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Divorce and Separation: How to Handle The Reactions of Family and Friends

Question:
“I’ve been separated for a few months now and am still feeling pretty shell-shocked. How do I handle my friends and family? Everyone is telling me what to do, how I should feel, asking all sorts of questions I don’t feel like answering. I feel like shutting down.

Answer:

The transition from going from married to separated can be pretty rocky. It sounds like your emotional stamina has been really tested, which is to be expected. Your family and friends and all of their advice and questions are well-intentioned, but it sounds like they aren’t really helping. So how do you ask for what you need?

Don’t be afraid to tell your supporters that you appreciate their help but right now the best way they could help you is simply to offer you love and to listen to you. Listening deeply to another without an agenda to “fix” them or solve their problem is such an important gift. Too often people listen more to what they want to say next, instead of ….

just listening and letting someone pour their heart out. Tell them the barrage of advice and “Here’s what I would do” are adding to your sense of overwhelm instead of helping you get your feet back on the ground.

Realize that your friends and family are likely going through their own emotional upset as well. People don’t get training manuals on divorce etiquette, so they are doing the best they can and may simply be feeling uncomfortable themselves. They may have strong feelings about your ex-partner, or are concerned about your well-being, or both. It could be bringing up their own feelings of insecurity or doubt about their own relationship. Regardless, it’s totally acceptable to let them know what you need. If the conversation starts to go down a road you don’t want to travel, simply tell them “You know, I’d rather not get into that right now. Let’s change the subject.” They will follow your cues.

It is important, however, that you do find some forum to express and explore your feelings. Divorce isn’t easy, but it’s an opportunity to discover new wisdom and strength within yourself, if you’re willing to look. So I wouldn’t recommend simply “shutting down” permanently. The risk there is that you could simply repeat past mistakes because the lessons that are in this separation for you haven’t been fully excavated and digested.

The Divorce Resource Kit offers many tools, such as the THRIVE Principles ™ and strategies to help you get your sense of center and confidence back. You may also want to work with a divorce coach or find a local support group where you can connect with others going through divorce. You don’t need to travel the divorce journey alone.

WANT TO ASK A QUESTION?
Ask your question, in confidence, by clicking here or you may email us at askthrive@thriveafterdivorce.com. We’ll answer your question in upcoming issues!

Boost Productivity and Clear Your Psychic Bandwidth in 3 Easy Steps

“I just don’t seem to have enough time to get everything done!” is a common refrain I’m hearing from my clients. Truth be told, I’ve muttered it more than a few times to myself as well! In a world where information, resources and tools are available at your fingertips, it can be a challenge to walk that fine line between being productive and being burnt out.

A friend of mine I spoke to told me she was struggling to decide on whether to accept a new opportunity in her business and that “I’m not sure I have the psychic bandwidth right now to really take that on!” I loved that phrase, because our brains do operate like computers. Let me share some strategies for good computer maintenance we can apply that can help us become more clear, productive and less overwhelmed.

Step 1. “Defrag Your Brain” Regularly

I loved the phrase “Defrag your brain” which I heard from innovator and thought leader, Andrea Lee. She notes most of us are more habituated to cleaning the lint drawer in our dryers than we are taking the “lint” that can collect in our minds.

The word “defrag” comes from the defragmentation process computers regularly undergo as a means to free up unused space in its memory. Over time, data gets stored in the computer in ways that isn’t efficient, with many gaps appearing between files. The data becomes fragmented, which slows down the speed of the computer.

Tip: Set aside regular times to “defrag your brain.” Beyond just an annual year-end review, I recommend setting aside at least once a quarter for big defrag/review sessions, as well as shorter monthly ones to keep you on track. Block off your next defrag session in your calendar before the end of today.

Step 2. What do I “No”?

We all know that when you run too many programs on your computer, the speed slows you down. To get back to peak efficiency, you need to find those unnecessary programs and turn them off.

A great question I learned from Andrea is “What do I ‘No’?” Even with the best time management, organization and priority-setting systems in the world, we can’t do it all – at least not all at the same time. If you say yes to everything, you end up diffusing your energy and focus. Not only are you spreading yourself thin, but you won’t be able to create the results you want.

Tip: To help defrag your brain, ask yourself what you need to say “No” to. What is on your plate that you know in your heart is not your highest priority, or an expression of your life’s purpose? If you feel a lukewarm response, that really means a “No” or a “No, not now.”

Step 3. Know When to Call Tech Support

Einstein was absolutely right when he said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. If you find yourself persistently in a pattern of procrastination, indecision or overwhelm, you might have picked up a mental virus somewhere along the line! Somewhere in your subconscious programming there is a sub-routine running in the background that needs to be removed or simply upgraded to support the next greatest version of you. Rather than continuing on your own, you can often save time, money and heartache by calling upon a coach or someone with specialized expertise who can help you to breakthrough the pattern. This way you get to clarity, confidence and results much quicker!

Tip: Notice if you feel stuck in a loop where your productivity seems to drop off regularly. If Steps 1 and 2 aren’t producing results, reach out for support from someone else to give you perspective and coaching. Working with a coach, finding an accountability buddy or joining a mastermind group are great ways to break through persistent and stubborn productivity and focus droughts!

© 2010 Carolyn B. Ellis

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: Success Strategist, coach and best-selling author, Carolyn B. Ellis, is the founder of ThrivePrinciples.com, empowering you to thrive no matter what your outside circumstances are. To get free tips on turning adversity into opportunity in order to improve your relationships, increase your self-confidence and reach your highest potential, visit www.ThrivePrinciples.com.

Divorce Relief: What to Do When You Can’t Stop Thinking About Your Ex

Q. “I am challenged by wondering all the time about what my soon-to- be ex-spouse is thinking or doing, and most agonizingly sad, who is is with?

A. Separation and divorce is a bumpy road and it takes some time, dedicated effort and great tools to help get through to the other side. You are not alone is having part of your mind get on a frustrating hamster wheel of wondering about your ex. Our brain can get like a dog on a bone, chewing endlessly (often in the middle of the night) with a litany of questions like:

Is he as sad as I’m feeling?

Is he regretting his choices?

Is he healing faster than I am and what is wrong with me that I still feel grief?

Has he moved on in love, and who is he with? What is she like? How do I compare to her?

Divorce, even if you’re the one who initiated, is still a shock to your emotional system. The brain wants to make sense of it all, so it starts to seek and scan for answers. Our egos want to compare and judge – who is “winning the race” for getting through the pain and over the divorce first. It’s simply a natural way our sense of self-identity gets constructed.

It is important to realize excessive speculating and wondering is actually a distraction from your own healing journey. Here are some ways you can break the pattern and stop fixating on your ex….

Keep a journal and write out all the questions you have running around in your head. Like taking the lid off a boiling pot of water releases the pressure, journaling your worry thoughts will help them to dissipate more quickly. You get to see your questions from a more objective perspective.

Sometimes we let our attention wander and get ourselves stuck in the past is because we don’t have a clear vision for our future after divorce. Do some work to help create your road map through your divorce. The award-winning Divorce Resource Kit to has questions, exercises and guided meditations that can help you chart your course for your future.

It’s also important to keep your focus on what you actually have control and influence over, such as your own thoughts, words and actions. Diverting your energy to anyone else instead of your own process of understanding the deeper spiritual lessons that are available through your divorce is a distraction. Take responsibility for what you can change and learn, and let the rest go.

© 2012 Carolyn B. Ellis

 

Mission Possible: 3 Keys to Achieving Your Goals Despite the Odds

Have you ever been told that what you want is impossible to have?

You have a goal or a dream, but those around you – family, friends, experts – tell you that it can’t be done.

If you’ve ever built a campfire, that initial phase of having the spark hit the dry kindling is critical. You need to get more wood to help build the fire so it can get to a critical mass of its own rather than sputter out and die. When an idea catches fire within you, it’s important that you take the right action quickly so you can keep it alive and make it happen.

Deciding to start your business is a spark of an inspiration. But you need the right kindling of where to find the perfect clients and what programs to offer them to stay in business. Being in an intimate relationship with another starts with those initial sparks, but it needs tending and fuel so it can last for the long run.

When you make a decision, particularly those where you feel you are answering a deep calling of your soul, it can initially feel like you’ve signed on for an episode of Mission Impossible. But when you apply these 3 success principles, you can turn that around into achieving your goal despite the odds.

When I recently decided it was time to release my home for a new family to enjoy, I wanted to be able to take advantage of a strong selling market. But I was still in the process of a serious renovation in my basement and walking into an almost-ready home doesn’t make a great impression on potential buyers.

My main contractor thought my time frames were way too tight (they were) and that my request he, his equipment and his team be off the property in such a short time frame was an impossible task. But I wasn’t prepared to settle for a “No.” I made 3 critical choices that helped me get the job done – and you can apply them yourself to any goal you have.

Key #1 – Use Your Vision as Your Anchor

Throughout the renovation process, I held a strong and steady vision of what I wanted and why. I kept visualizing my home as inviting, gracious and ready to be a place of love for a new family. Keeping sight of why I was subjecting myself and my family to this disruption allowed me to keep steady and relatively calm during the ups and downs of the renovation.

Key #2 – Do Whatever It Takes

I am a firm believer in delegation, but to get what you want in the face of the odds being against you, you need to do whatever it takes. As we progressed in the renovation, I could see places that needed shoring up so my goal of having the house ready for public viewing happen.

I did whatever it took. When the walkway needed power washing before the real estate agent had the house photos taken, I was out there at 6:30 am with a contractor sweeping and handling the power washer myself. To make things smoother for the crew in the morning, I would get the shop vac out to keep the site clean even if it was 11:30 pm.

Here’s the beautiful thing about being willing to get your hands dirty and doing whatever it takes. Not only did it help get the job done, it inspired and motivated the great crew of workers I had to do the same.

Key #3 – Keep A Light Heart

When the going gets tough, it’s easy to get discouraged and frustrated. When your goal and vision come from a deep place within your heart, it is tempting to take setbacks personally. But anger, sarcasm and blame are like throwing a bucket of water on the bonfire you’re trying to build.

Keep a light heart and instead find the humor in those trying moments. Choose to be compassionate with yourself and others instead of condemning.

© 2012 Carolyn B. Ellis All Rights Reserved

 

Leadership: The One Person You Absolutely MUST Lead

Being a brilliant entrepreneur, a brilliant mom or a brilliant partner requires one thing. To succeed we need to be able to calls forth the best of ourselves every day and in every way.

As the leader of your life, there are so many people who look to you to take their cues: your clients, your children, your partner, your colleagues, and your neighbors. Mompreneurs in particular are often caught trying to find that elusive balance between work and family, between joyful creation and stressful chaos.

But the true test of leadership is this – are you practicing your own internal leadership? Would you be inspired, motivated and decide to follow yourself?

My mentor, Dr. Barbara De Angelis, very wisely says that the first person you must learn to lead is yourself. Attending management courses and reading the very finest leadership literature is good, but the greatest arena for learning about powerful and lasting leadership is … within yourself.

The brilliant woman knows that having a strong and resilient emotional foundation is a key ingredient to one’s success and impact. So I believe we must always be willing to do our own emotional homework to ensure that this internal foundation is strong enough to hold the business we desire.

Here are some tips to help you diagnose and up-level your self-leadership!

1.  Do an Integrity Check

Do a scan of your life to see if there are areas where what you are doing is different than what you are saying. Are there places where things feel out of integrity? Are you tolerating things that are incomplete? Are you walking your talk? It might be finishing up a product, making a call you’ve been avoiding, or letting clutter overwhelm your office. This scan will tell you where you have the opportunity to recommit to the leadership of your life. Write them down and come up with a plan to tackle these areas that are energetically eroding your leadership.

2.  Get in the Driver’s Seat

It’s tough to lead your life, let alone a business, if you allow other people to be in the driver’s seat. Self-leadership requires you to take responsibility for your thoughts, words and actions. When you’re in the driver’s seat of your life, you get to decide where you’re going, the route you’re going to take, and how fast you want to drive to get there. Yet sometimes we subtly concede that driver’s seat position to others – a spouse, our children, a business partner, a demanding client, or a parent, to name a few examples.

3. Perfection is Not Required, Shifting is

Don’t forget that we’re all human, and we definitely make mistakes. So even if you see there are areas where your ability to lead yourself isn’t what you want it to be, don’t despair! Perfection is not required in order to move forward to unleash your brilliance. Self-awareness and a consistent choice to shift out of limiting behaviors or patterns is. Being able to see what’s not working and shift it quickly, and with confidence, is critical so your true brilliance can shine brightly in the world. Learning to lead yourself with confidence and ease is the goal.

© 2011-2012 Carolyn B. Ellis All Rights Reserved

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