Archive for 'Tools & Resources'

Expat Entrepreneurs: Kiss Panic Attacks Goodbye

Posted on 08. Mar, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs, Tools & Resources

[Disclaimer: It goes without saying that this post is about your garden-variety work-related worries, not mental health issues. It is not meant as medical advice. If you believe you suffer from actual panic attacks or depression, please seek professional help immediately.]

If you want to get ahead with your business, you can’t afford to let negative feelings affect your productivity and concentration. It’s all too easy to lose hours, if not entire days, to worry, guilt, and sometimes even sheer panic. So what do you do when your stress levels get out of control?

Here’s the method I use to nip negative emotions in the bud – give it a try next time you’re having a bad day.

Panic mode

    Play out the worst-case scenario (more…)

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    Looking For Work Abroad: Getting Creative

    Posted on 13. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Relocation, Tools & Resources, Working Abroad
    1 comment

    After Monday’s post went up (the one about finding other options if you can’t land a job in your host country), a couple of readers remarked that this was all fine and dandy, but what if you don’t have a clue what you want to do other than your current job?

    Or what if you hate your current job and would rather gouge your eyes out than go for the same type of position, thank you very much?

    Great points. As always. Please keep the questions coming; I love to hear what’s on your mind! Also, we’re in luck today, because generating ideas is one of my favourite activities in the world, and I do have some good resources for you.

    Mind map

    Resources, from the predictable to the unexpected


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    Job Search in Vancouver: Due Diligence

    Posted on 06. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Relocation, Tools & Resources, Working Abroad

    You may not be able to get a job lined up before you relocate, and that’s OK. However, before you make the big leap into the unknown, you absolutely must check if your skills are in demand wherever you’re headed.

    We’re not talking about a cursory, general Google search here. You have to investigate the local job market as thoroughly as possible.

    I know it sounds obvious. Yet many international job seekers do such a superficial job of it that they might as well not even bother…



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    Looking For A Job Abroad: 5 Tips To Start Off On The Right Foot

    Posted on 04. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Relocation, Tools & Resources, Working Abroad

    You’ve heard it time and time again: to get a decent job these days, you have to network, network, network.

    That’s great advice. The problem is that 90% of the people who are out there networking are doing it all wrong.

    Business cards

    5 tips to start off on the right foot


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    Book Review: I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was

    Posted on 30. Oct, 2009 by in Blog, Reviews, Tools & Resources, Working Abroad
    1 comment

    For a change, today’s book review is not directly related to living abroad. But it’s still a wonderfully helpful resource for expats of all stripes.

    I could do anything if I only knew what it was

    If the emails and questions I have been getting recently are any indication, you may be among the many, many expats who are currently going through big transitions:

    – A move to another country,

    – A career change,

    – Pondering what to do with yourself now that you’ve gone back home…

    Well, don’t sign on the dotted line just yet – instead, go get yourself a copy of Barbara Sher’s excellent book, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was (affiliate link).


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    Feeling Stuck? Watch Your Language!

    Posted on 23. Oct, 2009 by in Blog, Tools & Resources
    1 comment

    As a follow-up to Monday’s post on self-imposed labels and limiting beliefs, here’s a quick tip that’s simplicity itself:

    Whenever you feel stuck or in procrastination mode, replace the word “can’t” with “won’t”.

    For example, “I can’t picture myself ever being happy here” becomes “I won’t picture myself ever being happy here”. “I can’t learn how to speak the local language fluently” becomes “I won’t learn how to speak the local language fluently”.

    Hiding - I can't and I won't

    Well, why won’t you?

    Why are you not putting in the effort? How truly committed are you to making it work? What is really holding you back?

    With “can’t”, you can hide behind all sorts of excuses. With “won’t”, you have to get to the root of the problem and face your own resistance.

    Besides, plenty of expats have learned how to speak the local language before, so it’s not like it’s impossible – therefore it’s not a real “can’t”.

    It always seems impossible until it's done

    This little trick with words is nothing new or complicated, but you’ll be amazed at how powerful it is. I find it much more effective than overused and overly simplistic self-help stuff like positive affirmations – maybe it’s just me, but positive affirmations feel super cheesy to me and they fail miserably at shifting the way I think about my own limitations.

    Have fun hunting down all those “can’t” and replacing them with “won’t”! And if you would share how that worked for you, that would be really great!

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    Images by ~Jetta Girl~ (top) and BIGben. (bottom), both via Flickr Creative Commons

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    Canadian Tylenol or French Efferalgan: Which Painkiller Shall I Try Next?

    Posted on 21. Oct, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Tools & Resources

    I am writing this in bed. Not that I’m trying to have a bed-in a la John and Yoko, mind you. It’s just that I’ve spent the past two days in a complete fog, lying in the dark with a migraine. Ouch.

    So while I’m working on de-zombifying myself (ten days before Halloween, oh the irony!), why don’t you head over to Expat Calling to read my recently published article, Keeping in touch with the folks back home – a gripping tale of homesickness, mail steamers, and why you might have to drag your teenagers away from the computer, kicking and screaming.

    Through the screen

    Have a great day (or evening if you’re somewhere in the Americas), and see you on Friday when, hopefully, I’ll be able to sit in the upright position once again.

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    Expat Skill: Ditch The Labels

    Posted on 19. Oct, 2009 by in Blog, Musings & Inspiration, Tools & Resources

    So, I want to get myself a sewing machine. I mentioned it in passing to my mother yesterday, and she almost fell off her chair with astonishment.

    Sure, my sewing skills don’t go beyond putting a button back on a coat (which is why I want a machine to learn on), but that’s not what puzzled my mother so much.

    No, she was stunned because in her mind, I am not the kind of person who sews – whatever that means. I suspect that her mental image of someone who sews is a cross between an over-the-top domestic goddess a la Martha Stewart and an old maid who sits at home all day stitching tea cosies.

    Sewing station

    Erm. Right. I was thinking more funky recycled clothes and decorative stitching on mixed-media art myself…

    But mostly, I wasn’t thinking in terms of labels. “Domestic”, “someone who sits at home all day”, “someone who does or doesn’t sew” – those are all labels, and like all labels, they are also limiting beliefs.

    Labels = Limiting beliefs

    Just think of all the labels you carry about yourself, and how they limit what you think you are capable of: foreigner… accompanying spouse… introvert… not good with languages… procrastinator… do you see how these beliefs about yourself impact your self-image?

    Even “positive” labels can be limiting. If you see yourself as effective and hard working, will you be able to relax enough to enjoy a different pace of life in a less work-oriented culture? If you see yourself as very self-reliant, won’t you end up isolated because you didn’t make finding new friends a priority?

    Want to thrive in your life abroad? Ditch the labels!

    Here’s a tip: Every time you catch yourself thinking “Oh, but I’m not the kind of person who…” (talks to strangers / asks for help all the time / is comfortable going out on her own / insert self-limiting belief du jour here) – pause and ask yourself what you may be missing out on.

    I am not advising you to blithely say yes to everything – you have every right to be uninterested, uncomfortable or simply not in the mood for certain activities. If your instinct says no, then don’t do it.

    But if you realise that the only thing that’s preventing you from seizing an opportunity is your self-image (a.k.a. not being the kind of person who…), then please do yourself a favour: forget the labels, and go for it!

    Every time you stretch beyond your limiting labels, you will strengthen and expand your self-image. You will develop a keener eye for the near-unlimited possibilities that surround you. You will get better at noticing opportunities and seizing them.

    Ode to courage

    And on that note, I am off to research sewing machines – lack of skills and tea cosies be darned!

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    Images by Laurie :: Liquid Paper (top) and *TreMichLan* (bottom), both via Flickr Creative Commons

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    Post #169: The Expat Blogger Edition

    Posted on 16. Oct, 2009 by in Announcements, Blog, Tools & Resources

    WBSD update

    If you are an expat blogger who’d like to take part in a fun online event, meet new bloggers, and get a bit of extra traffic in the process… then don’t delay – sign up for World Blog Surf Day!

    3rd WBSD

    You only have a week left – the deadline for signups is Oct. 24, and World Blog Surf Day itself is on Oct. 31.

    The theme this time around is Holidays & Celebrations – a topic that I feel well prepared for, what with having spent all day today putting together my Halloween costume. (Yes, there will be pictures. No, I am not telling you what my costume is just yet – stay tuned!)

    Shopping usually isn’t my cup of tea, but when it comes to outrageously silly costumes cultural integration and participation in the local celebrations, I do what I have to do. It’s all in the name of field research, you see ;)

    Did you say expat bloggers?

    You may have noticed that I recently added a blogroll to the site. There, you will find the expat resources/general advice sites that I recommend, plus a handful of personal favourites that have little to do with life abroad, but are just too good to pass up.

    While we’re on the subject, BootsnAll Travel just published a list of 15 of the best expat blogs out there. I regularly follow several of them, and if all 15 are the same high quality, we have some great writing and beautiful pictures to look forward to!


    What are your must-read expat blogs, and what do you like best about them? I love discovering new-to-me blogs, so please share your favourites in the comments!

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    WBSD art by Beka (top) and picture by Kristina B (bottom), both via Flickr Creative Commons

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    The Grrreat Goal Review, Autumn 2009 Edition

    Posted on 09. Oct, 2009 by in Announcements, Blog, Tools & Resources

    If you’ve ever hired me for coaching sessions, you know that every few months, I’ll ask you to review your goals and make sure that they are still in line with what you really want.

    Every now and then, I even take my own advice (you know what they say about the cobbler’s children!) and have a good, hard look at my plans for the future.

    Major goal review

    The results of the Grrreat Goal Review, Autumn 2009 edition?

    A new look for the blog and the main site

    In fact, the overhaul goes way beyond looks, but I am a little bit in love with the great design and sleek interface that the wonderful Men With Pens created for me. If you ever need help with your blog, ebook design or any kind of copywriting, I highly recommend the Men – they are super professional, reasonably priced, and funny to boot!

    If you are reading the blog entries via RSS or email subscription, 1) thanks for subscribing, you rock! and 2) click here to have a look at the new design.

    New services and products in the works

    As of next month, I will be devoting less time to one-on-one sessions, in order to focus on creating a bunch of new stuff that I hope will make a difference in your life abroad.

    Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE one-on-one sessions. I love talking to you individually, finding out what makes you tick, what is holding you back, and putting our heads together to find ways to make your expat life better. It’s fun, it’s powerful, and we’re getting great results.

    But there’s no denying that these sessions are a significant investment in time, energy and money. I know lots of expats who need support, but cannot see themselves investing in ongoing individual coaching. So it is my hope that through small-group sessions, 1-hour targeted consultations, and ebooks/workbooks, they will be able to get the help they need.

    Next steps?

    All right, now that I have publicly announced all of this… I’d better get writing! (<– in pompous management jargon, this is what is called building accountability and commitment. In other words, I told you I’d do all this just to ensure that I stop procrastinating and actually do it. Because if I don’t, you guys will laugh me off the internet, or something. Note that I – craftily – avoided committing to a timeline or a launch date. That’s the kind of trick you’re not allowed to use when I am coaching you, but hey, this is my blog so I’ll cheat if I want to! I wonder how much longer this parenthetical aside can go on. This is getting silly. OK, I’ll end it here.)

    Thanksgiving centrepiece

    And on that note, I’m off to start cooking for our Canadian Thanksgiving, which is this weekend. In true expat fashion, we’re going to a potluck where none of the guests are originally from Canada, and we’re all bringing a dish from our birth country.

    Our East Indian hosts are making lamb masala, my significant other is bringing his favourite South African wine and boerewors sausages, and I am putting together a spread of Provencal-style appetizers: cold cuts, grilled vegetables, tapenade, pissaladière and ratatouille.

    Have a great weekend!


    Images by jazzmasterson (top) and alasam (bottom), both via Flickr Creative Commons.

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