Reinventing your life as an expat - Part 2

In Reinventing Your Life as an Expat - Part 1, we touched on different areas that would lend itself to reinvention. You’re an expat; it’s a chance for a new beginning, growth potential, personal development and change.

Reinvention is far from easy, it’s an on-going process, a journey with stops along the way that allows you to look back and see the change as well as look forward to anticipate what the present may springboard toward. Each step incorporates what has preceded it but in different forms and for different purposes.

Reinvention is challenging and requires patience, perseverance and fortitude. Here are 11 strategies to make the journey successful and help smooth the way.

 Patrol your beliefs

Take an honest, close, inner look at the beliefs you have about yourself. Now some of these beliefs can hold you back. Do not give-in to faulty thinking. Allow yourself to say "yes" before your brain has a chance to say "no."

 Welcome change

Change is uncomfortable, sometimes destructive and yet, it is the most important pillar of growth. You need to understand, accept and deal with change to yourself and your new chapter in your life. Allow yourself to tolerate discomfort, embrace the fear and "be okay" with change.

 Envision your future

Look at where you are and where you want to go. If you are not sure, that’s okay, you might want to consider working with a life or career coach, as they can be a huge help. You can then look at what it will take to get you where you want to be. Do you need to go back to school? Make new business contacts?

Bridge the gap of where you are now and where you want to go, by figuring out what skills and resources you need to learn and develop. Your past skills might not be marketable now. Sharpen your skills, sharpen your game.

 Examine the past

Allow yourself to look at the past, and recall what you were doing that made you feel alive. Then ask the question: "How can I make those qualities present in my life now?" When you understand and look at the past you develop a clear vision for the future.

Look at your skills, values and past roles or jobs. It sounds complicated, but it’s not. The key to rediscovering your passion is to reflect back when all three areas are aligned, then you will uncover areas for experimentation.

 Acknowledge your strengths

We cannot be good at everything, so it’s important to identify your strengths. Then build a network of people around you who compliment those strengths. Connect with inspiring like-minded people, who are also making bold moves.


Recognise you’re not alone and that there is a network of other people like yourself. Without even knowing it you already have a network of people you can share and talk to; reach out to them. It’s an amazing discovery to find people willing to share their experiences and time with you. These people need the same interaction just as much as you do.

 Create an image of yourself

Decide on the first step you will take toward reaching your goal-your future self. Then announce your plan and let people know what you are doing. This process serves as an anchor, when you put others in a position to hold you accountable. Create sustainable long-lasting changes in your life and move forward; instead of decisions that inevitably end up resorting to past behaviour.

 Set goals

Goals can be small, they do not need to be earth-shattering or off the scale, otherwise they work in the opposite direction and cause de-motivation. Each goal must be measurable and at the same time thrilling.

 Get into action

This may seem impossible to get into action when you don’t know exactly what you want. Just start moving in some direction; it may not be your ultimate final path. If you want to start a business, volunteer to get a feel for the work and the surrounding environment.

Practice runs give you a good inclination that you’re going in the right direction. Some choices may not be the perfect action, but it’s better than a perfect inaction.

 Embrace trial & error

There will be setbacks and failures. It’s all part of the reinvention process. Make friends with failure. It will be the one strategy tool that you will keep using over and over. Failure means you did not succeed "Yet." Some things are going to work and others will not.

 Manage your thoughts

To achieve success involves changing your behaviour and performance. We are capable of so much more than we allow ourselves to think, but this doesn’t mean it will be easy to get there. First, quiet the noise in your head so you are able to manage how you think.  

I’ve always liked the quote by Henry Ford, "whether you think you can or that you can’t, you’re usually right." This is the final step in the reinvention process; believe in yourself, your mental, emotional and physical resiliency and capability. Believe that you will succeed.

The bottom line

Reinvention is a crooked path, accomplished step by step, change by change with no specific time frame and the outcome is unknown. This path is paved with patience, determination and a willingness to adapt. 

In your previous chapter of life, you were secure, competent and possessed all the necessary skills for your life, except the skills required for "reinventing yourself as an expat."

Remember visualise who and what you could become, make new connections, personal or in business, and be the best version of yourself, and then take the steps to make it happen.

Just get out there and get with it! You will not regret the journey. 

Previous in the series
 Reinventing Your Life as an Expat - Part 1

Maria Habets


Maria Habets

Maria is a Communications Consultant//Life Coach. She has a Master's degree in Psychology and International Business from New York University and Columbia University in New York. After relocating from the...

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