Being Open to the World Which Comes to Me

by on December 27, 2017

Being Open to the World Which Comes to Me

Circumstances in the last 4 years of my life have kept me pretty much homebound and in my home state of New Jersey. There was one trip to Montreal and Quebec, a couple of trips to Florida and Alabama and one to Pittsburgh, but that has been about it. For a number of years I was a frequent traveler, experiencing the cultures of 4 to 5 European countries. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to be to about 30 states in the United States. And, perhaps in the future, I will get to travel again, as the circumstances that have impacted the last few years have moved on from my life.

At the same time, my life as a career coach afforded me an opportunity in 2013 which I still relish to this day. I do coaching and acclimation work for a company which offers services to the spouses of families who relocate to the area of the United States in which I live. Basically, the model is a family gets transferred from where they live to my area of the United States due to a corporation looking to move a high performer to another exposure in their company. I always say to those who know me, the person being moved has a new job, the children (if the family has any) ultimately will be enrolled in a new school, take on their activities and make friends. And, then there is the accompanying spouse. That person has uprooted their life (sometimes more than once as I have learned), left behind whatever work they did, has to make sure the family is all settled into the new surroundings, and often has lost a sense of identity to whom they are.

What makes the role even more fascinating is the families not only come from other parts of the United States, but other parts of the world. I have had clients who have moved to my area from South America, Europe and Asia. Recently through a referral from one of my clients whom I met through this relocation assignment, I have had the experience of working with my first client who has originated from Africa. I have had clients where the spouse I have worked with is a female, or where the spouse has been a male, or situations where the spouse is part of a same-sex couple. I get to meet a true cross section of the world.

And, what have I learned from all of this? First of all, in spite of cultural and spiritual differences, often people want the same things. That usually equates to what is best for their children, an opportunity to contribute their skills either to a job where they are adequately compensated, or if that is not possible to a cause which they volunteer their talents. They’re anxious about “fitting in” to their new country, new state or part of the country. Many are very dedicated to improving their conversational English, not offending others, and enjoying the experience of their new surroundings.

Another learning point is that I learn more by watching and asking questions of others, than assuming that I know exactly what they need. In the formal coaching arrangement, that comes through a needs assessment conversation. In non-formal scenes, it is quietly sitting and observing, whether it be from a seat in a restaurant, or the center of a shopping mall or from a park bench. I also look to empathize with the other person, putting myself back into the situation when I was a stranger in another country or area of my own country which is different from the area where I live.

Finally I try to assess what I learn and experience, versus what I may see reported as news be it online, or in a newspaper or through electronic media. Yes, bad things happen in our world. And, there are people in the world that do mean harm to others. However, the large majority of individuals just want to meet, share experiences and enjoy and learn from the people they meet. That will never be reported in any news items, it is not sensational, and it may not sell papers or magazines. But, it is something that I want to keep in mind as we close out 2017 and move into 2018. There are a world of individuals out there to meet, and I for one want to continue enjoy doing so.

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