Use an affirmation to get through a tough situation

Eric began life coaching after he and his wife of 17 years got divorced.

He continued working with a counselor to deal with the emotional issues. His interest in life coaching was to rebuild his life.

Eric’s emotions left him unable to deal with the basic communication necessary to effectively parent. He and his ex-wife, Joanne, communicated through e-mail, and the more impersonal, the better. This strategy worked sometimes, but frequently led to miscommunication.

His action step from our last coaching session was to call Joanne to discuss the girls’ summer activities. Initiating a phone conversation was a big first step.

“How did your conversation go?” I asked.

“Surprisingly well,” Eric said. “The strategy we came up with in our last session helped me stay focused. When I felt angry, I would repeat the affirmation: ‘I stay focused on what is in the best interest of the kids.’

“We determined the girls’ summer schedule with no problems ... until Joanne said she wants to bring her boyfriend, Joe, to Emily’s volleyball tournament and asked how I felt about it. My blood boiled. Luckily, we got interrupted, and we agreed to finish our discussion later.

“Although she denies it, I think they were having an affair before our divorce,” he said. “Joe got divorced shortly after we did. What are the odds?”

“I can’t imagine sitting in the same gym together, but I won’t miss Emily’s tournament, which means I have to get through this,” he said.

“How will you get through this?” I asked.

“My affirmation about the kids’ best interest helps until I get mad, and then I forget.” Eric confessed. “I imagine them walking in together and I lose it.”

“How is Emily handling this?” I asked.

“Emily said she’s uncomfortable with Joanne dating,” Eric said. “Emily still thinks we’ll get back together, even though I have explained it to her.”

“In regard to the tournament, what’s in the best interest of the kids?” I asked.

“In their best interest, Joanne needs to not bring Joe. They’re not ready and neither am I,” Eric said. “But if she does, I’ll keep the peace because it’s in the kids’ best interest.”

“What action steps will help you through this?” I asked.

“If I can calmly explain how we’re not ready for her to bring him, maybe she’ll understand. If not, I can avoid them at the event. If we do see each other, I’ll keep the girls’ best interest in mind and be cordial,” Eric said.

“How can you remember your promise to keep the girls’ best interest in mind? Is there something that you’ll see every day as a reminder?” I asked.

“I have some great pictures of the girls,” Eric said. “I’ll put a picture on my desk and in my wallet. If I start to get upset with Joanne, I’ll look at the photo and remember my promise to keep their best interests in mind.”

As Eric was leaving, he turned and said, “As the divorce gets further behind us, the girls seem much happier. I want to do what I can to continue this trend.”

Coaching challenge: When you face difficult situation but know it’s something you need to get through, find a way to see the larger picture.

Create an affirmation or come up with a reminder to help you remember why it’s important and focus on that when things get tough.

Sheri Fisher is an intuitive life coach living in Grand Junction. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. For more information and to access her blog, go to:


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