When working with fathers entering into a divorce or who have recently divorced, there is a 5-step process through which I assist them in identifying and implementing an action plan for their lives. Throughout this Dads’ Guide to Divorce series, I will be sharing this specific process with a detailed description of ways in which you can utilize it in order to achieve an amazing life for you and your children.
Step 1: Clarify Your Vision and Direction
When entering into a divorce or beginning life post-divorce, many men including myself struggle with clarifying a vision and establishing a direction in our lives. Divorce is traumatic and men experience an immense amount of pain and suffering during the process. I know that I did, and I want each of you to know that this is common. The feelings and emotions that come up are often overwhelming. The loss of your partner, not seeing your children, future uncertainty, financial fears, etc. are just the tip of the iceberg of an ocean of feelings. Allow yourself to experience these emotions and feelings. You are not alone and if you have the means to find a coach or therapist that will assist you with sorting through them, do so. If you don’t have the means then I recommend finding a support or men’s group.
As you sort through these feelings, it is critical to begin to clarify your vision and direction for your future after divorce. Why is this important? As men, our identity is closely aligned with the vision for our lives. Many of us do not realize this consciously and may only come to this understanding when we go through an extremely challenging time such as divorce. We may have simply backslid into our current life situation. In his excellent book The Power of Commitment: A Guide To Active, Lifelong Love Dr. Scott Stanley describes this as, “Sliding vs. Deciding.” It goes something like this: I met my ex, we dated, it was convenient to move in together, we got married or got married because she got pregnant, we had a kid, and then another, we bought a house…
This perfectly described my experience. There is nothing wrong with this process if you are consciously and intentionally deciding through each step with a clear and concise vision and direction for your life. Unfortunately, most of us don’t do this and the result is most often divorce.
But there is good news! When experiencing divorce, your entire vision of who you are and the direction that you thought you were taking gets thrown off. Yes, this is good news! Now you have the opportunity to realign your life and consciously create the vision and direction that you want for your future! Doing so is part of our masculine makeup and the very thing that drives us each and every day.
It Begins With Clarifying Your Future Self
In last weeks article, “The Dirty Word: Sacrifice,” I spoke about the unique ability that we have as human beings to conceptualize our future and how this is something that has benefited us and our evolution to the point that by doing so, we have raised our quality of life to a level previous generations would have never dreamed.
That unique ability to conceptualize our future applies specifically to our individual lives.
“When you decide who you’ll be and the life you’ll live, then you can have anything you truly want.” -Dr. Benjamin Hardy
Here is my 2 step process for clarifying a vision and direction for your life after divorce:
- Purchase a journal to keep by your bedside. Upon awakening each morning spend at least 5–10 minutes dumping all of your thoughts and feelings. Your subconscious has spent your sleeping hours sorting through all of your challenges and your waking moment is your mind’s most clear and creative time. Answer the following questions in your journal each day until you have refined your vision and direction. Do this for 21 straight days.
- Who is your future self 3 years from now?
- What is the “normal” life of your future self?
- What matters to your future self?
- Why do you want to become this person?
2. Take time before starting your day to get quiet and meditate, pray, or engage in some contemplative practice. I have been meditating for decades and this is my go-to. It is less about achieving a transcendental state as you see in the movies and more about getting centered and contemplating your vision and direction of your future self. Again, your mind will be most clear, concise, and creative upon awakening and this is the prime time for this practice.
I highly recommend this 6 Phase Meditation from Mindvalley. It is simple, short, and effective. Listen to it just before or after your morning journaling. See how you feel and share these thoughts in your journal. Perform this practice for 21 straight days.
Another contemplative practice that is simple and effective is walking. This can serve a three-fold benefit by ensuring that you get out of bed, provide some exercise, and is your contemplative practice. Walk for at least 15 minutes every day. While walking listen to a form of music that is calming and will evoke from you a feeling of reflection. My favorite is classical. While walking, reflect upon what you have written in your journal or what you are going to write. Perform this practice for 21 straight days.
Your contemplative practice can be any activity that allows you to get grounded and centered and put forth thought into your vision and direction. Different men have different practices, and some other popular forms are gardening, running, yoga, weight lifting, motorcycle riding, shooting, swimming, or cooking. It doesn’t matter the practice. Try one or many, but when you find the one that you prefer, stick to it for the 21 days.
Congratulations! By implementing this 2-step process to determine your vision and direction for your life after divorce you have built the foundation on which you will build your future amazing life for yourself and your children!
Next up… Step 2 which is to strategize your actions to align with your vision and direction.