Who Am I?
The most important thing to know before you move abroad is yourself. You are the biggest factor as to whether you will be successful and happy or defeated and miserable. Believe it or not, people thrive in every part of the world. And yet in those same places others are struggling. The reason? Like plants, different people thrive under different conditions. So, the question is who are you? And what are you suited for?
Consider this: research shows that your self-identity has an impact on your choices and habits. For example, a healthy person makes healthy decisions if they identify themself as a healthy person. Someone who identifies themself as a healthy person would automatically choose nutritious foods over junk food. It’s a preset in their mind. Likewise, an adventurous person would enjoy trying new things and exploring new foods. Whereas, a cautious person would be slower to accept new things.
Ask Yourself: What are my presets? What is my identity? How will my identity affect my decisions? How will it change my experience?
What Motivates Me?
Motives can be tricky to identify. Sometimes true motivations are hidden deep within us, diverting us from attaining our true goals. So, be cautious about your initial answers to questions of motive. Truth may be more elusive than you think.
Some people move abroad in hopes of a better life. If this is your motive, then proceed with caution. Problems have a tendency to follow you. And as the saying goes, “everywhere you go, there you are.” The message? Sometimes we try to escape our problems only to find out that the problem lies not in our situation, but in ourselves or our attitude.
Young people: Some leave their parents home looking for freedom. Can you relate? Then take note. Many find that life outside of the family home is more restrictive than within. Instead of finding freedom you may find yourself with long work hours, bills, increased responsibility and chores, and a lowered income.
Also, know that there is no place without challenges. Often when we move locations we swap problems rather than eliminate them. And what we imagine to be paradise can in reality be far from it. Knowing your motive will enable you to avoid making the mistake of moving for the wrong reasons.
Ask yourself: What do I expect my life to be like after I move? What benefit will I gain from living there? What aspects of life do I look forward to the most?
The answers to these questions will help guide you to your true motive.
What Is My Goal?
If you want to hit a target, you have to aim for it. Even if you know the target but cannot see it clearly, it is unlikely you will hit it. So, aim carefully.
When you identify your goals you will know if you are on the right track and if any adjustments need to be made. These include both tangible and intangible outcomes. It will take more time and effort initially, but having a clear picture of your goals will make your life easier in the long run.
There are many decisions you will have to make along your journey. With your goals clear in mind, you will be able to measure your goals against your options. Things that move you further from your goals can automatically be ruled out. Things that move you closer to your goals can be identified and evaluated. No one has the time, energy or resources to do everything they wish. Be reasonable and realistic.
Your goals are like signposts that will keep you on track. Identifying these signposts will prevent you from straying, wasting your time, energy, and resources.
Note: Motives and goals are related, but not the same. If you think of your goal as hitting the bulls-eye on a target, your motive would be why you want to hit the target.
What Are My Needs?
Everyone is different. Some need more and some need less. Some will prefer one thing, while others, another thing. That is the nature of being human. Even family members and close friends may have very different needs. Some needs seem trivial and some seem undeniable . But know this: All needs are valid. Do not feel bad if your needs seem silly. A need is a need and we all have them.
Try This: To help identify your needs take note of your life for a month. Write down what you do each day. Identify specific areas to keep account of. Some needs, such as health care needs and access to certain facilities, will be obvious. But also consider areas such as your spending habits, eating habits, cleanliness, social habits and entertainment habits.
Then Ask Yourself: What do I notice about my habits and my needs? Imagine what life would be like without certain items or services. Would I be able to adapt? What parts of my life are being handled by someone else? Am I willing and/or able to do these things myself?
Who Will This Impact?
No man is an island. Make sure to take into account the impact your move will have on others.
Someway and somehow someone will be affected by your leaving. Are these your family members? Your Spouse? Your children? Your elderly parents? Your Employer? Your Friends? And will the effect be positive or negative? Consider these questions carefully and really dig in. The answer may not be as obvious as it seems.
Consider This: When you leave, it is likely you will be living with other people, at least initially. Are they family or friends or strangers? Will it put an undue burden on these people? How will their habits and ideas affect me? And how will my habits and ideas affect them?
A Word of Caution: Decisions that alter your family dynamic could have consequences that last far into the future. Consider how the physical and emotional wellbeing of your family will be affected. Separation from your spouse and/or children may put an undue burden on all parties involved, which may include grandparents, other relatives, and friends.
Am I Ready?
Knowing where you are going and how to get there is important. But to actually get there, you need to take action. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare and carry out your plans. Rarely is the window of opportunity finite. So don’t be pressured to move too quickly. Take the time to be thorough in your preparations and do due diligence. And be balanced.
Don’t delay so much that you end up with “analysis paralysis”. There is a time to think and a time to act. After you identify what will suit you, go for it! But not before.