For example, imagine a child who is anxiously waiting to open a present. She is excited solely at the prospect of opening a present, regardless of what the contents might be. Now imagine, this same child then watches a commercial or knows a friend who owns the hottest new toy. She may begin to hope that this is what her present will be. Her imagination may begin to run wild. Perhaps the present includes this awesome toy as well as all the latest accessories that go with it. Or maybe her parents are taking her to Disneyland to go on the ride that toy was modeled after. What began as the prospect of opening a present has now become the hope and anticipation of going to Disneyland. No matter how thoughtful or wonderful the gift might be, the girl will be disappointed if it is anything but a trip to Disneyland. All of a sudden, what should have been a happy occasion turns into disappointment.
While the idea of ‘lower expectations leading to happiness’ has made headlines worldwide, the truth is much more nuanced. It means finding a balance between being hopeful, but expecting little. Between going after what you want while managing your expectations accordingly to be happy that you tried, despite the outcome. While this is true in all facets of everyday life, it is especially true for relocation, which has been listed as one of life’s top stressors and thus has a great impact on happiness and personal wellbeing.
Relocation typically involves major upheaval to every part of a person’s life (and often that of their family as well). For organizations that relocate employees, the goal is to relocate an employee who is focused on making the transition a smooth one and who is encouraged by progress along the way.
At EES, we believe that setting expectations empowers relocators to have healthy outlooks before, during, and (most importantly) after moving. Transitioning after a move can be simultaneously exciting, tiring, and sad. However, this is to be expected and not a sign of something being ‘off’ when sadness hits. Oftentimes those moving assume it will be hard during the first few weeks but then expect a new location to feel like home after a few, short months. When this is not the case, they can become discouraged or feel that the move was a mistake. In reality, moving (as with any major life change) can take up to 12 months to adjust to, and the ups and downs along the way are natural. Additionally, when relocators know what to expect, they can also better plan how to address obstacles as they arise. For example, if they know to potentially expect discomfort in their new surroundings once the excitement dies down, they can create a plan for getting to know the area quickly instead of allowing that feeling to fester.
What does all of this mean to you? If you are soon-to-relocate or recently relocated, do your best to equip yourself with information on what to expect. Talk to others who have moved and read blogs and advice books. Read for constructive information and weed out the pieces that wallow in the negative or shoot for sensationalism. Your job is to equip yourself to manage your own expectations and encourage yourself to tackle the challenges at hand in a healthy way. Also look for the benefits of moving to help encourage you when the inevitable challenges arise.
If you are an organization that relocates individuals, do what you can to provide your relocators with this constructive information ahead of time. At EES, we’ve designed our care packages with this in mind and believe that this simple, affordable gift can equip employees for a better move by helping them manage the emotional and mental challenges throughout their move. Happier relocators create happier employees and customers. Anywhere you can set them up for success in this process will benefit the company as a whole. Setting expectations in an encouraging and healthy way is a key component to a successful transition.