I’m taking a break from my favorite Korean TV show, with my favorite Canadian band playing in the background, drinking a cup of Colombian coffee that a German friend brought back to my Shanghai apartment.
At first, I was worried all of this might sound a bit pretentious, but in reality this internationalism is the new normal for many of us. Take a second to think about your global life. I can point to my Dutch buddy working for a Chinese Austrian joint-venture and dating an Irish/Cantonese fashionista. Or another American-Chinese friend who speaks 4 languages, dances Cuban salsa and is dating a Swiss guy, who himself speaks 7 languages and works for a Chinese gaming company. The list goes on and on.
Its stunning how common this is for so many of us now. As our cities become increasingly international, so do our lives. What are the implications of these huge changes? Will our cultures become muddied with foreign values? Will we forget who we really are?
For me, this global lifestyle presents the opportunity to discover a more authentic version of me. The “American” tag that I was born with never quite felt 100% accurate. Yet, for many many years, I blindly lived and worked under some over-generalized stereotype and wondered why was everything a struggle, why others didn’t understand me, why my career didn’t move forward?
Now that I moved cities, met expats and mumbled new languages, I’ve shed that over-simplification in favor of the complex realities of who I really am. I suddenly see in finer shades of grey. All of these diverse points of views has proved useful as I opened my creativity consultancy, Let’s Make Great!, in Shanghai more than 2 years ago. My clients depend on me for fresh ideas, to provoke a unique point of view, and to inspire them to have more of this open mindset as well.