Pulling the thread
Since leaving Korea about five weeks ago, life is different. We left very good jobs, a structured life, and familiarity. Despite living overseas for the past 16 years, I’m a homebody. I’ve only lived in four places in that time (7 years in Bucaramanga, Colombia, 2 years in Medellin, Colombia, 3 years in Tunisia, Africa and 4 years in Korea).
I like to travel but I’m not a traveler. I don’t live where I grew up but I like creating home where I am. The moves I’ve done are no different than anybody else. The only difference is that mine have involved moving continents. So leaving the comforts of my job, home and surroundings has been challenging.
The plan after leaving Korea has been this: to spend one month in Canada visiting (check, done), three months in San Francisco (in process) and then in October, go to Laos to see what we can create. So, considering what I’m used to, this is a whole lot of uncertainty.
When my wife and I started planning this and prepping for it , (movers, health insurance, not renewing our contracts, organizing our finances, etc) the experience was about creating new jobs for ourselves and leaving behind the old ones. That was the focus.
However, since starting this process, the uncertainty has crept into all other areas. We pulled the thread on the careers and now everything else has loose threads sticking out as well; marriage, where we live, how we organize our days, what we spend money on, kids, and our outlook for the future. Like I said, all other areas.
What’s come up are two very powerful emotions: ultimate creativity and ultimate self doubt.
The creativity comes from being able to craft anything we want at this point. Christine landed her first full design contract in San Francisco this week (huge deal and so proud of her) so we thought that perhaps this could lead to more. What if we pursued life here? We see people living the lives we thought we would have when we were growing up. Perhaps we should move back and get the car, house and iPhone. My yoga practice is grounded and I could dedicate my efforts Mission Ashtanga (a place that I believe is the best Ashtanga learning environment I’ve ever seen). Why not? I want to grow my life coaching, so why not do it here.
We can be as creative as we want.
Ultimate Self Doubt
The flip side to this is that with freedom to be creative comes the ugly heads of self doubt. We love our overseas lives. One contract does not make a career. Would I really spend more time in San Francisco just to put my body into weird positions? My wife and I are in the same city but staying at different places; is that a strain? Is our marriage strong enough to hold all of these changes, plans and doubts? How much are we willing to invest in getting things rolling in Laos? What is the point when we call it quits? What does our failure look like? What would we call success this time next year?
This has been our process. We pulled the thread and the whole sweater has changed.
I think that it’s normal in the beginning (like we are) to feel the full range of emotions. I’ve not been up Everest, but I’m pretty sure that there are some dark nights for climbers in their sleeping bags at base camp. But I’ll also bet there are some exhilarating days. We’ve chosen this path and right now our focus is to renew our resolve to what we have set out to do and not be so swayed by our environment or the saboteurs in our heads.
I could write that it’s smooth sailing and give out a check list of what we’ve done and what’s coming up. That’s the 2-D version.
The truth is that it’s messy. Messy as hell. It’s encompassed our every aspect of our lives.
It is also honest and authentic and the questions asked and all the work being done is getting to the core of this whole process. We choose to try this and we are. What we can’t choose is what is going to hit us along the way. The best we can do is respond to it honestly and reflect on the process.
If the quote “smooth seas make for poor sailors” is true then I’d say Christine and I are getting our sea legs.
The questions we are asking ourselves and developing the ability to answer honestly is life coaching. Life coaching, at it’s core, believes that each person has the answers within them. The relationship between client and coach is to help bring out the clients true thoughts via powerful questions and situations. Our conversations and this process is teasing out our true thoughts and plans.
When you are stuck or want change, what do you do? Have you considered a coach? Or what is your method of leaning into uncertainty and challenges?