Divorce stinks. No one embarks on this journey with joy and enthusiasm.
But hidden in the pile of grief, anger, hurt, and fear that divorce brings, there is a gift: The gift of transformation.
There are two ways a person can experience the radical life change of divorce.
A person can let this change happen to them, or a person can use this change to transform.
Having practiced as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ Professional for six years, I've seen this dynamic play out over and over.
To some extent, the inclination to allow divorce to happen and simply let the process roll over you is a natural one.
You may not have asked for a divorce. You may not want a divorce. You didn't start this, and it's unfair that you have to deal with it.
And now I'm telling you to transform? Rise like a phoenix from the ashes of your broken marriage???
Yes, I am.
And there's a good reason.
Here's the thing about transformation — it's scary. Transformation is radical change with an ambiguous outcome.
Transformation is radical change with an ambiguous outcome.
Think back to when you changed from a single person to a married person. Talk about radical change…in one step, you formed a brand-new family.
But you did it, and it was exciting. Maybe it was a little scary, but you knew what you were becoming. It's much easier to change if we know what we are changing into.
Now here you stand, about to enter another period of massive change — this time without a clear picture of who or what you will be when it's over.
Life Happens (To You)
One of the most disconcerting things about a divorce, especially one you didn't anticipate, is the loss of control and agency. Your entire life is being turned upside down, and there's very little you can do to stop it.
Even if you asked for the divorce, much of what will happen during your divorce will be beyond your control.
Surrendering to those feelings is tempting. It's the path of least resistance — and you may be so very tired of fighting.
But what are you giving up? Will you allow this process to break you down? Will you let it steal your joy and your zest? Will you allow yourself to be a victim of circumstance?
When I see a client choose this path, they often lurch from crisis to crisis and never seem to find their footing (even years after their case settles). They end up tossed around by life, feeling like a victim instead of a victor.
What if you put in the work? Could you emerge months down the road in a much better place? Could you become someone who is stronger, happier, and the master of their destiny?
Making Life Happen
There is another path — a less-traveled path; a path that will take courage.
If you are to exercise agency, if you are to make your life happen, if you are to transform, you'll need the courage to step into the void knowing that you will have to find your way out somehow.
The worst part, and the most important part, is a willingness to not know how. You won't know the path, the destination, or the timing.
But in admitting this, you accept that the end result is ambiguous, which at least means now you're moving forward with some level of certainty. You're certain of the ambiguity.
In accepting the unknown, in making a choice to do so, you've become someone who has agency.
Taking this path is a choice.
And now the door is open to making all sorts of intentional choices.
Where so much is outside of your control, you can choose to focus on what you can control.
While you can't control your situation, you can control how you react to it.
While you can't control how you feel, you can choose how to view those feelings.
You can choose where you want to end up and chart a path to that place — even if the way is uncertain, and you may need to change course now and again.
While you can't control how your case ultimately plays out, you can make intentional choices to influence that outcome for your benefit.
Those choices include the attorney you hire, the type of divorce process you pursue, how you react to perceived provocations by your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, whether to engage in therapy or not, whether to work with subject matter experts who can help you make informed decisions about your case, and your overall attitude about the proceedings.
When I see a client choose the deliberate path to transformation, they often express more optimism for the future and relish making plans for their new life. In subsequent years, they flourish.
It's Never Too Late
The most beautiful part is that it's never too late to choose the intentional path to transformation.
As an investment professional, I often talk about the risk/return tradeoff. Put simply, the more risk you take, the more potential reward you may reap.
It works the same way here. The more you exercise courage, the greater chance you'll emerge a better version of yourself.
Would you rather be a sitting duck or a fierce, fabulous, phoenix roaring into the next phase of life stronger than before?
Only you can make that choice.