Monday, July 25, 2016

Reverse Culture Shock: Climbing the Repatriation Mountain!


Have you ever got into the groove of a new location really quickly?   Yesterday I completed a task, which seemed easy enough for hundreds of people do it every single weekend.    I climbed Mt. Evans which is 14,264 feet, which seems challenging on the face of it; however the catch is that you can drive almost the entire way to the top.   

That last 150 though are on foot!    Now while this distance seems small, you get to make this climb at over 14,000 feet which proved problematic for me.    I felt very unsteady, a bit woozy and was able to make it by taking a few steps at a time then resting for a bit.    Altitude sickness is still on the list of “to be mastered in this lifetime”.

Sometimes when we move and immerse ourselves in a very different environment, culture and geographic location we can experience similar results.     Here are a few strategies to deploy or tips if you like, which I remember helped to rock my last dose of reverse culture shock.  

1.       Pick each step carefully, paying close attention to each tiny baby step.

2.       Make friends with whomever you bump into on your path.

3.       Be outgoing, willing to share the journey with others – joking, commenting cheering each other on was very much appreciated yesterday.   

4.       Stop frequently to evaluate how you’re doing, take a deep breath and relax;

5.       Become part of the community, I notice that we had a common goal to reach the top and everyone cheered each other in that direction.

6.       Get a coach!    My husband happens to be a master-coach, yes, lucky me….but yesterday he was amazingly patient, calm and asked the right and perfect questions;

7.       Persevere….put your head down and take the next step in front of you, keep momentum going by taking small but regular steps;

8.       Celebrate at the top and upon reaching the car park and driving home!    Celebrate each accomplishment and step of the way, thus keeping yourself in the atmosphere of YES!  Climbing your Mt. Evans while maintaining your positive YES energy, keeping your mood, actions and your mindset in complete sync becomes a light that others can follow.

May these Rxs for baby steps all the way up your mountain wherever you are on your repatriation journey, treat it like an adventure and follow your yellow brick road.    The view from your mountain top will be amazing, you will be grateful you took the path less travelled.    All the best of success, may your life be portable and wondrous.  



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

From Failing To Fearlessness And Back Again

“Failing means you’re playing.”  Translation: It’s better to be doing badly than not taking part.

In Scotland there’s an old fashioned saying “Failing means you’re playing”.      

Growing up in Scotland I used to hear adults use this phrase time and time again.   I translated and internalized it to mean that if I am failing, I am really not serious, not focused, not successful and most certainly not doing my best.

Fast forward a lot of living, travelling and fitting into countless life situations in seven countries and four continents.  I realized when I saw this written this morning that suddenly a corner has been turned and this quote has taken on a completely different meaning.

This clearly didn’t happen overnight; I have no clue about the moment when this awareness happened. When I attempt something and fail I have developed the tendency to look at it as an attempt, or a  learning or a step in the direction I am actively choosing to go.

Do I still look around to see if anyone noticed my failure?  – oh yes.    Do I check myself to see what I am noticing? – oh yes.    Am I perfect at this?  - oh definitely not.  
Like a child who takes that first step and falls down, it is critical to get up again and put energy and momentum into taking the next step.

I have had a few Expat examples of failing in the transportation department, driving on a freeway in Yokohama, Japan when suddenly the English turns to Kanji and I found myself completely lost; or picking the wrong pipeline road to follow in Saudi desert and getting stuck; or getting on the train going the opposite direction in France; and even today being slow and confused at the underground booths in London while the crowds attempt to move my dithering self forward.

Learning to laugh at ourselves in failure, and congratulate ourselves for stepping out and giving it a good try is key.

If you are failing it means:

a) you are on the playing field;
b) you are participating;
c) you are risking, stretching and growing;
d) you are willing to experiment;

Congratulations, celebrations – it’s most definitely party time!!!   Woohoo in all directions.  Yes, I am most definitely suggesting we fail a lot – preferably in small ways - then celebrate.

When is the best time to fail?   I think it needs to be a daily practice. A few years ago I learned about the principle called “failing forward fast” which essentially means playing full out, with no holds barred and being willing to speed up the failure process. All this nonsense about celebrating failure seemed completely counter-intuitive when I was so desperately looking to succeed by pushing forward with eagerness.   Over time, by taking those baby steps we develop mastery.  Being willing to fail forward time and time again naturally moves us in the direction of mastery.

Rx –  HOW to Move from Failure to Fearlessness

Release baggage in the form of:
a)  procrastination – there’s no place for it when you are risking and playing full out
b)  looking good – ending up with egg on your face, and looking silly now become ideas to be welcomed
c) taking action – any action, sometimes taking any small, silly action can break the log-jam and move the process forward. 

Here’s to your success.   

#LifeIsPortable     #RockYourReentry