Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
A roadmap for claiming control of your divorce (and life) even in the throes of upheaval and chaos
Divorcing differently…is it really possible?
“Look, the last thing I could imagine doing when my life was spiraling out of control during my divorce — was get ZEN and centered and make grounded decisions. That sounds like pie-in-the-sky, woo-woo nonsense. Come on, is that really possible?” she asked.
I hear you…in fact, I was you. But of course, it is possible! I responded.
I guess the real question for anyone begins with asking themselves what they think is possible with their own life…who is in charge calling the shots? Who is making the decisions? Is your life happening TO you or FOR you? And if so, why? (and btw, you’ll want to answer those questions before moving ahead with your divorce).
There are life moments when we are called to task…here are the circumstances…now what are you going to do with them? It’s hard to see choice within any upheaval, particularly divorce where oftentimes little if anything is spared — not your heart, your home, your finances, your wellbeing or that of your children.
Divorce is an ending, but it is also an opportunity for a new beginning…and that’s not a platitude lightly tossed around.
Imagine approaching this from a different angle. We can’t control all life events, but we can control how we experience them…and that is NOT ‘woo.’
The times we feel most out of control are the times we most need to show up for our Best Selves — to step back and consciously declare how we want to navigate, how we want it all to go and what condition we want to be in when we land on the other side of things. Do you want to arrive screeching in on two wheels, a broken, depleted, frazzled mess trailing a string of debris behind you — or not?
Anyone who has ever experienced divorce knows exactly what’s at stake — and many don’t see choice in the matter. I get that completely. As a matter of fact, I’ve swam in all of those same waters, drowning in the gamut of emotions that can wash over you like a tidal wave: fear, shame, anger, despair, anxiety, overwhelm, etc. While in the midst of it, it can feel like you are the only person experiencing this — its isolation deafening.
Then stuck in the middle are your kids, witnessing it all, feeling it all, experiencing it all. There is no hiding the pain of divorce from our children, no matter the age, no matter how well you play act. They are energetic sponges who can read and feel you and the energy of the house — even if they don’t understand it. So many critical mistakes are made by parents in the early stages of divorce that leave lasting imprints upon their children that can be avoided.
There’s no denying that divorce can feel like a series of wildfires that need to be extinguished.
Yes, the stakes are high — your health, your finances, the emotional security of your kids. Yes, there are many tentacles that have the potential to be far-reaching and long-lasting, which is precisely why you want to be in the driver’s seat making proactive, tactical, practical, heart-centered and intuitive decisions that resonate with you to the core. And yes, it is possible. Besides, you are the one who will live with these decisions and choices for a long time after the ink dries on the divorce decree and all the other players advising you have long disappeared.
This is your life. Take charge of it now. And it starts with giving yourself a break. No one expects you to have a law degree or a PhD in child psychology, but you can become your biggest advocate and ally by remaining connected to yourself.
Back to the “how” — how we are going to do this differently?
How many times in your life have you said something you wished you hadn’t…or made a kneejerk reaction you wished you had given more thought to? Many times, right? We’ve all been there. The same holds true with divorce. Impulsive decisions that are not well-thought out or made for the wrong reasons (like anger, revenge or the need to be right) leave us scrambling to clean up unnecessary messes.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can actually design how you want your divorce — and life — to look.
And even if you’ve never approached your life quite like this before, it’s never too late to start. It’s never too late to step into the version of yourself that you can stand behind, one who makes decisions from grounded footing. I’d even go out on a limb and say that these skills are “life skills” that you can keep in your toolbox to call upon and apply to any life adversity or bump in the road.
The most critical time to lay the groundwork and set the tone of your divorce is during the first hundred days.
It is within this emotionally charged window that you’ll be asked to make some of the most important decisions of your life. This is where you can put the brakes on this becoming a long and expensive runaway train, or not.
The problem is that most people are ill-equipped to confidently make these kinds of decisions in that moment. But we can choose to act instead of react.
Here are 5 Shifts that can help you gain control over your divorce and save you time, money and a tremendous amount of emotional suffering for you and your children.
1. Believe Your Divorce Is The Opportunity Of A Lifetime
Let’s face it…divorce is a gut punch. And when you’re in the throes of it, all you see are broken dreams and families — chaos, heartbreak, financial devastation and fear for the future…not opportunity.
Yet, herein lies your opportunity, perhaps the greatest opportunity of your life…the chance to get it right — to clean up the mess behind you, to tame the divorce train wreck, and to design what comes next.
You see, divorce is an opportunity to write a different narrative for you and your children — and avoid the classic pitfalls that trip people up.
It’s also a chance to reevaluate where you’ve been and more importantly, where you want to go. To look at all the events, beliefs, patterns and missteps that led to here. To break cycles. To develop new, healthy behaviors. To embrace your worth. To rescript the person you want to be and the life you want to live. This is about a new perspective, not an old story.
Divorce is also an opportunity to model and instill the values that will set up your children well for navigating their own relationships and life hiccups.
2. Become The CEO Of Your Divorce
It’s not only possible to step into your power when feeling powerless…it’s absolutely necessary.
Divorce can take months or years to resolve and rack up staggering costs. Factor in alimony or child support and you’re looking at financial ramifications of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of several years. That’s precisely why you need to take a leadership seat at this table.
As CEO of your divorce, you will:
- Set the Vision: That’s establishing a clear goal for the outcomes you want for yourself and your kids, both short and long-term…and a plan for getting there
- Demonstrate Leadership: That means managing your team of lawyers, therapists, mediators and so on so that they are serving your agenda, not theirs…and save a LOT of money in the process
- Take Action: That’s making decisions mindfully and confidently, and communicating clearly with all involved
- Get Results: And when you do the above you’ll steer your divorce across the finish line, achieving the goals you set forth
In the end, divorce is like a business. It is not a time to sit back and let someone else take the lead in your ultimate decision-making. It is a time to step into your inner CEO and manage what is before you with clarity, resolve, thoughtfulness and heart.
3. Harness The Power Of Your Intuition
Do you want to know the single most common mistake with divorce? It’s not harnessing the power of your intuition and understanding the critical role it plays.
For most, divorce is new territory leaving one feeling desperate for answers, guidance, and advice. So, we seek counsel from others: lawyers, therapists, friends, family members, co-workers and just about anyone who will listen.
We heed their advice, follow their agendas and forget to check in with ourselves, asking “What do I really want? How do I feel about this? How do I want this process to go?”
We waste tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, hurt our kids, embroil them in custody battles and remain stuck and dragged down by years of ongoing legal entanglements.
Why? Because we didn’t listen to ourselves — our intuition. Maybe we didn’t know how, maybe we felt it wasn’t important, or just bunch of spiritual mumbo jumbo. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Intuition often doesn’t get the credit it deserves. We’re often taught to keep our heart out of our negotiations — but that’s not the path that serves you best. Intuition is a power player and learning how to harness it is a gamechanger.
You may not have used your intuition getting into your marriage, but you can certainly use it getting out of it.
4. Choose You First
The emergency instructions on an airplane always advise you to put your oxygen mask on first, then assist others. And for good reason. You can’t help anyone if you don’t first help yourself — this pertains to divorce too.
This is not to suggest that you dismiss the needs of your kids — far from it. But too often, during the dissolution of a marriage, people put the needs of others above their own. When you do that, everyone loses. If you can’t be your best self, you can’t be the best for your children…you can’t build a solid house on a wobbly foundation.
This is a call to prioritize YOU.
Don’t make self-care an afterthought, something to catch up on once the dust settles. The key is to take care of yourself WHILE going through the divorce process. Divorce will rock you to the core, and you need to support yourself through it. And you know what? You can create a plan to thrive…right from the start.
5. Invest In Coaching
Most people dive in blindly, throwing money at the legal system, making concessions that don’t improve anything, and making massive decisions without a plan. Because it’s all new and terrifying and they don’t know any better.
But this is where coaching comes in. An expert who’s been through it all and can guide you through the process, saving you money and months of heartache — while fortifying you to face what feels like the battle of your life.
In working with a coach you will gain new perspectives and ideas, develop an action plan and have an accountability partner. A coach is like a Sherpa holding your hand — walking beside you, holding your hand and empowering you to make decisions for your life that you won’t regret — and design a new chapter to thrive within.
You don’t have to do this alone.
Why doesn’t everyone do it this way? Because we get in our own way. We roll our eyes, we assume that it is too simple. Besides, who has time and money for self-care or a coach when in the throes of chaos? Ironically (or not), the price of not doing this is far steeper.
We must remember that our lives are interconnected. When one aspect is out of whack, it has trickle-down impact upon the rest. So, the sooner you take a holistic approach to your lives (and your divorce), the sooner you can cross the bridge from untethered to empowered.
If you are a parent in the early stages of divorce and would like to learn how to apply these 5 Shifts to your life and save time, money and heartache for you and your family, watch our FREE Masterclass.