They just don’t understand

They just don’t understand

They just don’t understand

This week we are talking about something I have struggled with throughout my life.  Because I have been relocating since 6 months old, I am never quite on the same wavelength as anyone around me, except my family.

Have you ever been trying to explain a concept or perhaps even more personal, how you feel about something and no matter what words you choose, you just can’t quite get the other person to understand.

Sometimes it is something we find a work around to, but many times especially when you are depending on someone else to acknowledge your pain or struggle and they don’t.  Even when they try to fake understanding, you know they don’t.

Our World Expands

This IS one of the challenges as we relocate and expand how we see the world.  With each relocation our knowledge of the world, the cultures and the people expand.  This then changes how we see the world.  By seeing more than we did before, that new viewpoint may lead us to be passionate about something that no one else gets.

Many times, you and I will experience it when we call back home for support.  Calling home to Mom or to our best friends sometimes ends in frustration because as we describe our challenge the quip off a solution, one perfect for back there, but is not possible or will not garner the same results here.  

Couple this with their desire to help and get us feeling better in the moment.  They are trying so hard, and yet, they do not understand.  When they cannot help solve the issue, they feel as helpless as we do.  We both experience disconnection.  

They cannot do what they have always done for us.  We can no longer collaborate on the practical day to day things.  Why?  Because they don’t understand.

They want to, but cannot.

Not the Last Straw

When this begins happening it can be devastating.  It was like that last thing we hold onto from our old life and now THAT is CHANGING too??  It is like the last straw.  But it doesn’t have to be.

Many times here what I am trying to do is to make you aware of things that will most likely be walked through after the boxes land.  I want to give you a heads up, so that even though it is only an intellectual concept, when you begin to walk through it you are not surprised.  This helps.

…if we expect it, we do not spend precious time fighting it…

One of my favorite sayings I use in Coaching is “Oh there you are”.  I use it specifically when unwanted things land at our door step or an expectation is missed.  I do this because if we expect it, we do not spend precious time fighting it, pretending it doesn’t exist and in this case walking away from a beloved friend.

Because we are not taught how to do this, many of us walk away from significant relationships just because we moved.  And it is logical, the change in the relationship becomes painful for us and them and our brains convince us that this is the only logical decision.  And yes, that pain stops…but now grief sets in, a different pain we get to walk through with that decision.

What does the change mean?

Many times, the reason we are in such initial pain is because of what we are making the change mean.  When we walk this road, we are not doing ourselves any favors.  We are looking for outs for the pain, we make circumstances mean things encourage us, one step at a time, to disconnect.

  • When we don’t talk every day anymore; we make it mean they have moved on.
  • When we find new friends; we make it mean we don’t need to put in the effort now.
  • When we feel sad getting off the phone; we make it mean that is proof that we need to end it.

Pain Narrows our Thinking

When we are in pain our brains want to do, whatever it takes to remove the pain.   This is because pain, especially with new things, can mean danger.  One of the primary human brain directives is self-preservation. This means that the brain is going to throw up as mean reasons as possible to make us step away, and stop the pain.

Pain narrows our thinking.  It narrows our ability to see options and make a solid decisions. We forget who we are and what we truly want in the long term in order to stop the pain.

And when we notice this frenzied singular thinking, It is time to pause.

Time to Pause

This pause can open up our eyes to other options…

Pausing is something else we practice quite a bit in coaching.

Noticing the narrowing in real time, allows us to see it as a cue if you will, to pause and take a bit of time.  This way we create space to be present and open as we make decisions, rather than continuing down the negative rabbit trail. 

This pause can open up our eyes to other options.  When we expect to find them, we find surprising options. We may not choose them but at least we see them and we are present as we face what is before us.

Changing what It Means

During this pause amazing things happen.  That automatic thinking stops and gives space for our pre-frontal cortex or decision making brain to take a turn.  When we engage with this side of the brain we can choose to make each thing mean something of our choosing.

What else could I make that mean?

  • When she doesn’t have time to talk every day; we could make it mean, she is doing something fun and we will have more to talk about next time.
  • When we find new friends; we make it mean, we are capable of having friends all over the country, if not the world.
  • When we feel sad getting off the phone; we make it mean, she is so special to me and this sadness is a reflection of how much she means to me.

A lot of times, we spend a great deal of energy on negative ideas we make up on our own minds.  Sure, we may call it an educated guess.  But the raw truth is, we do not know until we are told or witness it.


By holding strong to negative guessing, all we doing is worrying without cause…
and in the end, torturing ourselves.

As I tell my son, you are making up things either way.  You might as well make up something good.  This helps you stay present and clear in your day as it is.  There is nothing new to do until you actually know.

It’s OK They don’t Understand

Just like in the previous example, when “they don’t understand” our brains can naturally spin out on all the negative things it could mean.  From there the brain moves onto creating a story as to how grieved we should feel and all the reasons we should just end this.

We make “them not understanding” mean that friendships are ending, they are going to find friends to replace us, and that they do not care.

We take it personally, we turn inward to protect ourselves and kind of shut down.

If there is anything that is going to end a relationship fast,
it is being accusatory, turning inward and turning away from them.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  Sure, they have never walked this and the evening little league baseball games together are done, but it doesn’t mean anything until you decide it does.

Deciding It’s OK

One of the best things about our brains is that we don’t always work on autopilot.  We are not always working toward self-preservation and risk avoidance.  We have the other part of our brain, the pre-frontal cortex, which can take control of a circumstance like this and shift into whatever we want it to be.

In coaching we practice this a lot.  We spend so much time allowing the automatic brain to lead that we don’t remember, “Hey I do have a choice.”

It is how we were made, and it is about time we take advantage of it.


So, as this and other circumstances come up, consider the fact that you have the ability to choose how you are going to experience this.  It is not about making everything sunshine and unicorns.  But it is about exercising the control we have always had.

And NOW you know you have it too.

I am Annette Walters, the Chief ReloChampion for ReloWomen and I here to teach you how to walk through big life changes and create a life, the life you have always wanted to live on the other side.

If you connect with this and would like to learn more, click on the Let’s Chat button in the top right hand corner of the page.  Choose a day and time that works for you to set up a free mini-session with me.  I look forward to meeting you.

Have a wonderful week!


Stop Second Guessing & Start Making decisions

Stop Second Guessing & Start Making decisions

Stop Second Guessing & Start Making decisions

Welcome to the ReloWomen Podcast Episode 43.  This week we are talking about second guessing ourselves.  Did you know it can be a good thing?  Sure…It can also lead down a rabbit trail to nowhere.

When we make decisions we want to be careful.  We want to make good decisions.  We want to be seen as being thoughtful and our decisions well thought out.  Whether we are on a PTA committee, on a project or choose whether or not to let our kids go for a sleep over, we want to make the right decision.

To do this we take a look at all the information we have as well as forecast or take educated guesses as to what could happen with each set of variables.  By taking time, seeing and forecasting we can then make good decision based on what we know and can reasonably predict as humans of a certain age.

Making good decisions assumes that decisions are being made. 

When we get caught up in the process BEFORE  the decision is actually made…well that is when things can go haywire.

When we get caught up in the process we keep asking or seeking additional information.  We tell people that we are not ready to make a decision.  We delay and delay and delay all under the guise of not the right time or that we need to know more…many times to the confusion of those around us.

When we do this we are second guessing.  We are actively delaying decision making, kind of like Scarlet in Gone with the wind“I will think about that tomorrow.”  But tomorrow doesn’t quite ever get here.

Merriam Webster defines second-guessing two ways:

The first definition is to criticize or question actions or decisions of (someone) often after the results of those actions or decisions are known

The second definition is to seek to anticipate or predict

Both of these activities can be effective and even desired in good decision making, but when we use both at the same time and use one to delay the other…well that’s when second guess becomes a stall technique and is no longer helpful.

So why do we second guess to a fault…to our or our project’s detriment?

Perhaps we fear being judged as a bad parent.  Perhaps we are afraid our decision will hurt someone else.  Perhaps a fail will cause us to be demoted or fired.  

When our decision has potential consequences, consequences we are not in full control over.  Consequences that could change our life or the lives of others, and not for the positive our knee jerk reaction, the one we don’t initially control can be to delay.

And that delay looks like requests for more information, time to research and “what if-ing” and potential issues to death.

Though we may be delaying here, though we may be judged for not making a decision, though a project may be delayed and such the benefit to all of this is that we are safe.  It may be uncomfortable, but the current situation is known and we are physically safe.  

You hear me talk about this a lot on the podcast, our human brains and how its number one priority is to keep us safe and alive.  Remember new equals danger so, if it keeps us in the current situation, we are alive and safe.

The brain is successfully doing what it is designed to do.

If you are smack dab in of second guess delay, congratulations, your brain is working just as it should.  This is normal.

I can hear you now “But this isn’t what I want!?!?  I am stuck second guessing! I thought this podcast was going to help me out of this!!”

And I will, but we can’t step off of anything with really seeing where we are right now.  Awareness creates a solid step to push off from.  Anything less is sinking sand and has a high fail rate of change.

So here we are Second guessing, you may call it ruminating or spinning ~ all the while with a brain functioning just as it should and keeping us safe. 

There is a decision to be made and we are invested in making what we consider to be a good decision.

The first things we need to do from here is to recognize how we are being held back.  In the 3 perhaps statement above, what was the driving emotion?

Perhaps we fear being judged as a bad parent.  Perhaps we are afraid our decision will hurt someone else.  Perhaps a fail will cause us to be demoted or fired.  

That’s right fear.  Some version of fear typically drives second guessing and even continues to feed it.  Have you ever been in the middle of trying to GET YOURSELF to make a decision and can’t quite make it happen?  The reason you and I can’t cross that finish line is because of fear and all of our actions driven from that.

Think about it.  If I keep repeating to myself, “don’t screw this up…don’t screw this up” what do you see that I am concentrated on?  Yes screwing it up.

I heard a story years ago about the southwest desert and how along the highway the electrical or telephone poles are placed about 100 or so yards apart.  Year after year did cars crash into the desert or into a pole?  That’s right into a pole.  There was far more desert than pole statistically and yet the poles were hit far more often.

Can you imagine getting sleepy on the monotonous highway and be thinking don’t hit the pole, don’t hit the pole.  What is hit?  The pole.

It is the same in decision making.

If we concentrate on not making a bad decision, chances are we will never make a decision and we most definitely won’t make any decision from that place.

In order to make a decision we have to be in a different mindset or emotion.  Stepping out of fear and second guessing and creating another mindset or emotion is imperative to make a strong well thought out decision.  And we all want to do that.

Now I am NOT talking about an exercise in positive thinking.  Though what you may choose may be positive it also must be believable.  To who?  You!  Otherwise your brain will double down on how impossible all of this is.  And yes give more fuel to extend the second guessing fire.

To make this as easy as possible on us let’s work it backwards.  Sometimes that is the best way for me to figure out how to shift out of a spin cycle.

Consider you are on the otherside.  A strong decision has been made.  You don’t know the outcome yet, but the decision has been made.  How did you have to feel in order to decide?  Think about a one emotion. Just one.  What emotion would be pulsing through your body that would make deciding easier, perhaps not super comfortable but still willing.

Your emotion might be willingness, confidence, openness, comfortable, capable

I love that one capable – I use that one especially when I don’t have the level of information I like.  I remember that I am capable and making decisions from that place isn’t so scary.

Now with your emotion word in mind.  What would you have to truly think about yourself, the situation or the prospects to actually feel that way?  The thing about this question is that it directs our brain to come up with all the potential answers.  Our brains thrive on direction.  As thoughts come to mind test them out against the feeling.

Does thinking “I am able to make good decisions” drive confidence?  Does “I have pulled together everything available to make this decision” drive being willing or open to see how this turns out.  Does “I have a good track record making decisions like this” drive capable?

When you test out the thoughts that come to mind, the believable ones will drive distinct emotions.  It is almost like it “rings true” if you will.  You will know it when the test is a success.

The bonus to landing in this place with a thought and positive emotion that drives decision making is that we also see more about the circumstances and potential outcomes.  When we are calm, open and perhaps confident…when w are not fighting ourselves and the fact that we can’t make a decision, we are in a place where decision making becomes clearer and easier.

This is the place where we can trust ourselves and practice new ideas.

The last concept I will leave you with is in the vain of practicing new ideas.  Sometimes effective decision making requires well, decision making.  When we are out of practice it can seem too big to take on.  But through practice we get better at decision making.

To practice consider that what is learned on the backend or through the results of the decision is data.  The act of making the decision creates additional data for us from which to refine future decisions.  AND by making this decision, we will make even better decisions in the future.  What emotion comes up with that thought?  Curiosity maybe.

So if we step out and try something (make a decision) and we fail, what I want you to remember is that this becomes a learning.  This experience of trying and failing becomes a refinement tool for future decision making.

I love the Walt Disney “keep moving forward” quote in the movie Meet the Robinsons.  At one point one of the characters is sharing how valuable failure is to any project.  She says…

“Through failure we learn.  Through success”  and she pauses. “not so much”.

I want you to remember that as you dare to move off of second guess yourself and the situation and into a place where you are willing to make a decision, a strong decision right where you are.  Because from making decisions we step into the believe that life can be different and we have the power to create it our own way.


Remember everything?

Remember everything?

Remember everything?

When we relocate, we gather up what we our lives and we transport them to the new place.  Medical record, school records, the special shippers for the piano and perhaps even grandma’s china we said we’d ever move again…and we get all of it there.  We have a house, The kids are enrolled in school and we may even know where the peanut butter is in the grocery store.

And then a funny feeling comes, one of loss or like something is missing.  But we look around and everything is here…or is it?

The challenge is that when most of us relocate we only relocate what we can carry or transport.  That is not our whole lives.  It is only part of our lives and why a few weeks or months in most of us have a mysterious feeling of loss or missing.  We can’t quite put our finger on.

It is like we have stumbled upon a hole and

we can’t figure out how to fill it.  

Everything we toss in almost evaporates, like it doesn’t matter.

This hole, this emptiness that is screaming to be filled though doesn’t require things.  It was created when we removed ourselves from our old lives.  There are certain things we do not have the opportunity to move when we relocate.  

At the time it all seems so mundane, so routine but in actuality it was our lives that we are missing and that requires all of us to fill it up.  It requires our whole life, complete and functioning to fill it up to the brim.

Being new we don’t have that anymore.  There are parts of our lives we left behind and that is a function of relocation.  Next week we will talk about the opportunity that this creates.

In order to understand first what is missing, it is best to categorize our lives in to the basic things all the way to the advanced or evolved parts of our lives.

Pyramid of Needs(Life)


One of the easiest tools that explains this is one most of us have seen in HS or college.  It is Maslow hierarchy of needs.  In this Maslow breaks apart the aspects of life into 5 areas.  The most interesting thing about the 5 is that none of them can be skipped.  Each one must be in place and solid before the next can be realized.

For example: you can’t realize achieve your full potential while still wondering where the next meal will come from or if it is safe here.

Diagram Description automatically generated

Abraham Maslow’s pyramid of human motivation shows us exactly where we are in our relocation.

What do we do first when decided to relocate?  That right, check Zillow or for home listings.  We start right at the bottom. Our physiological needs – Food, Warmth, Water, Rest.  As we evaluate and choose a community, schools and such we make sure the second of our basic needs are met – Safety and security.

And during the first 2 to 3 months of relocation this where we sit.  Any need above this is not on our radar because we spend our time solidifying our basic needs.  This is what we need to do.  There is a job (financial security) a place to sleep and be warm (physical security) and a place to rest and rejuvenate.  Almost instinctually we start here.

And then the hole appears.

It takes so much energy and active attention solidify the first two needs.  There are little to no resources left to see or even prepare for the others.   We must complete each need level to move on to the next. 

Start Filling the Hole

Belonging.  As we arrive and start getting life set up we do experience basic belonging; the core family, enrolling in school or even our new co-workers.  But that is not the whole belonging package – Belonging is about intimate relationships where we know and are known.

We crave that intimacy of being known outside of our core family.  The challenge here is that these relationships take time and initiative, usually on our part.  To understand the path to intimacy, go back and listen to the previous podcasts on friendships and relationships.  There is a definite path.

Esteem.  Once we belong, we need people to hold us in esteem, to respect us and depend on us for something.  This may come from volunteering at a shelter or giving a strong presentation at work or in the community.  Something as simple as arranging a moms’ coffee every Wednesday after drop off can create this.  We are counted on and are held in high esteem.

Self-Actualization.  A fancy scientific word that means we are meeting our full potential.  We are using our talents and our creative abilities to impact and potentially improve us, and the world around us.  At this point we are being all that we can be, as we are.

Not only are becoming all that we can be, we can see what could be in the future.  We know ourselves and are confident in our abilities.  We are confident being who we are, just as we are.

Remembering to Bring Everything

Though when we move, we cannot bring all of this with us and plug it in.  What we can do is remember what worked for us.  We can remember what lifted us up and the types of relationships and activities that best suited us.

Being all of who we are, just as we are can be a bit challenging as we work to integrate with a new community, with new groups and such.  We may think we have to change to be included.  But there is nothing further from the truth.

Because when we show us as ourselves, just as we are we show up in a way that others can actually connect with us.  We show up in a way that we see the world for what it is and most importantly, we bring into our lives those things and people who help us live in authenticity.

We then live who we are.

In One on One coaching, we work to see the community as it is and who we are without judgement.  

That is important because if we lie to ourselves, we cannot take a strong step toward something different, a life we actually want to lead.  If you would like to short cut the false starts and bumping around in the dark, it is time to schedule that chat with me.

To schedule your Pre-Coach Chat, which is free, click the blue Let’s Chat button at the top of every webpage.  Choose a day and time that works for you and let’s look at getting your relocation settled.  

You do not have to walk through this with uncertainty and disconnection.  I can help.


What is Mindset?

What is Mindset

What is Mindset?

Learn what it is, how it affects life and when change happens

Mindset, it is one of those terms that has been thrown around a lot in the last year.  As our mental states are more and more on display, the talk around how to fix those that go negative becomes more prevalent.  And usually the term “they” use is mindset.

But what is mindset?

Mindset is the way we think about the world, our life, our mommas, our jobs and everything that happens around us.  It is what we use to understand the world around us and even ourselves. 

The reason mindset is such a hot topic right now is because it is the thing that drives how we make sense of, respond, and interact.

Our mindset ultimately drives the results we get at the end of the day.  Now that we are all talking about our challenging emotions in the open, mindset is on the table because that is the key.

What Mindset Is NOT…

Many people think mindset is about engaging our will power, enforcing the rules we set for ourselves and even practicing discipline without error.  Mindset is talked about in terms of to do lists and accountability.

However, mindset is not about to do lists and accountability.  It is not about actions that drive us to meet some result.  As a matter of fact, mindset is not about what we do or do not do, what we create or do not create.  Those things are merely a reflection of our mindset.

Mindset is about values, beliefs and and what we truly want and when we are out of alignment none of those to do lists happen.

Knowing our Current Mindset

One of the best things about mindset is that it can change.  There is a lot of talk these days about brain plasticity, how it can change even ingrained behaviors with direction.  Mindset is part of this.  

The best part of mindset is that changing it is fully within our control.

The first step though is to see where we are.  The easiest way to see the current mindset is to see what results we are getting, seeing the emotions we are having and even examine what we think on a regular basis.  You see our mindset determines all of these things.

Typically, we start in a single area of life say a single relationship or perhaps at our job performance.  When we take a look at these we may come across a feeling of disappointment.  Perhaps our spouse hasn’t washed the dishes for weeks on end.  They don’t discuss it with us.  It is almost like they forgot about the agreement.

Our mindset sets the stage for the play to move forward.  If we make this mean we are not valued.  We make this mean that our needs for help are not respected.  We feel like we don’t have a partner but a roommate and this one is all about taking.

If we go into the next discussion with this mindset, this belief, then what?  The next discussion will be less discussion and more confrontation.  If that is the case then what.  Does anyone feel heard?  Is the situation likely to change? 

I don’t think anyone would feel heard or good about anything that goes on in that case.  And if anything happens, both sides will most likely dig in their heals.  The same situation will perpetuate and now it will be layered up with feeling of disappointment, hurt and aggression anytime the subject is broached.

But what if…the mindset going in is different. 
The thing about mindset is that it can be chosen.

Changing Mindset

Most mindset is on autopilot, because it’s purpose is to help us make sense of the world and our place in it.  This means that it takes effort to see it and accept it (some are ugly), but once we do that is the place from which we can change it.

I know you may just want to jump to the new mindset, but when you do the brain will rebel against it.  It may be executed once or twice, but it will required a lot of effort and push if you will.  Lots of times we think that we will just force it until it happens, but there is a much easier way.

When we see our mindset for what it is we can create a path to the new mindset.  Walking the path is important because the brain typically requires a logical reason and path to the new way of thinking.  By doing it this way what happens is that the new mindset gets wired in.

At first it will be dim but with practice it gets stronger and becomes the first response…rather than the previous and destructive auto-response.

Back to our example. 

What if the new mindset  drove curiosity and connection. 

What if the desired result was to understand and create connection?

Then how would this be walked through?

  • We  might ask questions about understanding the original agreement. 
  • We might ask questions about what got in the way. 
  • Did something change for our spouse? 
  • Did they think it was only for one day or did they know it was going forward? 
  • Did they understand the why behind the request?

When we come to the discussion from this mindset, we are able to see more about situation, see their understanding, and perhaps their intentions.  By doing changing our mindset ahead of time, we can hold this conversation and talk about what we want changed without it being quite so charged emotionally. 

Holding onto a mindset that says they don’t want to support us
will only drive confrontation.

What if there were other ways to look at this?  A great first question could be something like “Do you see the dishes problem like I do?”

The funny thing about people is that many times, they do not see the problems we see…as problems.

When someone does not see this thing as a problem, they are less likely to help address it.  This is just the way humans are.  In calm productive conversation perhaps they have a solution that could work just as well.  We don’t know until we ask with openness and curiosity.

Work to be open and use those listening ears.  We don’t have to agree, but through openness and curiosity we are far more likely to resolve whatever the issue is.


Want to know more about how mindset impacts relocation?  This is what WholeLife Relocation Coaching is all about.  It makes all the difference in settling and building a community. 

CLICK the Let’s Chat Button at the top of the page.  Choose a day and time that works for you and we will talk about where you are and what you want your relocation life to be like as well as the bridge in between.

Have a wonderful week.


Get me OFF this Emotional Rollercoaster

Get me OFF this Emotional Rollercoaster

Get me OFF this Emotional Rollercoaster

What to expect and how to change how we ride change

I think most of us will agree that this rollercoaster that comes with relocation is unlike many other emotional rides.  Just when we think we get a handle on something, something else comes along to prove we do not have a handle on this relocation at all.

It is like going to a theme part of roller coasters.  Our ticket to ride comes up faster than we expect and each one has a new surprise or intensity to get used and walk through.  

For the longest time, I looked to the Kubler-Ross Grief or Change curve where Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross established the 5 stages of grief which many of us have seen or studies.  This however, only explained part of the rollercoaster we ride during relocation.  

We definitely have the Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance…
but there is more to this ride.

We grieve our old lives and what we left behind but we also have to learn and acclimate.  And this is not done all at once there is a going back and forth that happens.


The back and forth is what surprises me the most.  I figured, especially after the first relocation that I had this down.  I knew what to do and I would make it happen.  However, the grief came in waves.  What I learned could only be brought in a small bit at a time and all the time who I was, was being impacted and so who I thought I was changes in tandem.  Getting a handle on it all was difficult.  

For a long time I couldn’t see much more than what was right in front of me.  Today’s tasks and trying to remember the name of whoever was right in front of me.

When the waves of grief came, I would push it back with thoughts like, “but I like it here, why am I sad” OR “I should be grateful for all that we get to do now.”  

When I got overloaded with information ( like remembering all the new names….), I would beat myself up.  “They were so nice to me why can’t I remember their name.” OR “Which neighborhood was that?  I like the feel of it and I can’t remember.  What is wrong with me?”

Being excited and loving the vibe and then sad that my friends were not here to help me,
it was like being two different people at the same time.

Up and down, back and forth.  It is exhausting, and the judgement is real.


Sometimes from us and sometimes from others, it seems that relocation is filled with a fog of perpetual judgement.  We call back home to vent a frustration to people who are doe-eyed not comprehending why this is a problem.  Or we get our relocation partners staring at us in disbelief or talking down to us for not understanding such a simple concept.

I want to let you know, those things are only simple, to THEM!!

Just because it seems like a lingering thick fog that won’t clear, doesn’t mean WE have to take it on as ours to own.  Much of that judgement is simply quick unthought out opinions.  When cast upon us it does not take into account where we are, what we know, the other 20 things we are responsible or even how much energy we may have in that moment. 

What ironic is that…

Ultimately, their judgement and accusations
will only slow us down.


In Coaching at ReloWomen, we talk a lot about pausing.  What we don’t realize we can do the next 150 foot drop appears.

We rarely see the bright red PAUSE BUTTON 
directly in front of us, waiting to be pushed.

This isn’t about walking away from our responsibilities or a bottle of wine to ease the pain.  This is about remembering who we are and where our power is. 

When we pause the emotional rollercoaster we are able to see everything with more clarity.  With the pause we can tamp down the emotion, or even eliminate it during the time we need to. 

Think about angrily confronting a the bank about a mistake and having a Mom SOS appear on the phone.   What happens?

That confrontation comes to an immediate end and the emergency is addressed.  WHY?  Because the emotional confrontation that was so important, now takes second or fifth place, far after the emergency.  

Immediate change or pause is possible and it does not have to be initiated by an external event.

Most of us think that once this rollercoaster get going we CANNOT GET OFF until the ride comes to a stop all on its own.  However, the bright red PAUSE BUTTON is right in front of us.  

We don’t need an emergency to Press Pause.

What if we pressed it as necessary to gain our footing.  See with more clarity.  Find additional resources.  Regroup and create a new more effective plan.  


So many times, we feel we must have an external reason to press the pause button and jump off.  But in reality, we can press the pause button at any time.  If this ride is not productive or taking us where we DO NOT want to go, we have a responsibility to ourselves, to press the pause button.

Yes we will be confronted by judgement, others and perhaps our own.  But that does not mean our reasons, for pressing pause and jumping off, are not responsible or justified.  That is for each of us to decide.


Pressing the Pause Button can look many different ways depending on the circumstances in front of us.  

  • The pause itself will last as long as we determine necessary.
  • It will be pressed by us
  • It will be pause for our reasons
  • It does not require an explanation (except possibly to other core family members)

Pausing can last a few minutes, days or longer. It can be pausing a project , it can be re-evaluating the value of a relationship or contract, catch our breath and it can be to establish rules or new guide rails.

Every pause has a purpose.

Pausing is active and purposeful in realigning or redirecting an existing thing or process.

Let’s say there is trouble with the new school.  Perhaps the pause includes unenrolling and home schooling temporarily while negotiations take place with the school or a new education options is chosen.

What if the real estate broker chosen to sell the home becomes unresponsive and needs to be fired.  Cancelling the listing per the contract requires the house to be off the market for 90 day or the original agent/broker still gets paid.  Perhaps the pause includes taking the house off the market, consulting with an attorney to progress an earlier cancellation, or perhaps waiting out the 90 day contract period.


The purpose of the pause is to assess and see ALL THE OPTIONS.

Remember that the BIG RED PAUSE BUTTON ~  Like an Easy Button ~ is already right in front of you.  There are consequences to hitting it, but if a negative situation wasn’t present, the options wouldn’t have to be considered in the first place.

Knowing it is there helps all of us see more options.

This is so important especially when people tell us don’t do that and threaten us with consequences.

SIDE NOTE: Threats activate the pause button in my world.  Immediately my brain goes to “What are they hiding and why with this so important to them that I do this now?”


Relocation is emotional.  We have loss and joy, fight and acceptance among many other until we acclimate.  

We will ride an emotional rollercoaster, but it doesn’t have to be out of control.   
We get to choose how we ride it all. 

Life in the end is 50% positive and 50% negative or at least not what we wanted. We will grieve what we loved and no longer have, and we will find joy is what we find.

Taking control of our rollercoaster determines how we walk each of these emotions and circumstances.  By doing this, we live life more closely to who we are, and in a way we want to.


Want to figure out why settling hasn’t happened or simply explore the relocation tools, sign up for a discovery coaching call by clicking the Let’s Chat button on the top right hand side of this page.  

I look forward to meeting you.

Want more?  I can help.

Let’s Chat about how this can work for you.  Click the button in the top right hand corner.  Choose a day and time that works for you.  By the end you will know more about turning around a bad day and if One on One coaching is for you.

John Fisher | Psychologist, Coach, Writer, Graphic Artist: 
Podcast Links Ep 38:


Four Steps to Making “Normal”

Four Steps to Making “Normal”

Four Steps to Making “Normal”

When we can’t go back to the way things were

It’s like an extended vacation.  That’s what our brains think.  We will “figure” things out for a while and then things will go back to the way they were.  When we get to the new place everything is a fun puzzle.  It’s like having the Highlights Magazine arrive when I was 6 and going right to the Hidden Pictures page.  

What are we looking for now?  Peanut Butter.  Isle 3, third shelf. 
DONE! Cross it off the list.


The problem is that, like children, I got tired of the Hidden Pictures page and moved on to another game or interest.  When relocating, the puzzle stares at me waiting to be solved.  Even when I ignore it, it taps on my shoulder.

“You should really get that done.”

This primal process is what has kept us human beings safe from the beginning of time.  Once something has been evaluated and is deemed safe, our brains downshift the “high alert” energy and go into autopilot. This saves brain energy for eliminating any danger that may come our way later.

During the first year of relocation there is little that is routine and normal.

That natural downshift, where the brain relaxes, doesn’t occur typically during the first 3 to 6 months of relocation.  And sometimes, especially when we actively avoid acclimating, the process can be over year to occur.  

It is like we have that puzzle book in front of us demanding to be completed…all the way through to page 199.  Only then will it release us from the process.

Why does our brain demand that we get this wrapped up?  Because up until this relocation, it had most of life on autopilot.  No extra projects.  Most everything was known and anything that might need to be figured out would be built on what we already knew. 

But NOW…we don’t know.  There are no “standard operating procedures”.  We are literally learning or making up each day and hopefully managing each situation correctly as we go.  

That for the brain is EXHAUSTING!

It doesn’t like chaos ~ it wants a predictive repetitive life.  Remember it likes to conserve energy. So when a lot happens, its natural tendency will be to start shutting down things and stop expelling energy. 

When the habit brain gets exhausted, it starts sending up warning flares most of the time as thoughts designed to shut down activity. You will experience the end results of this as frustration and overwhelm.

If the brain can get you to these emotional states, it has effectively shut down all energies except those like rumination and second guessing.  

Which of course it uses to keep us shut down and safe.

These are exhausting for us…but for the brain it is much easier than dealing with all this new stuff.

So what do we do?  We use a system that the brain can attach to, predictable and consistent that the new information can simply plug into.  By having a predictable path, the brain will not use as much energy and will not resist with such vigor.

Observe ~ Try ~ Choose ~ Acclimate

Though simple, these four steps may need to be walked through a few times to get to a predictable routine or a normal in all areas of life.

Work to Observe

As we enter any new community watch for the many layers. 

Think about how intersections function.  What is initially seen, perhaps traffic lights and a cross walk? What about the rules, can you turn right on red? How are the light triggered, by sensors or by time? Do the vehicles and pedestrian abide by the lights or are they likely to cross any time they like.

When I was in Puerto Rico with a driver it was harrowing because the rules and flow of traffic I expected was not what was represented here.  Many times we charged through a stop sign or even a red light.  

When I asked what was going on he said, “I just watch the traffic. 
The signs and lights are just suggestions.”

Before we can make a life feel normal, we must understand where we are and how it functions.  This can only do this through observation.  Sometimes cultural training is provided when we relocate, however, the bulk of what we need to know is typically learned through experience.

When EXPECTING to learn as we enter a new community, a feeling of curiosity bubbles up.  

Curiosity is driven from a belief that we are going to acquire new information that may be interesting or helpful.

From a place of curiosity, we are likely to seem more of the little details and even begin to see the interpersonal rules that dictate local behavior and actions.  This type of information translate into understanding where we have landed both how things work and how locals communicate and relate to each other.

This will ultimately help us to communicate and relate to them.

Don’t forget to OBSERVE You

As we leave our last home for this new adventure, we change.  How do I know? Because each of my life changes little and big have changed my attitudes, beliefs and even some of what I value.  This is because each time we choose something new, we have change in a way that leads us to choose something new.  

Remember the last time you started a new school or a new job.  Just to step into the new place we have to take on new beliefs about ourselves and the opportunity.  That is change.

During this step be sure to chronical different attitudes, what is seen and how openness and hard nos appear and regress.  In someplace new, we are all likely to be more protective and cautious as we learn more and about it.  Make note of when the brain gets tired and shuts down.  Why is it happening?

Remember again, our brains are trying to get to “normal”.  When they do shutdown, know that nothing has gone wrong.  It is just searching for a quieter place and time to conserve energy.  During these times ask:

Why did I do that?  What would I normally do, before?

Whether a permanent change or just a temporary shift, the more we learn about ourselves and how we work, the better we navigate all of this.

Time to Try

Once the community has been explored and options have been found, both people and things to do, it is time to try on different parts of the community.

One of the best things about relocation is that there is no routine.  There are no established activities or relationships that dictate who we spend time with or what we do.  This clean slate, especially in terms of time, is the perfect opportunity to experiment with everything here.

During this step try on the feeling of openness.

Choosing to feel “open” when engaging with people and trying out different activities and organizations provides a safe space to see if this serves or supports the life desired.  To maintain openness remind yourself that this is only a try.  If it doesn’t serve or support the dream life it will not be continued. 

When trying we are only they to experience, not commit.

Decide Easy

Once observing and trying have been completed, deciding becomes easy.  Like trying all the food at a buffet, once experienced we are able to point to the ones we love and ones we do not ever want taste again.  

My latest relocation to the Dallas area was a long game version of this.  By the time this decision came about, I had lived many different places in the United States, overseas and traveled extensively.  This time, we had the opportunity to live wherever we wanted to live. My choice was the Dallas – Ft. Worth Metroplex area.  After living in many places including here, I knew that this place was one of the easiest for me to live. It met many of my wants and supported the way I and my family wanted to live.

The Observation and Try phases create a cornucopia of options seen and experienced.  

This makes knowing what and who fits and doesn’t fit obvious
and the subsequent decisions clear.

From here we easily build the framework for our lives and daily routine.  This takes us to the doorstep of “normal”.

Acclimate: The Final Change

Acclimation is more than adapting, though it is defined as adapting.  Adapting feels like something I have to do in order to fit in or be accepted.  This potentially means I am not living an authentic life.

Acclimating on the other hand is actively
choosing who we are in the new community,
choosing what to bring into our lives, as well as what we leave on the sidelines…and…choosing how we live as part of the new community.

Acclimation is about creating an interdependent relationship with the people and community as a whole, one where both we and the community benefit and even grow.

It may take a little bit of time. We are replanting and growing whole lives here.

Our brains will naturally resist, even as it is inevitable.

However, when we provide a known process to plug all of this “newness” into our brains can settling into a known process by which all of the newness becomes less threatening and perhaps even an easy process to walk.

I like to imagine sitting my habit brain down in a chair to the side and saying, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this.  You can watch me.”

Observe ~ Try ~ Decide ~ Acclimate


Remember to tell your brain.  “I’ve got this.”


Relocation Life Coaching

If this resonates with you, know that “I get you” and ReloWomen is here to support you through your relocation journey…no matter your stage.

For a deeper dive consider a coaching consultation.  Let’s look at where you have come from, what you imagined this relocation would be and the gap that remains.  By the end of our call you will have a good idea about the bridge that will connect the two.

Click on the Let’s Chat button above.  Choose a day and time that works for you and you will heard and understood by someone who gets you…and the path you have chosen to walk.

It doesn’t have to be this hard.  I can help.

Want more?  I can help.

Let’s Chat about how this can work for you.  Click the button in the top right hand corner.  Choose a day and time that works for you.  By the end you will know more about turning around a bad day and if One on One coaching is for you.

Podcast Links Ep 36:


So you had a bad day…

So you had a bad day

So you had a BAD Day…

Why don’t they teach us how to walk these relocation days?

Thank you Daniel Powter for a theme song to these days…

That song…remember the one they always played on American Idol when a contestant was asked to leave.  It was kind of sad and yet an acknowledgement of the hard work put in.  At least that was the way I took it.

In hearing it I running with a video montage of those contestants in my head.  Sometimes, when things I don’t want to happen occur, this is the song that plays in my head, this time with my own montage of what has gone wrong.

We have an uncanny ability to keep track of those things…those things we don’t want to remember.  Each time these unwanted memories brings a special pain along with every reason and proving that –

See!  You can’t do that.

Why even try.

You might as well give up.

Nothing ever works out.

When we chose this relocation in the beginning none of us ever thought we would think this.  This would be ridiculous.

But now…

A few weeks or months into this relocation, when things have not come together.  Failures happened little and big, and now even the smallest missed expectation or hardship gets blown up like a hot air balloon. 

I remember not finding the Daisy brand sour cream
and being reduced to tears in the dairy isle.

Seriously? WHY????  Because I had a bad day.  Was it really the sour cream?  Probably not, but maybe.  Most likely it was really one thing that went wrong and then another thing and yet another that wasn’t what I planned.

One of the things they don’t tell us when we relocate is how to walk these days.  These are the days where we consider packing it all up, spending whatever it takes and going back.  We’d do almost anything at this point, to eliminate this pain.

But what if we didn’t have to do all that?  What if we could get through this?

Simple Self-Coaching

Because, most of us face this, teaching my coaching client how to coach themselves is important.  The simple process I teach can be done any where and in any situation.  In four steps anyone can move away from a bad day.

Pause – List – Ask – Choose

Pause to see what is really going on here or what has happened.  Step outside of the situation like a friend coming to help and truly see all of the pieces.  From this perspective we side step the emotions for a moment.

List the facts, the parts of what happened that can be proved in a court of law.  No opinions, guesses or judgement allowed here.  Removing these cleans up our ability to see everything especially what we can control and what we cannot.

Ask what are all the options here, even out of the box?  Even in a situation of loss this question lifts us out of rumination and frustration to a place where we can consider there are options and it is up to me to see them.  If you have a hard time seeing the options, shift the question to “How would (person you respect) solve this?” to open up your mind.

Choose the best state of mind to solve this.  Curious, optimistic, open, determined, confident, etc.  Which state of mind would lead to finding a solution, the best solution?

In Action

So let’s say during the day the promotion was given to someone else, Curtis came home from school in tears and the neighbor left a note saying the dog pooped again in the yard.  Exasperated the first thought might be to grab a bottle of wine, sit on the front porch silently grumbling about the neighbor and your boss until bedtime scrolling social media.

But what if, work and the neighbor was left outside and focusing was easy as you became present for Curtis and the evening activities.

Start with the Pause.  Think about showing up like that friend arriving to assess and help.  She doesn’t talk about the neighbors previous infractions or the boss’s bias.  She isn’t thinking about storming over the Petersons to angrily accuse their child of bullying.  She is assessing and willing to help.

Remove the emotion and judgement. In simplest terms what happened?

Jerry got the promotion. Curtis cried. The dog pooped and the neighbor shared that.

Ask what are the options?  From that 3rd party view point of view these will range from the practical to the absurd.  Do not hold back.  Perhaps Jerry gets congratulated, and you start looking for a new job or you double down on training.  Perhaps, without the judgement and emotion, you are truly present with Curtis and he feels heard.

And finally, the poop in the neighbor’s yard?…
perhaps that causes you to giggle and think, “take that”.

You never liked them anyway, but you will find the hole Roxy is using to escape.

Then Choose how you want to experience what ever you to do.  This choice will also help lead to solution as well as turning around how the day is perceived and judged.

With bad day there are not options.  It must just be tolerated.

Seeing each day as just a day, each situation, seen individually and without distraction, creates space to consider what is best to do without judgement.  Especially of ourselves.

Want more?  I can help.

Let’s Chat about how this can work for you.  Click the button in the top right hand corner.  Choose a day and time that works for you.  By the end you will know more about turning around a bad day and if One on One coaching is for you.

Podcast Links:


Massive Change is HERE

Massive Change is HERE

Massive Change is HERE

The world is changing…has Changed.

Can you feel it? Have you experienced it?


The interesting thing to me is that it isn’t just the world that has changed but me included.  I am just as much changed as the people and the community around me.  This is so surprising.

As a child of relocation, I typically view myself as being separated from most everything, especially the world as a whole.  Not too many people really get me or my life experience, so it was surprising a few weeks ago when that intimate connection popped up in an unexpected emotional moment.

Like many of you, I have chosen to stay pretty well away from humankind over the past 14 months.  However, the numbers in Texas being low and presented with a beautiful spring day, it was the spark of inspiration I needed to leave the house.  We had our masks, and we were going to be outside getting some sunshine.

That simple trip to the Dallas Arboretum with my husband, to see the tulips in final glory, evoked a surprising and guttural response.  

I couldn’t believe my reaction to being out of the house…in the middle of people.

That simple Sunday turned into a day of hesitation and even a bit of panic.  As I entered the Arboretum, I noticed that it was busier than we expected, especially since we had arrived an hour and a half before closing.  My body began to slowly tense up. I felt like I was scanning my surrounding, much like a computer, looking for the open pathways.  That scanning led me to choose a path around to the left instead of the right, my typical choice.

That day the pathways seemed narrow especially as people approached, I almost held my breath until we passed each other.  

What a strange experience and so unlike my pre-pandemic self.  I love people and being around people.  I am typically curious and want to talk to everyone, but not that day.  My attention focused intently when 10 to 12 people in a group came upon me in a narrow passage. 

I strongly remember thinking “Too many people…too many people!”

That is the moment I decided the choice to be at the arboretum, was not the right decision for me.

The Rules Shifted

The crazy thing for me and what I am still wrapping my head around is that ALL THE RULES SHIFTED…not just for me but for society as a whole.

Everyone I came across was harder to read and predict.  I, myself was harder to read and predict.  In that moment I surprised myself, something that may have never happened before.

What I realize as I reflect on this experience and the idea of emerging from this pandemic is that we are all trying desperately to understand the new rules.  

The problem is that the rules are no longer known, and
in most cases, the rules haven’t even been conceived of yet.

Rules TBD

Those unspoken rules that we use, collectively, to walk through the grocery store or plan a gathering are gone.  The ones that we relied upon and existed before February 2020, no longer exist for most of us.

These social norms are part of the cultural fabric that we depend on to live our lives.  Without them everything is up in the air.  And without existing and long tested data about COVID and efficacy of preventative measures as well as the vaccines, we are all living lives that are in a constant state of flux.

Adding to the challenges, most of us are still shifting our own rules as we learn, experience, and witness others’ decisions.

These rules will most likely not be set for a year or two.  So then what?  Do we all walk around on eggshells for the next two years?

Shifting Rules – Judgment not Required

There is some solace in the belief that these unspoken rules will change.  Expecting that we don’t know what others believe or want help us to maintain our cool in many situations.

Before the pandemic a behavior or decision outside of these unspoken rules would likely surprise if not grate against someone who knew the rules.

Before February 2020, if you walked up to someone and they took 3 steps back, the response would likely be “Whoa, what’s your problem??”

But now, we expect that we don’t know what people will do. Now, we observe and adjust in stride without judging them for their decision.  Today, when someone backs up as I approach, I work to maintain that distance and demonstrate respect.

What has really shifted here is that we are more likely to see the need and their concerns rather than making a negative  judgement about them, us or the intentions.  Perhaps not reading into situations is a good lesson to learn for the long term.

Unspoken Rules and Culture

Bringing this back around to relocation, let talk about the cultural aspects of this.  When we talk about unspoken rules we are really talking about culture.  Culture as in the set of rules and understanding that any group or community may have.  Typically, these things are unspoken and through experience “understood” by the members of the community.

Each community has these things that are “understood.”  This understanding directs the decision making, what is right and wrong as well as the “proper” way to do things and conduct yourself.

When I moved to Minnesota, my southern smile and strong desire to chat was actually off putting to the locals.  Whereas it was the key to gaining friends and connections in the South.

Have you been confused by this and want to learn more?

More about Cultural speed bumps on Thursday’s ReloWomen Podcast 

On Thursday, I am talking to Efrot Weiss about cultural differences.  She has spent years as an EXPAT in Japan and she joins me to talk about some of the lesser known differences and the dramatic impact they can have within communities when you don’t know the rules.

Want to relocate well?
I can help.

Download  “a Sense of Home” guide

The journey is easy.  Begin here.

Podcast Links:
Efrot Weiss
Cross Cultural Trainer and Coach, Linguist, Speaker & Japanese Specialist
Families in Global Transition

ReloWomen Facebook Page:


A New Hope…in Relocation –

A New Hope…in Relocation –

A New Hope…in Relocation –

Where is that life I thought I was moving to?

“What’s up with this relocation!?!?  I have worked SOOOO HARD, everything is put in place and YET…I feel awful. I don’t know what happened?  I thought this would be so good for us.   I don’t know what to do.  I have no friends and I sooooo miss my life, back there!”

I know I am not alone in this.  Let me assure you this is normal. I have walked it enough times to believe this.  And thought it is not fun, It is typical and I am proof can be navigated.  This season happens…

anywhere between 6 months and 2 years, many of us wake up one day and think ~

“WAIT!  This isn’t what I signed up for!”

How did we get here?  One of the main reasons is all of the work we just walked through, all of the problems we solved and all of the stuff we put in place.  Most of us get so wrapped the minutiae of relocation that we forget where we are going…the life and lives we are creating. 

And for me I think, I believed that if I put all of these things in place a wonderful life would just appear.

I don’t know about you, but I woke up one day and wondered ~ what happened??

Every hiccup and disappointment was no longer just something that happened but PROOF that all this was wrong.  The relocation, the community, the house, the job and especially me.  It became proof to me at least, that I was not capable of doing this.

That is such a sad and lonely place.

The funny thing about that place was that it was not a constant, which made me begin to question it.  If it was truth, if I had made a mistake, if I wasn’t capable then that would be all the time.  And frankly it wasn’t always true.  In the months after we decided to relocate, I did more than I had done in years.  I had done things like negotiate contracts and resolved issues that in normal life I would have left to others.  I knew more about my son and what he needed to succeed in school and I volunteered at his school so that I would know what was going on there.  All things I hadn’t done before.

When I remember these, I realized that I was capable.

In these moments of clarity and confidence, I could see the life I wanted to build as well as the currently life (without judgement)…but I had no way, no bridge between the two.  How do I take 2 seemingly different things and create the life I imagined in the beginning? 

First I had to put down the things that were getting in my way.

Undone and done

Like most relocation activities achieving that life requires both releasing and creation.

Releasing in this stage is all about releasing judgement.  The judgement we cast on the where we are, the situation and ourselves must be released in order to move forward in any way.  I can hear some of you now, “But you don’t know how hard this was.  You aren’t acknowledging how hopeless this situation is.  This will never work.”

Frankly, that is true. Every word of it, as long as it is believed.  As humans the actions we take are directly related to what we believe is true.  Through that we exert control over what we can and cannot see.  Through these judgements we determine if we are or are not capable.