The divorce just happened and you want to hide and check out. Here are 5 things that will bring you back to your life and help you embrace the good still in it.
I’ve struggled during several periods in my life with how to be fully present and aware, engaged as a parent and being the best father I could possibly be. This is a struggle many professionals and entrepreneurs have. It’s not unique to the divorced, but being newly divorced it was extraordinarily difficult.
While I was always a proud father participating in my sons’ lives, I was often lost or detached. Married, we split “duties” like carpooling and the morning get-ready hustle. The schedule and the hurry-hurry made it all too easy not to engage deeply.
Add to that, becoming divorced and doing life as a single dad – now you’ve got an emotional struggle added to the physical and financial.
Yes, I was on the sideline watching the game, I was on the ski lift with the boys, I was at the breakfast table – but was I truly present? Going through the motions and being physically present didn’t cut it. I knew I needed to do more, and wanted to be more for them.
Here’s how I shifted the presence and awareness tides in my life:
- Clarified my core values. Top of the list for me: Be a father first. Above all else in my life, I chose this as the most important. It became a driving force within me. This clarification and declaration simplified many decisions.
- Made time for me. This is not selfish, it’s selfless. I had to take care of myself physically and emotionally in order to be the best father I could be. I’ve written about how difficult this was amidst depression and failure. If I can do this, anyone can.
- Built boundaries. I chose activities carefully and friends even more carefully, seeking only those that added to my life. While I started with yes-to-everything right after divorce in the “go crazy” time, I selectively changed and learned that quality was more rewarding than quantity.
- Developed new traditions. A simple example: Monday dine-around. Every Monday my sons and I would go out to eat. We took turns choosing the restaurant, and it had to be somewhere new. We had the best times together; no phones, no distractions, always and adventure, and many, many great stories!
- Established rituals. Structure and rituals, while seemingly burdensome, actually set me free. I built rituals for my exercise, my food, my mornings, etc. and what these each brought was more space and time to spend on what I loved. I began pursuing my passions again.
This is how I became more engaged as a parent and how I structured my life in order to create space. With space came time and focus, and with those I became much more present and aware.
My entire life rebounded. My relationships all improved. My professional life took off. My happiness went sky high.
Now I help others do the same. Whether professionally or personally, there are steps and a process to become ever present and aware. You don’t have to live detached. It starts with you, and you are worth it!
After all, Life is a Gift!
30 years of strategic, entrepreneurial business growth along with two brushes with death have earned him the tag “ResilienceGuy”. Bill Douglas is an accomplished Mentor, Coach & Speaker helping entrepreneurs & executives with growth and strength.
Photo: Flickr/The Erin