Written By Guest Blogger: María Tomás-Keegan is founder of Transition & THRIVE with María and a certified Life Transition Coach for Women, specializing in Divorce Recovery. She inspires professional women to take divorce in stride at work and at home, while helping them to heal on the inside—and design a new life based on Values, Vision and Passion.
One of my stories was, “I’m divorced twice. I’m a failure at relationships. I can’t trust myself to make good decisions. If I’m a failure in life, I can’t possibly be successful in my career.” And on and on, like an endless loop of irrational negative thoughts that beat me up daily.
It cost me a lot to be stuck in this story. I felt sorry for myself. My confidence had cracks in it too wide to leap over. Decisions at work became hard—my usual quick assessments, attention to detail and decisive actions were nowhere to be found. A client contract was at risk. My management team, while patient at first, had a business to protect.
With great kindness, my manager came into my office, closed the door and asked me to sit with her for a few minutes. We moved to the couch for a very personal conversation. We talked about many things—the business I managed; how my staff was feeling; the attitude of my clients towards me; my future. It was hard to hear. She said something to me that hit home and it has stuck with me ever since—helping me still when I get stuck in my story, whatever it is.
“Look what it’s costing you to stay stuck in your story. Is that where you want to stay?”
I left work early that day, went home to my quiet sanctuary and pondered her question. The answer was so clear to me. “Of course that’s NOT where I want to stay! The cost is too great to me—and it is costing people I care about, too.” The next question, though, was a tough one to answer. “How do I move past my story?”
I asked this same question of the women in my private Facebook community called, THRIVE after Divorce: Your Journey Begins and some of their thoughts and advice is intertwined with my experience in these … 5 Steps to Get Unstuck from Your Story
- Stop Talking About It — The more you talk about it, the more it stays in your present world. Kick it to the curb. Stop engaging in conversations with family, friends and colleagues about what happened to you. Let them know this is not a topic you will discuss any longer. It’s time to move on.
- Shift How You Think About It — This much I know for sure … just because you’ve stopped talking about it with others doesn’t mean it’s not still in your own thoughts and feelings. It will be—that’s normal. The choice you have is to think about what happened differently. Where is the blessing in disguise? What are you gaining for yourself? Who can you become now that you are the Leading Lady of your own life? Asking questions like these can bring powerful answers and insights.
- Rediscover What You Value Most — So often, and especially if you’ve been married a long time, you lose connection with your own values—you may have compromised them to keep the peace, for instance. Your values are a guiding light and a checkpoint for any choice or decision you make. What are your values? Family? Independence? Freedom? Ask yourself, “Does this choice I’m about to make honor my value of Independence?” Using this checkpoint will help steer you in the right direction. Every. Single. Time.
- Care Less About What Others Say or Think — This is a tough one for many women—including me. I’ve been a pleaser since I was a child and it’s hard to let go of the belief that, if I’m not making everyone around me happy I’m a bad person. What I’ve learned to believe instead is, if I’m not happy no one around me will be happy. So, I started to care less about what everyone else was thinking or saying about what’s good for me or what I should do or who I should be. By clinging to my own core values, I was able to let my intuition become my guide. I started making choices that made me happy. And, guess what? Everyone that I cared about followed my lead. Those I didn’t care about didn’t matter. AH-HA!
- Dream Big — It’s hard to dream new dreams when the old dreams have been shattered but, to really move on—leaving behind the old story and writing your new story—a big beautiful vision is required. Don’t hold back. Don’t let anything you’ve heard before stop you. Did someone say, “You can’t do that!” Ask yourself, “Is it true?” If it’s not true, you don’t have to believe it anymore. You get to do and be whatever and whomever you want. It’s your dream.