People committed to continuous self-improvement seek out opportunities to change their perspective, understand diverse points of view, and cultivate compassion and empathy. Relocation is a pivotal time for this.
According to the IMPACT Group’s latest report, The People Perspective on Relocation, employees report the top reason they accept a relocation is for personal career development. A desire to grow drives them to accept the unknown in order to take a risk for their personal and professional gain.
This risk is rewarded in many ways, including:
– 71 percent new experiences
– 55 percent better long-term career
– 40 percent better community
Three guidelines to help you expand your horizons
1. Welcome the unique challenges of the move.
If this is your first move or even your first international move, you are likely unsure of what to expect. This means you might have trouble anticipating challenges before they find you.
As you navigate throughout the move, you’ll need to think quickly and adjust your expectations often. Cynthia Bucy, career and transition coach at IMPACT Group, recommended acknowledging that there is a grieving process that needs to take place. “You’re stepping away from what is familiar – perhaps a city you loved and a house you built,” she said. “There will be challenges. Recognizing these challenges will help you to not be fully blindsided.”
With this in mind, learn to be open and honest about your feelings both in the office and at home. It will serve you well as you work through each bump in the road.
2. Embrace diversity through making new friends.
Your move will give you an opportunity to explore other cultures, foods, hobbies and things to do. Seeing the new world around you will help you appreciate the diversity all around you. Take the opportunity to explore and be a tourist in your new home town.
It also provides you with a chance to branch out and meet new people. Bucy suggested, “Find ways to get to know your neighbors on a personal level. We naturally will ask them what lawn service or dry cleaner they use. We feel comfortable asking these questions. However, you’ll develop a meaningful relationship if you are intentional about going deeper than surface level.”
Spend time outside so you have more chances to encounter new neighbors. Host a dinner or coordinate a block party to get other families engaged. Invite coworkers and their families to join you at an event. Small steps like this can lead to lasting friendships.
Regina Moser, career and transition coach at IMPACT Group, learned the importance of being a joiner after relocating six times for her husband’s career. “Being the new kid on the block can be challenging. It was important for me to be a welcoming presence and say, ‘Welcome, welcome, welcome!’ to new people and new experiences.”
Moser coaches her clients on the significance of taking initiative instead of waiting for a personal invitation. “You’ve got to learn to be okay with knocking on doors.”
3. Accept that the different scenarios that arise are opportunities for self-development.
Cultural nomad Tracy Kautzmann, director of Global Client Services, said: “As change takes place, you may feel overwhelmed and lost. Growing from the change can be daunting and scary at first.” But a new and improved you can emerge.
“Many of the individuals I coach treat the relocation as a new beginning,” Bucy said. “They take the opportunity to do things they’ve always wanted to do but never made time for.” The coaching process can bring clarity on what to embrace next.
Moser added, “I learned that each relocation was an opportunity to reinvent myself. Gaining the ability to creatively and quickly learn new information is one gift of moving.”
Your attitude about the move will dictate many of these areas. When you view the experience as a bold new adventure, you’re excited for what lies ahead — and willing to make the most of a few setbacks while creating your new life.