Divorce creates the perfect storm for emotional overwhelm. Small decisions morph into mountains and you can forget that you are perfectly capable of making challenging decisions in many areas of your life. It is easy to forget about your leadership skills and how to use them.
Sometimes we can get stuck in a rut and cannot see a way forwards. It is easy to believe that the box, in which you find yourself, defines who you are. When we are stressed and overwhelmed with emotions, it becomes hard to see clearly.
Divorce can rock your sense of who you are, and your emotional backpack can hook you into unhelpful cycles of thinking. I have written about some of the emotions you might be feeling here. It can feel hard to move forwards when you are stuck in the middle of overwhelm.
I am just doing my job
I was able to use my leadership skills in highly stressful situations and managed to keep going until I had an episode of burnout. It was only then that I realised the impact of emotional overwhelm and that I needed some help to reset.
I used to believe that:
That mindset held me back and stopped me from looking outside my well-defined space. I had become so used to doing my job, as a highly skilled Consultant Anaesthetist, that I had forgotten about all the skills, that I had learned along the way. As a well-known brand of sportswear says, I could “just do it.”
It is common for professional women to minimise achievements and fail to celebrate what they can do. If someone fed back to me that I did something well, I was incredibly good at saying “I was just doing my job.”
Thinking outside the box
It was only when I started to dream of a life outside my chosen career box, that I started to realise I had built up a whole host of transferrable skills. I spent an afternoon brainstorming my CV with a friend, from a different professional background. I made a list of all my skills and more importantly how I could apply them to many situations outside the operating theatre. My unique selling point is the way in which I can apply those skills. The way that I approach a problem might be from a different angle and yield a slightly different result.
You have an excellent set of skills inside your leadership toolbox, which can help get you through your divorce. If emotional overwhelm is preventing you from accessing your skills, then a coach might be able to help you manage your emotions. I have written about the important link between thoughts, feelings and actions here.
What transferrable skills might you have you forgotten about?
Sometimes it can be useful to think about an “Ideal Leader.” If you find that hard, then you could think about one of your role models. What skills do you most admire?
Here are some suggestions:
- Communication skills
- Problem solving skills.
- Authenticity and self-awareness
- Decision making
I am sure that you can think of many more transferrable skills. I have chosen to highlight seven of the skills, that I think you will already excel in or might need a helpful nudge to get you thinking.
My invitation to you is to go through the list of transferrable skills and think about your strengths.
How can you use them to move forwards?
If you need help to manage emotional overwhelm and would like further support. Please join us in the community, The Divorce Village. You will find peer support, from women just like you, and lots more helpful content and ideas.