Divorce is crushing. For me it felt like everything in my life was falling apart. I felt like I had let everyone down my wife, my family, and the friends who were part of our lives.
It took several months of wallowing in self-pity and being terrified of what the future held for a 38-year-old divorcée until I took a step back and really examined my life. I decided I am an expert of creating an illusion of happiness, I sought conflict and I relentlessly pursued self-destruction, this became my default and led to the breakdown of my marriage … I knew if I was going to move on, and really be happy I had to change my mindset, I had to accept that this relationship was over and my life was going to change.
Embracing change is one of the hardest but most valuable things we can teach ourselves to do … if we can change our mindset so we don’t see change as an adversity, but as an opportunity to improve ourselves it can, literally, change our lives for the better.
Twelve months ago I didn’t know this, but the journey I have been on has been so transformative, so life-changing I feel like a different person, I now believe that my divorce was the best thing to ever happen to me. It started me on a journey towards becoming the best version of myself. I didn’t know this journey would transform my life in the way it has, what started out as a commitment to become the fittest I have ever been led to incredible break-throughs, including:
- Experiencing a calmness like I’ve never known before in my entire life.
- Getting diagnosed with ADHD and getting the correct treatment.
- Letting go of the fear of failure and being confident in my decision-making.
- A sense of wellbeing and connection to my environment.
New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings so instead of viewing the breakdown of my marriage as the end, I used it as a foundation to rebuild my life. In the process of healing from my divorce and finding my way back to happiness, I made huge changes to almost all aspects of my life, including moving to Cornwall, becoming vegan, and starting training to be a software engineer.
I had a new goal to become the best version of myself, I created a process to achieve it and I call it The Redemption Playbook.
As Gladwell tells us: it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials, like playing the violin or getting as good as Bill Gates at computer programming. … Practice is important, and it’s surprising how much it takes to master something complicated.
I have studied Muay Thai, Boxing, Kung Fu, and Krav Maga, I’m actually a qualified personal trainer, I have been to residential rehab, had countless hours of counseling and attended numerous group sessions, I have been to events run by some of the world’s best motivational speakers, and run numerous events of my own. I have worked with coaches and mindfulness experts and I have watched hours of content from YouTube videos to Masterclass.com lessons.
I worked out that in my adult life I have easily consumed over 10000 hours of content on how to improve myself, I looked at this as my education, I had been to the university of how to improve my life, 12 months ago I started writing my dissertation, I now feel like I have graduated.
The first step is the hardest
Words like self-discovery and redemption make the process seem daunting, but look at it like this:
- Is your life a bit messed up?
- Would you like to be less messed up?
- Do you believe you can make it less messed up?
“This is taken from Russel Brands version of the 12 steps using slightly less “Anglo Saxon” language”
Take what works
Ultimately this process is all about chasing happiness, the process won’t work unless you believe your happiest times are yet to come. The process won’t work if you try and chase somebody else happiness.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost,
Taking the road less traveled can seem daunting when we are bombarded by success stories from proven methodologies from diets, to career paths, your journey is unique and in order for you to succeed you have to be uniquely you.
So you need to try everything and create a plan that works for you. Remember the best coaches have a methodology but the work they do with each client is unique to them.
And you have to enjoy yourself.
Turn your weaknesses into your strengths
You are never going to be the best at everything, so it is really important that you understand your weaknesses so you can pursue the correct path in whatever you want to accomplish.
Between 30% and 40% of the population are thought to be neurodiverse. I know that my diagnosis of ADHD is the most important catalyst for my transformation. Discovering I had ADHD made so much sense and what had been a contributing factor to so many of the ridiculous decisions I made now became my superpower.
I realised I can consume and retain large amounts of information, I can hyperfocus, speed read and make connections very quickly which helps me to solve problems. Software engineering may not seem like a natural fit for someone with ADHD but for it made so much sense to me.
If you spend the time to really understand yourself, discover what you are good at you will stand a much greater chance of achieving happiness.
Setting goals helps trigger new behaviours, helps guides your focus and helps you sustain positive momentum in life. Goals also help align your focus and promote a sense of self-mastery. In the end, you can’t manage what you don’t measure and you can’t improve upon something that you don’t properly manage.
My first goal was to simply squat more weight than I have ever done. It was funny that I later read a quote “The Squat Is The Perfect Analogy For Life. It’s About Standing Back Up After Something Heavy Takes You Down.” It seemed perfect for what I was trying to achieve and it is how I began my journey.
Big life changes start small so make your first goal achievable, completing this is a great foundation to build from, this entire process is about small steps, succeeding, failing, changing your goals but never ever giving up.
No matter what, there is someone out there that knows an older version of yourself, and had an opinion of you that is theirs… but that shouldn’t stop you trying to be the best version of yourself, but unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realise that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.
It as important to forgive yourself as it is to forgive others. You don’t want to be that person who holds a grudge that person who refuses to be in a room with someone they fell out with.
Time heals almost everything, almost all relationships will have many positives if you can see that and get to a stage where you can say thank you for that experience; I promise you will be happier.
When Matthew McConaughey won the Best Actor Oscar in 2014 his acceptance speech was unlike any others.
“So you see every day, every week, every month and every year of my life, my hero’s always 10 years away. I’m never gonna be my hero. I’m not gonna attain that. I know I’m not, and that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”
Remember… perfection it’s an illusion, we can always improve, so keep imagining a future version of yourself, strive to achieving it by improving daily, and if you finally achieved it, imagine an even better version of yourself, strive to achieve it again, repeat the process. That’s how we constantly move forward, that’s one of the paths to success. Chase happiness, and happiness will chase you.