3 Strategies for Shifting Gears from the Low Road to the High Road

In Divorce it is easy to get consumed by what I call “The Reptile” – the survival part of our brains that scan for danger multiple times per second and find potential danger lurking behind every interaction.  That primitive part of our brain, the reptilian brain, feeds on fear and sees threats everywhere.  And when “the reptile” is out and in control, the creative problem-solving part of the brain is disconnected and the intelligence contained there is inaccessible.

The Reptile chooses the low road every time.  Why? Because fear is driving decision making – fear about the future, fear about your way of life, fear about your kids and their health, fear about how others will see you, and fear about your ever being loved again!  The problem with the Reptile’s strategy is that it will never get you where you want to go.

Enter the Voice of Reason who reminds you about the power of CHOICE and shifting gears onto the high road.  Who is this voice of reason?  To get your attention the voice of reason has to be someone you trust – maybe a higher power, or a trusted advisor, a thinking partner or sounding board – or who you know yourself to be at your best.  Maybe is it the awareness that comes from your experience of the low road and the impact it is having on you and the ones you love. Maybe it is LOVE that rises up over the FEAR and for a fleeting moment you can see the path that leads from the low road to the high road!

Shifting gears from the low road to the high road is important because it honors the best of you and the best of others. Rather than choosing to have power over others through threats and fear, you invite them to do the right thing and to respond with good intention, respect and love.  We are all human – with our human foibles –

Here are three strategies I am sharing from the recently published book Divorce: Taking the High Road – Simple Strategies for Creating a Healthy Divorce where 10 CDC Certified Divorce Coaches and myself share solid practical steps.

divorcetther400front1. From Kimberly Mishkin and her chapter, “Using Divorce as a Catalyst for a Better Life”:

“If couples can manage to navigate divorce with minimal negativity, they realize that this family reorganization is an opportunity to put the family back together in a way that is much healthier for e everyone.” This includes:

  • Accepting the new reality because it will be important to shift your perspective for as long as you have children who deserve to have both parents in their lives.
  • Honoring your ex as the “father of your children” or your “co-parent”  and accepting that as the new  relationship.
  • Collaborating as much as possible.

2. From Marc Levey and his chapter, “Five Steps to a Mindful Divorce”:

Step back, assess their options, and approach the decisions more strategically.
“As you know, during divorce, both parties are expected to make dozens if not hundreds of life altering decisions, for themselves, for their children, and even for their spouses. These decisions will have a profound impact on everyone involved for many years to come. And considering that divorce can be one of the most intense experiences in a person’s life, not only legally and financially — but also socially, emotionally, and spiritually — it’s easy to see why so few divorces end on a healthy note.

Thus, I’ve found that by helping clients take a moment to step back from the situation, assess their options, and contemplate their futures, they can approach the challenges and decisions of their divorces more strategically and less impulsively — more logically and less irrationally.

3. And from Tracy Callahan and her chapter, “Self-Empowerment Through Decision-Making”

“ No matter how small the decision was, YOU engaged in the process. YOU made a decision. YOU exerted your ability to take control during a time when you might have felt out of control or incapable. These small decision-making processes, building upon one another, inevitably give in return, confidence. It’s like taking your first step. Once you take the first step, and you didn’t fall down, no matter how small of a step it was, it gave you the confidence and excitement to take the next step. That’s really what we call the process of self-empowerment. Taking charge of your own life, knowing and owning your power without giving it away. Telling yourself, ‘I got this, I can do this’, as well as celebrating your successes.”


These three strategies:

  1. Taking the negativity out of the process;
  2. Being mindful and approach decisions more strategically and
  3. Empower yourself by fully engaging in the decision making process

will re-orient you from the low road to the high road – and honor who you are when you are at your best!

To become part of our CDC Certified Divorce Coach community, registration for our next program is now open. 
If you would like to schedule a one-on-one Q & A Call to determine whether our divorce coach training is something which would help you reach your goals, please click here to access our online calendar and pick the most convenient day and time for a call.

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