Time and again, research proves that there’s an undeniable link between lower predictability and higher stress. So, when you feel powerless to control what’s happening around you — like everyone on Earth does right now — take inventory of what you can control.
This mental relief can cool the overwhelm and give you a sense of steady.
You can control meditation, movement, and what you put in your body. You can cut out toxins like bad social media, senseless doomscrolling, and Netflix shows that aren’t lighting you up. You can reduce interaction with energy vampires and increase hangouts with those who have a winning mindset.
Isn’t it comforting to realize how much we underestimate the power we have over our own environment?
After these past wild years, “steady” is the new “planning.” We can no longer rely on old methods that were built upon a stable world. That means reevaluating decisions and events against the contours of our unpredictable reality. Then, we can start with what works and move forward.
And this week, I’m sharing four elements we all need to help us feel steady in modern times. I’ll explain how we can adapt and succeed by leveraging 1) SYSTEMS, 2) EXPERTS, 3) COMMUNITY, and 4) ACCOUNTABILITY to expect the unexpected.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- Guarding who you let speak to you
- How life’s challenges are like laundry
- A responsibility to be fit for whatever life slings at us
- Catastrophizing & going down negative spirals
- Allowing the space to just feel “blah”
Listen to the Full Episode
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Full Episode Transcript:
Hello, It is 7:00 am in New York, 1:00 pm in Johannesburg, and 6:00 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to IN TRANSIT with Sundae Bean. I am an intercultural strategist, transformation facilitator, and solution-oriented coach, and I am on a mission to help you adapt & succeed through ANY life transition.
I want to be completely honest, this morning I sent a GIF over WhatsApp to one of my friends and it was a cat slowly closing a sliding door to the world. *laughter* And I just said, “Ugh, today I feel like hiding from the world.”
It’s raining. I am, I don’t know, not even two-thirds of the way in of extended weeks of solo parenting. We’re moving in about two months at the same time trying to finance a house and plan for renovations and all the other things that are happening in my everyday life, work, and business. So yes, I have those days too.
At least what I have to look forward to are my gorgeous clients that bring me total joy and some excitement about the next big thing that is always around the corner in my work. But it is true that there are days when I think, “Ugh, I don’t want to boss today.” Just like you might have days when you’re like, “Ugh, I don’t want to adult today.” Right? We’ve all been there. And more and more when we look at what’s been going on in the last two years, especially the last month. It’s this challenge of holding overwhelm and embracing what’s stable. It’s practicing gratitude and giving yourself some space to just feel blah if you want to.
And I know I’m not alone. The thing is things are constantly shifting. The word right now that I have is, “Unsteady.” And it doesn’t mean that it’s bad. It just means that it’s not predictable. And from what I know from the research, humans love predictability. In fact, when there are studies where they do experiments on people with uncertainty, their stress is at the highest when they can’t have predictability. So it’s no surprise that when we feel like we can plan and then those plans get shot down then we get back to that place of uncertainty. But here’s the thing right now, my motto is: Expect the unexpected. That is my that’s my rally right now, my rally cry because if we expect the unexpected, we have a sense of preparedness for it.
And in today’s episode, I’m going to share four things that I think we all need to keep moving forward. You might recall in episode 273: The Healing Power of Self-Compassion, I talked about how we really need to lean on the basics like self-compassion so we can move forward in those challenging times. I also have a caveat for those who are going through deeply, deeply challenging things, may need to put things on pause. But that is in episode 273.
Today we’re going to talk about something a little bit different. I know that for many there are moments where you feel overwhelm and you might be feeling like you miss the days where you had your mojo and you’d be happy just to have at least half of that right now. You start your day just trying to get up enough oomph to get out of your PJs, grab a coffee, and do something that’s on your task list that day. I get it. And we all have those days, right? The question I have right now when we look at where we’ve come from in these last two, wild years and where we’re going in terms of the global uncertainty, my question is this: What’s the alternative?
Do you want to lean into the temptation to hide from the world? No matter how delicious that might sound. Well, it might be, maybe the answer might be “yes” just for a little bit. But long-term, we know we need to move forward. This isn’t the first time on the planet we felt global uncertainty. So the question is: How do we move forward now when things feel wobbly? And stay tuned to the end because I have something very special for the community that’s coming up all of April, and it’s inside my free Facebook community, the IN TRANSIT Hub it starts April 8, 2022, and it lasts all month long. So listen to the end to make sure that you don’t miss it.
Here’s the way that I look at things right now. Right now our challenges, whether they are personal or professional, they’re kind of like the laundry, no matter how long you ignore it, it’s still there waiting for you, right? And sorry to be a downer but it is like the laundry where when one heap is taken care of, there’s always another heap waiting. That’s life. So, you know me if you followed my work, I really want us to acknowledge what is but at the same time still find our power in the situation. And I do find myself kind of longing back to the good old days when we used to be able to just plan and we knew that was the antidote to overwhelm. It was quite simple. “I’m overwhelmed. I’ll just plan,” and it’s all good.
And while that’s still true, I do think there is another layer that we need to consider based on how things have been over the last few years. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today. You know those cheesy things like, “40 is the new 30?” I kind of happen to have one of those for you today. Sorry, but not sorry.
I want to say that steady is the new planning. The antidote to overwhelm, if you have been feeling overwhelmed, I’m pretty sure you’ve tried all of your resources to get less overwhelmed. It’s not like you’re like, “Oh, I didn’t think about reducing my overwhelmed.” You’ve probably exhausted your resources. And if you’re still feeling overwhelmed, we need to try new things and I think steady is where it’s at.
So, let’s go to the basics. Let’s first look at overwhelm. Overwhelm is, Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as to overpower in thought or feeling. Where you do feel powerless, something overcomes you when you’re overwhelmed. And if it has power over me, it’s hard to feel agency. So what can we do to reclaim that? That is the question. When we’re feeling overwhelmed we are not thinking with power. I’ve been there too. I go to the worst-case scenario. I call it catastrophizing. I’m like, “If this one thing happens that means this other huge thing,” right? You catch yourself catastrophizing, you catch yourself going down negative spirals. Or emotionally you might feel that way as well. So the power is over you, not within you. And once you’re able to grab some of your bearings, the question is, “How do I reclaim some of my power?” And, as I said, I think the answer is in steady.
Steady, one of the definitions again from Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is constant in feeling or purpose. Constant in feeling or purpose. So, even just the thought of overwhelm, how your emotions can throw you overboard so to speak, and steady is that constant of what we’re looking for in here of purpose. And if you’ve followed my work for a long time, you know that I’m all about living on purpose with intention and that we can control. That we can hold on to our intentions. Our sense of purpose is not connected to our external world. That is internal.
Our intentionality. Our purpose is something within us. So how do we stay steady and unsteady times? We allow ourselves to be led by a sense of purpose. And listen when everything feels out of control and hold on to what we can. When you are feeling like everything is outside of you, then let’s not lose our grip on what we do have power over. In our internal sense of purpose. And oftentimes, when we want to steady in the unsteady, we do start with the traditional. We do start with what does work. Okay? Plan. Let’s plan. For me, right now, if I’m feeling unsteady, well, what do I know that is going to happen, anyway? There might be surprises along the way, the timing might be off. Here or there, the cost might be off. Here or there, the quality might vary, here or there.
But the things that are going to happen in my life, those things are moving. We’re leaving South Africa. We’re working on buying a house. We have to transition my children to new schools. I will be, if COVID allows, I’ll be going back to visit my family in the United States before getting settled in Switzerland. I will continue to serve my clients. So those are things that I know. It does give me some comfort. It does give me some sense of control and I can start making lists. I can start writing up what has to be done by when ideally, even though those deadlines might change. I can also start writing up, who can help me do those things. And I talk more about this inside my program, Adapt and Succeed and my coaches from Expat Coach Coalition are licensed to go deeper on this kind of detailed planning, but it’s wonderful because it does help reduce overwhelm.
So we start with what does work. We do know planning works to some extent. So at least we can do that. And I know with myself, before we had the official news that we were moving to Switzerland, I knew eventually we would get the news. I knew eventually these things that have to happen. So we started planning then because once the official, “yes” came in, boom, we had to go. We had to have our plans ready. So that you can do, start with what does work.
And now there’s a lot that we can plan for. So again, mantra, expect the unexpected, and if that is the reality, here’s the thing, I’ve been screaming this from the mountain tops for a long time, but I do believe if we’re living in a time where we have to expect the unexpected, it makes it impossible to ignore that we have to double down on our self-care. You know me, I talk about first-class self-care. So when everything else feels outside of our reach or control, maybe we can influence what time we go to bed. Maybe we can influence when we have our last coffee so it doesn’t interrupt our sleep. Maybe we can influence whether we really have that third glass of wine, which will disrupt how we sleep. Maybe we can influence switching off with our partner, who’s going to get up with a small one in the middle of the night, right? Maybe we can influence instead of zoning at your computer for 20 minutes, you’re gonna get up and stretch, so you’re revitalized and have more energy.
This is in a time where we need to expect the unexpected that we almost have an obligation to be fit for whatever life slings at us, especially if we’re responsible for other people, little people, or our employees, or our projects. So, I think that’s one place to start is: Are you taking your self-care, seriously? Are you committed to first-class self-care?
And if you’re not, that’s okay. I’ve got tons of resources for you that I can put in the show notes. But that is, I think a little bit of a wake-up call. If you are feeling the overwhelm and you are craving a little bit of steady, that’s one place to start it, meditation, movement, and what you put in your body. And that also might be cutting out toxins like bad social media, senseless doomscrolling, Netflix shows that aren’t really lighting you up. There’s a lot of power and control we have with our own environment. So why not hold on to that and then sort of curate a space that feels good to be around. So if you, if you haven’t done that yet, it’s kind of good news because you’ve got an opportunity to improve your situation already.
Okay. So in the meantime, what do we do with the remaining energy or focus that we do have? Again, my answer right now is steady, being constant in your purpose. And here’s my invitation to you right now, I want you to think about, can you name when you think of purpose: How do you want to move forward with consistency in purpose when it comes to your health? What does that mean? So for me with health, it means to continue boxing on the weekends. It’s so cathartic. I need that to release my energy. I also need that like I need meditation during the week, and like I need running. I need all of those things. Believe me, I’ve also had days where I didn’t do it and everybody paid for it. *laughter*
Where do you want to be constant in your purpose when it comes to your health? Might be sleep, might be alcohol, might be nutrition, and might be movement. It might be who you let speak to you, right? So, whatever it is, make a commitment now, that’s where you want to be steady with your health because we need it right now. We need to be able to do that.
And then with your family, think about that. Where do you want things to be steady in your family? For me, one of my favorite times of the day are the last 15 minutes with my kids. It’s like when I kind of get to hear how the day really went, I get to share how I’m really doing. There’s this precious 15 minutes at the end of the day, where I think I’ve broken through just enough vulnerability to get in there. And that is amazing.
So what’s going on with your family? What is it that one thing you want to be constant? What is one thing that gives you security in your family? Is it pizza Friday? Is it checking in with your partner at lunch? What is it with your family that you want to remain constant? Is it checking in with your aging parents back home? Again, when everything feels overwhelming, when everything feels unsteady, where can we feel steady?
And the next one is your work or your business. And this could be community related, could be a job that you have, it could be your business, however you define your work. Whatever that might mean for you. Where are you going to be constant in your purpose? And I know for me, I’ve watched my business change over the last few years, the way in which my clients have told me they like me to show up for them, has shifted. And I’m happy to shift with them. I also take great pleasure and joy in knowing in my own transition in the next 3 to 4 months, that I know who I’m working with, and I look forward to seeing their faces and engaging in their lives and towards their goals, even when those other things in my life are shifting.
So think about that with your work, your business, your community, whatever is a focus for you. Think about where do you want to be constant in your purpose? It could be even a volunteer opportunity that brings you energy. And for those of you who didn’t catch it, check out episode 246: The Compound Interest Effect we talked about how you can make those small investments in those areas of your life to create long-term rewards for you.
Okay, so we’ve talked about this idea of what we can do when things feel unsteady. We looked at what is working, already around planning, but we know that there are some limits to that, not going further enough. And we’re starting to sort of create clarity by thinking about where we can be steady, where can we be constant in our purpose. And for some of you that are listening, you might be one of the outliers, to be honest, but you’re like, “Yep. Got it. I’m on it. Boom, I’m out,” right? That’s what you need and you’re on it. But many many, many more of you, I’m guessing you’re just trying to get through the day without day drinking. So you’re saying to yourself, “If I could be on fire, if I could be crushing it with my goals, if it were that simple, I’d be doing it already.” And you need more and I totally get that and that’s what I wanted to share with you today. I talked about how there are four things that we need to keep moving forward in these unsteady times and I wanted to share with you what is working in my clients’ lives.
I’ve noticed there’s four themes that really make the difference. Okay. So I’ve created this really small checklist for you to help you integrate more steady into your life so you can remain constant in your purpose no matter what life slings at you.
When you do these four things and you pay attention to these four things, it truly does make a difference:
- The first one is: Systems. Systems doesn’t sound very sexy. But when I hear the word systems, I just think of ease. I think of having so much less to think about. I think about eliminating decision fatigue. So this is just what works for me. It works for my clients when you think about systems, what are some systems that you need to keep those things working? Remember we talked about health, family and business. So, for example, for systems, for health, I have blocked out very specific times on my calendar to make sure I have no excuse not to take care of myself. Those times are blocked off. I have people like my boxing coach coming on Saturday. Boom. It’s automatic. We’re boxing on Saturday. So, what systems do you have in place? Every time I go grocery shopping, I buy my spinach and my avocado so I can have my disgusting green smoothie. Boom. System. My health is automated. I know for many people, you might have challenges in your health and it’s not that simple. Then systems is probably even more important for you. All right. So, what systems do you have in place to make sure your health can remain constant? What systems do you have in place for your family to run smoothly as well as your business? If you haven’t been spending time on that and, you know you should, this is kind of a little bit of a wake-up call.
That happened to me in my business in 2018, where I was growing so fast that my systems were kind of designed for three years prior to that. And I knew if I didn’t stop and put in higher-level systems to match the speed that my business was growing, that everything would collapse. So, it is worth just taking 20 minutes and saying, “Okay, are the systems in my week, in my month, serving me. Are they helping my health, my family, and my business? If not, what needs to change?” Something simple from my clients that they might automate the delivery of the really heavy things that they know they order every month. That can take away the burden during the week and give you more energy. It could be something really simple. so of the four things, number one is systems.
- The second one are our experts. Experts. And here’s the thing, I’m all about do-it-yourself, right? I am a scrappy person, who loves to figure things out on her own and I don’t think this is the time. I don’t know about you, but do you have extra time and energy and focus to figure it out yourself? Or is now the time to just bring in someone who knows what they’re doing and has already figured it out. And they can just tell you how? If you can afford that, to buy the book, or the audio download, or hire them as who knows what? If you have that within your capacity, maybe even to read from experts, whatever is within your budget, lean on people who are already doing that well. And that might mean they’re not doing other things well, and that’s totally okay because we can’t be an expert in everything. But what’s that one thing that feels like it’s blocking you? Or the one thing that is draining your energy or focus or attention? And check out who are the people who know how to do that. And budget limited then go to their expert blog posts, right? If you’ve got unlimited budget, buy their course. Whatever it is.
I think right now when things are feeling uncertain and hard and you’re grasping for attention and focus and time, it’s kind of a good time to fast-track that, right? And you can benefit from learning the lessons faster that maybe were very hard-earned for them, and it cost them a lot more time and money. So it’s actually fast-tracking your finances and your energy, depending on what the subject is. So that’s one thing I’m watching with my clients. They are saying, “You know what? This is the thing. I’m just going to talk to an expert and they’re going to help me figure it out.” And it’s fast. And in the cases, I’m thinking of wasn’t even that expensive. It was just an efficient, very efficient use of resources and time. Okay, systems, number two is experts.
- It’s going to be so obvious. But are you really, really doing it? Number three is: Community. Are you leaning into your community? Are you part of communities that help you remain constant in your purpose? Many of us who are listening might have been raised in very individualistic cultures and we’re prided on doing it ourselves. Many of my listeners are expats and we’re kind of told that you should do it yourself and figure it out on your own, and you pride yourself in being able to do that. And many of you come from deeply embedded communities but might have because your life is in transit, brought you away from them. And this is the time where now we need to be in community with people that help us stay constant in purpose. And that’s one of the reasons why I have the IN TRANSIT Hub. It’s a community of people who are united by a shared sense of purpose, who want to live with more purpose and take the leading role in their own life, while still holding true to their values and taking care of the needs of others, without neglecting themselves.
So, if you don’t even know where to begin with community, you can always join me and the nearly 3,000 members of the IN TRANSIT Hub. But community, I want you to think about that because this is so important in times of coming off the two-year tale of COVID, we’ve been so isolated, so isolated. And maybe the communities you had before are not the communities you need now.
So I would encourage you to just dream for a second, if you could be surrounded by exactly the right people, what would that look like? For example, if you’re an entrepreneur, do you want to be around other struggling entrepreneurs or do you want to be around people who are super motivated and focused and ready to go get their goals? Do you want to be around people who are feeling defeated or do you want to be around people who are saying, “Hey, this is hard, but I’m going to figure it out.” Maybe you want to be in a new community because you’ve changed. And I talked about that in my last episode about listening to the vision that is emerging and then what community matches that vision? All right. So we’ve got systems experts community in.
- The fourth one is: Accountability. We know from research that accountability partners have a dramatic impact on the potential for goal achievement. If we have an accountability partner, the latest research I saw, was it impacts your goal by 65% in terms of the likelihood of achieving it, if you have an accountability partner. That goes up into the 90s if you meet regularly at a predictable time, with your accountability partner. So if you don’t have number four, it’s like making it just harder for yourself. And there are enough people in communities that you can find accountability or they could be experts that can give you accountability, whatever that looks like for you. It’s kind of like the missing linchpin to help you move forward.
So I think those four things are your saving grace when DIY just isn’t cutting it anymore. And I’ve seen it with my clients, it’s gorgeous. One of my clients, she’s got some really big goals. She also has a lot of responsibilities and right now she’s feeling her limits. But instead of lowering her goals and giving up on some of her dreams, she was like, “Okay, just going to look at these four things and see what I can tweak. Okay systems, what’s going on at work? What’s going on at home? Okay, tweak, tweak. Experts. Who can I call that can help me with that one very specific new thing. Okay, done. Boom. Community, let me show up. I’m going to show up every month in this community that I know supports me.” And four, accountability, she has me by her side to keep her accountable. Plus she extended her accountability circle by bringing in people that were close to her.
That is how the people that you look around you who are really moving forward, you’re like, “How do they do it?” They don’t do it on their own. They do it by looking at these four things. And they probably spend a lot of time as well checking themselves on days, just like mine started with the GIF with the cat trying to hide from the world by not letting them stay there indefinitely. It doesn’t mean these people don’t take breaks, doesn’t mean they don’t listen to their bodies. It doesn’t mean they don’t rest. In fact, it’s what they build into their systems in how they take care of their health. It’s no secret. It’s intentionality, right? It’s going back to the idea of being steady, constant in your purpose.
Okay, honestly, this is just how we save ourselves from ourselves and it helps us prevent inertia and regret. So I hope this is helpful for you. Take a look for yourself where you are on these four, things: Systems, Experts, Community, Accountability. Are you missing one? Are you missing all four? Where do you need to fill in the gaps? And then, once you identify that, don’t feel bad about it. Celebrate that. Now you know, here’s one right next thing that you can do.
But, you know me, I don’t want you to have to do this on your own. So all of April 2022, together with the recent graduates of Expat Coach Coalition, we are putting on what I’m calling: The Steady Series. And you are invited to create steady progress with proven results because hey, we’re dealing with unsteady times. So join us in April inside the IN TRANSIT Hub.
So, when we go back to the four things relying on Experts, we’ve got experts at your fingertips for FREE who are going to talk about having difficult conversations, about what you do if you are so low in these unsteady times. About how can you create this feeling of calm and steady in your home and more. So check it out. You can see everything that is on this extensive program, all completely free inside the IN TRANSIT Hub. It’s in the show notes. I’d love for you to sign up, show up, and be part of all of the community, accountability, expert insight inside the group. I’m really looking forward to it.
By the way, if you’re a coach or an aspiring coach and you really love working with a globally mobile community, check it out because it gives you a glimpse at the type of amazing people that are part of Expat Coach Coalition. We are opening the doors soon for our next round of Expat, Coach Coalition, and if you want to bring steady results to your clients and your business, in these unsteady times, I would love for you to apply.
All right, everyone. Thank you for listening to IN TRANSIT with Sundae Bean. Thank you for showing up for steady advice, in an unsteady world. I’ll leave you the words from Richard L. Evans: “Your direction is more important than your speed.”
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