Should-ing Ourselves

Should-ing Ourselves

Should-ing Ourselves

Recognizing the lies and jumping off the rabbit trail to nowhere.

How’s your week? Mine feels like a bit of whiplash.

You see this week in Texas, the wheels on the bus came off the bus. They came off the bus for many reasons, the least of which is we were not prepared for this.
Any of it.

And yet, most of us believed we should know what to do. You can see it in the interviews and the shock many Texans have walked.

Each day, really each hour had the potential for disaster or hesitant relief. After living in Minnesota for so many years, they amount of snow we got wasn’t much, perhaps 5 to 10 inches. The temperatures were 30 degrees higher than the worst Minnesota gave us…and yet, that snow, a bit of ice and 4 days of temps between 0 and 15 destroyed so much.

The fact of the matter was, we couldn’t not know what to do.

These Texas houses are not built for this type of winter event, not for a week. With waterlines and gas lines running in outside walls and in the attic, with limited insultation…well it broke.

Resourceful or Incapable

When things like this happen in life, believing we are resourceful and adventurous, we turn on ourselves and then question ourselves and really everything.

Where did we go wrong?

In some ways, it is productive. Because of the storm we will most likely be investing in additional insulation, especially around the pipes, and perhaps a whole house back up generator. Adding not only to the house’s integrity but to our peace of mind, which is one of the worst things I gave up during the week.

Losing our peace of mind and diving into asking questions like where did we go wrong, sends many of us in to distracted and unproductive place. A place full of should.

For me the shoulds included, I should have put foam insulation in this house already. I should have had the special plug I needed for the generator installed last summer. I should have gotten milk.

I should have known this was coming and prepared better.

The fact of the matter is, in Texas we really do not know what the weather will be until it arrives. In Minnesota, we could see it march from Seattle to the Minnesota state line, fairly predictable and stable. Here though, that is not the case. Think tornados and baseball size hail from a few years back punching holes in roofs. That is a scary thought.

Today these shoulds surround the weather here and preparations that should or should not have taken place.

Should-ing Please

In relocation, should-ing ourselves is almost like a new hobby we take up in the process.

“I’d like to sign up for the Should-ing hobby please.”

Last week I was talking to yet another EXPAT. Again we landed at questions like “Why is this so hard?” And statements like “I should know how to do this.”

For those of you who have relocated before this thought will not be new, and yet we all think it in our first relocation, our second relocation, our third relocation and every one after. I was talking to Robert Fletcher from Heart Relocation out of London this week and he said that their surveys showed that relocating families typically say that their 3rd relocation is just as hard if not harder than their 1st.

Doesn’t this seem hard to believe? That with 2 relocations under their belts that the third one is even more difficult? It seem like it would be easier…not harder.

After 15 relocation throughout my life…I know that each one is just a bit different and there is plenty I do not know…and still there is so much of life to be transferred and replanted…hopefully in fertile soil, but even with that experience, nothing is guaranteed.

Should-ing arrives when people/processes/products DO NOT meet our expectations are sneeky and may only flash in our brains. We may not see the flash, but if we pay attention, direct results will follow.

Be on the Lookout

One of the early concepts I teach my clients is to record and watch what is going on up there. Up there in that brain of ours. All of the thoughts that march through strongly or flash almost unseen…

Watch for them when something that you actually do know how to do, goes wrong. The shoulds most common are a form of self judgement.

I shouldn’t be thinking that, I know better.

When we see an ugly or unproductive thoughts, many of us push them down inside. Deep …. Deep…down inside. We think we are pushing them out or getting rid of them but they do not go. As a matter of fact, when we push them down rather than processing them, they grow in the basement of our minds, fed by every push, every bit of fight and ignoring we can give them. Eventually they escape in unusual and destructive ways as an ugly monster.

For me that looks like irritability and frustration, and unchecked lands square in Overwhelm.

And overwhelm, as we discussed a few weeks ago gets us nowhere.

They Mean Well…

It sounds like truth.

Those should that are causing trouble in our relocations are told to us by our family, our friends and even our employers. People we trust are saying these things in encouragement but actually, these shoulds are detrimental and set us up for potential failure.

Because these shoulds, tell us that we are less than and incapable.

The first should thought causing trouble is that “this should be easier”.

It sounds like truth. I leads though to questioning ourselves…asking what am I missing. That sets up the failure because it assumes that I am missing something. And that assumes that I am incapable to getting it the first time. One false truth leads to another to support the original assumption, I am missing something.

Every missed expectation, every tear after school, every thing wrong provides proof of that.

“This should be easier” belief leads down a path to frustration and potentially overwhelm is. Initially, it may be only a flash thought pushed aside.

Flash ~ Long Blink ~ Solid Neon Sign

However, after it has flashed in time after time, it can start to wear us down. That flash of “This should be easier” becomes a long blink, and before you know it the brain has created a solid rock foundation of information and “proof” and that flash has turned into a bright neon light shining in the window as we try to get some sleep. Now that I miss things is believed as truth, practical things of life truly starts to fail.

Because…If I miss things, then I shouldn’t make decisions. I can’t make decisions. When we truly believe this about ourselves, can you imagine what happens next? How does life change?

For those of you who may be new to the podcast I want to help you understand why we are talking about what we are thinking as opposed to strategies or the how to get out of whatever challenge we have landed in.

The reason is because how we think about something determines how we walk through, how we experience it & where we end up.

So, if we really lean into “This should be easier.” Where does that go? Many times for me it morphs into ~ this is difficult. This is a direction for the brain.

The brain LOVES direction and if it is driving after proof, especially to get us to run away and be safe it finds it, all of it. This means that rather than seeking to solve the problem, our brains go full throttle to find the proof and distracts everything with “This is hard”.

Distractions Multiply

How does thinking this is hard help? It doesn’t. It only distracts. It consumes our brain power and prevents us from thinking as clearly as possible. All of it keeps solutions out of sight and none of it get us any closer to the solution.

The bonus is that this distraction turns to negative self-judgement,
a debilitating set of thought that dig this pit even deeper.

And there is a second “should” that drips of self-judgement and loathing that takes all of this to yet another level, another deep pit that goes nowhere.

It is more insidious because it is personal and this lie presents as truth. “I should know how to do this”

Personal Destructive Should

I mean really! We are grown adults. We are intelligent and resourceful. We have this life thing down. And yet, during relocation and the months or even years after, when the littlest thing goes sideways, we believe and apply it.

From “I should know how to do this” to chaos and letting everyone down.

On repeat this gets loud. It is like we are searching for something we used to know, but have forgotten(driving Self-Judgement). And now because we have forgotten this “valuable piece of information”, we cause chaos and let ourselves down, our families and potentially impacting the career that brought us here.

That is quite a rabbit trail isn’t it.

From “I should know how to do this” to chaos and letting everyone down.

Road NOT Taken

The problem with these thoughts? They do not lead to solutions. They do not motivate us to “Do Better”, they only drag us down trails to nowhere.

So how do we JUMP OFF this road?

In the moment, both of these seem very real… like truth. However, these “shoulds”, both of them are thoughts. Thought the brain is playing to keep us safe! Safe from all this danger…which in this case is our own emotions.

“Jump Off” is a Question

Pause when these should statements get rolling around and ask these questions.

        – “How else can I see this situation?”

        – “If I knew how to solve this, what would I do?”

        – “If (name of trusted person here) was in this situation what would they do?”

These questions redirect our brains. Instead of continuing to a place of overwhelm or hopelessness, these types of questions help our brains realize there may be another way to think about this.

Believing there could be another way, slows the hamster wheel to nowhere. That wheel does take effort to slow and eventually stop and even though it will take effort, but this is not impossible.

Jumping off just takes a bit practice.

Like Breathing Meditation

Have you ever tried a breathing meditation? At first it is quite a challenge. Starting with just listening to the breath, in – out , in – out, In – out….after 12 or 15 breathes…listening intently…my brain wanders off to the grocery list. When I realize I forgot to listen, I bring my thoughts back to the breath.

Redirecting the brain takes training and practice.

Think again about thought “I should know how to do this”, remember in the beginning of the podcast, what the Heart relocation survey said, the relocation got progressively more difficult not easier. In the light of that is this statement true? No.

In the case of protecting my house from a once in a decade winter storm…No, I shouldn’t know how to do this. And with each relocation, it changes. You have changed. The situation is different. They new community is vastly different.

From “I should know how to do this” to “No, I do not know how to do this, but I will figure this out.” This demonstrates the power of our thoughts and how impermanent they really are. The second one feels so much more powerful and will produce those kinds of results because of that.

Though some of the things we think seem impregnable, will never change or improve… this does not mean how we see it, is true.

And that my friend is the good news.

Relocation is wonderful journey, let me help you live your best life throughout.

Let’s Chat

If you would like to ask question about how to redirect your brain, to SEE a circumstance differently OR you would like guidance on living your best life, I encourage you to book a Consult today.  We will talk about where you are and where you want to be and how to live you best life in all stages.  Book your Consult by clicking on the Let’s Chat Button at the top of the ReloWomen webpage.  Choose a day and time that works for you.

I look forward to our chat.


Want to relocate well?
I can help.

Download  “a Sense of Home” guide

The journey is easy.  Begin here.

Podcast Links:


ReloWomen Facebook Page:


Not Broken

Not Broken

Not Broken

Releasing the “broken” lie we tell ourselves

How is that New Years resolution going? As we know and have probably walked ourselves, most people have given up and re-started life as it was before the “resolution”
I just looked at that word resolution. Have you ever realized that if you break it down into two parts it is RE and then Solution? Just putting this podcast together and looking at the word… I finally see that. Funny.

Perhaps that is what we should be doing at the first of the year…       re–solutioning our lives. Most resolutions though well intended,  come from a place of “I am Broken”, so that answer is any activity rather than a solution. This is then more of a dart at a wall that falls off shortly after it hits the wall… like most new years resolutions.

These have an iron grip that bring our relocation tumbling down…
all because we believe them to be truth.

Those of us ReloWomen, we will tell you that this process, the ones we have done in the past and without much of a plan, have ended in error.

Most loosy goosy processes come with errors. Errors we take on as personal fails.

Next Week’s podcast is all about “relocation shoulds”. Have you notices how often our “shoulds” get all of us into trouble? These have an iron grip that bring our relocation tumbling down…all because we believe them to be truth.

“This should be easier”
“I should know how to do this”

With these two sentences wandering unsupervised in our minds, we assign personal blame and responsibility, when
              – Our kids come home from school in tears
              – Someone doesn’t do what they should
              – Our plan falls
              – Others ReloWomen and their kids aren’t struggling
Crying in the showing is where I land, so no one sees.  And as I evaluate where I went wrong, the next conclusion is…I am broken.
Everyone is kicking it except us.  
Life from Broken
We must be less than or flawed in some way.

“Feeling incapable, everything beginning to slide,
I mean seriously…why try? I can’t make a difference. I am broken.”

WOW…that is a place. Have you ever been there? Boy I have. Questioning everything.
Remember the story about corporate relo family who “tried” their new home for 5 months, and by month 6 they had sold their house and moved back to where they came from? This extreme response to relocation comes from believing they couldn’t do it. Believing they are broken in the new place.

Are you in this place? You, my friend are why I started ReloWomen.
It doesn’t have to be so hard, but no one ever told or taught you how to navigate this any other way.

If you believe you are broken or flawed, incapable of moving forward, I am sending you a great, BIG HUG. I understand this place. I assure you, like me, you can walk out.
To start that walk, let’s really SEE this place and why it leads to feeling broken.

Automatic Programming

All of humans, our brains are designed to keep us from danger. Even those women who seem to have it all together…even their brains are designed to perceive and avoid danger.

This feeling broken is part of this self-preservation mode.
Back in the day, saber tooth tigers and marauders could come and attack. Therefore, our brains were constantly on alert for the unfamiliar – something new. When we relocate, we are wading through a whole lot of new. This jump to broken is most likely from our brains and is most likely being triggered by all of the NEW.

New is Dangerous

With our brains are obsessed with safety and preservation of life, the primitive or automatic part of our brains is wired to see new things as dangerous. It sends chemicals to create emotions that are designed to make us evacuate, shut down and be safe.

It is a warning that “this” may mean danger. However, in our modern world new things are typically not dangerous…they are just unknown.

When this happens, I want to assure everyone that nothing has gone wrong. The brain is not malfunctioning. It is only working with old programing to protect and preserve life.
And the thing is, we all want to be safe.

Safe and Confident

The good news is that all of us have two parts to our brains and the other side, the pre-frontal cortex, can control much of this. When we learn how to engage this side, we are able to see the new as just the unknown and keep the flight tendency at bay.

The pre-frontal cortex, the decision-making side, is our powerhouse. As we learn to access it we can see the new with curiosity. We can also use this decision-making power to gain control and even direct the primitive, automatic brain as well.

This allows us to be safe and explore the new with openness and confidence as we integrate our new community and our lives.

So how do we access it?

The best part of this that you already have everything you need to do this, even the key to unlocking it. You use it every time to create something new… a solution never seen or learn a new skill like an engineer.

This ability to create something new or live life differently all comes from a question like…

“How else could I think about this?”

As simple as that question appears, it is a powerful tool in all of the next steps. Our ability to navigate challenges and the success of our efforts, is dependent on how we see a situation and the problem.

Thinking that “I Am Broken” hinders, our ability to navigate. The waters are muddied by the thought of that not good enough, I will never get this right, someone else is better qualified to do this, and so on.

THAT is a lot of distraction, when we so desperately want to fix everything.

This distraction is easier to put down than you may think.

Put down the Broken

Consider this…

If in the middle of an “I am broken” party, the kids come charging in the door wanting a snack, the mind and energies are most likely redirected and focused to meet their needs. If there were something truly broken, nothing would break the spell.

I really want you to see this. You are not broken.

You see, when they bound in the door our brains redirect. Either by their requests or simply their presence, we direct our brains to understand the situation and what they need. Even if for a moment, this shows the power of the human brain instantly climb out of that pit. When we jump out is determined by what redirection we lean into.

I really want you to see this. You are not broken. You have the ability within you to redirect and create a new experience…even in the midst of an “I am broken” thought hanging around.

When we realize we can redirect our brains with our pre-frontal cortex, we see the challenges from a less judgmental place. And we can literally ask the automatic primitive brain to stand down.

“I am broken”, Please Stand Down

My one-on-one coaching clients practice this by seeing, allowing and redirecting our thoughts.

“Oh I see you “I am broken” thought. It’s OK. I have got this. You can go sit down in the kindergarten chair on the side and watch me figure this out.”

This shows respect and care for yourself. It is much like we would tell one of our kids. It’s OK. I will figure it out, so you don’t have to worry.

This process brings calm and hope. Here is where space can be found to see or create options and choose a workable solution from a clear and undistracted mind.

With an undistracted mind we can re-solution our lives. We direct our brains with thoughts we choose to see that spark of inspiration. To feel newfound energy comes and see that we are not broken.

We never were broken.

We have within us that place to re-solution, move out of where we stumbled into, and crate a life we want to live.

Want to practice with me?

If it is time to live your best life through this relocation journey, I encourage you to book a Consult today. Let’s chat about the life you want to live and the challenges along this relocation journey. You can live your best life and you can help you family do the same. Book your Consult by clicking on the Let’s Chat Button at the top of the ReloWomen webpage. Choose a day and time that works for you.

Relocation is wonderful journey, let me help you live your best life throughout.

Want to relocate well?
I can help.

Download  “a Sense of Home” guide

The journey is easy.  Begin here.

Podcast Links:

Episode 28 – “Not Broken”

ReloWomen Facebook Page:



Mentors You NEED

Mentors You NEED

Mentors You NEED

Learning from others and allowing them to mentor through the written word

One of the most wonderful things I learned a few years back: Mentors are not necessarily, people we know.  Mentors are simply people who share their wisdom with others.

Brian Buffini, author of the fourth book here, The Emigrant Edge taught me this.  He always talks about his mentors Jim Rohn, Zig Zigler and Lou Holtz. Brian considered each one of these men mentors, through their books and tapes, even though in the beginning, he hadn’t met any of them…yet.

How many of us have read Brené Brown or Tony Robbins and had our lives directly impacted and changed?  I have, and I did not realize it back in the nineties as I wore out those Tony Robbins tapes.

Today, I am bringing to you FOUR MENTORS that continue to impact my relocations and my life in relationships, the practicalities of moving, traversing different cultures and one of my favorites talks about the advantages we have for choosing to walk this relocation journey.

These books of mine are full of highlights, scribbled notes, a few water stains and many, many post-it notes sticking out from the edges.  See the picture above.  Friendships Don’t just Happen…may need to be replaced soon.

Friendships Don’t Just Happen

By Shasta Nelson is book born of pain.  She followed her then husband to San Francisco and though she was an outgoing person who welcomed new friends she still struggled.

“It hit me how very hard the friendship process is.  I’m an outgoing, socially comfortable woman with a long line of good friendships behind me.  And yet I stood there feeling very lonely.  And insecure. And exhausted at just the idea of how far I was from that reality for which I was yearning.”
Friendships Don’t Just Happen page 5, paragraph 3)

This passage shows a real part of the relocation journey.  Not only does this path to connection begin with loneliness…in Shasta’s case it walked through insecurity, exhaustion and the flashing reality of how far she really was between where she was and the close connections she so desperately needed.

She connects to us in the 3rd paragraph with a statement that resonates with all of us that have walked this journey.

From here she begins to de-mystify the friendship process and five types of friendships.  These five have specific purposes or roles. What’s interesting and something I experienced myself, is that without even just one missing, we tend to feel a hole or loss that needs to be resolved.

These five friendships types are more static than linear, though I can see a person moving from one spot to another.

If you are struggling with connection and looking for a path and reasoning behind it all, you will find it in Friendships Don’t Just Happen by Shasta Nelson.

Smart Moves

Smart Moves is the most practical of the 4 books here today.  Caroline Carter, founder of Done in a Day (a Washington DC based home transition company) compiled her most valuable processes, checklists and strategies for relocating across the city or around the world.

Caroline Carter is who taught me about the importance of truly preparing a home for sale.

What I like about her book is that she leads the reader through in such a way that they feel well informed rather than being told what to do.  She does have plenty of checklists and recommendations, but she talks about everything from a place of choice and potential implications.

 In addition, Caroline also addresses the emotional nature of sorting, packing and relocating the life itself.  Including that perspective in the middle of a functional process makes this book both relatable and practical.

I appreciate her focus on cleanliness in chapter seven – The Devil is in the Details

“Your home must go through a deep, deep, deep clean…smell fresh. 
No real odor.  No Clutter. No dust bunnies. No footprint of you…


I realize no one actually “lives” this clean,
but you must try to exist in deep clean mode in order to sell.”
(Smart Moves page 98 paragraphs 1 and 2)

One of the surprises is all that we can do to prepare to move way before we deep clean and stage the home.  Listing the home is not discussed until Chapter Eight.

Caroline Carter is a master of moving and transition details.  If selling a home for top dollar in the least amount of time is the goal, her process leads the way.

The Silent Language

By Edward T. Hall, a 1940s anthropologist, Edward was a student of peoples and their culture.  After the second World War, he was asked to work on a project for both the Indians of the southwest pacific(meaning California – Arizona – New Mexico). 

Many times we think of culture as a set of rules that govern a community, but what Edward learned was that culture is so much more than that.  Consider…

“If this rich experience taught us one thing it was that culture is more than a mere custom that can be shed or changed like a suit of clothes…. [This was] a completely different way of organizing life, of thinking and conceiving the underlying assumptions about the family and the state, the economic system and even mankind.”

(The Silent Language page 23)

Is it any wonder we struggle when we move someplace.  We move in with a set of rules we live life by.  A set of values and a believe of how life should be organized, lived and protected.  AND YET, when we move to a new place, it has its own way of living and organizing life.

Some are similar to what we already do, but others are so very foreign.  Edward T. Hall calls this an invisible barrier.  After one relocation, that is something we all recognize to one extent or another, but we can’t quite put our finger on what the difference is.

Pull out a highlighter and multi-colored pens to read a Silent Language.  It is like a college course about culture in 209 pages…and worth every page.

The Emigrant Edge

I learned about Brian Buffini when I began in real estate many years ago.  He is a self-made man.  He arrived in the US from Ireland with $70 in his pocket.  Three months later he is in a severe motorcycle accident.  With no health insurance, there were huge bills to pay when he got out.  A financial debt he chose to dig himself out of.

Not a great start to emigrating to America.  But from here he built a great fortune and blessed many people.

Brian Buffini, through his book, brings to light the all aspects of this journey we are on and shows the benefits we gain from saying yes to the relocation opportunity.

In the Emigrant Edge Brain shows the disadvantages as well as the advantages of living in a new country.  From here he adds discusses the seven immigrant traits we can realize through relocation and this EXPAT life.

Part Three: The Immigrant Traits

  • A Voracious Openess to Learn
  • A Do-Whatever-It-Takes Mind-Set
  • A Willingness to Outwork Others
  • A Heartfelt Spirit of Gratitude
  • A Boldness to Invest
  • A Commitment to Delay Gratification
  • An Appreciation of Where They Came From

These lessons learned as we relocate are our superpowers going forward.  They change the way we look at the world.  It changes our hearts and it changes how we see opportunity in the world and that which we create.

When we choose relocation, we are choosing to expand how we see the world, all of its differences and abundance.  Brian Buffini through “The Emigrant Edge” truly taps in and directs the mind to intently pursue and encourage each of us to explore what we are capable of.

Pursue Knowledge

Consider what has provided the greatest impact in your life.  Has it been a book, a speech or a conversation?

Throughout this life, remember there have been many who have gone before us.  Both those living and now gone have a treasure trove of wisdom for us when we look for it and pursue it.

Pursuing knowledge, what others have already learned through their experiences, greatly accelerates our ability to build a grand life.  It allows us to become so much more than we are now, earlier in our lives.

I encourage you to post your favorite and most impactful books on the ReloWomen Facebook page.

If it is time to live your best life through this relocation journey, I encourage you to book a Consult today.  Let’s chat about the life you want to live and overcoming the challenges along this relocation journey.  

You can live your best life all along this relocation journey

Book your Consult by clicking on the Let’s Chat Button at the top of the ReloWomen webpage.  Choose a day and time that works for you.  I look forward to connecting.

Want to relocate well?
I can help.

Download  “a Sense of Home” guide

The journey is easy.  Begin here.

Podcast Links:

Connecting: The Power of Female Friendships by Sandy Sheehy

Friendships Don’t Just Happen by Shasta Nelson

After the Boxes are Unpacked by Susan Miller

ReloWomen Facebook Page:

Other books mentioned: Together by former US Surgeon General Vi… Murthy, Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg, Essentialism by Greg McKeown, Quiet: the power of the introvert by Susan Cain, This is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick, Happier by Gretchen Rubin. 



Navigating with Difficult People

Navigating with Difficult People

Navigating with Difficult People

Do I  Stay or do I  Go now…

In Relocation we work with people who jive with us and many who do not.  And yet others who do not “get” what we want …at all.  Whether relocation partners, like real estate agents or HR managers, new co-workers or neighbors we meet a number of people who we need for this thing and that as we relocate and begin to set up life.

Along the way we are going to find those that we choose to keep but at the same time create havoc if not a huge slice of frustration along the way.

Should I stay or should I go now?

If I go there will be trouble

And if I stay it will be double
~The Clash – Do I Stay or Do I Go Now…Lyrics

When we work with some people, difficult people these lyrics provide regular theme music to the interaction.

The Trouble they Create

In talking with other people, I am sure you will find no limit to the discussion about difficult people and the trouble they create.  There is that sibling who always brings a strange partner to family events.  There is the boss who micromanages every aspect of a project.  There is the PTA mom who is always in someone else’s business and tell everyone on that family should manage their child.

The trouble difficult people create is both personal and public and that is why I think we struggle with them so.

All we want is for them to stop.   And in this our only choice is to avoid them or put up with them.

Our Limited options

Dealing with a difficult person is not something we are trained to deal with.  As kids we have been encouraged to be peacemakers and turn the other cheek.

As adults, when we think about doing these, many of us end up powerless…at the effect of them.  When we are experiencing the pain that comes with a difficult person, many of us choose to back away to avoid more interaction or confrontation.

The challenge is, that they or another version of them, will pop up again.  If we don’t know any better, we still only have 2 options.  Stay or Go.

But what if there was another option?

Seeing a Difficult Person

We spend a great deal of energy building walls to protect ourselves and strategizing what we will say or do “the NEXT TIME”.

What if there was another option where they were not so difficult?  One in which you could be in the same room without shrinking or attacking.  One in which their behavior, their words, their work was no longer a problem.

When we are faced with a difficult person.  The main problem is that we see them as a difficult person.  Their tone, their work ethic, their decisions, their attitude is all wrong.  Seeing a person as a difficult person immediately puts us at a disadvantage.  We see them as an adversary that must be managed, overcome or avoided. We spend a great deal of energy building walls to protect ourselves and strategizing what we will say or do “the NEXT TIME”.

When we view them in this way, we create a playbook.  We spend our time and energy.  When we enter a room with them, we focus on them to keep them at bay and we focus on ourselves for protection.

Then, we miss out on so much that is important to us.  Seeing our child kick a goal in soccer.  Being present and attentive at mom’s birthday party.  Getting all the details down for an important project at a staff meeting.

Seeing a difficult person distracts us, even from that which is important.

Rethinking “Difficult”

What if we just observed these people without judgement?  What if we allowed them to be them?

Try on this mind twister….

What if…these people (their actions, tone, work) were neutral?
Observed, perhaps interacted with, without judging good or bad?

I can hear it now, “That wouldn’t be right!”  But what if it was?  What if this was the path to doing your own great work.

So let’s check the upside.  What would happen if you did not judge them?

  • Less conversations about them
  • See them for who they are(capabilities/limitations/values/etc.)
  • Easier to be present without distraction
  • Time, energy and emotions spent on positive emotion creating pursuits
  • Less wall building
  • More time being YOU

Being ME is the greatest benefit to me that I have found through doing this work.  When I have been around difficult people in the past I am not me…at least not the best version of me.  So much of my life and even daily decisions are contorted or shifted in order to:

  • Avoid that person
  • Stay off their radar
  • Please them
  • Pacify them
  • Protect myself

In this space, I am not creative.  I am not engaging and I am certainly not present.  Preparing to be attacked or accosted takes time and energy away from the way I actually want to live. 

Co-existing vs. Breaking Ties

It is crazy how much our “difficult person”

changes who we are and what we do.

Through coaching, I have discovered how to co-exist easily rather than choosing to break ties. The secret allows me to choose life is on my terms.  I live my life based on my values and dream.  I no longer choose what I do to avoid, circumvent, or manage them or their chaos.

It is crazy how much our “difficult person” changes who we are and what we do.  On the other side without the distraction of fighting or resisting them, I have woken up to seeing the decisions I made to mitigate my pain. And in seeing them realized, I did not like them.

Through coaching with my coach, I know I could have done this so much better had I knows I had options.  Living in anger, grief and frustration made for strange decisions.  At the time, I did not know I had choice to see each situation differently.  Now I do.

Reframe the difficulty and Exercise your Power

When we believe we have options, we can show up and be good at our jobs or enjoy the bunko and wine party.  We are not distracted by them or their chaos.

One of the things I talk about this week in the podcast is that when we view these people as difficult, we kneel and give over our power to others.  Through it we bend to their demands or we change our lives to keep from experiencing their difficult-ness. 

The personal choice to seem them as difficult leads us to make decisions and show up in ways we would never have done without them there.  When we believe we have options, beyond just staying and cowering or going and missing out,  we stop using our energy and time to plan for the next attack.

When we believe we have options, we can show up and be good at our jobs or enjoy the bunko and wine party.  We are not distracted by them or their chaos.

It is a hard process to start, especially since most of us have a certain way to deal with people like this. Rules connected to who we are and what we value.  It’s OK to question this…and perhaps consider this could work.

That is the first step to SEEING Your Options with difficult people, and the first step to eliminating them.


If it is time to figure out how to manage your “difficult person” set up a Coaching Consult today.  Click the “Let’s Chat” button in the upper right hand corner of the webpage.  Choose a day and time that works for you. 

You don’t have to manage that difficult person anymore.  AND the bonus is, it is possible for them to stay in your life without changing, and without being difficult to you.

Want to relocate well?
I can help.

Download  “a Sense of Home” guide

The journey is easy.  Begin here.

ReloWomen Facebook Page:


Using Creativity to Connect

Using Creativity to Connect

Using Creativity to Connect

Exploring what we may not have considered…

How connected do you feel this year….right now?  If like me, limiting contact is the norm along with a whole slew of “things” none of us have done for 10 months.  Strongly connected is probably not one of your personal descriptors.

And even if we thought we may have lacked connection with others back in the spring, I think we could all agree that that was 1000% more connected than we are now.  We just didn’t know any better.

So that’s right?!?! We have no option but to wait. 
Check…and MATE!

We casually connected, with whom we wanted and when, almost at a whim at times.  But now the rules have changed.  People and activities, the one we identify with, are no longer available.  Frankly they are not right here with us.  And the activities are not quite the same either by structure or by who is there.

Strangely, many who have relocated and those who have never moved out of the area are in the same boat.  All of us one way or the other disconnected from many we know.

“Feeling connected” is challenging to say the least.  So that’s right?!?! We have no option but to wait.  Check…and MATE!

Or is it?

My busy has sifted away…
leaving me with what is important, important to me.

Over the past few weeks and really months, My busy has sifted away
leaving me with what is important.  And what is important to me I have neglected off and on over my life, those I love and cherish.  This is a bonus to this isolation.

With this revelation I realized I had both time and focus to correct that neglect.  So, I am currently working to find creative ways to connect with them.  Perhaps these will work for you too!

More than Zooming

Zooming seems to be the current norm.  We use it for work, for school and even church.  I have been networking with it and attending training classes.  Over the last year, most of us have learned to use it and even depend on it.  My folks manage it every week.

…yes a bunch of 70 and 80 year olds meeting at a bar…

Zooming allows them to see their friends.  They then take it to the next level.  Their happy hour group, on COVID lockdown, teed up trivia night.  They play trivia now on Thursday nights.  Rather than random conversations at a bar, yes a bunch of 70 and 80 year olds meeting at a bar, they are having game night. Through this focused activity they are learning more about each other.  The game gets the whole group talking about one thing and that drives the connection. 

My parent’s experience has led our three families to regularly play dice or Rummycube over zoom.

Shared experiences, deepen connection

Getting Creative

Going forward we are organizing more zooming activities beyond games.  The ides is to all do the same thing at the same time like art projects, who done it mysteries and maybe language learning.

Some of the ones I found are:

  • Origami Money Rings – Instruction from Pinterest
  • Tissue Paper Flowers – Instruction from Pinterest and supplies from me
    (My sister and I used to get a new one at Six Flags every summer. They are HUGE)
  • Paint and Sip – with Outside the Box Creation
  • Hunt a Killer – Mystery Subscription Box
  • Learn Spanish – or other languages with, interactive language learning for the whole family.

When we share an experience no matter in person or virtually, we connect.  When we are actively doing they same thing ~ creating or learning ~ we connect even deeper.

Shared experienced deepen connection.

Going Old School

Back in the olden days, people used to use a pen and paper to communicate with each other.  Yes, I know that is a foreign concept to many, but it is making a resurgence.

The extra time and effort then conveys
care and even love to those who receive them…

According to the New York Times, “the greeting card industry, which has slumped for decades, [is experiencing] a significant turnaround. This, I am sure, is due to our collective feeling of disconnection, which is amplified this year. 

Sending a handwritten note these days is significant, because few of us send or receive real handwritten notes.  The extra time and care then conveys care and even love to those who receive them, especially to our seniors.

Handwriting a note or sending a card takes time and effort. And in my case figuring out where the stamps are.  This is why going old school means so much to those who receive them.

So beyond the holiday cards this year, consider a weekly or at least monthly note to someone you love or would like to reconnect with.  That time and effort will not be lost on the one receiving it, because they probably cannot remember sending one out themselves.

Setting up Correspondence

I love receiving anything with my mother’s handwriting on it.

To really have an impact consider sending, a note card with a pre-addressed and stamped envelope.  Request a return note at their convenience.  This will create an intimate experience for both of you that will increase connection.

I love receiving anything with my mother’s handwriting on it.  The stories and the writing itself, her writing will be with me all my years.

Though there are many links here, I receive NO affiliate money or commissions from these.  These sites are what I have found to entertain and inspire me as I seek to connect better with those I love.

Get Creative and Get Connecting!

These ideas may or may not be your cup of tea, but hopefully these ideas help you explore all the options and even create your own ideas to connect to your most treasured people.

Have a wonderful week!

Want to learn more about creating home?
I can help.

Download  “a Sense of Home” guide

The journey is easy.  Begin here.


Holidays…All or nothing?

Holidays...All or Nothing

Holidays.  All or nothing… in 2020

The 2020 American Holiday season.  We were briefly introduced to the holiday changes on Halloween. 

There was so much talk about whether or not we should let the kids trick or treat.  Was it a risk for them?  For us as parents?  Would every house have a candy shoot…would the be required to.

It was a flash test for what was coming.  For those of us beyond the trick or  treating years, this was a mere blip.  It didn’t really affect us.  Our only concern was, do we turn on the lights this year or not.

Halloween was flash test for what was coming.

But now, here we are at the beginning of the BIG Holidays, beginning on Thursday with Thanksgiving, continuing through Christmas and then New years. 

What will this look like? What can it look like?

The news is full of warnings.  I just heard that for a Cowboys home game only 25,000 fans were in attendance and it became a super spreader event.  I believe the roof was open and groups were placed far from the others.  Less than 25% of capacity and still a spread.  So now what?  What is responsible?  ….And do we just cash in the 2020 holiday season all together?

Do we CANCEL the holidays????

It is what the news media and the CDC seem to be selling.

On my calendar Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and all of the other holidays are still on my calendar between now and January tenth, two thousand and twenty.

Whether we choose to acknowledge them or not, these holidays still exist.  These holidays from Thanksgiving to after New Years are part of our past. And IF WE CHOOSE… they are part of our present and our future.

These holidays from Thanksgiving to after New Years are part of our past. And IF WE CHOOSE… they are part of our present and our future.

Both groups act like we only have two options, all or nothing.

However, there are many ways to celebrate a holiday.  We may not immediately see it. Most of us have been celebrating the same way for years. 

When we look around though, to our friends and neighbors, it is then we see that everyone does not celebrate the same way. 

All or Nothing…

The reason cancelling the holiday creates such drama, is that it assumes that holidays are an all or nothing ordeal.  We either, …celebrate the way we have, with all of “these people”, at “this place” and in “this way”, OR we cannot celebrate.  Black and white. 

This is a well meaning trap.

Having not experienced or considered alternatives, we may think there IS only one way.  This is well meaning trap.  A preferred way of thinking our brains prefer to  keep us safe from the unknown.

Our brains like it.  When life is steady and predictable, our brains are happy.  They do not have to work so hard.  See “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.

This practiced predictable way of working though, does not serve us in a time or a year like pandemic 2020.

This black and white thinking only leads us to fighting what is.  There is no changing it, the facts are the facts.  We may choose to argue, fight or even try to avoid it, but we will lose the argument with the circumstances…100% of the time.

Option Zed

What IF there is another options…on that does not try to change the circumstances. What can we do what options are there if we accept the pandemic and the limitiations it dictates?

We change the only thing we can control. We change is ourselves.  I am sure you have heard the saying, all we can control is our response to it.

I learned the secret.

This was a curiosity and an impossibility to me for so many years, until I learned the secret.  Until I learn, I could control what I thought was uncontrollable.  No the circumstance by how I saw the circumstances.

In the past I would work to change the circumstances…what was going on or try to change the people.  This rarely if…well  it never worked. So, after a while, I gave up trying. 

There it was again, that word ~ belief

What I did not know was that there was an option Zed and all those along the way.  The way people control their responses to their circumstances was that they were able to do it because of options Zed.  They believed they had another option, even multiple options and they were willing to pursue all of them.

There it is again, that word belief.

Belief and pursuit

Belief is what keeps us pursuing the celebration of the holiday with and around our family and friends even at a distance in a yard or through a screen.  Belief that we can have a holiday celebration drives us. We take hold of a belief in option Zed.

…driven by a feeling of being “figureoutable”.

With this in mind the Celebration can and will happen…just as it has for hundreds of years.  It may appear different but it will occur and can occur with joy and connection just as it appears on the calendar.

This belief in option Zed moves us into a place of curiosity.  The active pursuit is driven by a feeling of being “figureaoutable”.  Yes a made up word but still relevant, and understandable.

If you are feeling this holiday season is figureoutable, what then?  What are the options and the possibilities ~ you can now see.   

The battle of what we want, is generally hindered by our own minds, by what we believe.  When we believe we can figure it out, and we tap into the energy to pursue it…we no longer cling to what and how it was, we create what can be.

Seek and be Inspired!!

Open up your mind and see what others have done already to overcome the challenges of pandemic 2020 and be inspired. Look how these people have overcome.

People all over the world are getting creative, solving their own challenges, choosing to live in the midst of this and coming together to support their community.  People help people, ourselves and others. 

It is in coming to the aid of others, that we make this place better.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if the pandemic actually brought all of us together? 

Through creativity and innovation, a whole new way to celebrate, deeper, more connected and meaningful is created for all of us. 

Let’s hit the social and traditional media airwaves with that!

Create Meaningful and Joyous Holidays

The holidays bring people together… the ones we love and care most about.  It is the time where we enjoy the company.  We do for one another and we express what they mean to us through both acts of service and through what we say.

Our acts of service and our voice are not silenced during this pandemic.

If anything, I have spent more time with those I love.  I have reached out to more people to check in, and extend help or even just a kind word of love and appreciation.

The precautions we are taking between now and the beginning of next year do not dampen who we are or our ability to connect with others.

Our Joyous Holidays will just look a little different… 
different bows and window dressing.

We may be throwing a quick celebration in a front yard or taking the kids over to grandmas to build a snowman.  We may back our favorite treats and drop them off at neighbors and friends who are alone this year. 

We may even drop off a tiny Christmas tree at each friend and family member with instructions to send a selfie and write a holiday wish note…like that “flat Stanley” so many of us had as kids coming with us to school, on each trip and to the holiday dinners. 

Perhaps assembling a book of everyone’s tiny tree pictures and holiday wishes printed out for everyone.  A remembrance that even in a time such as this, we still live.  We connect and continue to celebrate, on that day….as it comes on the calendar. 

You can do it

Get creative and make a difference.  Connect and reach out. 

I always like to think about the kids in war torn countries, because not matter how chaotic or dangerous, those kids still play.  They are kids and kids play.

but do not let it push out the joy

We are alive and we will continue to live.  Take this unique holiday season a truly make it your own.  Allow the grief of what cannot be…but do not let it push out the joy that is a part of life and a real part of this and every holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving 2020!

I cannot wait to see how you inspire me!!

Want to feel a sense of home…here…now? 
I can help.

Download my free resource guide “a Sense of Home”. 

The journey is easy to begin, right here.


Life on Purpose

Life on Purpose

Life on Purpose

As adults we all think we live our life on purpose. 

We make conscious decisions as to what is in and what doesn’t make the cut.  We do this for ourselves, our kids and our families…sometimes across multiple families.

But this is just the problem.  Are we actually making choices OR are we going along with the crowd?

Going along with the crowd is not necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes agreement “buys” us access into a group.  We buy into a belief or perhaps we buy into an activity that is “great for the kids”.  What we are getting in return is membership into that group.

And that is what leads us to living someone else’s life and values.

Our primitive brains(as opposed to the decision making part of our brains) are designed to desire this. It believes that when we have our tribe around us, we are safe.  Safety is the key to our survival.

And as far as our brains are concerned, going along with established norms or other “trusted” peoples decisions saves time and energy.  I mean why wouldn’t we go along with what our good friend recommended to us?  They know us and we like their values.  The challenge is that we do this more than we think we do, almost unconsciously.

And that is what leads us to living someone else’s life and values.

The “clean slate” of relocation
is a unique benefit.

All is Swept Away in Relocation

The unique thing about relocation is that all of these external influences are swept away in relocation.  Many times you will hear me talk about the “clean slate” of relocation.  This clean slate is the result of moving away from all that is known ~ the people, the culture and the rhythm of life.

The Clean Slate of Relocation is one of those unique benefits that is available in the first few months after the boxes have arrived.

When you do not know anyone and there is no normal to life, life in the new place becomes a blank canvas for you and everyone in the family to sketch out and create a vivid life that truly suits each one of you.  Sometimes the shift includes trying new activities or perhaps pursuing a different kind of friend.  It isn’t that anything in the past was bad, but rather this go round the ability to truly choose is available.

…the ability to truly choose is available.

Start with Who You Are

Starting with who you are can be a challenge, especially if you have kids at home.  We, as parents are so trained to be attentive to what our kids need or what our partner needs, we can lose track of ourselves. So, if the words do not flow when trying this part do not fret.  It is difficult for most of us during these years.

An easy place to start is with personal assessments like StrengthFinders 2.0,, I Said this You Heard That app or a Birkman assessment. From strengths to personality and temperament to stress responses learning these things about ourselves spurs on conversations within our families.  There are Ah Ha moments, “Oh that’s why I do that!”

“OH!  That’s why I do that!!

The effective direct result of taking these assessments is that we all think more about ourselves and what makes us tick.  We begin to associate those things that help us and those things/people/activities that suck every last piece of energy from us.

Teeing up this conversation within our heads helps us to see our wants…perhaps for the first time.

The Transformation Desired

One of the most brilliant questions I heard this week came from my friend Rob Fenlon, a StrengthFinders2.0 coach from the UK.  He has this question now that he asks himself and his relocating friends before relocation:

“What is the transformation you would like to see in yourself as a result of this relocation?”

Isn’t that brilliant?  What transformation would you like to see in you?!?!

How often do you think about your transformation?  We may have thought about it when in school and associated it with the kind of life we would have as adults.  But rarely do we pause long enough during these years to think about our own transformation in any context.

Transformation in the context of relocation comes down to who we will become. 

  • What will we learn?
  • What will we assimilate?
  • What will we choose to keep out?
  • How will be change?
  • Will our values be tested or changed?
  • How is our bravery, compassion and ability to connect changed?

When we think about potential transformations, ahead of time, we can truly craft how we walk through this relocation.

Life on Purpose is about Intention

What I like best about the transformation question is that in asking it, we become more intentional about all aspects of our relocation. 

Filling that clean slate of life now with intention is not hurried.

In relocation we make hundreds of decision, sometimes on a daily basis for months. The thought of making it even more decision laden can be a bit daunting.  To make every decision with intention?  Doesn’t that cause more work?

I argue that living with known intention actually makes all of that decision making easier.  When we know where we are going and what we want out of this relocation, we have the ability to look at all of those option and decide more easily…more quickly.

Filling that clean slate of life now with intention is not hurried. We are no long frienzied with “getting this done” and “getting the family settled”. 

…we are now seeking out those things that fit us.

With intention in view, we are now seeking out those things that fit us.  We only allow in those thing that lead us toward that transformation we are seeking.  Sure we may try on new things to test them and see if they fit.  But ultimately those people, things and activities we bring in are now aligned with where we are going as individuals and as a family.

Start Here

One of my free resources gets you down the path to living life on purpose.

The “3 Step Relocation Guide” provides you with links to the personal assessments I listed above as well as worksheets and resources to get you through every step of your relocation journey.

Remember if you have not connected, your relocation is not complete.  I can help.

If you would like to know exactly how this works choose a time to meet with me in the next week.  I will give you an overview of what is here on the website, you will receive real WholeLife Relocation coaching and tool or two you can use today.

I can help.

Ready to learn more?

ReloWomen WholeLife coaching can help you.
Click the button and choose your time.


Will Work for Friends

Where is Home

Will Work for Friends

Will Work for Friends

“Will Work for Friends” was a tongue and cheek article from 20 years ago in the Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine.  I was living in Minneapolis at the time and the issue of finding friends was such an issue in the city, that it made the Minneapolis St. Paul magazine cover.  The cover had man and woman, both in their late twenties holding a carboard sign “will work for friends”.

The original story told the plight of finding friends and how it was so difficult after school and once they had joined the workforce.

Friendship and community connection are critical to the success of a relocation for each family member.  These connections are what ground us. 

Without connections we struggle to find any kind of normal.

Connections from acquaintance to deep “you can call me at 3am”, all weave together to form a sense of security and support.  The connections in the local community make a difference.  They form a cornerstone stability from which a sense of home can be built.

But as adults where do we start? 

Why is it so hard?

Most of us adults think finding friends should be easy, like it was in school.  The magic of school led us to believe that friendships just happen.  We strike up a conversation with that right person and we are Best friends forever or at least until the end of the school year.  It was predictable and we seemed to just have friends.

Except this is not actually the way friendships begin or evolve.

School made us think friendships happened by magic.

Relationships like most everything else evolve.  It begins with an introduction, then getting to know you, the shared experiences, the testing and the deciding.  Each piece is integral to the relationship process.  Because these things happened as a result of the K-12 years we did not see the individual steps in the process and therefore did not know they existed.

So now when we step out into the real world of our new community, we use faulty expectations. This process requires more time and attention than we expect to give it.  This leads us to think we are incapable of connecting or finding friends.  And after the magic does not work, we give up accepting failure.

Beyond the faulty childhood friendship expectations, we typically don’t recognize a shift in rules.

The Rules Changed

When we move more than 30 miles from where we begin, know that the rules of engagement have changed.  If you really think about it, say the next town over, you can see it.  How the community interacts with each other and outsiders.  What the community finds of utmost importance.  Even how they typically vote.

Each community no matter how big or small, has its rhythm and a way of doing things.  This can be pointed out to us in what time is the acceptable time to put on the garbage or whether or not we should support the local sports teams.

He let her go ahead on Christmas Eve!?!!

When my sister visited me in Texas for the first time she went to the grocery store on Christmas Eve around 4pm just before the store were closing at 5pm.  As she stood in line to pay with her 5 items the gentleman ahead of her, with a few more items than her, invited her to go ahead of her.  This was gob smacking to her.  Where she was living everyone was kind and patient but this type of courtesy was rarely offered, especially when both had a similar number of items.

It isn’t that one is better or worse.  It is just that the rules of engagement are different from community to community.

Expecting what’s not there

The other challenge to relocation is that when we live in a part of the country like the one my sister walked into, we begin to EXPECT that is the norm everywhere.  That everyone SHOULD act a certain way, like your neighbors should show up with contact information and a plate of cookies on the day you move in.  Or perhaps neighbors should mind their own business until there is an emergency.

What are your expectations?

But it should be….

When we move into a new community, we expect that it will be like where we came from.  The last community is then the latest point of reference.  Why would it be different?

These “universal truths or expectations” are what get us into trouble the fastest.  Expecting things of people that have no knowledge of how we believe it should be, sets us up for immediate disappointment.

So how do you traverse these things and find your people?

How to find friends…your tribe!

First, understand the relationship process from first meeting to “can call you at 3am”.  There are many different steps and required bridges to cross between them.  See Connections: The power of female friendships by Mary Sheehy.

By understand the process you set reasonable expectations for yourself and others.  One of the biggest mistakes I made year after year was expecting too much of people.  They were kind of weirded out.  Do not, be me.

Second, do what you love!  Find whatever version of what you love in the local community, sign up, make arrangements and get involved.  In doing what you love and are passionate about, you will easily find like minded people who you can build shared experiences with.

Shared experiences are one of the keys to building connected relationships. 

Third, learn – learn – learn.  Use this time and attention to learn about the local community.  Learn those unspoken cultural rules through observation.  Learn what they all get excited about and are passionate about.  Learn and find the places where you fit into this new local community.

No place is perfect and neither are the people.  First learn what is there and then find where you want to participate and …participate.

On the ReloWomen podcast on Thursday we are going to talk a little more about those friendship stages from two perspectives.  It is when we have missed expectations that we do the most damage to self confidence around our ability to make friends.

It does take getting out there and on Thursday I will help you understand how that process flows and relationships evolve so that you are as effective as possible.

If you are ready to learn how

ReloWomen WholeLife coaching can help you.
Click the button below, choose a time and let’s chat. 


Where is Home?

Where is Home

Where is Home?

In the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, Diane Lane plays a 30 something recently divorced woman who is moving out of her house.  When the movers come to move her things from her home, they repeatedly ask her…”What about the piano?”  “Stays” she says.

What about the sofa?” they say  –  “Stays” she says.  “What about the table?” – “Stays” she says.  Finally, the four burly movers ask her what she does want to have moved and she points to a few boxes in the foyer.  “Just those.”

Forward a few months later and the boxes arrive at a Villa she has purchased in Italy.  As she opens up the box and sees the items, specifically a small blue vase and a cookbook, she has a flood of memories come back.  Memories of her old life and times when she thought she was happier.

That small blue vase becomes her start point for creating a home.  In arranging and cleaning her bedroom she says, “Go slowly through the house. Be polite, introduce yourself, so it can introduce itself to you.”

As the movie progresses, each room is greeted individually.

So, did she bring home with her in those few things or did she create home there?

Home is a little bit of everything.  Home is:

  • Who you are mixed with
  • What is there,
  • And a bit of interdependence

Sense of Home

What is home in the practical sense?  I would argue that it is a place where you can relax and recharge, gathering energy to face another day.  It is comfortable and familiar.  It both a place and what is done there(house and community). 

When I lived in London, we did not come home for Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving being a major family gathering back home, it was difficult to be so far away.  To fight back the feeling of loss, I decided to create Thanksgiving in our little flat.  That was a struggle, especially since it was just a regular Thursday in the UK and they do not have turkey’s until Christmas.  Even with the struggles, the activities of preparing the food and watching the parade from New York and perhaps watching the Rose Bowl made our little flat in London feel like home.  The smells, the activities, the conversations and of course a few calls home.

I figured out what I needed from the community and even enlisted local help.  Together we created a day that was familiar while also being new.  This brought us a sense of home in the little flat, thousands of miles away from “home”.

Begins as the Maverick Loner

The fact that we choose to relocate across the country taps into our independent adventurous side.  This natural independence can work contrary in terms of creating a sense of home.  Because we can make things happen while not knowing much about the area, let alone many people here, our first survival mechanism is maverick loner.

We get it done and get it done, now!  By the time we land in the new place, we are so practiced at giving order and making decisions that the idea of letting anyone else in sound dreadful.  We are convinced, that will just slow us down.

Sure, we have met some people, but only as acquaintances and only when necessary and they serve a purpose.

Humans yearn for Community

We as humans, need community.  It is built into our DNA.  Even the most introverted, typically finds a way to connect and build a community around them no matter how it looks.  Humans have evolved over thousands of years and our history has taught us that we are safer in a community.  That is why it feels so awful to be shunned or left out.  Shunning removes the safety net.

So as we move forward into our new physical communities, know that part of home here will be built upon this place here.  Just like it was before

That is because the community provides a piece you need to feel at home.  But this is not everything.

Knowing what to Expect

No matter the place, each one has a certain rhythm and provisions of which we partake in .  Initially, it is transactional.  We drop off our dry cleaning.  We pay for it as we receive clean clothes. There is comfort in that.

But eventually it deepens.  We pause to ask about their kids.  We notice when the walls get painted.  We may donate to the local soccer club they sponsor.

The expectancy becomes personal.  It morphs into a dependence, no matter how small, on each other. And so perhaps a smile is now expected and noticed when absent. They may call and check in on you if nothing has been dropped off for a few weeks.

The care and concern now runs along side of the original transactional relationship.  The expectancy will be seen at the doctors office, with a neighbor or with a receptionist.  It is a level of familiarity that fills one of the necessary sense of home pieces.

Bringing in the Familiar

Some of the most enthusiastic stories I get from EXPATs are about holding holiday gatherings for family and new friends in a place that doesn’t celebrate it.  Between the familiarity of preparation and celebration, and the opportunity to introduce new people to it creates so much of what makes a place home.

And this sense of home happens little by little.  The first time I saw a tiny bottle of Aunt Jemimah syrup in a local shop made my heart leap.  I had thoughts like I CAN make this work.

Like the little blue vase, we always bring the familiar with us because it is part of who we are.  The familiar provides cornerstone in for our sense of home.  A solid place to step off from where we find our footing so that we can explore what we do not know.

It is from the familiar then that we bring in the new to craft our local sense of home.

New Home is the Old Home

So really, the new sense of home is the old sense of home with a few additions.  All throughout life we add and subtract from the live we live.  From our sense of home.

Looking back your childhood home is not your adult sense of home or just after college home.  Home, what it is, changes for all of us…ebbing and flowing as we learn, grow and experience life anew.

Home is something we take with us wherever we go.  We do have those things that spark precious memories like when Francis opened that box in Under the Tuscan sun.  And some of those, we are able take them from place to place like grandma’s cast iron skillet.

And then there are others like my grandmother’s house in Michigan, that I will never see again, but will be part of me and bring me loving tender memories each time I see it in my mind’s eye. 

Home is with you everywhere you go.  It is part of who you are, what you do and  the things that come in and out of our lives.

This is GOOD NEWS. 
Because home is always a thought away and therefore home is always with you.

If you are ready to learn how this works…
click the button below, choose a time and let’s chat. 
You can take home with you.


Three Steps to Building Community

Three Steps to Building Community

Three Steps to Building Community

Building your community truly consists of 3 simple steps. Simple to understand steps. 

      • Doing what you LOVE
      • Dating the community
      • Choosing vs. Settling

The goal of these steps is to take advantage of the clean slate of relocation and only invite into life that which serves and supports the life desired.

Doing what You LOVE

Doing what you love is just that, seeking out what you like to do in the new community.  That is where you will find others, here, who love what you love. 

These activities can be found on programs like MeetUp, at businesses (riding clubs from a bike shop), through the chamber of commerce, the local parks and rec department, the library, and churches.  The last two Jazzercise groups I found were at a local church and the other was a city recreation center.  You never know.  Look everywhere.

Whether you want to play in an orchestra, do volunteer career counseling, train for a marathon, learn a language or hang out with other people who read Brene Brown, these activities are everywhere.  It is important to not assume they are only in one type of place. 

Doing what you love vs. trying something new

Participate in an activity you already know and love. This makes every outing into the new community a rewarding experience.  Regardless of whether the people you meet are friendship material or not, you do something you love.  This makes finding friend prospects a bonus.

Yes, the point here is to meet other people. However, we can never count on our future friends to be there. We cannot count on our tribe revealing themselves to us in a first meeting.

When interacting with the community early on, choosing activities we already know we like allows us to control the experience and therefore our expectations. We walk in knowing, we have a win.  We do not depend on other people for our happiness or contentment.  In the early months of relocation, this can become an obsessive focus.  When we count on ourselves and we can create joy regardless of others actions or interest.

That joy we create within ourselves will ultimately will be what attracts new friends to us.

Dating the Community

The idea of dating the community can be off putting, perhaps exhausting.  Like we need one more thing, one more unknown to suck energy from us during relocation.

But that is why you start with what you love.  The second reason to begin with what you love is because in order to figure out which of these people would be good friends for you, you must spend time with them.

Finding a friend is not like seeing your soul mate friend across the room. 

Your eyes meet and both of you are struck with the thought, “That is my new best friend.”  From that point on both of you have a friend to do everything with.  That is only a Hallmark movie type of things…and in that case romantic.

One of the things I learned over my many relocations is that “Friendships Don’t just Happen”.  That is also an enlightening book by Shasta Nelson.  Friendships take time, an investment on both sides. 

I know THAT is not what you want, especially if the boxes are unpacked and everyone else int he family is plugged in.  At this point, you are wondering if all there is anything more to life than dishes and laundry.  With your actual friends being across the county or on the other side of the world that exhaustion can just set in with a side of why bother.

But bother, you must.  You can do this.  And in your heart of hearts, you know how you will feel on the other side.  Those friends so many miles away are proof of that, so let’s get started.

Invites and more invites

Invitations extending outward, not toward you…unless you happen to move to Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama then you might receive a few.  Most of the invitations will be from you to others.

As you extend invitations know that the first obstacle is the busy established lives of others.  They are in a groove.  Most people and families have each week laid out roughly as to what happens where they go and what they do.  Breaking into that will take some time.  No matter how lovely or enticing your invitation, that schedule must be shifted and morphed to accommodate a new activity or invitation no matter how small.

This is both a practical and mental shift for the people you are reaching out to.  Both of which affect those weekly activity expectations.  Rarely do the delays or nos mean anything about the activity or you.  As with many things it has to do with them.

With these delays, nos and perhaps last minute cancellations again it is important to schedule the first couple of “dates” with what you LOVE.  And if there is a cancellation, you still have something happy making to do.

Keep inviting and manage your expectations.  We have to meet people and spend time with people to create relationships.  Those invitation will lead to the dates.

Time equals Connection

When I was struggling to connect in my last city, I decided to research what this was all about.  I wanted to figure out why I was having so much trouble.  It had been 4 years by this point. Was it me or was it them?  Was it this community?

In my research I came across a book called Connecting: The power of Female friendships by Sandy Sheehy.  The relationship concept in the book changes how I looked at the place I had landed.

What I learned through “Connecting” was that in order to connect with people, in order to form relationships I needed to spend time with people.  We needed to have shared experiences and through that a relationship could find its footing.  Without time or shared experiences nothing could be formed.  I was expecting that Hallmark movie type connection when that didn’t exist in my world and especially not in the culture I had relocated to.

Which takes us back again to doing what you love.  Doing what you love provides that shared experience in a safe non-pressure environment for everyone.  No one has expectations except for doing that activity.  This is important because when our only goal is to make a friend, that is a bit creepy and just about every person picks up on that.

We have to let people get to know us in a safe and unpressured way.  We can only do this through dating.  I wish I had another word for that but that is what it is.

And the last words on dating your community…please take your time.

Choosing not Settling

In that first few months of relocation, and if it drags on the first couple of relocation years, when we are not connected and we are still feeling like a flag blown off its flag pole tossing in the wind, we can get desperate. 

This is a place that we make poor decision.  Poor decisions about what we do and who we let into our lives.

Being desperate for a “friend” leads us to settle for any warm body that will meet our need for connection.  We settle for that who without considering the effect they have on us and our family.

When we settle for someone who does not fit who we are or our lives the results are everywhere.  We can see them and so can our family. 

You know you have settled when:

      • That friend date has been exhausting
      • It has been all give and serving
      • Even doing what you love is draining
      • You are agreeing to things you never would have before
      • Or you no longer do what you want to do

Consciously Choosing

We all think that all the people in our lives are all there by our choice. But there are many who just kind of got in.  And they are not too annoying or harmful to kick out. So it becomes easier to just let them stay.

However, it is time to not live like that anymore.  There are no shoulds in relocation because of the clean slate, which creates a wide-open opportunity to choose everything.  So, choose according to who you are and what you love.

If you are having trouble figuring out what you want go back to the 3 Step Relocation Workbook and work through the 1st section again.  Sometimes we as wives and mothers have spent so much time taking care and managing our families that we do not know what we want in people anymore.  We cannot identity who would really work best for us.

Ultimately, the people and the new activities that are best for us are those that encourage and support us to become more of who we are.  These people and activities help us grow in our ability to positively impact our lives and the lives of those around us.

We know they are good for us because we pouring into them are creating energy for us not depleting us.  And though giving and taking is not an even 50/50, there is enough give and take that both sides benefit from the relationship.

Use Dating the Community time to test all of this, so that you create your interdependent tribe who freely give, receive and support each other in alignment with your needs and values.

ReloWomen Podcast

On Thursday we will continue this discussion with an interview from Tania Thomas, a serial relocating woman who has lived in multiple countries since she was a little girl.  Tania grew up with the world as her community.  Listen in as she talk about developing community and its impact on her relocations.

Available on Apple Podcast, Spotify and other podcast players.  ReloWomen Podcast.

Have a wonderful week!  For more on Building community and all things relocation explore more here on ReloWomen!

Another Friendship  Blog: