Is today the day you want to live like forever?

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Recently, I was reminded of the famous Steve Jobs’ quote:

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Peruvian Paso Horse Breeder, Lima Peru 1)

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

I like to suggest some background to asking yourself this question:

* Are you making progress towards your larger goals?
Even if it seems slow and stuff gets in the way that’s outside your control, are you moving forward?

* Are you spending time on the things that feed you, like exercising, meditation, laughing with friends?
To be your best, nourish your soul. Do not sell yourself short. Mens sana in corpore sano.

* Even if you are handling tasks you’d rather not – like doing the laundry or filing your taxes – do you honor them as part of the life you want to live?
My yoga teacher once showed up insanely happy for our lesson telling us students that today he was the guy who is paying the bills and ordering the towels. If he had to do it he chose to do it with zest.

* Is the vision of your life big enough to excite you?
Like Stephen Covey said: “Have the end in mind“. Is your end in mind what you would choose over and over again?

* Do you honor your Values?
Values are not morals, they define what makes you happy and what ticks you off. Sometimes we push them aside with words like “I should” or “I can’t” but if that goes on for too long you are paying the emotional price.

* Are you with people who inspire you?
This is so simple yet we need to remember it: Think of who you encountered today, in person, on the phone, on the internet? Focus on the ones that left you smiling, that gave you a rush of confidence or told you something that you find really useful. Now seek out more people like that and leave the others in the shadows.

So, what’s your answer today?

1) about this photo: I went to Lima on a “spousal trip” where my husband had meetings in the city. His local colleague asked me what I would like to do. I told him I wanted to ride a real Peruvian Paso – for some of us horse lovers the Ferrari of horse breeds. That weekend I found myself at the beautiful hacienda of one of the top breeders who took me out on a ride, allowing me to ride his amazing horse. It was one of the days I will never forget.

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Career Choices for Expat Spouses

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If you come to a country where you are not allowed to work as an expat spouse, the stamp in your passport visa page can be a big shocker “not valid for employment or business”. This effects pretty much anyone who followed the Call to Adventure to accompany a spouse to a foreign country, unless you move within the European Union or are eligible under some rare free trade agreement.

Recently, I came across an article perpetuating the myth that expat spouses cannot and will not find legal employment. One job searcher was quoted as saying: “The fact that as an accompanying spouse I would need to return to my home country to apply for an employment visa and the inherent bureaucracy and uncertainty in the whole process put the companies off making a job offer.

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Really, is that true? How about paying for this trip and related expenses yourself – you are already in a high income bracket with your spouse’s expat package, you are about to earn money in an executive position – so why not invest some of your own money into a new job?

Another common myth is that “no one will hire me because they know I am only here for a few years.” Think about why your spouse has a limited time contract in this country – because there is only so much time local companies want a foreigner to contribute. Chances are your spouse can get an extension if this turns out to be important. Many companies allow valued foreign workers “to go local” after their initial contract has expired. The key is to carefully choose the unique skills you bring to a future employer and tell them why they need you for this job. 

Looking for a career or thinking of starting a business as an expat spouse is a bit more complex but overall, not different from doing it at home. If you are from the US or Europe, your home country economy is not doing so well. If you live in a thriving 3rd world country like India your opportunities are huge – as a foreigner, as a well-educated executive or scientist, as someone with a killer business idea.

Look around you – there will be people you know who have done it. Ask them about their story, observe what’s really different about their attitude. They will not tell you about the obstacles they faced, they will talk about the passion for their job, their business and how excited they are with their career.

I have coached many people to do exactly that – reinvent yourself while being an expat spouse, find your passion and leave all doubts behind. 

Are you living in a sitcom?

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Image What’s your favorite show? For many years, it was Seinfeld for us which is slowly being replaced with more contemporary shows. In my family, we still refer to classic episodes such as “the Soup Nazi” as if they had happened for real.

Imagine, if we were able to see our lives as sitcoms – fun and entertaining stories, written by witty people, show casing humanity at it’s best – always a bright side to consider, laughing about mishaps and never ever taking life too seriously?

Like when my friend and I got chased by a rabid donkey and the horses took off in hot pursuit – truly scary but in hindsight, too funny and always a great story to tell, how ex-racehorses could not catch up to the donkey. Or me being so overly busy that I left my beautiful flowers in the parking lot of the shopping area only to have my friend stop by later in the day and take them home to enjoy for herself.

Living in a sitcom means nobody ever dies and if they do, it is funny.
Getting ditched by your boyfriend leads to more fun adventures.
Loosing your job means you can watch your own show from the couch all day.

What it really means is  – what good came out of something bad?

It’s a tough question, and cannot be asked unless one is ready. Let me share what good came out of my very own sitcoms:

– I understood that my dad had lived his life to the fullest, dying mid stride.
– True friends rise from the ashes.
– Don’t reward bad behaviour even if it hurts.
– The party goes on as long as you are having FUN.