Staying Motivated As An Expat

Have you seen Mary Tyler Moore? The opening credits where Mary is in NYC and so excited to be living her dream that she throws her hat in the air? That’s me trying to live my best life in London. But just as real life happened to me in NYC, real life happens in London too. What I mean is, things don’t go according to plan and sometimes you have to adjust. Sometimes you have to tweak what is your now and figure out how to move forward, despite reaching your goal. And that’s hard. It can often feel ten times harder as an expat.

As I’ve said before, moving to a new place as an expat can be difficult. Things are, for lack of a better word, foreign. Every thing is a new discovery for you. Some good and some bad. Take for instance, when I first arrived in London I found out that you could get a sandwich, drink and a snack for £3. Lunch is a steal! But then I also found out that traveling around the city is not one fixed rate. Goodbye monthly metro card for $178 and hello monthly pass for zones 1 -3 at £160. Yikes!

Recently, I feel as if I’ve been holding onto some fails or unpleasant surprises. I’ve felt tricked and belittled and devalued and disrespected. Unfortunate things that make you reevaluate your life and who you are as a person. I’ve had a few wavering thoughts about my abilities from time to time because of these unexpected disappointments – the disappointments I may have been able to see had I not been an expat. And in those moments, it can be quite difficult to see that silver lining. It can be hard to remember that you’re living the dream and this was something you chose. How do you stay motivated when those thoughts float into your head?

My must do to stay motivated is to V-E-N-T, vent! I love to trash talk the people and the things making me go into a tailspin. Only to the most trusted people who can’t report back my frustrations to the source. Less work friend and more sister in another country. Ok, I’m paranoid. I keep my feelings close, especially if they can come back to cause me more drama so I’d recommend being careful about who you vent to as well. Be wary of the never-ending vent that will cause you to spiral too. It can make you really second guess everything but I love to have what’s on my mind out of it. The bad stuff doesn’t need to stay.

Also write. In a journal. On a piece of scrap paper. Any place! It helps visualize what could be driving you insane or causing you self doubt or demotivating you. I honestly can’t stand being wrapped up in my head by the people who do me wrong or trick me and I’m sure you don’t either. By letting it out on paper, you can see where this wrong doing really fits in your life and understand that, nine times out of ten, it’s minor.

What’s most important when you feel like you’re lost or undervalued is believing in yourself. It’s so cheesy but it’s so important. As a regular non-expat, you always need to remind yourself how awesome you are but when you’re an expat, it so much more important. You need to tell yourself why you matter and remind yourself of your impact. Your world and value is more important than what people think about you at work or on the train or in a cafe. Hearing the kind words of how you feel about yourself and what you can do is an amazing motivator.

Do you find it easy staying motivated when a blow or negative change happens to you? What do you to keep yourself on track? Let me know in the comments below!

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