20 questions to consider when thinking of relocating to a new country!
The crossroads in our lives and how to decide which route to take.
What if we knew the best way to move forward? What if we knew how to make the best decision for ourselves? How many times do we need to make a decision about our future? From which university to choose, to what degree to study, to which person to marry, to which country to live in. Decisions, decisions, decisions. They can add extra stress to our lives, and fill us with uncertainty and anxiety. Is there a way to help ease our decision-making process?
I have faced similar crossroads in my life. One when I was 24, and another when I was 34. I could see the two paths in front of me but I wasn't sure what to do or what I truly wanted.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking back. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever", said Steve Jobs. I do connect with these words as they are so true. But how do you know what decision to make?
In psychology, decision making is regarded as the cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action among several alternative possibilities. Every decision – making process produces a final choice that may or may not prompt action. Decision making is the process of identifying and choosing alternatives based on the values and preferences of the decision maker. I think the key in the above definition is within the words 'values' and 'preferences'. What is important to us and what we tend to like or dislike naturally guide us on how we make our decisions. “Should I stay or should I go?”
Here are 20 questions
to help you open up your mind, clear the cobwebs and hopefully enable you to make a decision on whether to relocate or not be it as an individual or a family:
- What does your gut instinct tell you? Do you get a hunchabout this at all? Is it a positive feeling or one that fills you with anxiety and fear?
- Are you running away from things, people, a mundane life, a situation, or yourself?
- What is important to you? What do you value in your life? Is it career, family, money, adventure or stability?
- What are the things you currently have that you absolutely don’t want to lose if you relocate?
- What are the things you currently have that you absolutely want to change? Will relocating automatically solve these problems?
- Do you believe that the grass is greener on the other side?
- If you are relocating due to a job offer, are you happy with the offer? Will it cover your rent, lifestyle needs and travel back to your home country at least twice a year?
- Are you OK with the idea that you will have 30 days, or 6 weeks, per year to spend back in your home country and to travel to other destinations?
- What do you know about the country that has offered you an opportunity to live there? Can you live there? Do you
like the weather, the language, and the people? Are you open to making friends and starting a life from zero?
- What do you know about the company that is making you an offer? Are there career prospects with them? What is your probation period?
- What are the relocation costs? Is your future employer willing to cover any of these costs?
- Have you made an inventory of what you will need in the country you are moving to? For instance: House/apartment, car, utilities, a mobile number, foreign ID, an internet supplier etc. What are the costs going to be? Ex. Rent, car rental or car purchase, utility costs etc.
- Do you have anything to lose if you relocate?
- How do you deal with change? Are you prepared to go the emotional cycle of change? Or do you take change in your stride?
- Have you done something similar in the past? How did you go about it? What did you do well and what could you have done differently?
- Do you know what the facts are and what the emotional barriers are that may affect your decision?
- How will other people react to your decision of relocating and how will you manage them?
- How will you manage any setbacks that you may face in your new life in the new country?
- What if you did relocate can you picture yourself living and working there?
- Are you willing to support your decision and not sabotage it when the going gets tough? Do you know how to do this?
When I was 24, I didn’t have these 20 questions to help me decide. I was flooded with fear and anxiety, I was toying with the idea of relocating for over nine months; analysis-paralysis. Until one morning I woke up and saw my life in Greece in fast forward, and at that point I made an instant decision to pack my bags, follow my heart and go to the UK. Looking back and connecting the dots, I can see that I made the best decision ever. I married the love of my life, have a sweet little boy, and studied and worked with some of the best companies in the UK. Was it hard? You bet it was! Nothing comes easy but you definitely become more resilient.
A year and a half ago, I had to decide whether I wanted to relocate from the UK to Malta. This time I wasn’t on my own. I had to take this decision with and for my family. Have I made the right decision? I don’t know yet, I am still creating the dots. I will definitely support my decision and make sure I don’t sabotage it.