Vanexit: I Want To Leave the UK

I remember as if it was today, the day in which my British acquaintances couldn’t really look me in the eye. That was the day when we all got to know that UK voted to leave the European Union. What a moment in history to be an expat in this country.

At that time I felt disappointed, even betrayed. All the unconscious bias toward foreigners I had been suspicious of was now supported by a nation’s choice. On that day, I wore my Portuguese flag as a scarf on my neck and joked around: is was not only Brexit that was happening; Vanexit was occurring at the same time. However, things calmed down a bit, after the storm. As we all know, Brexit hasn’t formally happened yet, and my plan to remain for at least 5 or 10 more years was somehow restored.

Something changed again though. Brexit is no longer that big worry, or at least it no longer weighs down on my decision to stay or leave. I now simply want to leave, and probably never return, unless for business purposes. I’m tired of being by myself and feeling like my days are dull and grey. When I come back home, there’s no one there to sit down and chat about my day. I have no one to speak my own language – and I don’t mean Portuguese. UK’s culture and people’s way of being caused me more hurt than joy.

Maybe I just made up my mind some time ago and stopped trying to be happy here. Maybe that’s the actual truth. Nonetheless, I think I have done a pretty good job at living and working abroad by myself – three years is a considerable amount of time. Also, working on the same project for such a period of time when I’m more creative than analytical is also quite an achievement in my perspective. That makes me feel I’m not quitting, I’m simply listening to my body (my sciatica is killing me today) and soul’s (I want to do crafts, paint, write…) desires, which I should have done sooner.

Right now, I just want to go home. I don’t know if I will stay there for a short or long while. All I know is that I need to be there to figure out what the next step is. I need to breathe-in that feeling which I can only find in my home country, the country which gave worlds to the world.

A Morning Revelation: I Don’t Like What I’m Doing

I guess this is not really a great revelation, but I had numbed out the fact I don’t really enjoy the environment I work on at the moment. It’s something that it is definitely coming to an end, but over the last couple of months I started to consider that maybe I should keep doing the same kind of “job”: teaching and doing research in institutions that are not really ready yet to make the big leap into the future.

However, last night I had a very insightful chat with someone in Turkey, about the memories that a recent family trip brought up in me. By the end of the conversation I got a different perspective and understanding of what has been actually underlying such memories and feelings: I have been running away from myself and from my feelings, silencing what I really feel, to avoid confronting people about their behaviour and attitudes.

And I have been doing the same about my job: instead of facing the fact that I don’t fit in my working environment, which includes people, practises, and values, I have been trying to convince myself that I should simply settle for what there is, that I should stop envisioning the future and aim for it. But my DNA is of an entrepreneur, how can I make my natural attitude in life dormant? I guess I can’t, and that’s why I woke up today again to the thought that I am not happy doing what I’m doing, where and with whom I’m doing it.

It took me a flight to Lisboa to step aside and see what has been happening over the last months. Now I just have to decide what step will I actually make: will I choose what there is or will I work on what can become?

When Is It Time To Move To A New Job?

I have been thinking about this a lot and even though we can read some stuff on turnover intentions and why people decide to leave their jobs, I didn’t find out much advise on the ‘right’ timing to leave the organisation you work for and embrace the culture and mission of a new one.

The reason I have been thinking about this is exactly because I’m going through this decision right now: should I aim to stay in the same organisation or is it time for me to leave? On my desk lies a job application for the same organisation I’m working in at the moment, and three others for new places and new (exciting) roles.

Nothing extreme happened to make me want to do a move but the truth is that sometimes nothing needs to happen in the concrete to let you know that it is the right time to venture out. Here are some psychological reasons that have been pushing me towards the decision of making a new step in my career, outside my current organisation:

  • I’m not learning anything new anymore
  • People I work with are not the kind of people that inspire me to do more and better
  • My proposals to create and work on the relationship with external partners are often dismissed

What makes you look for a new workplace? When do you know that the right time to change has come? Do you prioritise your learning and career development needs?

3 Reasons Why I Have Been Binging & I Was Not Aware Of

Right. Once again I was doing good, wasn’t I? I even wrote about going beyond the critical day 3 just a few days ago, and today I messed up for real: one litre of ice cream and an entire package of paprika crisps. Afterwards, of course, and as I always do, I desperately looked out for answers, for the trillionth time. 31956129_2086866341593273_4026763119693922304_n (1)

Seriously, I’m becoming sick of myself. I have been on this rollercoaster for decades and every attempt becomes a total fail. I have tried to buy new gym clothes, a sports watch, I downloaded different weight loss apps, I did counselling, I tried anxiety pills, weight loss pills, protein shakes… I already did raw food, vegetarian, protein only… I tried smoothies and immunological diets… I tried to stay accountable through a lifestyle instagram account, I started out an online group… why the hell am I still failing?

Well, apparently I have been dismissing three important things that I never consciously linked back to my binge eating. I am sure these three reasons are the ‘why’ behind my eating compulsion and they all have been secretly mining my recovery since I can remember. These are:

  • anxiety a.k.a. excess of future,
  • too many commitments, activities, and responsibilities,
  • no time to relax and do stuff that energises me (e.g. go to the beach on a Saturday instead of going to work)

All these relate to my earlier post on high performers. I was managing so well my work-life balance earlier this year, but as soon as my mid-year review deadline kicked-in, things went crazy. And now that I passed it with flying colours, my workload hasn’t reduced at all. In fact, it has been increasing exponentially, with 2 conferences to attend, 2 public speaking events, and 2 different workshops I’m co-organising between June and July, plus a thesis to be written and ready to submit by September. How the hell do I always put myself into such a big mess of things?

No wonder I use food to stop and relax; actually it seems to be the only moment in time that I literally stop! While I’m eating, I’m not trying to manage everything on my plate. While I’m eating, I force myself into a temporary state of pleasure and relaxation, just right before guilt and shame come in, and my body feels overwhelmed with the amount of food I ate in seconds.

This is all pathetic and ridiculous. I feel angry at myself and a big impostor. I feel like I should know better and at the same time I think I should stop torturing myself, accept my vulnerability, that I’m not bullet proof, and that no one is going to die if I fail at something that needs to be done. And in the meantime I need to allow myself to not do anything at all for a while – but God dammit, I have a presentation to deliver next Tuesday before my flight to Lisboa, reason why I spend the weekend in the office!

Oddly enough, the guy living in the room next to mine just muttered the following words “Relax your mind”… The question that now needs to be explored further is why do I overwhelm myself with so many ‘to-do things’?

Am I There Yet? Common Challenges Among High Performers

When you love what you do and you are driven by passion, you go all the extra miles needed. You have a vision and you put maximum effort on transforming that vision into a concrete reality. You are willing to learn new skills if needed and you are ready to set fire to the rain. To you, nothing seems probably too impossible.

I believe these are attitudes that most high performers share, and even though they all seem inspiring and positive, they can be very costly for high performers. Based on my most recent reflections and recollection of famous top performers, here are some challenges that high performers may experience:

  • as you climb to the top of the mountain, you see yourself more and more lonely
  • you may miss important celebrations such as your mom’s 50th birthday
  • you rarely have time to follow routines beyond work (e.g. manicure, gym)
  • you are often tense, stressed and overworked
  • you may accept that your regular mood is based on irritation and grumpiness
  • you may start losing patience and become intolerant or even insensitive to people’s insecurities
  • you may become so addicted to the fast-paced way of living that it becomes difficult to simply slow down and smell the roses

Now I’m tearful and afraid of becoming the monster I have just described. The line between the positive and negative consequences of high performance seem so fine and easily broken. At one point in time you are simply focused on doing and becoming the best version of yourself. The next time you notice, you may have gone way beyond the healthy boundary of getting things done (e.g. booking a client for when you are supposedly on holidays – yes, I just did it last week… and I’m going to correct it asap!).

The 3 Signs That Tell You Whether You Are In The Right Path

In a previous post, I talked about life purpose and how you can reconnect with your own. What I shared with you was based on many insights that I got from reading once again the book “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. Since then, I have been focused on working on my life purpose and how to unlock the mission that underlies that same purpose.

So today I want to share with you three signs that will tell you whether you are following the right path or whether you are in the right track to accomplish your life purpose.

Immense Joy

Whatever area you are focusing on, your heart and mind are connected and you feel an immense joy within you. You smile when you either talk about what you are doing or what your vision is all about. Your body expands from inside out and you may even feel like you have a kind of glow all over your, a glow that protects and nourishes you in such a way that no matter what happens the next step is always revealed  to you.

Everything Flows

Joy and all the other positive emotions you feel open not only the way, but also the doors and windows that are necessary in order to help you accomplishing your mission. Of course, we are talking about one baby step at a time, as nothing happens over night, but there is this huge sense of flow: one thing connecting with another and one opportunity leading to many others. All flows.

You Become an Inspiration to Others

Feeling that you are being blessed and accomplishing each milestone of your big mission empowers you and that reflects on how other people perceive you. If you carry a special glow around you, people with the same mindset will feel attracted to you and will also see you as an example, as an inspiration, a light that shows them that they also can connect their heart and mind, just like you are doing. They will feel inspired by the idea that they can also light up themselves.