August 19, 2021
We make decisions every day. Of course, some are more important than others, or I’d rather say some get a more or less meaningful impact or consequences, but still need to be made.
What am I going to wear today? Should I quit my job? Do I really want to stay in this relationship?
We all went through these kinds of dilemmas, when after having made the decision, our minds start wondering. What if?
Does that ring a bell?
As an expat, the recurrent question is: Should I stay or should I go?
In the decision-making process, one thing to remember is that it doesn’t serve you to keep thinking about it once you make it. You need to move on. There is no “IF” or “BUT.” There is no right or wrong!
Your decision is motivated by facts, truth, beliefs, and values and as valid as any other one. As long as your truth is aligned with your ideas, and you stand by it.
There is no benefit in imagining what could have happened if you had chosen a different option because you have no control of it.
Making a decision is not easy. It is a process.
The first step is to choose. The second is to move forward.
Consequences might be as expected or not, but there is no way of knowing before. There is, however, a possibility to choose how to act, react, or manage these consequences.
There is something though that I recommend to consider; the game-changer question: Do I make this decision for the right reasons?
There is no right or wrong decision, only right or wrong motivation for it.
Do not think that leaving will solve all your problems and feelings.
Because they won’t, and they might as well follow you even bigger.
As I once talked to one of my Directors commenting that I wanted to get another position and move country, I remember him telling me that he was giving me his blessing. The only condition to his support was that I leave for the right reasons and not run away from issues. I always remembered it, reflected on it, and I have to admit that it has not always been the case.
It is where the real challenge is. Not to take the decision, but to do it without slipping through the hole and run away. The step requires courage and standing for your values and beliefs, showing up for yourself even if you know that it will not be easy. That is the difficulty of making a decision.
The unresolved issues you leave behind are like rocks you will carry in your suitcase. Every situation you choose not to face and deal with will be adding rocks in it. It will become heavier each time to carry.
You might think, ok, fair enough, but why would I leave if I solve my problem?
Well, because you want to! And not because you need to or you have to. Certainly not because you believe it will be easier someplace else and you will be happier. Not even because you feel it is the only way to solve the present situation because it is not!
You leave because you choose to go. You are the one in charge, not the circumstances around you.
You might need something more, something different, something that serves you. Maybe moving on will help you evolve and become a better person.
Do not leave because you have trouble managing your team or tell yourself that this country is not for you. Do not hide behind the fact that you believe it will be different somewhere else.
What if the issues come from your understanding of the culture? Your capacity for adaptation? Your bias or some underlying beliefs about the country? There is a 99% chance that the same things will repeatedly happen if you leave things unsolved.
The same problem will arise.
If you work it out where you are, it might not be perfect, but it will help you get a different approach and perspective on your next assignment in another country. You might even enjoy learning from a different culture and chose to move to learn more instead of running away.
If you live your life filling up your suitcase with a stack of unresolved issues, it becomes complicated to carry and move after a while.
Fix the problem first. It is not easy. It requires courage, but you win if you succeed in doing it.
Be true to yourself, face the issue and learn from it. Then be free to leave.