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 TalkBox.mom, 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.

Categories

Intentional Transformation

Intentional Transformation

Intentional Transformation

Moving from wondering…”How did I get here?” to “This is where I am going and who I will be”

One of the biggest transformation for me took place when I transferred from Southwest Texas State University to College of St. Thomas(MN) in 1986.  At my first university it was all about exploring the world, especially the world of college life.  I found friends for fun and kind of went to school.  I was paying for it myself from the 2 or 3 jobs I had worked each summer.  I felt independent and free to do as I wished.  Then my dad got transferred to  Minnesota.

When they offered to pay for a college of high caliber in Minnesota, I took them up on that.  I was tired of the fun and was ready to get to work anyway.  And that I what I found at this new college.  One Thursday I asked my roommate where everyone was going she said “To the library”?  Perplexed I asked why and she told me rather flatly, “To study”.  For real?  To study?  I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

“I abdicated much of how that life was lived to others in the community or the community itself.”

But like at the first college, I fell inline with the acceptable activities of this community.  I must say that academically, this was a superior choice for me. My willingness to do as the locals did was strong and it served me.

And this is how I lived most of my life, via my roles.  First I was a daughter and a sister.  Then I was a dancer, student, flutist, high school senior and then college student.  Each of my role determined the transformation that took place in my life.  Each role dictated how I would act, what I would do and the life that I would live.

On some level I did choose my life…but I abdicated much of how that life was lived to others in the community or the community itself. 

It was kind of a “Oh that look like a good choice” or “I want to be part of that community” choice as opposed to choosing who I am becoming through it.

In my conversation with Rob Fenlon on Thursday’s Podcast, we talk about how most of us go into relocation wondering what this will be, rather than directing how we would like this to go.

Knowing that the transformation is coming is the first step.  Directing what the transformation is and includes in the second step.

“I blame it on the K through 12 years, but that was just a distraction to deciding to live a life I want to live.”

Intentional transformation is the process of executing a planned personal change or evolvement.  It takes us from being dragged along on a raft by the current, to building a boat and sailing it in the direction we wish to go.

As a mom I have experience crafting intentional transformation for my son and perhaps by husband when he lets me, but until the last few years I have not created and intentional transformation for myself.  There have been the exercise kicks and pursuing a degree or certification.  However, taking time to craft a vision for myself and putting together a plan to get there never happened.

I blame it on the K through 12 years, but that was just a distraction to deciding to live a life I want to live.

More than the where and do

Usually, when we talk about who we are, we talk in terms of roles.  I am a mom.  I am an HR Director.  I mentor high schoolers.

We identify ourselves with where we are from.  I am a Texan. I am British.

When we talk about transformation, we talk about gaining knowledge or experience: certifications, group membership, reading the latest Economist or parenting book.

These attribute though are only a subsection of a whole.  They are rather static and are all singularly focused.  They may cause indirect transformation, but they are typically not part of a whole personal transformation. 

Who I am today vs. Who I want to be tomorrow.

Intentional Transformation is about our “Who”

 Consistently in ReloWomen, you will find that I reference your “who”.  This is not where you live or what you do, though that can influence your who.  Your who is the wholeness of you where you make the decision for all of life.

“Evolving our current “who” allows us to realize our potential and become more of who we already are.”

This “Who” is the driving and directing part of us that embodies what we believe, what we value and what we want to accomplish in our lives.  You might see it in want statements.

  • I want to be a great mom.
  • I want to create a company to support my family and families in the community.
  • I want to help everyone understand how important this is
  • I want to be a good steward of what I have.

When we strive to do anything bigger than what we are doing now we have to tap into our “who”.  Because it is in growing our self image, our knowledge and our experience that we can go into our community, big or small and create the impact we have on our hearts to create.

So to do any of these things above we need to define and expand who we will need to be to accomplish this.  Perhaps we need to be brave or flexible or skilled or observant.

Evolving our current “who” allows us to realize our potential and become more of who we already are.

How to Intentionally Transform

 Intentional transformation begins with the idea that it is possible to direct the transformation that is taking place on a daily basis.  We all have experience choosing transformation, like when we went to college or chose to marry or take a new job. 

Seeing transformation as daily rather than big life changes puts the power in our hands to direct our transformation.  With this we still see the external people and cultures that have led us to transform in the past, but we see it in an active way not with passive acceptance.

Be careful not to judge any past “going along” as bad.  It is not bad.  Those passive choices were just not chosen with personal intention.

When we chose to intentionally transform in the moment and over months or years, we are continually evaluating this incoming information against who we know ourselves to be, what we want to accomplish in our lives/world, and ultimately who we want to be.

The NOW

Start with who you are now.  That gives you a solid place to step off from.  If you haven’t defined it recently, check out the first part of my 3 Step Relocation Guide.  It is all about knowing and defining your current “Who”.

The FUTURE

Intentional transformation is about knowing on some level, about the destination.  Many times during our lives we talk about not knowing what we want to be when we grow up.

 The Future in terms of intentional transformation is the act of choosing one.  Choosing something you want and who you must be to accomplish that.  A great speaker, a lover of learning, someone who keeps their word, someone who shows up for themselves just because they decided to do it.

This idea of our future selves is what provides the guidance to know if the path we choose is the right path.

The JOURNEY

“If you don’t know where you are going, any path will get you there.”
~ a paraphrase of the exchange between the Cheshire Cat and Alice,
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

All of us are on a journey.  How do I know?  Because I am here, as I am, in this place and with these people doing these things.  I got here because of my journey.

At this age I know that much of the past journey was dictated by others.  But now that I know, the current journey is more often one of personal choice. 

So which path do you choose?  It depends on the future self you are going after and this will dictate the path or journey.  No journey is a straight line or without potholes, but the active choosing of a path and a journey does mean you will get there more quickly than no choice at all.

It begins with where you are, then choosing a future and finally choosing the path or paths on the journey between the two.

Passive transformation becomes
Intentional Transformation
when chose a fuller destination. 

Every Relocation

 Passive Transformation takes place in every relocation.  It is the relocation decision puts passive transformation in motion. 

Passive transformation becomes Intentional Transformation when chose a fuller destination.  When we choose, and put into the plan every piece of our lives beyond simply a community, schools and a job…THIS is when we step into our power to direct our lives. 

This is when we create intentional transformation.

    • So, who do you want to become and be?
    • Who do you want your children to become and be?
    • Who will the family become and be?

Knowing we can use this relocation, this clean slate of life to intentionally transform, means that we utilize our innate power and truly live a life we want to live…no matter where we land.

On Thursday, we will continue the Intentional Transformation discussion with Rob Fenlon, the CEO of Global Educational Consulting Services ,on the ReloWomen Podcast, available on Spotify, Apple and your favorite podcast players.

Missing a sense of home? 
I can help.

Download  “a Sense of Home” guide

The journey is easy.  Begin here.

Categories

Resilience and Relocation – Build it and Utilize it

Resilience in Relocation

We need it…but what is it??

Resilience:

      1. The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
      2. The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
        Lexico Oxford dictionary

In all relocations there are times of difficulties and tough situations.  Hits that we take called missed expectations or straight up fails.  Our ability to “spring back” has a direct effect on our experience and the ultimate success of our relocation.

But how do we have resilience?  Some people say it is something we are born with. However, resilience can be learned. It is a super power benefit learned through relocation.

This super power is visible in most of the relocating women I have know. These women walk through some of the most stressful situations in a calculating manner.  It is like they are completely present, while able finding all potential options simultaneously.

Once the boxes land we know close to nothing. It is now that we need to exercise our resiliency.  Because resilience provides Authentic Confidence and Flexibility in the face of the unknown.

Resilience and Better Management

When we are resilient, we are better at managing everything.  We are not distracted by those doom and gloom thoughts.  We are not stuck in confusion or overwhelm. 

We look for options, confident that we can figure this out.

We have “Authentic Confidence and Flexibility” required by resilience to create, manage and navigate more clearly.  Being present allows us to see what is, as well as what can be, simultaneously allowing us to build a bridge between the two.

Every task, process or person needing management is managed more clearly and cleanly.  Thus, increasing the chances of relocation success.

Resilience Starts Within

“While we often turn to quick external solutions, building long-term resilience to stress starts from within.”

~ From McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, article
Don’t Stress Out: How to Build a Long Term Resilience”.

According to McKinsey resilience requires six personal elements. Elements that can learned, defined, controlled and strengthened.

Purpose and Values – Knowing what you value and your purpose allows us to be confident in our decision and flexible in the new we bring into our lives, as long as they are in line with our purpose and values

Mindfulness – The ability to be fully focused and present in the current situation.  They suggest practices such as meditation to train the mind, so that it can be focused at will.

Acceptance – In WholeLife Relocation Coaching, we focus as they do in feeling your feelings without fear.  Allowing those feelings without resistance allow you to be present and step out of “your comfort zone”, into all of the new relocation presents.

Defusion – This is about finding those thought that create negative results in our lives.  When we are aware that these thought exist in our brains, we are able to capture them and defuse them at the thought level, before the results become reality.

Self in context – Seeing the big picture and us with in it.  Becoming the watcher of ourselves removes some of the emotional attachment we have to circumstances and outcomes.  This big picture helps us to be flexible and confident in our decisions.

Committed Action – McKinsey says that “Developing authentic confidence requires us to think through the changes we want to make in our daily lives.”  Our relocations are all about change.  By thinking through options, being present, seeing the bigger picture and knowing who we are…we are committed to the actions we choose. Because they are all in our best interest.

All six of these rely on our willingness to determine what we believe, monitoring and choosing what we think and deciding what is most important to us in the long term.  That self-awareness and living on purpose propels us forward.

Ready and Resilient

Ready and Resilient is actually a US Army program.  This is a program for all of their soldiers.  Their goal is to have each one of their soldier ready and equipped for any challenge that they step into.

Isn’t this how we want to be?  Ready and Resilient.

Self-Awareness is where the US Army Ready and Resilient program begins.

      • Self-Awareness
      • Self-Regulation
      • Optimism
      • Mental Agility
      • Character (Knowing your strengths and strengths of others)
      • Connection (Interdependence)

Again, the power comes from within.  Our ability to know, monitor and direct ourselves ~ our minds really and ultimately choosing resiliency on purpose. 

This means that, when practiced and honed, we can meet every situation with the attitude of I’ve got this. And we possess tools that we are skilled at, to back up that belief.

We no longer wait on anyone to rescue us from a downward spiral.  To make everything “better”. We have seen and practiced with the power within to change our own lives.

Resilience:

      • Starts with the belief that we can.
      • Shows us what we need, if anything is lacking, to acquire.
      • Allows us to start from optimism so that we can see options and our abilities.
      • Reminds us to take care of ourselves physically and mentally to maintain mental agility.
      • Asks us to call on our strengths and the strength of others.
      • Reminds us that we will not be doing this alone but as a community…first as a family and then within the larger new community.

Resilience can be called up on, from within, to overcome any circumstance.

Building Resilience

Building resilience begins by recognizing what has been overcome and seeing how life has evolved over time.  Circumstances that used to crumble us no longer have that power.  People and judgements that made us shrink away, do not affect what we do.

This practice of overcoming obstacles builds personal resilience.  Find the proof in your past it is there.

Next, determine to get curious about your feelings.  These are physiological reactions in our bodies, that is all.  Where does that “feeling” present it self in your body?  Across your chest or a tingling in your head.  When you get curious and look at yourself from a third party place those feelings lessen in the moment.  When we figure out what is driving them we can sometimes get them to wander away.

Finally, choose a belief that serves you.  One that gets you someplace.  It has to be believable or your brain will reject it. So no sunshine and unicorns. Practice thinking and saying this new belief out loud.  If you have chosen one your brain doesn’t accept an immediate negative feeling will appear.  An easy check.

Once you have this new belief, put it in your phone or on a card and carry it around with you.  It will take a while to remember this when the negative ones flood in.  When the other appear, pull this one out and remember that you believe this.

This process help you build all of the 6 US Army Ready and Resilience areas:

      • Self-Awareness (Seeing what is)
      • Self-Regulation (Choosing new beliefs and actions)
      • Optimism (Believing you can)
      • Mental Agility (tackling those old belief and actions and choosing new ones to produce new results)
      • Character (Awareness again – Inventorying your strengths)
      • Connection (Though not a direct part of this process, many connections with others will be improved by taking control of any kneejerk reactions.)

Take a hit get back up without injury.  If you think about the challenges as “learnings”, what our guest podcast Tania Thomas calls them, then there is no self judgement to slow us down.  We learn and we get on with it.

The more we see and learn from our “learnings” the more resilient we become.

We have firm ground from which to step off from into a new direction.

We ReloWomen build new lives with each relocation, bigger than before.  Once we know we can walk through the hits…we walk through relocation well!

If it is time to Relocate without Drama, set up a call and let’s have a chat.  You have lots of options.  Click to schedule your chat now.

Other Blogs: #1 Relocation Challenge

Links: 

McKinsey and Company article – “Don’t Stress Out: How to Build a Long Term Resilience

US Army Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness – https://readyandresilient.army.mil/CSF2/supportdocs/r350_53.pdf

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:
https://relowomen.com/relocation-the-whos-the-void-and-the-friend/

Relocation – The Whos, The Void and The Friend

Every time I relocated, it is like I have been making it up as I go.  I go along following the latest article or “squirrel” that crosses my path.  And then the Void hits. I forgot about the Whos. And the friend? I don’t have any friends here.

I think to myself, certainly I know how to do this.  I am an adult.  I am successfully raising a child.  I have relocated before.

The challenge though is that I am out of practice.  I have forgotten what I knew.  The rule and processes of the partners chose in the past have changed.  Regulation always change.  It is like I am almost doing this for the first time.

In additional the “HELP” I am receiving from the employer is helpful monetarily but it doesn’t actually provide a roadmap to relocation.  Housing check – Transportation of household goods check – a bit for miscellaneous expenses – perhaps culture or language training if an international assignment.

Each being static pieces of a much larger organic puzzle.  Required but not really connected, leaving us ReloWomen to fill in the gaps.  All of the gaps, which are like tendons and muscles.  Without the tendons and muscles, it really doesn’t matter much if you have the bones.  They are not going to go anywhere.

Oh, the Gaps

These gaps are everywhere and we are expected to know how to not only identify them and fill them.  I don’t know how many times I have heard…

“This is just moving from here to there.  You know how to live life. You obviously have already set one up.  You already have a place to live and your things, so no problem, You’ve got it from here.”

The problem is that that life, that successful life was set up over years.  It evolved over time to become what it was.  Things, people and activities were brought in and let go of.  That evolution happened slowly with lots of information…

NOT in 2 to 3 months knowing almost nothing.

But now we are being asked to pick up multiple, whole lives, roots and all, and replant them in a place we know nothing about.  Where’s the roadmap for that?  Who is going to help us?  Typically no one.  We are on our own.

And this is why ReloMoms was born, now ReloWomen.  I have seen the struggle.  I have experienced the struggle.  I have scars from the struggle and I know it doesn’t have to be that way.

Today, I am sharing a few nuggets from the ReloWomen Crash Course. A six week intensive course designed to get teach you what you need to know to create a roadmap that works for you and your family.

First Nugget – The “Whos”

One of the foundational concepts of the ReloWomen Crash Course is knowledge of the “Whos”.  Who you are, who your partner is and who your children are. Knowledge of the whos is foundational because every decision made during relocation is directly related to one or all of you.

The first nugget here is actually a collection of assessments each of which analyzes different aspects of each family member…each of your whos.

Assessments

I recommend 4 different assessments to be completed by each family member over the age of 10(make your best call as parents for applicability).  In the ReloMoms 3 Step Relocation Workbook available at www.ReloMoms.com the first section lists these assessments along their links. 

When we know who we are and how we work, we make better decision that align with us.  In addition, when each family member takes the quizzes it opens up additional conversations about similarities, differences and shows how each person is best supported.

During all of the change and stress of relocation, the more each one understands the other fewer conflicts and more compassion is possible.

Second Nugget “The Relocation Void”

Not many people talk about “the relocation void”.  Perhaps they forget after a year or so, but the relocation void happens upon most every relocating woman. Typically, as relocating women we take it upon ourselves to plan, arrange and setup for our kids, our partners and our family.  We make phone calls, create schedules and get things all ironed out to make daily life run well.

We are so very busy attending to everyone else and their settling that we forget to attend to our own.  Therefore, when everything is running like a Swiss watch and there is nothing else to organize the Relocation VOID appears.

Our daily purpose in the new place is gone.  And without that daily purpose, that activity we experience a void of purpose, of usefulness. 

Similar to Gone

The only other place I have seen this is when my mother was taking care of her mother during her last years.  Everyday my mother would go out to Grandma’s place to get her up and going and then later again to go to bed.  She would take care of everything Grandma needed in between.  And then one day Grandma was gone.

My mother had such purpose taking care of her mother.  She took such pride in it.  Mom loved taking care of her mother and saw it as a privilege.  When Grandma was gone, so was my mother’s purpose.  For a couple of years Mom filled every day full with activity supporting her noble purpose.  When Grandma was gone, so was her activity.  So then what?  What could she do that would be close to as meaningful as taking care of her mother? How would she spend her time?

That is the same with the relocation void.  It means so much to us as ReloWomen to make sure everyone in the family adjusts and adapts, putting life in just the right order for everyone to begin living their best life.  Everyone except us.

It is noble and right to do this, but many time we get so busy with them that we do not start to put the pieces in that are just for us.  ReloWomen are both individuals and a family member.  It is important to pick up knowledge, activities and connections for ourselves while we are setting up everyone else’s life.

That too, is noble and right.

Third Nugget – A Friend

We need a friend.  I heard a great podcast a few weeks ago Women Who Lead.  On the second one on relocation the guest being interviewed, Tania Thomas remarks that it wasn’t until she found her first friend that she began to settle in.  This relocation at that time was 2 years old.  It had taken her 2 years to find that first friend.

This is not unusual, especially for us ReloWomen.  We are busy taking care of everyone else that we do not spend time finding that friend, no like we do planning play dates for our kids.  We come last.

Either this OR we do not recognize the people in front of us as friends.

Friendship Reality & Illusion

In Friendships Don’t Just Happen by Shasta Nelson, she talks about the 5 different circles of friendships.  The range from just met acquaintances(Contact Friends) to “call you at 3am” always show up friendships(Committed Friends).  Shasta says that if at any time, one of those five friendship circles are empty you will feel a loss, like you are missing something.  And that feeling will distract you from “seeing” those lesser but valuable connection right in front of us.

Sometimes we do not see it because we are looking for someone just like our best friend back in __________ .

In ReloWomen Crash course I go through the stages of friendships and how to set proper expectations for each stage friendship.

Ultimately, when you recognize a connection in the mid-section of the stages, you begin to feel that connection to the community.  That is when that sense of community and home can begin.

To learn more about these topics and others browse the ReloMoms’ library of blogs and podcasts on the ReloMoms website…soon to be ReloWomen.

No Longer Alone

And if it is time to not walk through your relocation alone click this link and try out Whole Life Relocation Coaching.  The first one is on me!  We will primarily focus on relocation coaching and then spend the last 5 minutes talking about the ReloWomen Crash Course and Coaching options if you would like to hear more .

Join me on Thursday in the ReloMoms Podcast as we wrap up the week with more nuggets in the ReloWomen Crash Course.  A ReloWomen Relocation Roadmap and experiencing hope. 

Hope is everywhere when you know where to look for it.  The ReloMoms Podcast is available in Apple Podcast, Spotify and other podcast players.

Have a Wonderful Week!

Annette

Tool to Make Better Relocation Decisions

Tools to Make Better Relocation Decisions

These tools to make better relocation decisions,
are not relocation standard.

Assessments, Relocation and Better Decisions.

Many of us took personal assessments before we graduated from high school.  Or perhaps we took them as part of a team building process on the job. But I have not met one person who took these specifically for relocation.

What they measure though, is valuable, if not more valuable in the family setting.  That is because each family member has an innate interest in the relocation.  Outside of the core family, personal assessments can help to identify they type of partners, communities and new friends that create success for the relocating family. 

If you know who you are, the needed whos and whats are more easily identified.

Personal Assessments provide personal knowledge.  Knowledge that can positively impact all decisions and potential success.

What if you believed you had the answer to just about any question, options or conundrum that presented itself?

What if you knew the answer before the question was asked? 

Believing “I’ve got this!” before any question or challenge appeared…opens up options and changes the outcome. 

Assessment Types

Today, we are talking about 4 types of assessments:

      • Personality
      • Temperament
      • Strengths
      • Stress

Knowing these four areas leads to better decisions in every context, like when choosing a school that will embrace and encourage your child, choosing a great employer and negotiating with relocation partners.  Knowing who you are, and all of the “whos’” in the family, affects every relocation decision.  Knowing as much as possible, leads to “right decision” the first time.

      • Who to bring in and who to keep out.
      • What to bring in and what to keep out.
      • How to handle a situation and how not to handle a situation.
      • How each family member gets along best.
      • Which strengths and talents can be tapped into and synergized.
      • What personality types or process types will not work with the family.

When the personal who(s) are known, then it is easier to identify the people, activities, communities and processes that will most likely align with the family.

Personality Type

There are many different Four Quadrant personality type assessments on the market. You, like me, may have taken the Meyers-Briggs assessment in High school and college.  I found it kind of interesting then.  But when I took it later in life it began to make sense due to life experience. 

It reveals personality traits like drive, awareness of details, desire for continuity or even extroversion vs. introversion.  Interestingly, personality assessment can change over time.  This is because personality can be influenced by culture, life experience, what we learn from others and even relocation.

A FREE personality assessment based on the Meyers-Briggs Test is from Personality Hackers.  The nice thing about this company is that they provide immediate results to an email. That free information includes potential personality traits and even how one type gets along with other types.

This assessment takes about 10 minutes.  https://personalityhacker.com/genius-personality-test/

Temperament Type

Temperament is different than personality, in that temperament is hardwired and unchanging.  What I learned through taking this assessment is that I am not as go with the flow as I thought I was.  As a matter of fact, my family was like…”No, you are kind of controlling.  And you always have been.”

Once I made peace with this information I realized it made quite a bit of sense.  I could see it as I looked back over my life.  I always thought my sister was the controller type, but it was really me.  I am the ring leader in my little family,  and that’s OK.

FREE Videos that explain and explore the different temperaments are available from the app “I SAID THIS, YOU HEARD THAT”, available on Apple IOS and Android.  Watching the videos as a family will help everyone easily see which temperament they are.

A workbook is available for approx. $30 with a paper assessment and worksheets at https://www.isaidyouheard.study/.

Strengths Type

The Strength assessment is the fun one.  CliftonStrengths or StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Gallup lists out the strengths for each individual in descending order.  They have interesting titles like Ideation and Woo.

Woo is one of my 5 Strengths – “People exceptionally talented in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with someone.” From https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths

This assessment show what each individual is strong iin, what they should lean into and where they will most likely experience success.  My dad asked me to do this for years.  When I finally gave in, I found this enlightening especially in relation to how my father and I work together.

https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths Top 5 Strengths $19.99 or
all 34 CliftonStrengths $49.99 per person.

Stress Type

Knowing your stressors and more importantly, how you react in normal situations vs. stressful situations is enlightening.

I think most of us think we will react the same exact way, based on our values and who we are, no matter the situation or the people involved.  But, that simply is not the case.  When I took the Birkman Assessment a few years ago, I was shock to find out that I do not react the same way during stress.  In some situations, I do the exact opposite of what I would in a “normal” situation.

Relocation months 0 to 4 is anything but “normal”.  This is why I found the Birkman Assessment so fascinating and applicable.  During relocation we all experience multiple missed expectations and disappointments, perhaps daily. When the stress response is known ahead of time, the response can be decided in real time.  Knowing that the “normal” response is not the auto response, we have the ability to remember, pause and choose our response.

The Birkman is the most expensive of the four assessments, but it assesses something that the others do not; Stress and stress responses.

Birkman Method Assessment https://birkman.com/solutions/birkman-basics/

Assessment Wrap up

Most importantly, sit down as a family and compare everyone’s results.  Each family member, through this exercise, will learn something new about each of the other family members.  The new knowledge, especially when the kids learn something unknown about their parents, gives the children another way to think about their parents and potentially create another connection.

When talking about each person’s personality, temperament, strengths and stressors each family member, everyone gains new insight and has new ability to understand the others.  This understanding drives compassion.  Compassion drives patience in the time of hardship or disappointment.

Patience is something that everyone in the family needs an abundance of during relocation.

Practically Speaking

On the PRACTICAL SIDE, know this information helps drive those “first right” decisions I talked about in the beginning.  It is through knowing ourselves that we can hire the best partners.  Whether real estate agents, mortgage brokers, movers, inspectors, etc., when we know ourselves we are able to:

      • See the people who will best work with us.
      • Share or adapt to our work ethic and rules.
      • Negotiate for things we now know are important.
      • Educate partners as to how best to work with us(time sensitivity, attitude, work ethic, communication, pet peeves, etc).
      • AND Not bring in people or processes that will slow or hinder our relocation.

Personal assessment knowledge provides a new level of control. 

In Relocation, the last thing we need to is have anyone slow it down or throw in a monkey wrench.  The assessments help identify who and what will not work or serve the relocation.  Even when we must accept the only option, this information provides a reminder to communicate what is most important to a partner so that they can be successful.

For more information about all things relocation explore the ReloMoms Weekly Podcast available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, as well as the other blogs here on ReloMoms.

WE ARE REBRANDING!!  As of October 1st
ReloMoms becomes ReloWomen
Same great mission with more inclusion.  All of us women, whether accompanying or transferred employee, design, create and run our lives and those of our family. 

By including all ReloWomen…we all can Relocate Well!

Ready to NOT relocate alone? 

Try out Whole Life Relocation Coaching. 

Schedule your hour of coaching today!

Educational Continuity and the Right School

Educational Continuity... and the "Right School"

All the Same??

Across the US, K through 12 curriculums are relatively the same, right?  No. No they are not.  You can move from one school district into the one next door and the curriculum used can be vastly different.

So, if they can be different how is is possible to trust that a child is receiving an education without gaps relocating from one school/district to another, let alone one country to another. 

Have you considered it?  How would you know?

Relocation can create educational gaps.

Can you trust the system? Each system?  AND How would a parent find those gaps – Academic, social and environmental?

Because I only had one child to navigate through the US educational system, he was always a Guinea pig.  I didn’t know what to do and other than the Montessori school option.. All I knew was public education.

As we moved across the country, my parents never placement tested me.  I was never evaluated for reading, though I should have been.  My grades were good, so I went from one grade to the next grade, eventually graduating at 17 from high school.

They trusted the system, so I trusted the system.  Until I didn’t.

No More Blind Trust

As a mom, you just know.  You know when something is up with your child – seeing it on their face, in their mood or in what they do and do not do. You know when they are short of  their potential.  You know when they are struggling.  I’ve talked about our Dyslexia journey a few times in the last few weeks. 

The thing is, I recognized the issue way back in 3rd grade. I asked for testing and received it.  I was told he would be fine and catch up, trust us. Retested in 4th grade and  6th grade and flagged by a science teacher in 7th grade.  Each time “Don’t worry, trust us.” 

He was an A, B, C student at the time and not a behavioral problem.  Other than struggling with reading they kept saying “He’s doing fine, trust us.”  But, he was struggling.  I could see it.  I kept asking questions but couldn’t get anyone to tell me what that gap was.  We moms, we can see the gaps.  Gaps that are really there.

It wasn’t until I stopped trusting the experts, that I finally decided to have my child tested.  Through private educational testing, we finally learned what that gap. The gap I had seen for 8 years. 

Those experts, told us to trust them and even dismissed the gap I was seeing..   But the truth is, though most often they are well intentioned, even the best experts do not know everything.  I feel the same way about doctors.  There is so much to know, and so many medical advances taking place that any one doctor cannot know everything and be able to help every person.  At this point, I joke, anything more than strep we are getting a second opinion.

“Liisten to the experts and seek further understanding and resources when it’s not quite right” should be our manifesto for educating our children.  Children are not all cut from the same cloth.  They do not all learn well from the same strategies or environments. 

Take for instance a few years where 1st and 2nd grade classrooms brought in exercise balls to sit on for the fidgety kids.  Being able to move during instruction allowed them to learn more each day.

Last School to Right School

Intellectually, we expect that the new school will be different from the last.   Emotionally though, we truly want it to be all the same, especially if the last school served our children well. Being able to plug them in and then watch them make friends, learn and thrive is what we want. Conversely we worry about choosing the “not right” school where we could watch our children whither.

So, what do you need to know? 

You need to know your child: Academically, Socially and in which Environment they best thrive in. These are the educational continuity areas that matter. A significant deficit in any of them can cause a child to stop learning or shut down.

The new school will most likely not be an exact match.  However, by knowing where your children are at in these three area the closest match can be identified.  AND now that the gaps are visible any deficits can be shored up and addressed by outside resources or you the parents.

Academics

Sometimes the academic standing is easy to understand. The records are complete and understandable to the parents and the new school/district.  Many times though parents, children and the new administrators are kind of guessing.  This guess leads to “let’s try this out”.  Which may be find for the school but if IT doesn’t work out that means that the child and the family face another transition or a decision to go along with less than needed situation/academics/challenges/accommodations/etc.

Accredited Academic test can help fill in the gaps. The private educational testing we receive was from an accredited academic testing individual, provided testing results that were recognized by our local schools.  This was important because we expected he was going to need accommodations at school and for the college entrance exams.

The point of academic testing is determined by what you want for your children and what you believe they can achieve.  Perhaps you want to know where they rank in all 8th grade students.  Perhaps you think they should be in a more advanced math class.  OR because of the past school curriculum, nothing seems to be a direct match for the new schools.

Around the Country
No Capitals – No Presidents

As we move around the country and around the world, the curriculum continuity is disrupted. To this day I do not know all the presidents or the state capitals due to a mid-year relocation.  This is because, the state I moved from were going to cover that in the spring semester, and the new school had already covered them in the fall semester.

If my mother would have known, I am sure she would have quizzed me until I remembered. But, she trusted the system.

Academic testing, placement testing and assessment testing can provide that bridge between the schools.  Helping the new school understand and appropriately place students in classes. The private school our son attended used the academic testing in just this manner, making sure he was in an appropriate and doable class for him.

Complete Educational Testing

The educational testing, some of which is available on a sliding scale, goes beyond placement and grade level ranking.  Private academic helps both parents and students understand how they learn as well as assess intelligence and academic capabilities as well as be able to define the best environmental and social setting that will encourage and support a child..

The point being, to understand HOW THE STUDENT LEARNS.

Recent educational studies show that there are many different ways to learn.  Dyslexia in my opinion is one of many learning differences not a disability that can be mitigated with the right teaching tools.  Some of us are auditory learners and others are visual. 

When you know all of the  educational pieces for your child, choosing the “right school”, the best match out of the available community school is obvious.  This knowledge also allows the known gaps to be filled more easily either by the school or privately.  Educational Continuity can be achieved.

Searching for Educational Testing

When looking for educational testing, search PSYCHO EDUCATIONAL TESTING for testing that provides results in all three areas.  A NeuroPsych can provide additional information.  When evaluating the Assessment Specialists (the one/groups giving the testing) let them know why you want the testing and ask if they can provide you with that type of information. 

I talked to one Assessment Specialist that was willing to fly out to another district to assess whether the environments at the 4 school in contention, would match what that child needed and provide an environment where they might thrive.

As relocating parents we have the opportunity to do a school match.  Knowing who your child is, what they are capable of and which environment serves them means you do not have to guess.

You can know the “right school” when you see it!

Educational Continuity…
and the School Search

If you know,

      • How your child learns
      • What environment they excel in
      • Where they are EXACTLY academically
      • What they are capable of
      • What their innate talents are
      • What helps them excel

Then what?  How does that change your search for the “right school”?

Decide.  And write it down into your plan.

Delegate do not Abdicate

To a certain point we can trust the system, but not to the place of abdication.  By placing our children in any school or school system we are delegating the activities and responsibility of their education.  Delegation is not abdication.

Abdication is a washing our hands of the whole thing and accepting,  “JUST TRUST US”.

We do know our kids and we know what they are capable of.  If the experts do not provide the answers to the gaps, take heart and…keep looking.

ReloMoms do not accept that the expert know better, just because they tell us so.  We ReloMoms, we who relocate, are some of the toughest and best problem solvers in the world.  We can figure this out and choose the “right school” and provide educational continuity for our kids.

ReloMoms…You’ve got this!!


For more information about relocation and education look to the blogs and podcasts of August 31st and September 6th 2020 on the www.ReloMoms.com website.

It’s time for someone to come along side you and help you work through the relocation challenges sign up for your FREE 1 hour ReloMoms Coaching and Consult

You will walk away with useful tools and strategies! 

Related Blog: Vital Tips to Choosing the Right School
Link to podcast: Going Beyond the BIG 6 School Stats Podcast #5

Vital Tips for Choosing the Right School

The RIGHT School?

What Actually Matters?

This question causes parents sleepless nights.  For many of us, relocation gave us the first opportunity to choose our child’s school.  Many times, especially with the first child, we chose the local community school.  For those of us public school kids, that is typically where we send our children.  The school boundaries determining where they go and how they would be educated.

As long as the parents around us thought the schools were OK, we never considered another choice or what actually made a school, good. We accepted it.

Relocation changes that.  Perhaps for the first time, we must evaluate and make a choice.

The responsibility for our child’s education lands in our lap. It is a weighty decision that will impact where we choose to live, what our children get to do and what they will learn both actively and passively. That feeling of responsibility makes the decision making process more difficult.

Before we can decide we need to find some information.

The Internet School Search

Looking for school information looks a lot like shopping for a new car.  We look at what others are driving or considering.  We want one that as many features as we can afford.  We typically test drive the ones at the top of our budget.  We know we are not going to get everything we want but, we want as much as we can get.

When shopping for schools, the ones with the highest rated educational features look the best. The easiest stats to find are The Big SIX School Stats:

  • Testing
  • Graduation Rates
  • Internet Ratings
  • Sports/Arts Ranking
  • Diversity (economic & racial)
  • The Facilities

Each of these is relatively easy to find on the internet through the district and state education websites.  Facebook & Instagram provides images of what these schools are like. Other relocation sites provide some of this and current parent opinions on a 0 to 10 point scale.

Certainly, The Big SIX School Stats are important.  We should be able to identify the right schools for our kids.

Right?  Not necessarily.

The challenge with all of these sources is that they are easily skewed.  It is like looking at your best friend’s social media posts.  Most likely she is not airing the issues she has had in her family, with her schools or in her life on social media.  We individually and as institutions want to show our best side.

Whether the booster clubs, the districts, the PTA, etc., every part of a school has an intrinsic agenda to sell their school or program.  Therefore, only the best information will be presented.

What about the test scores, is this irrefutable data?  It may or may not be.  But, what does it matter? Will some other kid’s ability to take a test determine whether your child can achieve high test scores?  The answer is not necessarily.  Your child’s ability to test what they know is independent of the other child, their history and abilities.

Beyond Test Scores and Sports Rankings

What really matters in choosing the right school is truly understanding the school.  A school is not test scores and sports programs.  It is a living community.  Just like a one on one relationship, it will educate, impact and affect your child and your family.  All of the influences, the programs, the culture.

To understand as much as possible before the choice is made dive into knowing the following:

  • Parent involvement
  • Student culture
  • Social pressures (dress, participation, status, etc.)
  • Parent culture
  • Counselor availability
  • Administration hallway presence
  • Heavily funded preferred programs
  • District wide incentives and focus
  • Educational options
  • Education pathways & rules for access
  • Discipline rules and procedures
  • Charity and community endeavors
  • Extra-curricular activities/travel/access
  • Specialty programs and true availability (STEAM, Special Needs, Dyslexia, Gifted & Talented)
  • Student expectations (academic, behavioral, participation)
  • Parent expectations (academic, behavioral, participation)

Consider each of these and determine what works for us and our child, what is a challenge and what is a distraction or an impediment to our child and family.

What really matters is what makes a difference to your child and your family.

A Living Community

This small list represents only a fraction of what goes on at school.  A School is a living community, that functions like any other community.  It provides the structure and the rules for life with in the school.  The purpose served may be to educate children, but most of the education that goes on outside of the classroom, is what typically determines how children learn inside the classroom.

How do I know? Because 8 years of school taught my child, he was “stupid”.  That is a hard thing to unlearn.  Believe me, it still sneaks up on him as a college student…well after he has proven himself to be anything but stupid.

We tried time after time to understand why he struggled, asking administrator after administrator and teacher.  He wasn’t struggling enough for services even though multiple teachers requested evaluations.  This led to being told by peers he was “stupid”, and he accepted it.   The severe dyslexia went undiagnosed for years.

These communities have stronger influence than any test score or football ranking.  It is important to know a school’s daily culture, so that children can be placed in a school where they can thrive.

Thriving for my son came in the form of private school.  We shifted him to an college preparatory school. This was the first time where he was surrounded by kids who wanted to learn. He was expected to learn and participate.  In this environment and with these expectations he rose to the occasion.  In a smaller school, he could no longer hide from the other kids, the teachers or himself.  He found his voice and participated.  It wasn’t an easy ride.  It would be 4 more years before his dyslexia was diagnosed, but he found a community that was inclusive and academically interesting. Here, he was willing to put forth the effort and learn.

With the educational clean slate of relocation, there is no school that must be attended.  The options are wide open, even more wide open with online and home school options during the COVID pandemic.  Take advantage of the wide open options and find the living educational community that encourages, inspires and drives personal growth.

Identify Your Right School

Your Right School, one defined specifically for your child starts with a vision of the perfect school. A specific vision for each of your children.  Do not judge or hold back, just create.

For each of your children, what would the perfect school look like?

  • What would they learn?
  • What is your child’s potential (all areas)?
  • How would they be treated?
  • What does discipline look like?
  • What opportunities would they have?
  • What extras are offered (travel/arts/sports/clubs/language/STEAM/etc.)?
  • Are there program spots for my child?
  • What does each day look like?
  • What does your child need to become all they can be?
  • What do they expect of my child and the family?
  • The school will provide…
  • The school will communicate (through/when)…
  • As parents we will have _________ access and participation options.

Defining these things ahead of time will help you see the matches available.  Understand that due to the nature of organized school, no child is perfectly served by any school, private or public. And this is OK.  What you are doing here is creating a vision specifically tailored to each child.

This vision of the right school, helps you quickly identify which schools in the new community will best serve your child(ren).  This vision helps you move beyond the Big SIX School Stats, and focus on the school aspects that will positively impact your child and your family. 

“Begin with the end in mind.” ~ Steven Covey

Real Parents have the Information

You may be thinking, “But I don’t know any parents there.”  This is not going to be a problem. 

Finding real parents in the community happens with each phone call into the new community.  The real estate transaction alone will provide many locals who can connect you.  The local real estate agent, mortgage broker, title company and inspectors will all most likely have clients or co-workers with children in the different local schools.  This informal networking starts real information flowing your way.

One of the easiest call to make is to each school. Ask how to contact their PTA president and Membership chairperson.  These people will be excited to tell you all about the wonderful aspects of the school.  Be sure and ask about specific programs or services your child may need, and if they know of any parents who have kids like yours who could give you more information.

A non-traditional call is to the Chamber of Commerce.  Sure, this is a business organization but many of the small business owners are local and have children in school, both public and private. 

Local membership organizations are filled with real parents.  If you are a Junior League member, Rotary/Lions club members, MOPS member or might like to join the garden club, contact the local clubs.  After receiving club information ask about the schools and school options.

Parents typically love to talk about their kid’s schools.  The real parents are the most likely source to learns how the school fail as well as how to overcome some of that

Understanding a school’s culture before experiencing it can be difficult. However, by making these phone calls and talking to real parents, getting a “feel” for each school becomes possible.  This way, by the time a tour is walked and school counselors give their sales pitch, a real view of what that school is all about can be better understood.


If you are ready to plan and organize your relocation
download the ReloMoms 3 Step Relocation Workbook today. 


My passion is to help you relocate well from packing to connecting!

Have a wonderful week and come join us in the
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What is Relocation Coaching

(c) Csrobles | Dreamstime.com

So, what is Relocation Coaching?

Relocation coaching is using the best tools and resources available and a guide who went before you, to create a relocation that serves your family.

Just like in sports, if you want to become a top athlete, a coach will help you enhance the skills you have. Help you identify skill gaps and provide training to help you learn quickly and achieve top performance.

By hiring a coach, you do not have to try out multiple training methods.  Nor do you have to search for information or spend time sifting through things that apply and a whole lot that do not apply. 

Like a sports coach, a relocation coach determines where you are and then provides what you need, information, resources and skills training.  No spinning your wheels or wasting time.  From logistics to mind management relocation coaching guides you through each week, with a special focus on managing the mind.

Mind Management

How we “think” during relocation, the negative or self-destructive thoughts, those are the ones that can get us into the biggest pickle.  In relocation, due to the short time frame and high expectations, we can find ourselves making decisions in a hurry.  Hiring relocation partners because the discounts are only good right then.  Choosing communities and school from recommendations by people who we do not know, because a decision must be made.

There are so many pressures and shoulds and outside expectations to be met, many of us bend to it, because it is just easier.

Easier in the moment.

It is not easier when we realize those decisions were based on other peoples’ values and needs.  Not ours.  And then we get to make it work.

No Bending to External Pressure

A relocation coach does not bend to those pressures.  As relocation coach, I am only interested in:

You and your family relocating well. 
This means that helping you to identify and execute family centric relocation plan, share resources and tools to prevent distractions as the new job ramps up, and stay with you until the family is acclimated and engaged in the new community.

This is achieved by concentrating on what is most important.  You, your family, your individual and shared values and needs.  Every decision based on who your family is leads to great first decisions.  From choosing a community to choosing and managing relocation partners, coaching helps you align your values and needs to make more decisions right, the first time.

Internal Pressure

The pressure and judgement we put on ourselves during relocation can be far more limiting than any outside pressure.  It may begin as second guessing the decision to relocate.  It may appear as concern over your job prospects or wondering if the relocation is having negative effects on the children.  When life is not just as we would like it to be, we begin questioning everything.  Doubting.

The reasons for the relocation and the benefits we have experienced so far, are nowhere to be found.  The negative talk takes over and presents itself as truth.

Ultimately, it is your internal negative/self-limiting talk, flashes of passing thoughts, that will knock you down.  If repeated often enough, “I can’t do this” eventually, you will experience overwhelm and shutdown.  Perhaps for an hour or a few weeks, but it will come, like a self-fulfilling prophesy.     

As a relocation coach I am watching for this.  What we say to ourselves produces results in our lives.  It drives our emotions and what we do…and, what we do not do.

Watching for these thoughts is difficult on our own.  We like to lie to ourselves or at least sugar coat with a thick layer of frosting.  This looks like “It’s fine.”  “I can deal with that later.”  “I didn’t really want that anyway.”  But these can be deadly to productivity.  Though we are trying to convince ourselves it is all OK…

Our brains call foul,
 digs in its’ heals,  works hard to find proof,
it’s not fine.

Weeding Out the Negative

Through relocation coaching, you have a partner walking through your garden of thoughts.  With this process you begin to see for yourself, the weeds that are sprouting to choke out what your dream for this relocation is. 

As you see these weedy thoughts, it becomes possible to choose whether to keep them or not.  It is from this vantage point you can make the strongest decisions.  Decisions that allow you to easily pull up those weeds,  get you back to your relocation goals.

With those thoughts seen and resolved, staying present becomes easier.  This provides space and energy to make those decisions on the fly, especially when something goes wrong.  In addition, being present and at ease, gives your mind the ability to consider all types of options and create better solutions.

Relocation coaching is for all stages of relocation.  It doesn’t matter which stage you are in, just decided, in transition or settling in and connecting, relocation coaching walks with you to where you want to be.  Living the life you want to live, your way, as part of the new community.

Try Coaching for Yourself!

You can tryout relocation coaching for free.  Email me, Annette Walters, at ReloMomsOne@gmail.com to schedule 2 Relocation Consults.  You will learn something use and walk away with tools you can you today.

My passion is to help you relocate well from packing to connecting!

Your ReloMom Friend – Annette

 

For more information about relocating well

The ReloMoms 3 Step Relocation Workbook goes into detail as to what you need to know in order to relocate well.  And it is FREE!!

An intensive 27 page guide for relocating well.

How Much Real Estate Agents Get Paid

Free photo 4667172 © Vladimir Sazonov – Dreamstime.com

How Much
Real Estate Agents Get Paid

Wondering about how much real estate agents get paid when signing a listing agreement with a 6 or 7% commission attached?

I have. Looking at paying $20,000, an amount it seems I have to pay to sell me house, yeah I wondered. What is the deal with real estate commissions?

If I hire a real estate agent with multiple properties for sale and mine is the least expensive, are they going to ghost me when I need help but the other client – worth a $35,000 commission – needs them too?

This blog is about real estate commissions, both the structure and the incentives that that typical commission structure drives.

I caution you. Rather than getting wrapped up in what’s right or wrong with this system, see as neutral. How a current system works. Neither good nor bad. That way you can negotiate more effectively and create expectations for you and your family that can be met.

Incentives driven by the structure

Money and incentives.  If you really think about it, the people lean toward that which provide the best opportunity, especially when it comes to money.  Why do some sales people switch which of their company’s products they are selling?  It has to do with the products that pay the most commission.  It is the same in the real estate commission structure and becomes larger issue in relocation.

Following the money is how personal interests and incentives are seen.  That old quote “For wherever your treasure is, there your heart will also be”.  And when it comes to relocation, more times than you would like to believe, …

the agent’s service to the relocation client wains because of the money. 
Really,the lack there of.

Real estate agents establish a fiduciary relationship with their clients through contracts(buyers representation agreement or listing contract). This is a contractual obligation to put their client’s interests before their own. When it comes to money though are we humans able to do this?

Money pays our bills – housing, fuel, food, clothing and for our fun.  And it is no different for real estate agents.

In 2019, the average gross income for real estate agent was $42,501 a year according to Salary.com.  AND if the agent is lucky enough to be in the 90th percentile of all agents they earn $64,585. This is not the lifestyle of the rich and famous for almost every real estate agent you will hire. This means that your real estate agent is going to have to hustle to find as many clients as possible…at all times

Chances are you and your family is not the only client.

Money Drives Attention

If a real estate agent can’t make a car payment or the kids needs braces this month, they will focus their attention on the clients and transactions that have the highest commission and have the highest chance of closing. 

“Well I am not going to hire those struggling real estate agents.”  However, knowing an agent’s finances is not part of the interview process.  You will not know, no matter how shiny their Mercedes Benz is.

This is why I spend so much time last week on using the interview process to evaluate what the agent is going to do for you and putting it in writing. That formal agreement will help the focus to stay on your home as much as possible. Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

Understanding how the money moves help you understand when and how your real estate agent may be distracted even in the middle of managing your contract to buy or sell.

Commissions: Where does the money come from?

Most real estate agents are paid, on both sides of a deal, according to the listing agreement at the time of closing. The listing agreements is a contract between sellers and a real estate brokerage they have chosen. 


Note The listing agreement is not a contract between the real estate agent and the sellers.  It is a contract between the sellers and the agent’s supervising broker/brokerage.  The real estate agent is just that, only an agent of the brokerage they are associated with. 

Also, though many of us assume the “standard commission is X%” for our area, know that all commission are negotiable, per federal law.  The excuse that “all brokerages in Santa Fe charge 6%” is potentially price fixing and therefore illegal.  If you want to negotiate, negotiate!  The commission to sell your home doesn’t have to be what everyone says it should be. 

Buyers, you also have the ability to negotiate, so feel free.


The commission will typically be expressed in terms of a percentage.  For example 6% or 7% of the final sales price of a home.  So for a final sales price of $350,000, the commission would be $21,000, assuming a 6% commission. 

Let’s continue with the $21,000 commission example to demonstrate where the money goes.

Commissions: How is it split?

As a seller you might be thinking that’s a lot of money to pay to sell my house!  However, that $21,000 is about to get carved up, multiple times.

The first split is between brokers.  Typically that $21,000 will be divided in half with $10,500 going to the seller agent’s broker and $10,500 going to the buyer agent’s broker.

The second split between the brokers and the agents.  The contract determines how much the your real estate agent actually grosses out of this transaction.  These agreements can be anything from a per transaction payment (say a flat $350 per transaction) to a 50/50 split of that commission coming to the broker after closing.

Now consider that real estate agents are typically contract workers.  They are 1099 broker contractors and not employees.  They do not receive any company benefits healthcare/retirement/etc.). Many times the brokers will charge the agents to be part of their brokerage, between a few hundred dollars a year to thousands of dollars a year. 

Expenses continue. Real estate agents will have to pay for their own health insurance, professional associates, MLS access and those fancy key fobs that get them into all the houses.  Other expenses will also include business equipment, supplies, transportation, phones, internet etc..  When it comes down to it, independent real estate agents, these solo entrepreneurs with hopefully realize 50% gross profit.

This is a huge discrepancy.  And unless you know an agent, you don’t know.

In our example the agent commission from this transaction could be as much as $10,150 to as little as $5,250.  Net income before taxes then, could be as little as $2,625 for up to 100 hours of work in 6 to 8 weeks.  Full time real estate agent averaging 8-12 home transactions per year could be grossing only $31,000 a year depending on their average home sale price.

Add the Relocation Management Company

Now, let’s say you hire the agent referred to you by the employer’s relocation management company(RMC).  These agents are busy and have lots of experience. Perhaps 24 homes a year or more.  This is due to the “hot leads” provided to them by the RMC.

These RMC real estate agents will receive all of these hot leads and in exchange pay between 30 to 50% of their commission.  On top of that many brokers take their split off the whole commission rather than what’s left.  This is a double negative for the agents.

So in our same example of a $10,500 commission, at 40% the RMC would receive $4,200.  The agents would then pay their broker, at a 70/30, $3,150.  The agent would then receive $3,150 before expenses and taxes.  Even if they managed a 60% profit margin, this agent only receives $1,890 for at least 100 hours of work.

As to the relocating family this is important to know!

By having to focus on multiple clients at the same time dilutes the attention they can give to you and your home sale or purchase.  And if a million dollar home client comes, who do YOU think is getting the most attention.

Just information

As relocating families, we do not have time to chase down some one’s finances or manage how people think.  We need to find agents of character who have the ability to overcome this type of human nature. 

We need to come to a formal agreement with our chosen real estate agent as to:

  • How often and what they will communicate
  • When they will be available
  • How they will track dates and documents
  • How they will manage our real estate contract from execution to close
  • Who is their back up when not available.
  • ETC.

This may be the way the system works but by knowing it we can prevent innate negative incentives from impacting our relocation.

Last week’s blog talks about how to hire talented, effective relocation real estate agents. https://relomoms.com/the-right-real-estate-agent/

Have conversations, contract expectations and follow up, follow up, follow up. This is a delegated process not an abdicated one.

Knowing how real estate agents are paid, helps all of us understand more about the industry and how it works as we make decisions about Our Relocations.

More This Week

Join Annette Walters on Thursday’s ReloMoms Podcast to expand the disscussion of how real estate agents get paid.  On iTunes and other podcast players.

Other information about real estate agents can be found online at www.ReloMoms.com

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No matter which stage of relocation, the ReloMoms
3 Step Relocation Workbook is for you.

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