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Are expat needs different?

When we consider moving abroad, our first consideration is to ensure that it is a comfortable, safe and secure environment. These are basic needs that we need to fulfill. The relocation and moving services that are available to expats on assignments are also geared towards finding a house, the move and getting settled. But what about the "other" needs that we have? The intangible ones? Many of us know what it feels like to be miserable even when we are safe and financially secure! What's missing here? Val Bokio from Global Coach gives you some hints...

What We Need to Thrive

When we move abroad we leave things behind, but all of our needs go with us!
These needs have to be taken care of too if we want to thrive and be our best while overseas.

Personal needs are funny things - we all have them but find to hard to admit them. We have learned to try to hide them, especially when we are brought up to be self reliant. Does this ring true for you?
Are you getting your needs met, or is there something missing? Let's explore.

According to the psychologist Abraham Maslow, there are different levels of needs that human beings have to have met in order to feel motivated and satisfied with life. Look at the groupings below and ask yourself these questions to become aware of what might be missing for you and what you need to be your best.

Identifying our Needs

Our basic external needs are the ones we must address first. Getting these needs met ensure we feel physically secure, safe and comfortable.

  • Is the environment healthy? Is there pollution, disease, more allergens etc. 
  •  Is this a safe location?
  • What is the standard of living here? Can I afford it - or put up with less?
  • What are the legal requirements to live and work here?
  • What is the medical care and coverage like?
  • Is there a communication infrastructure that I need?
  • Will this work out financially?

Once we have these external needs fulfilled, the next level is to start getting our personal needs met. The next level is our need to be loved and feel that we belong. Without this we become isolated and alone.

  • How will I keep in touch with friends and family?
  • Will I feel supported and loved?
  • Can I communicate with the people?
  • How will I make friends?
  • Is there an Expat community I can become part of?
  • What is the attitude towards foreigners?
  • Are there similar groups that I belong to over there?

Feeling good about ourselves and who we are is the next level - Self respect, confidence, sense of identity and achievement. If this is missing we may have low self esteem, lack confidence and feel useless.

  • Are there opportunities to use my strengths and skills?
  • Where can I add value or contribute?
  • Will people respect and appreciate me?
  • Is the role that I am taking on one that will make me feel good
    about myself?
  • What opportunities are there for learning and my personal growth?

The final evolved level of personal needs takes us to where we express and live our true and best selves. We are able to find meaning in life, personal fulfillment, abundance, balance, happiness and joy.

  • Am I living the life I choose?
  • Can I continue to nourish my body, mind and soul?
  • Am I in integrity? How can I maintain my integrity?
  • How can I be the difference I want to see in the world?
  • What will be the legacy I leave?
  • Will I be able to create and live my vision?
  • How can I feel fulfilled and at peace?

Some of us may never reach the last stage of enlightenment (Maslow estimated that only about 2% of the population reaches this level) but isn't it something to discover and work towards as a possibility - no matter where we are in the world?

Coaching Tip from Val

Our needs drive us. They can take over our lives as we try to get them met - and if they aren't met they can prevent us from reaching our potential or finding success or experience the meaning of the word happiness.
The first step is to get over the negative feeling or the embarrassment that you may have about them. I hope by now that you can see that they are part of what it is to be a human being and more so, to be yourself... truly.

Remember that having needs doesn't make us needy!
Satisfying our needs is essential for us to grow and thrive. The next step is to identify our own personal needs and work at ensuring they are met - permanently. This takes work and time. Are you ready to start?

I wish you all the best in the new adventure