Barcelona resident and professional life coach, Sam Mednick, answers your questions on life in the city. (www.blueprintcoaching.ca). A Canadian native, she’s been living in the city for eight years, working with companies and individuals, focusing on communication, leadership, lifestyle design and emotional intelligence.
THIS MONTH: HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED
I’ve been living in Barcelona for almost five years and have been trying to ‘get my act together’ ever since. It’s proving extremely difficult.
Coming from a country where it’s very much ‘go go go’, it’s been refreshing to be somewhere more laissez-faire, yet at the same time I feel like it’s hard to stay professionally motivated. I’m wondering how to make it work in this city.
The story of ‘I came here for three months, 10 years ago’ is a Barcelona adage. This is a city that sucks people in and before you know it, two, five, 15 years have gone by, and you’re still wondering what you’ve done with your time. Firstly, what you’re experiencing is NORMAL! If you want to make it work in this Mediterranean town, it’s important to consider two questions.
Why did you come here in the first place?
As the high of moving to a city with such an intoxicating quality of life begins to wear off, it’s easy to forget what originally propelled you to pack your bags. Remind yourself why you decided to come here, and own your decision. Was it for the lackadaisical lifestyle? The proximity to other European countries? Bring yourself back to whatever it was that moved you here in the first place, and embrace it. The city is only so much to blame for your professional challenges.
What motivates you?
One of the most amazing things about Barcelona is that if you’re driven, determined and can think outside the box, this is a city where you can make things happen. It’s a place where it doesn’t take much to stand out from the crowd if you have a new, innovative idea. Although you can’t expect a New York or London-style professional scene, there is the advantage of not being tangled up in the rat race. There’s room to breathe, to grow and be innovative without being met by a barrier of competition.
Actionable Tips For Making It Work In Barcelona
Bring what you know to the table: Figure out which of your hard or soft skills are transferable and insert them into your life here. Harness your skills and you might just end up on a career path you’d never before considered.
Be open and patient: Don’t dismiss a job because it might be a step down from what you’re used to. Start saying yes, and start turning ‘No’ into ‘Yes’. Your experience and connections will grow and could well lead you to more professionally challenging endeavours. Hang in there, put in the time and be patient.
Adjust expectations: Salary, work environment and the overall culture are probably quite different here when compared to your home country, so be ready to adjust expectations. If you really want to make it work, you have to balance the pros and the cons of being here and it has to make sense to you.
Create relationships: Many people would call this networking, but something that works even better than mingling and handing out business cards is creating real connections. Barcelona is a close-knit city with three degrees of separation (especially amongst foreigners). The easiest way to be in-the-know and find out what’s possible and available is to foster strong relationships and surround yourself with people who will look out for you.
To share your thoughts on this column or ask Sam a question email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com