Overcome our fear of rejection

How to adapt when everything seems foreign

As a coach who support many expats, I know that many encounter obstacles while trying to adapt and integrate to their new host country.

With the first negative responses to their job applications, an altercation with someone who points out a breach of the established local rules, or the very long process of learning the local language, it is common to become sad, angry with others, frustrated and to think that all this effort is not worth it!

Do you feel like:

  • You are not qualified enough in the local language or even English and consequently do not dare to  apply for jobs.
  • You struggle to line up a few foreign words in an intelligible way, so you only speak in English
  • you fear the possible negative energy of others, and therefore stay rather  at home
  • You don’t know what you really want, which made each application writing a real pain
  • You never felt that lonely. However, connecting with strangers seem overwhelming.

After my move from Sweden to Switzerland, I remembered to have deliberately avoided speaking to my neighbors in fear of feeling embarrassed by my very poor German. With a toddle and a 50% remote job, I considered, that time, that studying German was not a priority. Consequently, I experienced absolute loneliness at least 1 year!

In other words, the fear of experiencing rejection was paralyzing me to move forward and look for new friends, job, new experience, etc. Whatever the reason behind, this memory of rejection was for sure something I did not want live again!

Looking back at those first years, there are 3 changes in mindset which helped me to move forward:

1. What do you risk?

No, really, think carefully about the answer.

You have probably thought: “not much”.
What could be the loss? Losing your dignity?
I would say that this is a matter of perspective. What I see, is that you have trained yourself to take a step, and even if it doesn’t work, you know that the glue under your foot will eventually give way. The ones who succeed are the ones who keep trying, I see this every day with my clients. Taking risks is very relative. It’s all about perspective: is the risk as big as it seems?

2. Warm up to gain confidence

Language courses, chats with your neighbours, other parents from the nursery or school, a group of expats or even on a social network.

Anything goes.

Take inspiration from those who have been there and surround yourself with positive people before you take the plunge. You want people who give you a realistic yet positive outlook.

3. Accept your blocks and make a decision

Your fears are there to remind you where you need to “grow up”. I know, I know, very difficult to fully digest this stuff.

Are you happy with your career path so far? Are you doing something you enjoy? Do you feel sufficiently able to communicate professionally in English or in another language required by the job? Do you feel comfortable talking to strangers and networking? Do you feel sufficiently experienced and competent?

If the answer to these questions is NO, then I strongly recommend you to get to grips with the problem and sort it out. Get help if needed, to feel at ease in your skin
I never thought that someone else could help me become the person I am today.
Honestly, I know changing perspective on what I considered as “my dark sides” transformed me from a shy and introvert person to a happy and self-confident women I am today.

Five years ago, I interviewed for a job in HR, which I was very attracted to, but I felt illegitimate because of my lack of experience in the role. After trying to convince myself that I had very little chance of being selected, I decided to give myself a chance anyway. I focused on “Isabelle, take it as an experience to learn more” and “Isabelle, be proud of your 15+ years of experience as a consultant. Taking the step to something new was one of the best decisions of my life because, guess what? I passed the interview and am now in my dream job!

I am Isabelle, certified coach, specialized in supporting introvert and courageous expat women, who would like to dare more, connect with others, feel alive, and bring their professional and personal life to the next level.

If you feel lonely, scared, confused and don’t know where to start, I invite you to contact me  a 30 min free of charge chat