Written by Claire Dickson
for IWAP’s Bridge Magazine
When you move to a new country as the accompanying spouse (most often the woman), all of your roles – wife, mother, career woman, sister, daughter – are easily impacted.
Interestingly, the Global Relocation Trend Survey (2002) reports that 50% of accompanying spouses were employed before moving abroad, but during the assignment this dropped to 14%. Thatď¿½s a lot of people making a double transition – to a new role as well as a new country. I know myself that after 20 years in the corporate world, moving to Prague without a job, inheriting a dog and taking on my new role as the family glue, I was both an excited and less than intrepid explorer in this new space.
Like many transitions, itď¿½s a chance to reassess where you are heading and to ask yourself, ď¿½Who am I?ď¿½ It can challenge our basic values, assumptions and life balances and the way we think about ourselves and others. We need to be constantly flexible, if necessary re-inventing ourselves. The new people you meet are also asking, ď¿½Who are you?ď¿½ I could no longer say, ď¿½I am a ď¿½job titleď¿½,ď¿½ so convenient for the previous 20 years. Instead I became a dog walker, whatever the weather – now that I had all this time, searching for what I wanted to do – and hopefully a better mum. Luckily for me, I had a lot of tools for my voyage of discovery, as my previous jobs had involved helping others make transitions in the corporate world.
All that time walking the dog got me thinking. What if you wanted to explore a new side of ď¿½youď¿½? Sometimes our lives are so filled with domesticity, routines and other clutter that it can be hard to listen to what our hearts desire. The good news is that itď¿½s never too late to think about living the life you really want, wherever you are. So, let me share with you some of the other ď¿½landsď¿½ I explored as a result of moving to Prague. They helped me begin to realise my full potential, and I am still journeying and revisiting them from time to time. Sometimes, navigating my way there, the water is warm and welcoming; sometimes itď¿½s freezing cold! As the Chinese proverb says, ď¿½A journey of a hundred miles starts with one small step!ď¿½
The land of Positive Realisation ď¿½ Navigating our way there means looking at whatď¿½s important to us. We can start by thinking about what we are good at, what we really enjoy doing and what comes easily to us. Essentially, itď¿½s about identifying those situations where we feel good and at our best, wherever lifeď¿½s journey takes us!
The land of Discovery ď¿½ This requires us to look forward, not back. Often we donď¿½t get what we want because we are not clear. This land focuses on identifying realistic, clear and liberating goals to achieve what we really want to do, whether a career, a hobby, a study course, making a contribution to society or making new friends. Itď¿½s about what do I want, why do I want to do it and by when?
The land of Confrontation ď¿½ This means confronting what is stopping us from doing something and being honest about what area of our life plan has fallen off course. What is being tolerated? What needs to be present and what needs to be absent from our life? What will recharge our batteries?
The land of Opportunity ď¿½ This means being able to recognise opportunities and decide whether to take them or not. However, being clear is not enough; we need to be motivated, believe it is possible and have a plan! Here, we look at what are we willing to do today to move things forward. Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away!
So letď¿½s come full circle to that room in the InterContinental, full of talented women each on their own journey. We are all changing the world each day. We are more effective at this if we feel itď¿½s what we want to be doing. Iď¿½d be delighted to share my insights, setbacks and humorous anecdotes on my exploration of these new lands and also some great walks to do with dogs! Happy exploringď¿½ď¿½..!!!
Claire Dickson runs self development workshops as part of her business HR Solutions, a Prague-based consultancy. If you are interested in finding out more, contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org (www.hr-solutions.cz).