With a client last week we got talking about being BRAVE and having COURAGE. She made a comment that many do, on how brave I was to have moved to China and create a business/life here. Now, I know, I’ve set a lot of big goals in my life. I’ve made a lot of big changes. And yet brave is not something I feel often and I most certainly don’t always feel courageous.
Still, it got me thinking about one or two of the most out-of-the-box things we have done in both life and business that have definitely had a huge effect on our lives and ultimately led us to where we are today.
My dad was a spec builder, so moving homes was not a big deal to me. We often moved and I was used to creating my own environment wherever we moved. Getting married, Mike is more of a homebody who likes to stay put. Moving to him, was a big deal, whether from home to home, let alone from town to city or country to country!
Our first big move totally out of our comfort zone, was from our beautiful hometown of Taupo to an even smaller community on the “Forgotten Highway” in Taranaki. This was for work opportunities. This was the first move for our family. I definitely wasn’t brave. It was so very scary, totally full of fear.
Plus it wasn’t exactly a “normal” move. It required our family (me, Mike and our two girls only 3/5 years old) and a crew of 10+ to leave Taupo every Sunday. During the week we would live together in the wopwops (an isolated area) surrounded by farm and forestry, work for the week, and head home every Friday. Over an hour drive to civilisation. A totally foreign environment for me and the girls. I homeschooled. We cooked. We cleaned. We did everything we could to support Mike and the crew who worked hard and were away from their families too. When I look back now I can’t believe we did it for over two years. Courageous or crazy I still don’t know and yet it definitely changed the course of our life/business in a big way!
Play it forward over 20 years. We totally believed that as we had survived our first move to Taranaki with all its challenges and potholes and the subsequent moves in between, we could survive anywhere. And so here we find ourselves in Nanjing, a small city in China of around 8 million people, having moved six years ago from NZ to China.
So many people call us brave both from China and the rest of the world, having made the move. We definitely don’t feel any braver than others. Yet I do know, while not always easy, it has opened up a whole new world for us both personally and professionally. We have experienced things we never envisioned for ourselves. Learnt so much about ourselves, our relationship, our culture, our beliefs, views and values. Living in China has shown us that the world really is our oyster. Crazy or courageous? I still can’t tell which!
Of course, not happy with just moving to a completely foreign country, the opportunity arose from me to put myself out there, in front of groups, speaking on stage to large audiences and to crowds who don’t even speak the same language that I do. This too has been a huge journey of learning. Not only have I developed new skills along the way. It has also been a great learning tool to show me firsthand:
- that you can achieve anything you put your mind to
- to not limit yourself to what you know
- to continually expand your possibilities
- be willing to learn along the way
- never expect perfection!
Then the next big step, seeing how important online interaction was over two years ago, I put myself out there on social media. Both writing as I am here and on camera. Do I love it? No Way! I don’t think I ever will. And for some strange reason I have warmed to the idea. Now, it’s become one of my habits to maintain consistency. Putting myself out there in this area has opened up a huge area of vulnerability, that I am still working through and it is definitely teaching me to be more comfortable with who I am. Vulnerability I believe is at the heart of being courageous.
Through it all, three key things I have learned from moves, both physically and psychologically?
~ every more opened up a whole new world both personally and professionally
~ every move in some way, usually unforeseen, showed us what we are capable of and that we can live/do business anywhere
~ while it can be so so scary, in reality, it’s not half as scary as you think!
Huge moves. Huge courage. Huge Fear. Huge Returns. All success begins and ends with you.
What big moves have you made in life and/or business? What have you learned? Courageous or crazy?