Ed’s note: This post was written by guest editor Jasmine Abel of Stay Driven.
Los Angeles has become, without a doubt, one of the most popular cities for expats to call home. Many come for the job opportunities, to start a new adventure, and even for love. What most aren’t ready for, though, are the inevitable obstacles they face upon arriving, how quick it can be to lose motivation, and how overwhelming it is to move out of home for the first time, all the way across the pond.
Just a few months prior to packing up my life in Sydney, and saying goodbye to my beloved car, I had launched my first business on the side (an inspirational platform created to motivate people to keep not only their cars driven, but themselves too), while juggling a full time job at The Interior Design Institute. On top of that, I was taking on freelance photography jobs and falling madly in love with a boy I met on Instagram. (Yes, it started with a ‘like’ and, yes, we are now married!)
While the process of moving across the world was exciting, there were times when I was left feeling stressed, overwhelmed and incredibly lost. I had never lived out of home, let alone in a different country. I was on the verge of breaking. I had so much going on, and so much to figure out in such a short period that my brain felt like a tyre that had been in the oven for seven days… on high.
There were plenty of times I just wanted to give up and fly back to Australia. But I couldn’t give up. After all, the business I had created was all about “staying driven”.
Here are the seven things that helped me make a huge life and career gamble – one that, fortunately for me, paid off.
1. Make friends with mantras
Staying positive during a big transition and trying to manage your side hustle can be tricky when doubts start to take over, which is why it is so important to keep a positive mindset and set daily mantras. The power of positive thinking can have a huge influence. Someone with a positive mindset is able to write off a negative event as a singular incident (such as being held in customs for three hours at LAX after a 15-hour flight), not something that reflects them in any way.
2. Build your social circle
There’s no doubt moving to a new country is risky and a daunting experience, so if you’re looking for a confidence boost, moving could be just the thing you need. When everything is new and you’re learning how to manage everyday tasks again, you’ll push yourself in ways you never thought possible.
Force yourself to meet new people and make friends, as this social circle will do wonders for your confidence. When you start to doubt yourself, remember why you moved, and why you started your new venture. You’re immersed in a new country, living your best life, and carving a path for yourself that’s free from regrets. Enjoy it.
3. Learn to lean on others
Moving abroad will take you well out of your comfort zone. Most of the time, this isn’t a bad thing. However, in the moment, you wind up feeling insecure, uncomfortable and homesick – sky rocketing your stress levels. Lean on your close friends and family (or Instagram husband) for support when you are feeling this way. Your support network can also help you re-group and put everything into perspective.
Overall, when you’re feeling stressed or homesick, turn that emotion around. Get active, re-focus, re-prioritise, relax and refresh. If you feel like you don’t have anyone close to you that can support you during tough times, reach out to like-minded, go-getters and create your own support network.
4. Get movin’
When moving across the world, it’s easy to make excuses, like how you don’t have time to work out or the fact that the nearest gym is double the price it was back home. But staying active during this transition period is crucial. Not to mention it helps to take your mind off all the stresses that come with the move.
Waking up early is a big game-changer as it’s a whole lot easier to take the day by storm if you get out of bed before the crack of dawn, instead of wasting the day away. Finding a class that works for you (I am grateful to have found Ra Yoga), or going for a sunrise walk along the beach, or maybe even walking your neighbour’s pet turtle, all helps.
5. Rise above distractions
It’s safe to say that we live in a world completely obsessed with distractions. Like when your husband decides it’s funny to send you a million videos of a hedgehog eating strawberries. And with something drastic like moving countries, it is inevitable you will lose focus from time to time. Especially when you are juggling a full-time job, a side hustle and a demanding puppy. This means you need to put the phone on silent in another room and focus on getting shit done. When you can focus your mind, you can more easily reject worries and anxieties, and reduce the constant chatter of your mind.
6. Patience, dear
When you’re waiting for your new empty apartment to be furnished, or in the middle of unpacking and later realise that you left behind the one item you needed, it is key to be patient and to stay present. Respect and embrace the process. Moving to another country need not be a stressful time; it is up to you to find joy through the stressful times – even if it means eating dinner on the floor for the first six months.
7. Stay driven
The one thing that really helped me to never give up when I felt like quitting was the constant reminder to stay driven. Placing my little Stay Driven stickers practically everywhere, and I mean everywhere, really helped me get back on the right path and reminded me that amazing things are yet to come.
Staying motivated overseas is tough to do, especially when you’re in a foreign land. You can get burnt out easily, and there is culture shock. However, it is curable. With the right mindset you can overcome any issues that arise and get yourself back in the action to keep chasing your dreams. Your sweaty palms may get the best of you at times, but don’t let that spoil your experience of life on the other side!