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Want To Be Happy In Denmark? Find your values and follow your personal GPS! 

“Freedom is having authority over your own choices. To get to live according to YOUR values not the pressures or expectations that other people have for you,” says Executive Coach Helene Bjerg in this interview where she explains how we all have the power to enjoy a satisfying, meaningful life.

By Louise Chamberlain     Pictures: Private

I first met Helene Bjerg when I attended a presentation that she gave at the international book store in Hellerup. She was there to talk about her new book, “Unfolding Your Power By Living Your Personal GPS”. As she spoke, I was struck by how passionate she was about her method for living a life with purpose.

She spoke with conviction about finding your own core values and using them to guide you through life. As she described the tools and steps to take, it sounded like a very simple process. Could it really be this easy to start living a more satisfying life?

While Denmark is constantly rated as one of the happiest countries in the world, a quick glance at the expat forums on social media shows that many expats are struggling to find the same levels of satisfaction.

Moving abroad can be stressful. In fact, the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council cites relocation as the third most stressful life event after death and divorce.

When you have a multitude of practicalities like finding a suitable house in the right area (when you have no idea where the right area may be!), opening a bank account and figuring out the public transport system to deal with, there’s little time for personal reflection.

When regular relocation comes with the job, it’s even easier to wake up one day and wonder how on earth you ended up here.

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Helene’s account of her own journey will strike a chord with many expats.

After graduating from university, she got a good job in consulting and spent the next few years working hard to progress up the career ladder. She lived in several different countries and, on paper at least, it looked like she had the perfect life. So why wasn’t she happy? When she returned to Denmark, her life again became consumed with the practical aspects of relocation. Everybody else’s in her family’s needs were being met first.

She describes that time as a painful period in her life during which she felt lost and adrift. She began a process of self-development, but it was a comment from her yoga teacher that caused her to stop and rethink: “Nobody can choose you unless you choose yourself.”

At this moment of clarity, she realised that she needed to figure out what mattered to her at a micro level. This self-knowledge is what she calls the personal GPS; the guiding values that need to be aligned for you to feel “right” and have access to the power within that we all possess, this forms the basis of her book.

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There’s no hint of that unhappiness or pain in Helene today. She radiates a sense of calm contentment. Her method certainly seems to be working well for her.

At her coaching practice, she has seen many good results and she is also enthusiastic about their applicability to expats and the challenges we face building a life in another country.

For an expat, Helene’s assertion that the power to enjoy a fulfilled and balanced life is inside all of us is an attractive idea.

If it’s found within us, there’s no risk that we will leave it behind if we move to a new place. The problem is that we are often so absorbed in dealing with the practical considerations and fitting in that we fail to connect with our intuition.

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To “unfold your power”, you must first get to know yourself.

What really makes you feel good? Be careful that you are not influenced by what other people think you should enjoy.

Ask yourself some searching questions and be aware of how you feel in different situations. Do you enjoy the process or just the result?

Something that makes you feel good should make you feel good while you are actually doing it, not just the sense of achievement when it’s finished.

When you do something that feels good, your energy levels will increase.

Once you know what makes you feel good, you can define your own core values. These will be unique to you and will form the basis of your personal GPS – your inner guidance.

How do you know when you’ve found them? According to Helene, it will feel like “coming home” and when you have them, you can aim to align yourself with them. The more aligned you are, the better you will feel.

Once you have felt the sensation of being in alignment, there is no going back.

Simply knowing your own values allows you to actively seek out more of them. For example, if one of your values is creativity, you can look for opportunities to be more creative in everyday situations.

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For an expat use Helene’s advice when you arrive in a new location, take care to follow your values and seek out like-minded people.

Consider how you can find things that top up your personal values. Be open to new possibilities because things may be very different from where you lived before and you may have to look in different places than you expect.

As expats in Denmark, we are fortunate that this should be relatively easy to do. There are literally hundreds of groups covering just about everything that you can think of as an interest or activity. As a starting point, check out for a list of the weird and wonderful things you can get up to near where you live.

Don’t fall into the expat trap of failing to invest. Even if you only plan to live in a place for a short time, it’s still worth seeking out people and experiences that fulfil you and if you let your inner GPS guide you it will be easier than you can imagine.

When you invest in something that fills you, you are more likely to succeed. Making connections helps you to feel at home in a place, even if it is only a temporary home.

Seek out the positive instead of looking for the bad things because you will get more of whatever it is that you focus on, so why not focus on the things that make you feel good?

Helene is at pains to point out that this is not a quick fix. She advises you to be courageous. Take tiny steps each day to build the muscle and fulfil your personal values; doing so gives access to a power that it unstoppable.