I first started chanting ‘cope, challenge, change’ at the early stages of CrossFit training. The first few weeks were tough, my muscles hurt, my bones ached, and I felt sick at the end of every session. But, I knew that I just needed to learn how to cope with the new experience I was undertaking.
Once I had learnt to cope, then I could really challenge the situation and drive for success. In a relatively short period of time, I could see and feel the change I wanted; I felt lighter, I felt stronger, I had a more positive outlook and now I feel immense!
Aside from the obvious birthdays and calendar activities other events seem to reflect our age and ‘stage’ in life. For example; first loves, graduation, ‘proper’ job, first dog, expensive car, marriage, children, house purchase, and now a lot of my peers are passing through divorce…. as well as clients similar in age to me.
It would appear several are hitting that part of the ‘life-cycle’ where people are reconsidering their life, for whatever reason (I’m not by the way!).
Of those I speak with, there are common issues that lift them up, smash them down and challenge them beyond reasonableness. If this feels familiar to you, I have a handy tool to remind you of where you are and where you are heading – Cope, Challenge & Change. Repeat it to yourself when days are dark to put things in context and to get back in lane.
So, look, there is no going back, it’s done. You are in a position where you must cope with coming change. You will now have to instantly do the job of two people along with all life’s endless admin. Plus motivate yourself more than ever before.
That said, guess what, you need to step up and take responsibility for your future and others you impact upon. It’s likely to be hard graft and very tough on an emotional and physical level. There will be a lot to juggle and many plates to spin. You will need to cope with that. So, employ some tools to help you effectively cope with the situation – do not simply bury your head in the ground and hope for a sand storm. It won’t happen, and you will eventually be uncovered. Suck it up. Get ahead of the curve and challenge the situation the divorce has landed you in.
You know you have your work cut out and you are ready to positively challenge all that is in front of you.
What is happening that needs to stop or what’s not happening that needs to start?
When do you want that to happen?
What are your options?
Which option do you choose to take?
What will you do to make it happen?
A lot to think about, right?
Use the RAR model I developed as a basis for your decision making – understand what truly needs to be done and not what your self-talk tells you;
- Recognise (constantly ask yourself What? Why? When? Where? Who? How?)
Action (identify what action needs to be taken and DO it)
Review (see what’s new and what you need to do next)
Keep momentum by setting deadlines, taking purposeful action to expedite every decision (if your head says do it by Friday, make the commitment to get it done by Wednesday) and build-in time to complete the RAR, this will keep you straight and focused on finishing off mediation, court papers and sorting your finances, for example.
Find an anchor or sounding-board and talk! It will help to air your thoughts and perhaps gain context and perspective. I would suggest you do this with people who are typically constructive and not complete mood-hoovers, otherwise this may drag you down and further convince you to bury your head. Furthermore, talk about the future and what actions you have set for yourself. When they are said aloud you create accountability, someone is now waiting to hear your next update. So, you need to keep to your word.
You are there, this is what you wanted to achieve. Celebrate successes. All of them no matter how big or small. It’s an achievement that you have created and made happen against the odds. Well done you! And by doing so this may help to reduce stress and anxiety. Ask someone to celebrate with you and make it happen.
Throughout all three stages, allow yourself to be upset, to ‘mourn’ and to grieve when the reality of change hits home – seek help and a specialist if you need to. Its common practice and effective because it’s an unbiased path about YOUR progression. It’s a chance to determine the future and leave the past behind.
Be Yourself only better
If there are more changes needed, get back to COPE and work through CHALLENGE and CHANGE. Eventually, for each scenario, you will run out of new things to tackle and coping will end.
I joined a gym (not my current gym) whose slogan stated – ‘Be yourself – only better’ and it has always stuck in my head (I have a photo of me wearing the t-shirt. Ironic as I was also suffering a massive hang-over at the time – post dissertation) Well, this is a chance for you to be just that. Discover your old self or discover a new you – whatever, just ‘be yourself – only better’.
Your next love will know exactly who you are. Not that you should be rushing to find them (mind you). Play the field, be alone, change your sexuality – do what you like. You can.