Are you longing for a career of your own, a space where your dreams, passions and gifts can make an impact?
For years you may have supported your spouse in their career, transitioning yourself and your entire family into new countries and new cultures. A feat in itself!
You have dealt with home emergencies on your own (probably in a foreign language) when your spouse was halfway across the world. You created a home and put roots down, no matter for how long. You comforted the children during the n-th goodbye, alone, again.
But you may be longing for a career of your own, a space where your dreams, passions and gifts can make an impact. It may be a passion you would like to pursue without it necessarily turning into a ladder-climbing profession. You may be wondering what you would like to do when the children leave the nest and fly away to their own adventures. You may have had plans that had to be put on hold because the next move was coming up and because you were not allowed to work in the country of your spouse’s next assignment.
There may not be a way back to your former career path but there is always a way forward.
This is your opportunity! Your spouse’s many work absences cannot stop you from growing on a personal and professional level, even if it is just planting ‘seeds’ to see what grows.
“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.” – STEPHEN R COVEY
If you do not have much time, capacity, or physical strength (the children may still be young, you are suffering from an illness, and there is simply no time), you may want to start by planting SEEDS. This has the advantage of being flexible and expanding as children grow older and time permits.
The following steps walk you through the incremental process of planting SEEDS. Move from one to the other: Start-Explore-Eliminate-Develop-Strategise
· Start with something. Just pick one thing. Doing what you seem most attracted to and where you can be proactive: volunteer at the Women’s Club, join the PTA, take a class, do anything available that you might enjoy. Go where your interest is awoken. Make sure your involvement is on a trial basis so you have the opportunity to change direction. This is not about just ‘doing something, anything, just to keep busy’. This is about taking the first step towards investing in yourself for the future.
· Explore new roles, and push your limits. Offer to speak at your local Expat group, work with children, youth, and adults. This is the opportunity to try!
· Develop, dig deeper into activities and roles that are the most promising. Ask your coworkers, the other volunteers to give you specific feedback. Start investigating possible training, Look into how the skills that you have and those that you may need can be developed.
· Strategise. You may now be in a position to have a 5- or 10-year personal plan. This will turn into more of a Personal Development Plan. You can use it for your professional life, to grow a set of skills, or simply to invest in developing as a person.
A mum I interviewed shared that she signed up to an online course on ‘How to write your own book’ at 3AM one morning! She just needed something that had nothing to do with motherhood or breastfeeding! It turned out, it wasn’t the right thing for her, but it led her to what she is doing today, writing her own blog.
What will you start planting as your first Seed today?
You may be reading this and feeling overwhelmed by the fact your spouse is away for work. Schedule a 30-minute discovery call with me here to discuss how I can help you.
Rhoda Bangerter is a coach who has lived abroad with a travelling husband for over 16 years. She helps home based mums and dads live an intentional life and build family togetherness even when their partner is away a lot for work.