Change Styles – What’s Yours

As expats, we find ourselves navigating an unusual amount of change that impacts different areas of our lives. What thoughts come to your mind when you hear the words “time for change”? Some of us rub our hands together in glee, chaffing at the bit to rush headlong into it. Others become paralyzed with fear. Personality, learned coping strategies and life experiences all contribute to how we manage change.

Four typical behaviors to change have been identified: 

stick man holding a hammerThe Innovator is someone who makes change happen. They are the visionary… the inventor! As expats, the innovator is always on the move, or finds new ways to live out new ideas. They value risk and freedom. 


stick man happy The Embracer accepts change enthusiastically. Though they don’t make change happen, they are ready for the adventure! They value variety and discovery. Often the expat embracer puts the innovators plans into action.


two stick men runningThe Acceptor is slower to come on board with change. They eventually go with the flow because they see no alternative. Expat acceptors need time and space to process change. They value peace and routine.


Tstick man kicking a boxhe Resister fights change. They are stubborn and see no reason to change because they value tradition and consistency. Resisters have a hard time being an expat, unless they feel secure enough to take on the adventure.


Think back to a major change in your life. Perhaps your last move – or a friends move away from you.

  • Which style is your default mode? Likely you’ll see yourself in several of these styles, depending on the circumstances of your change.
  • What’s it like being in this place when change happens? How does it serve your globally nomadic life? What are the costs of being in this place?

I purposely included values because they help to understand the motivation underneath the change style. Do they hold true for you? What value of yours is played out in your change style?

Change never happens in isolation. We’re affected by others change style and they’re affected by ours. It’s good to know your default mode and understand what motivates you to operate that way. Having an understanding and acceptance of the styles of people around you (in your family, company, or expatriate circle of friends), will enable you to be a team. You’ll better tolerate who they are and appreciate the differences. Remember, DIFFERENT IS DIFFERENT, NOT BETTER OR WORSE! 

Your change style is a DEFAULT MODE. At any given time you can choose to change your behaviour. If you’re facing change or crisis in your life right now, who do you want to be going through it? If you want to find a better style than the one you’re in, be in touch at If you know someone who could use this article, please forward it to them. 


Live with courage and love,

Signature of Becky Matchullis - Expat Family Resilience Coach

 ©Becky Matchullis, NLT

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