It has been a month. A month I came back to San Francisco, the city of my dreams. If you have been around me, you know what this city means to me. Great thing to turn one’s dreams into reality, right?
Turning a dream into reality will confront you at your deepest levels. It will show you all the shit that you have built up in your life, the stuff and clutter you have accumulated, the unhealthy relationships you have developed with yourself, others and your surroundings.
That is why most people (including myself) have a deep fear of making their dreams come true. A lot of self-doubt can and probably will arise in the process:
What am I doing?
Is this what I really want?
Do I deserve this?
It’s not as good as I thought it would be.
Will I ever be happy/find what I’m looking for?
Once you pass the honeymoon phase, you might enter the disillusionment phase of entering in contact with reality (especially if you’re an idealist, like me).
On my journey back here, I have felt the joy of simply being here, walking around the streets, and reconnecting with some of the people I love here.
And, there have also been great challenges, which I would not have faced had I simply stayed in France:
- I had to take care of taxes for my company back in France, despite being in a completely different world here.
- I am continuing to serve an important client in France, negotiating this year’s contract with a 9-hour time difference and delays due to an important mission they are working on.
- I am taking care of my housemate’s beloved dog, who demands a lot of attention and is highly dependent on me for her well-being. (I am an animal lover, but it’s really challenging for me to have another living being depending on my attention, care and support. Cats are OK: they live their life and you can feed them whenever, they will do their thing. Dogs, is another story: I need to feed her twice a day, take her out multiple times a day, including for long walks since she is a shepherd dog with a lot of energy and stamina. And she can’t poop or pee without me taking her out !)
- There has been some heavy construction work in the back of the house which triggered my hypersensitivity a lot.
- And, they came to repaint the bathtub with toxic chemicals, so I had to move to another friends’ house for two days and one night during this work.
All this while doing my best to adapt to this country (culture shock guaranteed), stay safe and healthy from rampant COVID (yes, I resisted mentioning these letters in any other article, but here it is for this one), grow my business to kick-start 2022 and participate in one (now two) coaching programs !
I can’t say that it was easy, nor that I didn’t suffer in the process. It showed me a lot of my shortcomings, and that, despite of all the planning I did, and that I have been seriously preparing for this project for the past 9 month (the longing to return to S.F. was 4,5 years).
Advice for major life transitions
So here is some advice I would give if you are planning for an international move, or a major life change:
- Plan for the worst to happen, and give yourself extra time and money for the project. I remember an entrepreneurship class I took where the instructor recommended to plan for 2x as much time and 3x as much money for launching a new business. (I think that if I had given myself an extra 1-2 months and a larger financial buffer, it would have made everything easier. But from where I was, I couldn’t see it.)
- Know that despite all your planning, no battleplan resists the first canon blast.
- Prepare physically, mentally, emotionally, financially beforehand (in my mind, I was preparing like I was going on a spaceship to the Moon or something).
- Research shows that for any period of time travelling, it is recommended to spend 3x that amount of time resting and re-grounding yourself afterwards. (oops…)
- Get some support (friends, family, a coach, a therapist, …). I am blessed to count on the support of multiple coaches including the fantastic, wise and compassionate Aidan Lazzarotto, friends and my family back in France.
Another key point is that one of the key qualities you can bring with you everywhere is your resilience. That is definitely a skill that I built up over the last years of my life, especially during crazy times and life experiences that I had.
Here are some of the gifts from each of the challenging experiences I mentioned above:
– Thanks to taking the dog out, walking that much and exercising to keep getting stronger and not let the circumstances beat me, I am growing beyond my physical and mental limits
– I have experienced Miracles, that have supported me far outside of my comfort zone (into the Magic Zone and the Miracle Zone). I am definitely setting my upper limits further, as Gay Hendricks mentions in The Big Leap.
– I am getting up much earlier and living a much more fulfilled life. Each day matters.
– I am forced by circumstances to rise up earlier in the morning than I used to, or get beat.
– I do the Impossible, several times a week (and sometimes several times a day). (I am participating in Michael Neill’s Creating The Impossible program. Read his book of the same title, or to go further, read Stanislav Grof’s When The Impossible Happens.)
– I am confronted with the question of how I show up, how I really want to live my life. What really matters to me. What attracts me so much in the American Culture, and the Post-Progressive San Francisco cultural sphere? What are the aspects that I don’t want to cultivate. (I am a witness to the amount of waste produced, despite the recycling, and the amounts of CO² produced by driving and flying everywhere. I dream of planes and cars that are carbon neutral or carbon positive !).
All is work in progress.
All in all, one advice that I am receiving and that I would like to share (and apply to myself to walk my talk) is:
Slow down and wise up.
Here is some advice and a few questions to help in this process:
What really matters to you?
What if you gave yourself a year?
What if you gave yourself a decade?
What do you need to let go of?
What do you need to develop?
What does your heart say?
What does your head say?
What are you afraid of?
What is the path that would leave you with fewer or no regrets?
What is it that you most need to learn about this situation?
What is the question, that if you had it answered, would change everything for you?