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Step 12 - Behaving Congruently

Picture credit: sheba_also Here we are, at the last of the 12 steps again. Have you been following the whole series, taking notes, thinking about how you would approach each step?

Come to think of it, they remind me a lot of the 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted living! :-)

Congruent living brings together the practice of all other steps, knowing what your values are, who you are, and what you want to stand for in the world.

How do you know when you're living congruently?

You'll know you're in alignment with your values and your passions when you're sleeping well, feeling rested and content, enjoying frequent full-belly laughs, and greet each day like a new friend with a smile on your face. When you have time to play and do meaningful work. We might even throw the word "purpose" around - when you know why it is that you're doing what you're doing.

Is it hard work? Hell yeah.

Is it worth it? I think so.

The hardest part for me is cognitively and emotionally knowing that congruent living isn't a destination, it's a journey. Accepting that I'll have to have the same action items on my to-do list every day.

The good news is, we can start with just one little step right now:

  1. Try to reflect on yourself, a little more every day.
  2. Try to stand in your own power, a little more every day.
  3. Try to make peace with yourself, a little more every day.
  4. Try to make better choices, a little more every day.
  5. Try to see the big picture, a little more every day.
  6. Try to be kind, a little more every day.
  7. Try to be a little more in everyday moments, every day.
  8. Try to nurture your whole self better, a little more every day.
  9. Try to learn something new, a little more every day.
  10. Try to be more aware, a little more every day.
  11. Try to look forward to better things, a little more every day.
  12. Keep trying for just a little more and a little better, every day.

Which one are you going to start with today? Let me know how it goes?

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Maslow and the Expat Journey

Thanks wikimedia commons People have needs. According to American psychologist Abraham Maslow, you can categorize them into five levels. His argument is that as humans, we ultimately strive for “self-actualization”, but have to cover our basic needs before we’re able to concentrate on higher goals.

The Physiological level is that of basic survival needs: food, clothes, shelter, and things to do with bodily functions we won’t go into. Most likely, you have these needs covered, right up until you become an expat.

Maslow’s next level is all about Safety. Once you have your basic survival needs met, you can start worrying about the neighborhood. Is that rustle in the bushes a saber toothed tiger or a bunny? Today, you know which route to take to work, where to buy groceries, maybe you’ve even been with the same family doctor all your life. But what about that new place you’re moving to?

Then comes my personal favorite: love and belonging. Don’t underestimate what a lack of social circles, professional networks, friends, and family can do to your system.

Your international assignment can help you reach your self-esteem and self-actualization goals, but it can also drag you down. Depending on your personality type and essential motivator preferences, you'll have to have certain psychological needs met to feel good. Living in a new environment can be challenging until you figure out how to adapt your behaviors.

Maslow is also featured as the father of humanistic psychology in this book by Jessica Grogan, PhD Encountering America: Humanistic Psychology, Sixties Culture, and the Shaping of the Modern Self (Harper Perennial 2013).

This week we'll examine all of his pyramid's levels and provide some coaching tips about how to approach them. Looking forward to your comments!



How often do ENFJs change jobs?

I've recently posted a quick poll on the LinkedIn ENFJ forum about how often ENFJs change jobs in the past, and here's the response:

ENFJ change jobs poll

Here's what one person commented:

I have worked my way from engineering technologist to sales tax recovery to ISO 9000 quality control development/consultant and now finally to Facilitator/Trainer especially focused on developing team and personal dynamics using the MBTI. I must admit that was a long way around to get to the spot that fits me most out of all the previous jobs. Thank you for asking the question. It is good to contemplate this.

This reminded me of my own journey over the last almost 20 years. Started out as a Foreign Language Secretary, because that's "something with languages", and seemed like the best move at the time. I liked people, chatting, and English so much, what could be better? Did I know at 19 what it was that I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing? Hell no. Finding myself was, is, an exercise of trial and error.

Executive Assistant combined many things, but I could never really be myself. One boss actually recommended I not be so nice with everyone. Interesting perspective, and totally true as it turns out.

So I studied HR and found a job in recruitment. What I learned there didn't feel right either. Having to look at candidates through a potential commission lens was not my cup of tea. I did all of six months before I was let go.

Today, I'm happy as a cross-cultural trainer and type facilitator. I love reading, learning, training, coaching, researching, and whaddayaknow, doing all of it in English.

The red thread of communication, languages, and people-service was always there. Still, is this what I'll be doing another 20 years from now?

Who knows! People change. We grow. Experiences make us richer. The world will be a different place in 2033, and perhaps everyone will have a babel-fish in their ear, like Douglas Adams suggests in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Everyone might be able to better understand one another. Perhaps everyone will receive mandatory type and positive psychology classes in Kindergarten, growing up with effective stress, change, and conflict management tools. Then there'll be no more need for my line of work, because everybody's already happy and prosperous.

Now there's a thought. :-)