Perhaps the biggest obstacle I see when coaching my clients during their separation is moving away from a past-focussed mentality to a forward-thinking one.

The dissolution of a relationship is one of the most devastating events one may experience in their lifetime. It is an event that is characterized by feelings of shame, inadequacy, blame and guilt: believing that you are not ‘good enough’ and that you failed as a spouse, parent, and romantic partner. These feelings cannot simply be erased. It takes time, a commitment, and a plan to reshape the way of thinking that has embedded these into one’s consciousness.

A shift to a forward-thinking paradigm is critical to get through this stage of your journey and to prepare you for the rest of your life. And yes, this is easier said than done. For you to experience lasting change and progress you need to work with someone who is trained with the skills to help you make this profound mindset pivot. You also need to work with someone with whom you connect and can be open and honest. There are plenty of books out there that will inspire you, but what is necessary to develop this mindset transformation cannot be found in a book. You are looking for practical tools to implement on your journey, and you are searching for lasting change, not an inspirational story that you will no longer remember after you’ve read the last page.

Enter the life coach. An experienced life coach who specializes in working with those who are separating is a vital member of the team that you require to navigate this journey well, and is one of the most important investments you will make.

I practised family law for nearly two decades and I understand the importance of retaining a lawyer who specializes in this area of the law to address the legal aspects of your separation. However, a separation is much more than determining and finalizing legal entitlements and obligations. It is about managing change in all areas of your life: your emotions, your relationships with friends, family and colleagues, and your finances. Helping you navigate these ‘non-legal’ elements effectively and avoiding the overwhelm while doing so is a journey that your lawyer is not in a position to address.

When you work with an experienced separation and divorce coach you will release paradigms that are no longer serving you and develop new ones, including a forward-thinking growth mindset, that will help you get through the complexities of the separation process. You will learn to make intentional choices that are driven by reason, rather than reactive ones that are fuelled by emotion and past events.

Instead of looking at your circumstances from a perspective of what you lost or lack, you will begin to focus on what you have and what it is possible to attain, and you will begin to cultivate a mindset of abundance. You will ultimately be able to leave the past where it belongs – behind you – and take ownership of your life.