I went through a breakup late last year. It sucked, like most breakups do. When it happens, all you want to do is hit the fast forward button, zip past all the upset, and get back to business as usual. When you head your own business, you kinda have to bounce back sooner rather than later. After all, you do have a business to run. It's not that easy. As entrepreneurs and stewards of our own career destiny, we can get especially hard hit when going through difficult times like a breakup. I wanted to share my greatest lessons and insights that helped me through the worst of it so we can learn from each other.
While writing this, I wondered how many other women have gone through the same thing and managed to stay on top. So I polled a group of women dreamers and doers to share with me their greatest breakup to breakthrough takeaways. Many shared their anecdotes and lessons learned which you'll see below.
Relationships are even harder when you're passionate & have a dream that isn't only your marriage/relationship. It [divorce] was a year ago and I'm thankful I went through it - it was the most painful/sad thing I went through but it made me realize that I can will be ok no matter what and I was surprised how strong I was. - Tania. A Entreprenuer
Here are some takeaways to navigate the choppy waters when dealing with a breakup while you stay focused on your dreams.
1. Scream it Out. Breakups will bring up all sorts of feelings from abandonment, rejection, anger, resentment, to guilt, sadness, and anxiety. These feelings need your attention and an outlet to be expressed. Give yourself a good shout. Scream into a pillow and let out all of your frustrations. Expel any energy that needs to come out with a fierce gust of sound that roars from the bottom of your belly. Do this daily soon after the breakup for as long as you need to.
2. Press Pause. The aftermath of a breakup is a playground for reactive behavior. You may want to lash out, go into overdrive, or want to call up that douche guy just to hookup. You may make rash, destructive decisions that you will later regret. Give yourself some time, mindfully, to disconnect and get clear on what you really need. This may include stepping away from work for a while so you can nurture yourself.
3. Allow Yourself To Cry. Sometimes tears serve as a good way of reminding us that we are alive and the pain we feel is not weakness but our vulnerability as humans. Even Wonder Woman cries sometimes. When you feel the need to, allow the tears to come up, feel them stream down your face without wiping them away at first. Your tears are nothing to be ashamed of or be embarrassed about. It is your body’s way to purge and release. Let them flow freely.
4. Get Away. I get that this isn’t always an easy option especially when we have work and other commitments. If you can, leave town for a weekend or even take a day off and jump on the LIRR for a day trip. A change of scenery will help take your mind off of things and stimulate new ideas, insight, and new plans on how you want to move forward. Go by yourself and take a journal with you.
The best thing I did was rearrange my room. I know that sounds funny, but I couldn't move and so many memories of us were in that room. Every time I walked into it, it was like one big slap in the face of memories of us. So I changed the whole room around, and when I walked in, it was fresh energy, a new place without those memories. I needed to feel safe and free again in the place I called home. So, whether it's one room or a whole apartment/home, I always tell people to change it up. Make it your own space again. It won't cure your heartbreak, but it is one of those small things that make a big difference. - Brooke. C, Author & Writer
5. Slow Down. After a breakup, you may want to keep busy and drown yourself in your work. It’s our way of powering through it when we don’t want to deal with things straight on. It works for a time but ultimately catches up to you. Stay committed to your goals but instead of getting 10 things done on your to-do list try 5. Consider that in some mysterious way, the breakup might be the Universe’s way of getting you to slow down and take care of your needs. Take heed.
6. Start a passion project. What ideas have you always wanted to try but kept putting off? Devote some time to work on projects that you are personally passionate about. It does not need to serve any other purpose than it makes you happy. Oftentimes, these are the ideas that lead to unexpected work opportunities. A few ideas could be: do some pro bono work, build your portfolio, start a vlog tutorial to teach something you love.
7. Re/Commit to your dreams. Funny thing about a breakup is that they take you out of your comfort zone, make you reevaluate everything, yet at the same time offer up a new space in your life to truly commit to what is important to you. Treat your dreams like they were someone you’d want to spend a lifetime with. Use this time to build a relationship with your dreams, date them, and get to know them inside, out.
8. Double your money goals. Breakup or not, this is just a good goal to have. But nothing is sweeter than doubling your wealth and crushing it in your career as a great way to rise like a phoenix from its ashes. Use this time as motivation to get straight with your money. While you rebuild your heart, build up your bank account.
9. Become your own best friend. If your ex-partner was also your best friend, going through this breakup can be particularly tough. But now it’s time to learn to start depending on someone else, you. The relationship you have with yourself and your ability to take care of your own needs is paramount. Learn to become self-reliant and emotionally available through an ongoing relationship where you come first.
...small things like created a playlist of empowering songs I would listen to every morning, I started writing, doing yoga & read Gaby Bernstein. I also went to therapy for 3 months. Took smaller breaks through out the work week - allowed my self to be upset in small doses - that way it wouldn't consume my whole day. - Tania A, Entrepreneur
10. Don’t Isolate. While some alone time is absolutely necessary while processing and healing through a breakup, try not to spend too much time by yourself. Your ego may try to keep you hidden indoors and antisocial curled up on your couch watching Netflix. Force yourself to get out and be around people. You need support right now, let yourself be supported.
...being surrounded by women who had similar dreams and spending time with friends/family and knowing it was ok to be broken for a bit. - Tania A, Enterpreneur
11. Clear out what’s not working. Face it. There were some things that just were not working in your life and work. Now is the perfect time to reset and re-evaluate. Examine what is not working and get rid of it! Bad habits, sucky job, cluttered desk -- be relentless and clear out what is no longer working for you once and for all.
12. Keep showing up. There will be days when you won’t feel like getting out of bed; it’s the ugly side of going through a breakup. But there is a beautiful side to all of this. Every time you show up, you tap into it. Remember, when hard times happen, it’s happening for you, not to you. Let this experience work it’s magic and shape you into your best and most highest self. Keep showing up, one day at a time.
So if you’re going through a breakup right now, know that you’re not alone and I get what a difficult time this is. I am still a work in progress but I can say for absolute sure that it does get better and you come out on the other end stronger than you were before. Let this be your time of profound personal growth and the rocket fuel to catapult your dreams full speed ahead.
With love always,