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Context is Everything

Just a quick reminder today that whatever you read, take the source into account. 

  • Who wrote the piece?
  • What's their background?
  • Which culture are they from?
  • What are their personality type preferences?
  • What are the times they're living in?
  • What are the political and economic circumstances?

I'm trying to do this but know that I'm not all the time. Especially when I get my eyes on new, salient, sexy research that explains how people live, love, work, or play - I simply MUST remember that study participants are often American psychology students. 

Where do you get your information, and how often / rigorously do you question it? 



How not to run a blog

The most successful blogs have the following elements - no particular order - in common: 1. Clearly defined audience In this case, I'm writing for expats, lovepats, accompanying spouses, international students, sojourners, military families, global HR department officials, type enthusiasts, coaches, trainers, research participants, and anyone interested in personality and culture.

Guess I could be a tad more specific, huh.

2. Purpose Simon Sinek calls this the "why". In fact, he says everything starts with "why". I started my blog and everything that led up to my business, because I love being an expat. Have loved it since 1997, right up until 2006, when I became an accompanying spouse with an identity crisis where a work permit used to be.

Strong words, and at the time it felt more like a period of funk and "what's wrong with me?" But hindsight is awesome, so now after much coaching and learning I know what was going on. THAT kind of insight into the emotional challenges of international relocation is what I want to share, so others don't fall into the same hole, or at least learn some strategies to climb out of it faster. I also found that becoming aware of our cultural and type differences opens channels of non-threatening and non-judgmental communication, which in turn help celebrate diversity, foster conducive work environments, and loving relationships.

Is that clear from what I'm writing? Please let me know! I do have a tendency to ramble and get side-tracked. In person that can be quite charming, just think of Billy Connolly and his tangents, how he always finds his way back to his point eventually, laughing at himself and the absurdity of life in the progress. But on a blog... Your time is precious, you don't want it wasted, right?

Where was I?

3. Quality content Not only should posts be written well, grammatically correct, and with flawless punctuation, they should also address the readers' needs. Am I doing that? I think my style may be a bit too lecture-heavy, although I do try to tell stories from my own experiences. Normalizing is a big part of my work, letting people know that what they're going through doesn't make them freaks of the universe. Again, please let it rip and let me know what you were hoping to find when you clicked over here, that would mean and help a lot!

4. Frequent updates The range goes from multiple daily updates to weekly posts to monthly feature articles. The consensus seems to be not about what the frequency is, but that there be one.

I'm doing weekly posts here (have been since 2007, check the archives), but know that I was severely lacking in the frequency department over on my research page. Which is why I'm taking Danielle's advice and consolidating the two. To make it easy to find, I've added a Research category for those of you who are only here to learn more about how personality type affects cultural adaptation in expats.

5. Involving the tribe Providing a space for discussion used to be the prerogative of any blog's comments section - now Facebook has earned the privilege. Have you liked my page yet? No? Probably because I haven't been posting specific items with alluring photographs and catchy headlines to draw you in. I've recently disconnected the Twitter stream not to appear there anymore, because it did get overwhelming.

Hey! I know, this is almost turning into pity-party. In case the title didn't give it away, I am scolding myself here. And by scolding, I mean using a coaching technique that I know to be effective: public goal-setting.

My goals are To provide value to expats and their accompanying spouses To share what I've learned along the way To use this forum for the good of celebrating diversity in type and culture

Will you help keep me accountable?

Thanks to Stuart Miles for the free pic!



42 Expats MBTI Respondents as of Today!

Just thought it's about time for a quick heads-up, so here's where we are so far: Top 3 reported types are INTP (8), ENTJ (4), ENTP; ENTJ; ENFP; INFP (4 each) - others: ENFJ, ISTJ, ESTJ, INTJ, ESTP, ESFP

In other words, majority Theorist temperament, followed by Catalyst, then Stabilizer, and only three Improvisers. Majority Behind-the-Scenes Interaction Style, followed by In Charge, then Get-Things-Going, then Chart-the-Course.*

Top 3 reported home-cultures are USA (8), UK (8), and Germany (5) - others: France, Netherlands, Australia, Romania, Russia, Poland, Singapore, Israel, Peru, Spain, Ukraine

29 female, 11 male participants - apparently a couple people didn't like to disclose their sex.

17 baby-boomers, 16 Gen X

Top 3 reported challenges are Everyday stuff, e.g. groceries (18), can't speak the language very well (16), finding it hard to make friends (13)

What does it all mean, and how does it all fit together? The interviews will bring so much more to light! THANK YOU to everyone who has participated so far, you are awesome!!! Most of you have given me permission to contact you via email, rest assured I will do so in the summer.

I was fortunate enough to meet and spend some time with Lieve and Gudula from the European Association of Psychological Type during Dr. Berens' program, and they've been very helpful and supportive of my research plans. I'm so excited to hopefully reach more European participants in the months to come.

If you're in the area, why not join the EAPT Conference in Paris this year? More info here:

We're still missing input from lots of countries and lots of types, namely INFJ, ISFJ, ESFJ, ISTP, and ISFP, so please continue to share this link with your friends and colleagues. Thanks again!

Be well,


*Since I just went through the Berens CORE(r) Method certification program, look for more articles about how the Interaction Styles play out in our social styles and behavior. ;-)