Soul Food: Embracing the Unknown

Soul Food columnist Kim Forrester shares how to go boldly into new frontiers.

Despite our different personalities, backgrounds and beliefs, there’s one trait that every ANZA member has in common: at some stage we all decided to say goodbye to the familiar and comfortable, to follow an opportunity in a foreign land. This is no fluke. By acknowledging that you, as an expat, have an ability to withstand – and often seek out – the new and the unexpected, you can make the most out of any challenge that life will inevitably bring.

In our family, we call it ‘ex-frightment’. That sense of heart-racing exhilaration when you’re about to step forward into something bold and unknown. You’re scared to death and unimaginably excited at the same time. You know this feeling. You’ve felt it as the doors are bolted shut on your loaded-to-the-brim shipping container, or as you hand over your passport to immigration before that one-way flight to your new home. Challenge is an inherent part of life and expats enjoy more opportunities than most to engage with and thrive off the back of disruptive and unexpected situations. In order to get the best out of a challenging environment, I encourage you to:

BALANCE CHALLENGE WITH SUPPORT: Be willing to make choices that will bring discomfort or disruption into your life, and the lives of loved ones. However, always ensure that an equal measure of emotional support is available for those who are struggling. When you are feeling secure and strong, be there for others. If a challenge is overwhelming you, have the courage to reach out for help and support.

DISCERN REAL CHALLENGE FROM FEAR: Media and gossip can hype up threats and leave you feeling vulnerable to challenges that are highly exaggerated. Maintain a measured approach to what is truly going on around you and focus your energy and attention only on those challenges that really affect you.

RECOGNISE WHEN THINGS ARE JUST NOT WORKING: If a situation has become overwhelming or untenable and the support you need is not available, it may be time to move on. There is no failure in recognising what is best for your wellbeing.

MAINTAIN A POSITIVE OUTLOOK: Trust in your ability to endure and in the resilience of your loved ones. Ask for the support you need and always understand that challenge, if approached correctly, can be an inspiring and invigorating experience. It’s natural to feel low at times, but lean into positivity whenever possible.

Kim Forrester is a holistic wellbeing author, consultant and educator. kimforrester.net