Before you read any farther, let me reveal the number one secret to becoming a successful expat (a fulfilled, content, wealthy expat – however you want to describe “successful” – the secret applies 100%).
One word: Attitude
Yes, it’s just about attitude. It’s not about paying off your debts, not how many friends will throw you a farewell party, or even how much planning you do before leaving. It’s about having the expat attitude.
The Expat Attitude is the mindset that says “I have wanted to live overseas and, dammit I’m going to go.”
Do You Have It? YES, You Do. You have what it takes. Let me help you find it.
Tips to Find and Develop Your Expat Attitude
1. Seek motivation and energy from within yourself.
- Normally, we get motivated only after others recognize what we’re doing. In short, you do something good, others applaud you. Unfortunately, that’s not enough when deciding to be an expat. Why? Because a lot of people will not “clap” for you. Instead you’ll hear “What are you thinking?” or “Are you crazy?” So, you may need to find more motivation from within yourself first. Only after you’ve done it and can share how great it is, then you’ll hear more “I’m crazy for staying here.”
2. Goals – set them to be SMART
If you haven’t heard yet what a “SMART” goal is, here you go: a goal has to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. An bad example of a smart goal is “I will exercise more next month.” A good example of a SMART goal is: “I commit to doing 10 push-ups each night for a month.” After one month, which goal do you think actually amounted to some action?
For optional definitions, check out Wikipedia’s SMART criteria article.
3. Understand the power of progress
Having a SMART goal is one thing, but some goals take so long to complete, we get bored or demotivated before we finish them. If you goal takes several tasks, make yourself a list of those tasks and enjoy how you ‘tick’ off each task. If still too daunting, maybe each task should be a SMART goal on their own.
4. Lean on your network
No one says you have to go at it alone. Have a friend, relative who can encourage you, ask you/pester you about tips 1 through 3 above? Oh, and if that person is very affected by your living overseas, it’s a very good idea to clue them in early. Like, don’t wait to tell your wife “Honey, we’re moving to Portugal next week – isn’t that great?!”
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