It’s January 2022, and our world’s still on fire. I’m not going to dare suggest you fake optimism because I’m there too. However, I’m not going to let you give up either. No doubt, we’ll all need to dig extra deep this time to overcome our resistance from the inability to see what’s next. But dig we shall.
Welcome to the conclusion of my compilation series called 3-for-3. Over the last three weeks, I spotlighted one ultra-timely subject per episode and threaded in past segments and supporting data from three previous podcasts.
That means you got relevant, rich coaching from nine podcasts condensed into three episodes. Kind of like a greatest hits album — revived goodness with a bit of new material looped in for razzle-dazzle.
For the third and final part and in commemoration of the New Year, this week is all about fresh starts in the face of surrounding chaos. I’ll challenge you to set intentions and discover unexpected pathways to comfort despite these uncertain times so that you can continue to grow in healthy, feel-good ways.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- Is it a donkey or a rainbow unicorn?
- The stealthy greatest threat to your boundaries
- Finding courage to release what no longer serves you
- Making a list, checking it twice
- Close one
Listen to the Full Episode
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ― Rumi
Featured on the Show:
- Global Life in the Hard Resource Roundup
- Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Expats on Purpose
- Boundaries: How to Draw the Line in Your Head, Heart and Home
- Dr. Martha Beck – Body Compass
Catch These Podcasts / Articles:
- EP105: Tiny Moves. Big Impact.
- EP106: Letting Go of the Old To Create Space for the New
- EP151: Boundaries With Jennie Miller
- EP158: Growth Zone Goodness
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.
If you are listening to this live, you made it! It is 2022! We made it through 2021.
I said this the year before, when we made it through 2020. I hope I’m not saying this again next year. I really wish for all of us that this year brings us something fresh. We cannot control the global context, but we can try to bring in some fresh and some optimism into our own lives, into our families, into our communities because that’s what we can control when everything else feels out of control. And this is exactly what this episode is all about.
Welcome to part 3 of this 3-part series called 3 for 3. If you have been following along, you may recall that the series is where I highlight 3 popular episodes. So you get the insight of 3 episodes in 1 . And that means 9 episodes in this 3-part series, but for less time.
You might remember the first episode where I looked at Family Matters. For those of you who are able to see your loved ones, I am so happy for you. I hope that you had an amazing time and are now recovering from your face-to-face hangover. The second episode focused on what to do when everything falls apart. So if you’re still feeling like things are falling apart, check out that episode and know that we’ve got your back.
In this episode we’re looking into how to make a fresh start, no matter what in the coming year. And I’ve got a lot of resources in the subject, and if you want to go back and get into all of them, just scroll through the five years of this podcast and go to the December and January range for each year and it always has support for you around that during that time.
But today we’re going to dive into three areas:
- What to do when you’ve done some soul-searching over this New Year transition and have identified what you want to get rid of from this last year and how do you move into the New Year.
- The thing that I know we often ignore but is exactly what we need to create and sustain changes in our lives.
- What we need to think about in terms of growth that will help us not just make a fresh start, but maintain it throughout the year.
All right, so let’s get started. If you’re human like me, you might resonate with this bit of wisdom from the Buddha,
“Change is never painful. Only the resistance to change is painful.”
Whether I like it or not, pain is a great teacher and if you’re like me, there is pain and resistance. I know myself that I haven’t quite mastered this “letting go” thing by now, and in light of this wisdom from the Buddha, I want to focus on that. What’s important is for us to learn what we are resisting and then when we are finding that resistance, look at what the remedy is, right?
In the episode I’m going to share today, I look honestly that I relived some of that same resistance, exactly 3 years ago today and looking at now, I’ve done the same thing. The context we’ll talk about is around some changes I’m making in my brand and my website and what do you know? I did the exact same thing I did three years ago, but the good news is that I was faster to recover from that resistance because of what I applied in this episode. Have a listen.
So, I was on a call with my assistant one morning, she was in Hawaii, I was in Johannesburg, so there’s a twelve-hour difference, and we were talking about something that seemed so basic. I wanted to up-level my website. If you listened to Episode 105 I was talking about the tiny changes that can make a big impact and one of the things I was trying to do was make a few tweaks on my website to kind of elevate its look. Sounds simple right?
We’re on the call and we’re talking about the lead photo on my home page, and for those of you who are familiar with my website it is an image of an arrow and me looking at it and, maybe people don’t know this, this is the image that inspired my logo with the arrow. So, backstory with the arrow you’ll notice that the arrow is a left turn and very very relevant to change. Sometimes people, they think about the right turn, the thing that everybody thinks you should do and what I’ve seen in coaching is sometimes taking the left turn is the one that will get you to where you want to go more quickly. So, this photo is something that is pivotal to my business. When I started it in 2013 my logo – it’s my brand identity. Do you get it? Like claws dug deep in this image. I mean my hair isn’t even the same length as it was, I am five years older than what was in that image, but I was so stuck on it. She and I were having this conversation about if you’re really going to sort of give your website a lift, you need to swap out this image.
And I was stuck, and I realized I was like, “Yeah but this and that my identity!” blah blah blah. Then I said, wait a minute, this is the woman that I was working with, her name is Sai, she’s also a Martha Beck coach, and I’m like, “You’re a coach, coach me on this. What’s happening here?”
And it dawned on me, I was holding on to this home page image so tightly because I didn’t have a vision of what would come next. So I said, “Okay. Sai, you’re amazing with graphics, can you please suggest what image can replace it?” Because I know for me to let go, I needed to know what it was going towards, and that’s the core message I have for you today! You have to let go of the old to create space for the new. And I say that knowing I am also susceptible to the death grip of resistance to change, I get it, right? Simple things like an arrow picture and we struggle to let go, but we need to let go to create space for the new.
Maybe some of you are on the high after the New Year, but if we don’t let go of that which we’re gripping to we’re not going to create space for the new. And again, I get it. Like I just shared my story, but I also want to share with you how I let go. We have to sort of bribe ourselves to get over this resistance.
Okay so you have to let go of the old to create space for the new. And tip number one that I can offer here is when you are trying to create something new in your life, make sure you have a vivid picture of what you are replacing the old with, because when my assistant was suggesting I take that away there was this, what’s the word, like an emptiness – a void that was left and those voids can feel scary. And this is just a picture, imagine if it’s a new relationship, imagine it’s letting go of a marriage, imagine if it’s leaving a country, imagine if it’s going from having no children to becoming pregnant, imagine if it’s changing jobs, imagine if it’s going from being a stay-at-home mom to an entrepreneur, right?
I get it! We need to fill the void with a vivid picture of what you’re replacing.
So I am curious to learn what popped into your mind when you thought about what needs to change. And what could fill the void.
I hope I’m not alone and the only one who resists change. In fact, I know I’m not when we think about letting something go, it’s hard to release it from our fingertips until we know what we’re going to hold on to next, right? So if you are in the spot where you are naming what needs to let go. name it now. Okay, go ahead and pause this episode, if you have to. Don’t lose this insight. It’s like keeping a promise to yourself and that is such an important step in getting a fresh start in the New Year. Look at that old habit, or pattern, or thing that you need to leave behind. And then so you don’t do what I did and that you don’t fall back or just swallow in resistance, you need to name what you’ll do instead.
All right, if you’re going to do that, that I’m celebrating you, and I’m celebrating that as the first step. So naturally, the next step people want to go to, is to dive into action. And I know that it makes sense. But listen, after having done this for years and years on my own and with my clients, I know that there is a factor we need to think about. A huge factor to being successful in having a fresh start in the New Year is to ensure that your intentions will have staying power. And whether we like to hear this or not, it’s often through boundaries, better boundaries. So let’s look back at boundaries with our expert, Jennie Miller in this episode 151 for a reminder or maybe even a mirror on what we need to work on regarding better boundaries.
In this episode, Jennie Miller joins me, psychotherapist trainer and supervisor and co-author of the book “Boundaries: How to Draw the Line in Your Head, Heart and Home.”
Sundae: So what do you think are some of the warning signs, if someone’s listening they’re like, “Oh gosh, I have a hard time saying no.” What are some other warning signs that you need to set better boundaries in your life?
Jennie: Well warning signs, so say your listeners who are listening to the podcast, I would like them to have a think, okay so if say you’re listening to this in the morning, “Look at my day, what have I got on today?” Or if you’re listening to it in the evening or the afternoon, “What have I got on over the next 24 hours? How many of those things do I need to do? So yes, I may need to obviously take my children to school or I may need to go to work.” And they need to be doing both, but have a look through and see what else, what do you actually need to do and what have you said “yes” to doing in order to be nice or in order to be liked or in order to try and keep someone else happy, so actually they’re not unpleasant to you.
Look at those and see what would it be like, I’m not saying right at the beginning that you have to rush in and change everything at all, this is small steps. But just imagine, say that you are dropping the kids at school and then you are going to work and then that precious half hour lunch slot you’ve got, you’ve said, “actually yes,” that’s all right you will check your friends work, you don’t need to go to lunch you’ll check over something for them.
What would it have been like if you’d said “Actually, you know what, I can’t do that today.” And you had that half an hour, what would you do in that half an hour?
Sundae: It ties to what, you know, I draw on the work from Dr. Martha Beck and she talks about the body compass. So really listen to your body on what feels good for you and she talks about shackles on and shackles off. If looking over your friends work over lunch feels like it’s shackles on, it’s probably a sign you’ve said “yes” to be nice to them but not because it’s totally an alignment with what you want.
And I talk about this like a “dirty yes,” I don’t want a dirty yes from someone I want a clean yes.
But sometimes people don’t even know what they want, so they’re not even clear. Is this a clean yes or a dirty yes? How do you think people get started with understanding that?
Jennie: So this is why it is small steps. So it’s looking forward, “What is my next one-four hours looking like? What would it be looking like if I’d said ‘no’ to that friend?” And it’s also looking backwards, my last 24 hours, “What would it look like if I’ve said, ‘actually maybe’ to one of my children who came in after school and said ‘I’ve been asked to Brian to Jade’s house, can you can you take me round?’” And you look at the child and you want to make them happy, but actually in doing that you did take them to Jade’s house and then you realize you had to go fit in something else and then went to pick them up and by the time you went to pick them up you are probably pretty ratty and pretty pissed off and end up being quite grumpy and snappy with them and then it all gets worse and worse and end of day or at bedtime.
Sundae: Oh gosh, how many people have been there? I mean, I know there are people listening right now going “Okay, totally been there.” It all started out ironically, to be nice to your child and then you end up being momzilla.
Jennie: Exactly, so first of all to start with it’s sort of imagining, visualising, “Okay, what would it be line and I’ll send myself back to that time and I’ll say ‘You know what, I can’t do that today, that’s not going to work, you could see her another day.’” And maybe give the child some updates on “This day and this day that would be fine, I can fit that in, but today that’s not going to work.” And tolerating your child’s anger, misery, and the fear of missing out. “But actually, you know what we all have to tolerate fear of missing out sometimes, you can do that another time.”
Sundae: Using it as a teaching moment. You know in your book you say under one of the things where you talked about drawing the line you say, “Self boundaries don’t just mean being firm with ourselves, but with others sometimes the greatest threat to you building a strong set of self boundaries comes from the person you love the most.”
Jennie: Yes, it really does because they’re the ones who are already in further. So in the beginning of the book we have this little bit of visualization about imagining your own boundary and from that, that can really help you realize those who do easily invade it or you invite it in or agree to it. And so you need to be really aware of that. We all know the people that we keep arm’s length, it’s a term isn’t it? People say “Oh, they are nice, but actually I kind of keep them at arm’s length.” We know the people that we do that with, but it’s harder to do that with our loved ones.
Sundae: Right, because it feels like it’s creating distance, but what we’ve just heard is actually when we don’t respect our boundaries our behavior ends up sabotaging the situation and we’re not creating connection, it’s the opposite.
I love how Jennie helps us look at our day, even in short bursts of four hours, and see what boundaries need to be in place. What we need to move AWAY from so we can get more of what we want in our lives and go TOWARD what we are trying to create.
She takes down this thing that feels big and scary and makes it tangible. Like, “All I have to do is think about boundaries for the next four hours.” And that’s it. Right? And so that is a reminder, that helps let go of the old and create space for the new that we were talking about in our first excerpt about, we need when we let go of something, what is it that we’re going to move toward that visualization knowing what we’re going toward. And if you know you need more help and support on boundaries check out the full episode in the show notes because I don’t know about you but most people I know could be better about boundaries. Not just about what you want to stop or not let in but what you want to move toward and that’s something that she reminds us of in that episode.
All right, so now that we have clarity on what we want to leave behind in the old year and we know we want to move toward something new, we’re hell-bent on setting better healthier boundaries, with ourselves and with others. We need to think about what’s important to actually make this fresh start sustainable. This whole idea about New Year’s resolutions, and then they all Peter out after a couple weeks. We don’t want that, right? So I think we need some hard straight talk and I deliver that in EP158: Growth Zone Goodness. I’m going to share that episode in a second, an excerpt from it, but one caveat before I do.
There’s some really good insight in this episode, but you have to know this was recorded at the start of 2020. And anytime we hear the word 2020, it is deeply connected to our experience from 2020 in the global pandemic, right? So I’m just priming you now. This was a reflection exercise about looking ahead where you are now and what you want to be saying by the end of this year. So that’s kind of like a trigger warning. It’s really not about the real 2020. This is about the exercise of starting now, in January, and looking ahead. What do you want to be saying by the end of this year? What do you want to focus on? And the principles from this episode still, absolutely apply.
And the other truth of that is what we’ve seen is that we’ve seen 2020, we’ve seen 2021, and we know that this pandemic isn’t going anywhere fast. So no one can actually sit in a holding pattern and that is what’s going to help us tap into our own growth zone goodness. So let’s look at some truths about growth.
But the growth zone is for me, and this could be different for other people is where you’re truly extending yourself in new ways. And I personally feel like a cat who’s exposing her underbelly and it’s like any moment I could be attacked but just hold my paws up with my belly showing and go “Pfew, just hope this works out okay.” And that’s how, I mean when I was doing this exercise I realized what growth often feels like for me. I used to just talk, you know, get out of your comfort zone, not do anything. Maybe you’re like me, when I was in the fear zone like “Oh, it’ll take too long, it is going to be difficult, I don’t know if I can.” Or you know, “No one will like me.” That would be the fear zone, and then I would courageously step out of that and then start learning new skills, extending my comfort zone.
But real growth is like brand-new goals, creating the dream, really getting clear on purpose and making it happen. And like I said, it might make you want to vomit and that’s a good sign, that’s just my opinion.
Okay, so here’s the thing, so I went online to look at a graphic about this comfort versus growth zone. And again, if you go online and you go to “Google images,” you put “comfort versus growth zone,” you’ll get the inner circle is the comfort and then the outer one is fear and then it gets bigger with learning and then the growth zone is on the edge.
So when you’re feeling fear, you’re actually breaking through your comfort zone and growing and learning. But I came across this graphic and God bless this person, whoever it was. Let me just see if I can find it online because I don’t want to throw them under a bus. There was this great post about comfort versus growth zone, but the illustrator added graphics to this that had a donkey in the comfort zone. So that is hard for me because donkeys kind of mean like that’s a jackass like you’re a jackass if you’re in your comfort zone. No, like why would we ratify the judgment that we feel for being comfortable. And then in the growth zone there was a unicorn, kind of like My Little Pony unicorn and I was like “For real? It is not rainbows in the growth zone.”
And that is what I want to talk to you about today, I want to demystify the ease in which we think growth happens for others. So any of you who have been watching my journey over the last year or two, if you think it’s My Little Pony, unicorns and rainbows – you’re wrong. No, just because it might look comfortable doesn’t mean it has been comfortable. Like even something silly like a photoshoot might look like a natural smile or whatever, but you don’t know what an individual had to overcome to feel comfortable in that situation. So that’s what I want you to take with you when you think about crushing it in 2020, I want you to give yourself space for some discomfort and I want you to celebrate it when you do, because that’s normal and that’s growth.
So when I realize, you can tell I went on total rant about this, when I realize what’s going to happen for me to crush it in 2020 to do the things I want to do, I know I’ve got to quickly get into the fear zone, fly through that, learn something new and then be in the growth zone where I am extending myself in a way that feels like a stretch.
And here’s the thing, just a caveat, this is all relative. So, for example, I have a stable life in the country that we live, there’s no political upheaval, my continent isn’t burning. I don’t have any battles with addiction happening in my family right now. Like things are stable, I’m personally not battling an illness, so whatever my growth is, it’s relative to what my capacity is. Your growth might look like a millimeter to others but for you it’s giant. So there’s no judgement here, it’s all based on where you are, what your life looks like and what your capacity is. This is not who can do more, this is “What can I do to grow?”
And one of my clients words is “calm,” so growth for her would look like adding a ton of chill in her life, which looks completely different than what I would do to grow. She would probably do way less to achieve her growth than someone whose word was “fierce” for example. So that’s something I really want you to know about when you’re going to crush it this year, it is all relative to what you want to do.
The second message I want to make sure that you’re taking away is that growth doesn’t look like a rainbow unicorn. It is something that stretches you and it’s okay if you feel uncomfortable and it makes you kind of want to vomit a little bit because then you’re growing.
We have all grown dramatically in the past year. It makes me think about, what can we do in the coming year to grow, this deep growth that we’ve talked about here but in ways that feel joyful for you. In ways that feel like healthy stretches for you. For you that may mean doing LESS this year. That may mean (as we talked about before) setting better boundaries. Or it may mean taking risks or having more fun. The question I would love to head into 2022 with is, “How can you feel comfort in times of uncertainty and still grow in ways that are healthy?”
Maybe the answer is in what I call “The close one.” Listen to the rest of this episode where I talked about the close one and how it helps us. Keep going when we’re trying to grow.
Next question is, it’s called the close one, and here we have got to get really really honest with ourselves. Close one, what is that thing, you know is hard for you? And that if you’re speaking as the 2020 December you that you had to overcome so that when you look back on what you did this year you’re beaming with joy? So for me when I wrote down the close one, if I stand there as Sundae December 30th 2020 and I’m having a heart-to-heart with myself now, I know the close one was again this ongoing recovery of perfectionism to shiny object syndrome. I have so many opportunities, people asking to partner, I’ve got wonderful people that inspire me, ideas I’d like to follow, that I need to focus.
I know what my goals are for 2020, I need to stay focused on them unless there’s undeniable evidence to shift along the way. I cannot let “fresh” slide, “fresh” just can’t be this thing for January and then it goes away. For me to proudly stand there December 30th 2020, I want to look at how I carried “fresh” throughout my whole year. In fact, I’m going to be listening to this podcast December 30th 2020, and I’m going to hear right now as I’m listening in the future whether I did that or not. I know for me to really get to the December 30th 2020 version of myself I’m gonna have to push my edges and I’m going to have to stand in faith that it’ll be okay, like that cat with her paws open and her belly exposed is going to need to hold that pose and have it be okay, continue to put myself out there.
So that’s what I know are my close ones. What about you, you know yourself, you know, your tendencies? What are the things that you fall back into? This is your chance to think about what are the close ones knowing yourself and the way that you do what are the things you know that are going to be tricky to overcome for you? Put them at the forefront of your mind now so that you see them coming and you’ve got a plan to get around them.
Okay, gets a little bit easier from here on out, at least for me, maybe it’s different for you. The next question is who helps her along the way? So for me I thankfully have an amazing support system in place, I have my own business coach, I got my closest business peeps, I’ve got my dear old friends, and I’ve got my team. So for me the “Who helped me along the way to reach what I want to do in 2020”? I’m pretty confident that’s okay, but I’ve worked hard to create that system.
What about you? How strong is your support network? If you’re trying to grow your business, do you have a mentor? Are you trying to double your revenue as a coach? Do you have someone who’s done that and can show you how? Do you have people to support you emotionally? How about fitness? Whatever it is you’re trying to work on, how strong is your support network? If you’re standing there like a deer in the headlights and you don’t know, this is probably priority number one in January, develop a strong support network so that you can crush it this year.
So I am going to pause here and find out from you. What is your close one? Is it perfectionism? Is it a shiny object? Is it complacency? Is it not taking first-class care of yourself? Is it doing it all on your own and not building a support system?
What is your close one?
For me my close one has changed, it is about saying “yes” to too much, doing too much, and not carving out enough time for rest. So that leads me to you, what’s your close one this year? And what are you gonna do about it? And I’ll borrow from the traffic light question from EP158. When you think about this future version of yourself and what you’re trying to create that’s fresh this year, what should you stop, start, and continue? What are your red lights? What are the things that are saying, “Knock it off”? Where are the orange lights saying, “Hey, keep going.” What are the things you’re doing well, that you need to keep going? And finally, where’s your green light? What’s the thing where you should start?
Okay for me, I know I need to STOP overbooking myself, START ADDING time to my current slots for more introspection and rest, and CONTINUE to check in with myself to make sure I am on the right track.
Do you see how this ties back to having excellent boundaries with yourself and with others? It’s also really important to give yourself a reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing. When you’re replacing something old, and bringing in something new to have a fresh year – new growth.
So what about you? What is it that’s going to drive you forward and commit to this fresh start this year? Check it out. What should you stop, start or continue because that’s going to be a great start. And if you know that you need a little support to make this happen, check out my free Facebook Community Expats on Purpose. We’ve got this amazing squad of people who get you who go through transitions and change all the time and are there to cheer you on. So check it out in the show notes.
Allright, this brings us to a close for our special 3 for 3 series. I can’t wait to bring you brand new content in the coming weeks and months and I’ve got some surprises coming up in my sleeve that I’ll be revealing along the way. So stay tuned as I share what I’ve been working on behind-the-scenes for months. Because I am on fire about continuing to support you, but in deeper, more expansive ways. I’m so grateful to you, the listeners of this podcast, for being part of my community. And for those of you who are my clients and in my Facebook communities, thank you for being here along the way, and I look forward to bringing you some fresh things in the coming year. All right, so excited to have you by my side on this journey.
You’ve been listening to Expat Happy hour with Sunday Schneider-Bean. Thank you for listening, I’ll leave you with the wisdom of this anonymous quote: “A fresh start isn’t a new place. It’s a new mindset.”
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