last one. This one i’m really excited about: If we did something outside of work socially and we were going to spend a day together. What would you want to do together?
Natasha: Definitely wine tasting!
Sundae: Yes! I was thinking wine too.
Natasha: I mean, yeah, definitely wine tasting. There’s a wine farm close to Johannesburg, it’s not too far out, and it’s actually closer to Pretoria, I think. So spending the day there just drinking wine. And yeah I think that’s my ideal day.
Sundae: That would be awesome. I think we need a strategy session there.
Natasha: Yeah. We can strategize and drink wine.
Sundae: Oh my God. Thank you so much Natasha. So this is Natasha. So kindly agreed to do this. This is something spontaneous we wanted to celebrate the fourth birthday of Expat Happy Hour. But I wanted to also take this time to say thank you Natasha for all your hard work behind Expat Happy Hour because without you, our listeners wouldn’t get to enjoy it every single week.
Natasha: And thank you. Thank you for giving me this amazing opportunity where I get to learn so much and I get to work with you. So I’m very grateful.
Sundae: Thank you.
So that was super fun and I was not expecting that love-bomb from Natasha. Absolutely means the world to me and says so much about Natasha, and how wonderful she is to work with. So again, shout out to Natasha, my right-hand woman who is behind the scenes making Expat Happy Hour, and so many things at SundaeBean.com happen. She’s not the only person on my team, but she is definitely the one who’s by my side every single day, week in and week out.
Alright, let’s shift Focus now and keep the party going by looking at some of the highlights from this fourth year.
But when I actually looked at the topics that were coming before everything with COVID hit, it was like this eerie precursor preparation for what was to come, right? So when I was doing the initial episodes of the fourth year of Expat Happy Hour, the reality of lockdown hadn’t hit us. It was just secluded to China at that point and some of the region around there. And the topics that I covered it was, like I was one step ahead of what you were going to need in the coming months.
So the first episode that hit me was, we were looking at Long Distance Survival Guide, how do you have long-distance relationships? Then we looked at Emergency Preparedness and then Traumatic Transitions. Little did we know that just a few weeks later, all of those things would be relevant for a huge portion of us globally. So go ahead and listen in to what we were about to discover we would need but didn’t know yet.
The first one will kick off with episode 161 Long Distance Survival Guide with Christine Gerber Rutt:
Christine: Yes, the other question, I think that’s really vital when we’re talking about your relationship with your partner is, do you actually like each other?
Sundae: Wow I did not expect that.
Christine: If your relationship is on the rocks, if you are not able to communicate now, if you’re struggling with your relationship. Long-distance, not necessarily, but long-distance relationships make it more difficult to communicate, you have to put more effort into the communication. And if you’re already struggling at that, it can be more difficult.
So what we know about growth and all of this is that when you’re in a period of stress, that’s when you grow. You know how this is with the muscles, you strain your muscles, you know working muscles so they grow. It’s the same thing with anything you create, stress will create growth. But with relationships the stress will also cause weak links to break. If you’ve got a weak link and you’re not willing to strengthen it it’s going to break. So there has to be that word of caution.
Having Christine on is always a treat. She always brings something that is absolutely paradigm-shifting for me. And that episode was definitely something worth listening to.
Right after that episode. I invited Kim Adams from Resilient Expats to join me in episode 162 called Expat First Aid Kit, and there we talked about Emergency Preparedness and what are some of the things that we as expats who are living around the world, whether we’re in a developed country or a developing country need to have ready what conversation should we have? And we had no idea that that Emergency Preparedness would be sweeping the globe so quickly listen in on what Kim had to say:
Kim: But one of my top tips is to think in advance of who you know that you could call when you need help in a medical situation. When you go to a doctor, I mean if it’s a routine appointment okay, that’s one thing. But if it’s a surprise and you weren’t expecting it your brain is not functioning at capacity, it’s hard to take in information and process information, it’s hard to make decisions and evaluate what’s happening.
So it can be a lifeline to have someone that you can call. “Hey, this is what’s happening.” And they can help you walk through and give you a perspective about, “This is how we would handle the situation in our country.” In a system that you understand and makes sense to you. You know how it works and I can say “Okay we would test for this, we would check this result, that would steer us in this direction.” And it gives you something to compare to so that you can get the care you need in your local context.
And then as if this was all foreseen, I had Shellee Burrows in episode 163: Trauma Recovery, where we touched on the role of trauma with children and how sometimes traumatic transitions can impact kids, and how we can support them. Little did we know that families would be split across the world from each other indefinitely. Here’s what Shelley has to say about how we can support our kids through difficult times:
Shellee: Well, there’s different types of trauma and the very simple way that I found of describing it that actually made sense to a lot of people was, there are small T traumas and large T traumas. So large T traumas, big ones are kind of the transition, loss, bereavement, war, terrorism, very very high levels of trauma.
The things that are more obvious to us and for a lot of people, it can be physical attack, it can be neglect, physical abuse, all of those big T traumas.
Small T traumas are the smaller traumas that are more to do with how we are going on in our daily lives. So it can be things like for instance a loss of a pet could be a small T trauma for many people. But it’s how your brain perceives the trauma. So small T traumas can be frequent moves, frequent changes, friends leading school, you moving to another place at very very short notice. But over time those small T traumas can kind of stack up and have more and more of an effect.
Sundae: Tell me more about this without words. I’m a words person, I’m a communication person. My poor kids I always ask them to articulate stuff. Like how do we do this without words?
Shellee: So from my perspective, and this is where my more therapist hat comes on, is what are they saying without actually saying it? What is a child or teenager or an adult, what is the person saying without actually verbally saying anything? And again, we all work in a globally mobile community, if you’ve lived in a country where you have not spoken the language you become more attuned to this. What is somebody saying without using words? And what I’ve found over time is that a lot of people have a kind of pattern, that they will have a way of showing things. I always ask them the question, “Are you upset because you are angry or angry because you’re upset?” Most of us tend towards one or the other camp. So I get quite angry and grumpy when I’m upset because it’s easier for me to show that, that’s very much my conditioning. Whereas I meet people that will be in floods of tears because of their anger.
So important to cover a topic like Trauma because it’s one of those things that we want to not see in our kids or hope they never have but as we’ve seen there can be some pretty dramatic changes that pop up because of our globally mobile lives, and the sort of uncertain global context. So it’s better to be prepared.
The next thing, just a couple episodes later, I talked about in 166: Raw Edges of Entrepreneurship, about the hard parts of running your own business in times of transition, and what it takes to be a 100% online. Again, little did I know that there will be people out there just like you who would have to take their business online a 100% or face dramatic transitions that they hadn’t foreseen:
So if you have ever been in that position where you had to give everything up and restart with feeling self-doubt. Hey, I’ve been there. I was there in 2013. Until one of my girlfriends said to me, “Sundae, you’re not giving everything up and starting from zero, you’re taking your skills and competencies along with you.” And that was the motivation to help me say “yes” with my whole heart and go for it. And I’m really grateful that I did.
The one thing I have to say that I am loving looking back on this, is how many people I’ve witnessed make a pivot in their business or go 100% online and realize because they were forced to do it that they could do it. And that the sort of hidden gift here is that had they not been forced, they wouldn’t have done it. So that is absolutely something to celebrate.
So at this point in Expat Happy Hour, in our fourth year, lockdown was now spreading quickly globally, and it was becoming very real for many many people. Myself, personally, I’d gone from South Africa on a trip to Qatar, and suddenly I found myself locked in Switzerland by March. I had to come to terms that we are going to face uncertainty for COVID, what did that mean for my business, right? What does that mean for my family? What does that mean for how I can support my clients? And at the time I felt like I was kind of ahead of the game pressing people to think not just the next three months ahead, but the next half year. Little did I know that we would still be thinking about it so clearly.
I’m sitting here in lockdown and South Africa in 2021, right? We all wanted to be on the other side so bad and I was holding on to the idea to see my parents. And unfortunately, the only time I’ve seen my parents since then is through Zoom. So what we all had hoped would be a temporary reprieve, were things that have carried with us very much and to 2021. And when I did the feature on Love on Lockdown, I had no idea that in 2021 there would be families that would still be separated or they would be locked in with each other, and creating new challenges because of that.
Okay. So if you’re sitting there with a second wave or maybe even your region is on its third wave, you might be getting the feeling that you have, I don’t know, too much time with your partner. Or the challenges that you thought would be temporary are actually really firmly rooted in your relationship. Or maybe when all of the other distractions of what we would call, “Our old regular lives,” are stripped away, you might even start to question what you’re seeing and wondering if what’s challenging you now in your couplehood is something that can shift.
Here’s some insight in episode 175: Love on Lockdown part two with Renata Andrade. She is a qualified psychologist and coach, and here’s what she has to say about love in tight quarters:
Sundae: Let’s step back here and think okay, if you’re sheltered down with someone and you don’t literally have that space anymore, what are some red flags, things that you’re kind of to see coming or not going in a good direction?
Renata: Yeah, course, So I think there are five in my mind that are most relevant right now. One is of course, very obvious, violence, shaming, coercion, threats and stuff like that. We know for a fact that domestic violence is rife. Raising up right now and all of that. So that’s a more obvious one. That is not a red flag, but you need to get help as if you’re having a heart attack at home. You would get help now. So you would get help if that’s the kind of thing that’s happening for sure. But in a lower level of that. If that starts to become a bit in the air, right the safety or some shaming, some kind of bullying, something like that. I think it’s a red flag to pay attention to what’s happening in the relationship anyway.
In episode 178, Psychologist Vivian Chiona addresses something that many of you might have asked yourself, “Is there such a thing as a midlife marriage crisis?” In episode 178, she looks at Midlife Marriage Meltdown:
Vivian: Right. In any relationship, you can be a part, whether emotionally or geographically for periods of time and come closer again. As I say to my clients, it’s like an accordion. It took me a decade to emotionally grasp this, although logically, I could understand it. Sometimes you can be a part emotionally with your partner and then come closer again. However, what I see in clients and me, is it can really feel like personal rejection from your partner who you’ve built all these things together with. It can feel like a little bit more distance because of their own personal issues.
This is the moment to try to avert that and see it as an opportunity to grow together and adapt because if this is not used as an opportunity for growth, it can be detrimental to a relationship in the long-term. Especially when one of the two starts doubting whether they can be together. Part of the midlife crisis is doubting your choices and if you start doubting your choice about being married to this person or being in a long-term relationship with someone, this is where the problem starts.
That’s why for the partner who is facing these challenges, it’s important to remind them why they got married to you in the first place. In the midst of the relocation and everything changing in your life, there’s so much noise around you.
So as you can see these topics felt so relevant then but are still relevant now, when we think about couplehood in times of uncertainty when our distractions are away and all we have to do is focus on the person across from us.
These are great, sort of lighthouses to look towards so check out those full episodes if you’re questioning some things in your relationship on what you can do to stay more connected.
As if adapting to lockdown wasn’t enough then and looking at the core of our relationships when in very close quarters wasn’t enough, it’s impossible to ignore what was going on in the United States in May and June. You know thinking about the sudden death of Ahmaud Arbery, when he was fatally shot while jogging. And of course George Floyd, which happened in front of the world. This focus on the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been going on for years and has been largely ignored by those it needs the attention of most, brought it to the global light.
And naturally in June, that was something I wanted to make sure that I use my platform for, to make sure that there was no question on which side I stood when it came to Black Lives Matter. I was joined first with Ntando Cele in episode 180 called Leading Change. She offers some advice that is of course as relevant as ever:
Ntando: There’s nowhere else to go besides forward and inside, completely inside of ourselves and then forward, definitely forward. I think it’s in all the little things that we can do.
I could imagine that it makes a difference next time when somebody sitting across from you at a table, who is a person of color, talks about something that hurts them or talks about something that affects them in the community that you live in, that you try to not take it personally, that you just take a moment and listen, that’s all.
I feel like for me that speaks more than you trying to defend the person in the story, blah blah blah, which is what usually happens. Taking a moment to just listen to somebody’s pain, validates who they are, very deep within them. For me, this is such a huge revolutionary act to do for a person of color in that situation.
That episode was followed by Linking Arms with Naomi Hattaway, where we talked about the importance of community and linking arms to make an impact:
Sundae: We all need to take action. I’m hearing from you, there’s no excuse. If you’ve got a passion, if you got something you’re even remotely interested in, you can follow that through and do your part, stay in your lane, but do your part.
Naomi: I think it also can be as simple as that Oh Happy Dani artwork, start at home, and I’m not suggesting like so many are, I want to be cautious and not suggest, you don’t have to go talk to all of your family members who might have made a racist comment in the past. I don’t know that that’s actually the healthiest way to take action, but if you’re raising children, or if you have children in your life, which most of us do in one capacity or another, start there.
I’ve long said for many years that we are all leaders and that we all have a platform and sometimes the platform is our kitchen table and I think that if we all did our part to raise the next generation with more awareness of their own bias and more of an anti-racist lens, that’s the work.
And it was my honor to have Jasmine Cochran on where she talked about Impressionable Young Minds in episode 182, offering a direction to implement anti-racism strategies inside her classroom and across the institution:
Jasmine: I’ve had so many people throughout my life say, “Before I met you I had these beliefs about Black people, and then I spent time with you and now I realize that stuff isn’t true.”
A lot of this doesn’t change because you read something and it is a theory, it changes through relationships. So what we have to have is people who are willing to open doors for people who don’t look like them and expose the people around them to diversity. I was listening to this guy the other day, he was giving a speech and he was saying, “If you come here, this is the only opportunity you will get.” This is a religious group. “This is the only opportunity you will get to be around somebody who doesn’t look like you.” And I thought to myself that’s quite lazy because if you live in a city, you have a million opportunities to be around somebody who doesn’t look like you.
The way that we route this out is with truth and relationship.
Obviously with the events we recently saw at the Capitol on January 6, there is so much more work to do.
And so far I’ve only reflected on half of my fourth year and I’m struck by the urgency in which we still need to be addressing all of these topics: dramatic transitions, emergency preparedness, dealing with distance, and injustice is in our communities.
And just like a conversation that’s happening right now in Expats on Purpose during a challenge week for IGNITE that we’re having, we are one part fatigued by the intensity of what we’ve been experiencing, and one part grateful for the depth of growth and insight that we’ve gleaned by going through these incredibly hard things.
It’s like resilience is being built up in us in ways that will serve us and our families and our communities for years to come. That is the silver lining.
And for me, with a weekly podcast, I don’t have time to cover each and every podcast from the fourth year, nor even every topic. So what I wanted to do is sort of bring home one topic that caught my attention as I looked through the year that surprised me, but in hindsight is really quite simple.
In preparing this review, I was curious to see what was the most listened to podcast and it was actually the initiative of a client who offered to come on Expat Happy Hour, and simply share her experience. She said it was a way to kind of pay it forward to other women who felt like she did, when we first met, with hopes that they could feel like she did now after our work together. And that is where the episode 184: How to Lead an Unboring Life came about. It was the highest listened episode of the entire year since the last anniversary episode. And that surprised me.
It surprised me really pragmatically because based on sheer numbers, it’s often my interviews that have higher listening because it’s shared with multiple audiences. But this one was different. There’s something universal that Caroline talked about when it comes to people who are living an expat life and have been caught in routine or cut in a roll or cut in society’s expectations of who they should be. And she was brave enough to give her some straight talk on what that felt like:
Caroline: Yeah, there were lots of messy bits, and I think they were confusing but I think that the one thing, when I look back now especially at our period, from when we started and we had our first session up until when I suddenly went like “I think I’m kind of good.”
We did some exercises in the beginning that I would never have done, unless you ask me to do that. I remember our session with you and said to me “Before I see you next time, I want you to have done three really fun things.” Fun things that have got no purpose to them. They must just be fun. Something that makes you excited, and I realized my mind went blank. I had nothing fun. Nothing fun came up in my head.
There was nothing, and I just realized how depressing, like how sad of a state of mind this is! I’ve dug myself into a hole, where someone says go and do something fun and nothing comes up, nothing pops up, I mean, that is sad. So that exercise, when I was thinking about doing something fun, I think I achieved at least two fun things. It was very liberating because it forced me to think In a different way and I started to allow myself to have fun.
I’m so grateful to Caroline for joining me on the episode because she really does call out some of the taboos and she shares what it took for her to lead what she calls, “An unboring life.”
And when I thought more about it, I was like, “Actually, this shouldn’t be a surprise that this was one of the most popular episodes,” because when I think about the challenges that my clients face, it’s around looking for more purpose and meaning outside of your role as a parent or as a spouse. Or maybe being defined by your job. It’s about breaking out of bad habits, getting unstuck, being hungry for more connection. That’s actually what I see is most common. So why wouldn’t it resonate with my audience the most?
And what I love about Caroline, is that what made the difference is she roped herself in to making change. She basically said “Yes” to herself by committing herself to our work together, and you can hear more about that in the episode, but she couldn’t not make progress if she was engaged in this process, right? And she actually shared that she had tried to do it on her own a year or two earlier, but since she was in the same place, she realized she shouldn’t ignore those emails anymore from me. And it was that “Future Self” that she saw and that she wanted, and knew that things had to be different so she wouldn’t stay stuck.
I call this, Roping Yourself In. You might just call it Smart, right? But think about where you’re standing right now. What do you want your future self to be like? And that could even be your Future Self in 6 months, 9 months, 12 months. It doesn’t have to be three years off, five years off. What’s she doing? How is he feeling? What is she experiencing? Who does he spend the most time and energy with?
Why not commit to a structure and accountability to make that progress inevitable? And that’s exactly why I created Expats on Fire just for you! Because I’ve listened to you and I know what you’re looking for is to rope yourself into something so that you can keep your energy high and your commitment to yourself strong.
And as you learned just from my recent episode, episode 211: Rebound After Relapse, you don’t need to muster up enormous will power nor should you actually rely on that but you can commit to a gentle-yet-effective change.
All right. So this year 2021 is where the excuses stop and you become Unstoppable. This is bulletproof accountability and community, right? You know how you get aha moments from listening to episodes, and then you feel inspired to do things differently? And then life gets in the way and you forget that you actually wanted to make your shift? That stops now.
So Expats on Fire is access to the private community for six months, live monthly training with me, monthly progress guides that will in and of themselves, will change the trajectory of your entire month. Of course, to keep it fun, we’ve got challenges and prizes. I gift you a Resource Vault which is of a value of $495, and it has hundreds of hours of resources, podcasts, trainings, worksheets to help you with whatever you’re facing, in addition to the resources that are already part of the program. And of course many coaching and video drops from me. If you’re really interested in accountability and a deep dive, there’s also 12 live group coaching calls in the premium pass.
So this is what is happening. I’m so excited to get started in Expats on Fire. It’s really designed to focus on surging your self-confidence, making you a priority, establishing and enforcing boundaries, clearing out the negative mind, right? Breaking bad habits, making new patterns, which is probably very connected to improving your health, amplifying your impact, living more on purpose and more! There’s in a goal that you have in your heart that you want to do and the combination of what we focus on every month is going to help you get there.
You deserve to give yourself the same support you give others and now with Expats on Fire you have people in your corner who get you. You deserve to be firing on all cylinders.
So I really want to check it out because never before have I offered such a sustainable program at this level of affordability. Look at it and take advantage of the early bird pricing before January 27th. Imagine what you will accomplish in 2021 with me and other expats cheering on your progress. Join us because together we will be unstoppable.
You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Schneider-Bean, thank you for being part of this special fourth birthday episode.
I want to say my heartfelt thanks for being a listener. It means the world to me that you are here. You keep me going week after week. I’ll leave you with this inspiration from author Mack R. Douglas: “The achievement of your goal is assured the moment you commit yourself to it.”
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