When my son was nine, I sold our house, packed our cases and he and I flew to Borneo, in South East Asia, to live and work. That was 10 years ago.
Josh is now 18, and in a few weeks time he’ll be starting University. I know that he’s feeling nervous, and maybe a little anxious about this new change. I also know that his earlier experiences in life will have helped him to deal with new people and new surroundings confidently, and with a minimum of self doubt. He can relate our past moves to how he’s feeling now and use that knowledge to put his ‘wobbles’ in perspective.
There aren’t many 18 year olds with those kinds of memories to draw on.
Making a move in mid-life is something many of us begin to think about and luckily for us, we do have more experiences to look back on. But although we might have moved a few times over the course of our lives, feelings of hesitancy and a lack of confidence at the thought of new situations can stop us from going any further than dreaming about what could be.
Downsizing, jetting off to live in those much dreamed-of foreign climes, buying a business in a new town or city, relocating to the country are all moves that appeal, and all moves that can fill us with the fear of the unknown.
My own moves have taught me many valuable lessons about being confident and overcoming challenges.
Having moved to Borneo, where we lived for five years, we then later moved to Belize in Central America. After three years there, we relocated back to the UK in 2010. Here are my top ten tips to help you handle a major move or relocation confidently;
Top ten tips to handle a major move or relocation
- As with everything in life to do with confidence, mindset matters. Focus on what you’re going to gain from the experience, not what could go wrong. If you allow fear to be the primary emotion, it’ll be the primary experience for you.
- Do your research – know what to expect when you get there. Familiarise yourself with the new culture, customs and way of life, so that you understand how life operates; this matters as much about moves in the UK as overseas!
- Make contact before you move; use social media to connect with others before you get there. Use online forums and groups to begin to build relationships.
- Be realistic and flexible. You’re not going to find your feet straight away and you’re unlikely to find your new best friend within the first week. It takes time, don’t pressure yourself.
- Be friendly – smile. Be yourself.
- Practice your listening skills; constantly talking about yourself isn’t going to endear you to others. Learn to listen and you’ll find out lots about your new home, and the people you’re meeting.
- Be open to new experiences – accept invitations, even if it’s to something you normally wouldn’t do.
- Don’t cover up nerves at social events by drinking too much.
- Get out into the local community. If you’ve started a new business in a new area, attend networking events. Otherwise, find some local groups that interest you and join them – you need to be pro-active and get out and meet people.
- Stay calm. Breathe deeply, take a longer view of life and step back. Accept that everything is happening just as it should, at the pace it should. One day you’ll find yourself just in the place you want to be.
Sue Ritchie is a confidence coach specializing in helping others to be successful, happy and banish self-doubt. She can be found at www.youtimecoaching.co.uk and tweets @susanjritchie