There's a tool I've been meaning to share with you for a while. It's one I first learned during my coaching training at CTI, and now that the hustle and bustle of back-to-school is behind us, it seems like the perfect moment to focus on ourselves, particularly as parents and expatriates. The tool I want to introduce you to is the "Wheel of Life."
Life as an expatriate parent can be an exciting yet complex journey. Balancing the demands of parenting and adapting to a new country's culture is no small feat. The Wheel of Life is a powerful coaching tool that can help you gain clarity, set meaningful goals, and achieve a more balanced and fulfilling life as an expat parent.
Understanding the Wheel of Life
The Wheel of Life is a visual representation of various aspects of your life, divided into different domains. It provides a clear snapshot of how you are currently balancing these areas and where you might need to focus more attention. In the context of expatriate parenting, it can be a game-changer. Here's a model you can use, based on the CTI Wheel.
Take this wheel and choose 8 areas of your life. Make sure you include some that are inward focussed (personal development or spirituality, for example); some that are career/finance focused (career, finances, physical environment) and some that are relationship focussed (immediate family, fun/recreation, or family).
Below are 8 suggested sections, but make it your own.
So, Step One, go ahead and print off the wheel (there's a pdf at the bottom of this article) and write in your 8 areas, on the outside of the wheel. You're going to need a minimum of 10 minutes, and some quiet thinking time, to do the exercise.
Step Two is to give yourself a score from 1-10, noting how satisfied you are with that area right now, as you are doing the exercise. Now, you might currently be earning very little, but very satisfied with that, because you have freedom to do some voluntary work, or collect your kids from school. So that would be a higher score than someone who is perhaps earning more, but it isn't enough to have financial stability at the moment. It's to do with your own personal satisfaction - no judgement.
Let's take a look at some areas you may have chosen, before we move on to our next step.
Family & Parenting - This domain encompasses your role as an expat parent and the unique challenges that come with raising children in a foreign country.
Health & Well-being - Maintaining your physical and mental well-being is essential for your effectiveness as a parent. Expatriate life can bring stress, so self-care becomes paramount.
Relationships - Building and maintaining strong connections both within and outside your community is a vital aspect of expat life. Nurturing relationships with your loved ones back home is also a priority.
Career & Professional Life - Managing your career while caring for your family in a new country is a balancing act. It's crucial to strike a balance between your professional aspirations and your family's needs.
Finances - Financial stability is essential to provide a comfortable expat experience for your family. Understand the financial challenges specific to your host country.
Personal Development - Your personal growth and self-improvement should not be forgotten. It's about finding opportunities for growth and learning.
Community & Social Life - Engaging with your expat and local communities is essential for support and a sense of belonging.
Fun & Recreation - Don't forget to make time for enjoyment and relaxation, both individually and as a family.
Pause and Reflect
Now that you've identified your eight essential life domains, and given yourself a score for each area, Step Three is to join up the dots to make a (usually very wonky) wheel. Your goal isn't to get all 10s, it's about making the journey smoother. Take a moment now to look at your wheel and be comfortable with it. As I said earlier, no judgement.
Coaching Tips for Expatriate Parents
The Wheel of Life coaching tool is a valuable resource to help you find balance and fulfilment in your expat life. Now, it's your turn to take action:
Assess Your Current Balance: Take some time to assess where you are in each domain of the Wheel of Life. Consider how satisfied you are with your life in each area.
Set Goals: Once you've assessed your current state, choose one or two areas you'd like to make a change in. Set yourself a goal for those domains. Goals should guide your journey toward a more balanced life, and some at least should be relatively short-term, say for 6 months ahead max.
Set habits: Once you have goals, break these down into mini achievable habits, that you can work on each day.
Celebrate Progress: As you work toward your goals, celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. These victories will keep you motivated and moving forward.
Share Your Experience: We'd love to hear about your journey. Share your insights, challenges, and successes with other expat parents in the comments below. It's an excellent opportunity to connect and support one another.
Experience Personalized Coaching: If you're looking for one-on-one guidance and support tailored to your unique situation, consider trying a coaching session with me. I specialise in helping expat parents find balance and thrive in their unique journeys. Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation.
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As the dust settles after the rentrée, consider using this tool to set your intentions, find your balance, and make the most of your expat parenting adventure. Your journey to balance and fulfilment as an expat parent begins here. Take the first step today!