Saturday, January 16, 2010

Post Divorce Unconventional

I love red shoes, purses, backpacks and the like. I also love stories of unconventional people. Life Uncharted, Jan/Feb 2010 Psychology Today (sorry, not on line yet) gives a little info about seven unconventional people. Several have moved out of the country, most have never worked for anyone else, some are married, a few are single, one is a single mom. The thing that they share is their desire to map out and control their own destinies, often in ways that others might find odd or scary.

Divorce is a perfect opportunity to get unconventional. This is your chance to do what you want, not what someone else wants, or what others want you to do. After all, we have unconventional work days and work arrangements, unconventional medicine, unconventional leaders, and unconventional careers, among other things.

One of the things the divorced often report is how great it is to be you own boss and not have to answer to anyone else. If I don’t feel like cooking, I don’t. If I want to spend the weekend reading, playing the piano and watching movies, I can. If I want to take a trip someplace, I go. It’s all up to me.

I know this can be a bit daunting at first, but think about it. To be the proverbial master of your universe. How freakin’ cool is that?

Don’t get me wrong, I love relationships. I just don’t love relationships that are controlling. Let’s face it, most marriages involve a lot of control. It may be mutual, but control it is. It’s difficult to be in a relationship where both individuals are completely independent. It’s almost an oxymoron. But what a great concept. It's definitely something to look for.

If you were going to do everything you wanted to do in the next week, what would that look like? How would you describe it: fun, relaxing, exciting? How would it be different from what you usually choose for yourself? Can you do that, or come close to it in your current relationship? This is your chance: consider those new red shoes.

Music to go unconventional with: Live your life. TI & Rhianna

Check out the Living Single blog and Used-Car-Driving, Non-Property-Owning, Unmarried Man Somehow Happy; Experts Baffled

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Turn Your Loss Into a Win

I just read some great advice in Runnersworld about getting over a bad race experience.

1. Wallow (a bit)
2. Find a positive
3. Analyze it
4. Set new goals
5. Manage expectations

It’s not hard to see how you can apply these steps to many losse (in relationships, in work, in dieting).

Think of the last relationship you had that tanked. A lover, a friend, a colleague. Sure, you feel bad at first. Depending on the nature of the relationship, you might have to isolate for weeks, eat or starve (your pick), sleep all day or not at all, and so forth. Even if it’s not a terribly close relationship, you may still feel terribly bad about the ending. But the wallowing must end. You've go to take charge and move on.

Then it’s time to find the silver lining. What good is going to come of this? What did you learn? To trust your instincts in the next relationship, that you can’t mix work and pleasure, that even when you put in 110% you can’t make someone else be a better friend than they are?  Find something positive, no matter how big or small, that shows it was not all for naught.

Next, and this can be overdone so keep it simple, what can I do differently? Was I too needy? Too independent? Did I assume too much? Fail to communicate clearly? The idea being that next time, with a good analysis, you might behave differently.

Setting new goals can be fun. After the analysis, what would you like to strive for next time?  Maybe I just want to take on a small project next time, or my goals of losing 5 pounds a week was a wee bit high or I am absolutely not going to get intimate before the 5th date.

Now the expectation game is a rough one. If they’re not high enough, we don’t strive to be our best. Too high, and, well, you know… Consider your expectations going in. Were they too high? Too focused on the outcome and not enough on the performance? In other words, are you pleased with how well you did (the performance) vs pleased with how well it turned out (the outcome)? You might do a personal best (running time, job interview, date) but the outcome doesn’t necessarily work as you’d hope (didn’t win your age group, didn’t get the job, didn’t get a second date). Sometimes just finishing is a great performance. Or, as a client recently pointed out, my D is a whole lot better than the Fs that went before it.

If these steps don’t work and it’s dragging on too long, time for a coach!

Pump up music: The Distance, Cake