Living Strong Abroad: An age old tale

(Photo: Pixabay)

It is always ideal to make those big life changes before we are forced to…but that’s not always how it goes, is it?

I didn’t take my own advice…Isn’t that always the way though? I mean, we have sayings that specifically address this very concept. “Practice what you preach”. “Easier said than done”. “Walk the talk”.

I’m obviously not the first person who has done this. I also won’t be the last, but I’d love to be a part of decreasing those numbers by telling my story. When I was 37, the same age as my mother when she passed away, I made a decision. I realized I was not living the life I had imagined for myself and I became a person who was waiting for something to happen.

At this point in my life, I already held the belief that I had the power within me to change what isn’t working. I believe we get signs, or messages, that are showing us opportunities for change. They start as a tickle, or a whisper and grow gradually louder until we are forced to listen. Those “screams” are the moments no one should have to face – especially not as the only catalyst to lead a happier life. It might be cancer. A car wreck. The death of a loved one. It’s something we survive, but shouldn’t have. These are our second chance moments. The moment we decide “no more.”

My moment arrived in March of 2015 and it was a cancer scare. Fortunately, it was just that, a scare, but the week I spent waiting for results was a pivotal one. I had to think, “I’m in a marriage which isn’t satisfying, doing a job which isn’t satisfying and I have a 1-year-old little boy who may not get to know me.” As someone who lost her mother at a young age, this hit home the hardest. If I had a limited time left, how did I want to spend it?

(Photo: Flickr)

So I started looking at my past.

I thought about my past performance reviews. What people have always said I did well. I dived into my strengths. I examined what I really loved doing and what got me out of bed in the morning. And that’s when I picked up the phone and called Gallup. I wanted to be a coach. The yearning had always been there but, I never had the confidence to act on it. Now was the time. And it just so happened that there was an upcoming certification in Mexico just 6 weeks away. I raised the funds, which included a small loan, and I did it. I became one of the first Spanish-certified Gallup Strengths coaches. A 13-year dream finally made a reality.

But it took the scream. It took a cancer scare. And it shouldn’t have. So, here’s my question for you… How much does it have to hurt before you take the leap? When will you take that first step toward your dream, toward your happiest self? I hope it’s soon. Sometimes that second chance never comes.




Jo Self

Jo Self is Peru’s only Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and is on a mission to disrupt the status quo and raise a Strengths-Based Generation. She believes in a world where everyone can live to their full potential, talents aren’t wasted & happiness is contagious. As a mompreneur & expat living in Peru, she understands the challenges and rewards that both entail. When she’s not helping others create extraordinary lives, she can be found at the sewing machine, at the movies, enjoying a glass of wine with friends or horsing around with her terribly precocious little boy, affectionately known as O. or