Your Winning Team: Your Stellar Support System
You don’t have to face separation alone. You can, and should, seek help, knowledge, and love from others. Your friends, family, and professional support can become indispensable resources for you during this time. To make sure you’re getting the support you need from the people who are able to give it, you should take stock of your relationships, and create a plan for who to call in moments of stress and crisis.
Your solution to navigating moments of chaos and stress, and your secret weapon for creating a happy and fulfilled future? Your Winning Team.
A Winning Team is a network of people whom you hand-select to create a protective group structure around you as you go through the turbulence of your separation. Each person on your Team serves in a specific role or function for a period of three months (a time period which can be extended if mutually agreeable) and is chosen for his or her key qualities and abilities to support you and to carry out certain tasks.
Your Winning Team believes in you! Its members support you 100 percent. They have a positive attitude toward their own lives, as well as yours, and always deliver on their promises. From them, you can receive structure, comfort, energy, motivation, and wisdom. They are aligned with your vision for a happy future, and also working to create their own!
Knowing that you are surrounded by people you can rely on provides a huge energy boost, and gives you an anchor when things get stormy. The results it produced for me―and that it continues to produce for the people I work with―are amazing.
All it takes to create a Winning Team that works is a little bit of planning, clear sight, and defined boundaries.
How to Choose your Winning Team
Putting together your Winning Team will require you to look honestly at the people in your life, and evaluate your relationships with them based on key criteria. I think it’s best to do this in a single sitting.
Your Team consists of roughly four to eight people. Chances are, you already have some ideas about who should be on your Winning Team: the people and professionals who are already offering you constructive support, guidance, and care.
Start with a blank page, and assign Team positions based on who is the best fit for the role, not who you feel you should ask. Remember, just because someone in your life isn’t a good fit for your Winning Team right now doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be part of your life. It just means that you will not rely on them for any of the specific tasks you have assigned to your Team members.
Here are some guidelines for choosing the members of your Winning Team:
Ask yourself, “What do I need?” In which areas do you most need support?
Make a list of all the areas where you want to receive support, physical, mental, emotional, practical, and professional.
Make a list of potential Team members.
Assign a specific function to each Team member. If you don’t have someone to fill a specific need, make a note that you need to find that person.
Contact your potential Team members. As soon as your schedule allows, call your potential Team members to explain the idea of a Winning Team, and ask them if they want to be part of yours. Explain the specific task you want to assign to them, and set a timetable for your work together.
Understand each Team member’s role. Commit to honoring the role each of your team members has agreed to.
Keep your Team members updated on your progress, and regularly ask them for feedback.
Always be honest with your Team members. That’s the only way they will be able to really help you.
Personal Team Members
Here are some examples of Winning Team positions that you might fill during your Team creation process. Remember, this is all based on what you need!
The comforter. This person is your shoulder to cry on―the person with endless patience, the perfect listener who understands that you need somebody to whom you can tell your story.
The sensible one. This friend offers practical advice and constructive criticism, and always keeps you on course.
The positive energy partner. This friend is the one who always sees the light at the end of the tunnel, and can reframe any situation in a positive light. Call on this person when you’re having trouble seeing the blessings in a situation.
The communications director. This is an honest and level-headed person who will look at all of your important e-mails and letters before you send them to your ex-partner or third parties. This person can save you a great deal of grief by intercepting communications that you might later regret.
The numbers whiz. This person is someone who’s good with money, budgets, and planning. Start with an intensive session to go over where you are now and address your concerns about budgeting.
The fitness buddy. This Team member motivates you to continue to work out and stay in shape (or to start doing so). They might come with you to the gym, yoga and meditation classes, or on outdoor hikes.
As you create your Team using the roles above (or designing your own), be very clear about each person’s role. Try not to let those roles get mixed up, or ask anyone to take on more than what they’ve agreed to.
Professional Team Members
Professional Team members have professional experience or expertise in a certain field related to your health and wellness, the practical and judicial aspects of your separation, or both. These people provide you with information and practical help in settling your separation and functioning on a day to day basis. They become part of your Winning Team as soon as you ask them for assistance.
Your Professional Team members might include:
An experienced mediator
An experienced life coach
One or more financial experts
One or more health professionals (such as your general practitioner, other physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, physical therapists, etc.)
One or more child experts (such as social workers, education specialists, child psychologists, family coaches, etc.)
One or more helpers from other institutions such as your church, local charities, or other institutions.
Once you’ve assembled your Winning Team on paper and asked your Team members to participate, you may find it helpful to draw a picture. Start with your own name (or a picture of yourself) in a circle in the center of a blank page; then, add your Winning Team members with their assigned functions in a circle around you. Keep a copy of this diagram at home and at work. That way, if something comes up with regard to emotions, planning, focus, or other issues, you can quickly see who you need to call. Notice how having this diagram helps you feel more supported and prepared.
Choose a Star Action as a
Gift to Yourself Today!
The Star Actions are part of my Positive Separation Method and give you a positive boost in the direction of happiness. These are some fun Star Actions you can do around your Winning Team and to feel more supported in your separation. Learn more about Star Actions in this post.
“Happy Boost” List: Write down a list of people you really like and love (for any quality they possess). This list might include a former neighbor, an old aunt, your schoolteacher from ages ago―it doesn’t matter who they are, only that thinking of them makes you feel happy. (One caveat: no ex-lovers can make this list!) Keep this list in a secret spot. On low days, get the list out and call, Skype, or meet in person with someone from the list―even if you haven’t spoken to them in years!
Gratitude sign. Once you’ve set up your Winning Team, bake a big bunch of homemade cookies, and deliver or send them in a fancy little bag or tin to each of your Personal Team members. If you don’t bake, you can make small crafts, or simply send a hand-written note to express your gratitude.
Vouchers. After working 4-6 weeks with the members of your Personal Winning Team (even if you needed some of them only once) give them a handmade “voucher” for a home-cooked meal, an afternoon of help in the garden, a weekend of dog-sitting, or an afternoon of babysitting so they can get pampered without their kids. This is a great way to spend time and have fun with your Winning Team members, while at the same time expressing your gratitude for all that they have done to help you through your separation. (However, remember that this is a gift, not a private venting session with them. During this “voucher time,” try not to talk about your separation at all.)
Eveline Jurry is the creator of the Positive Separation Method™ and the author of three books, including ‘Happy Again! The Art of Positive Separation’. From her home base in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, she teaches people how to create a happy future during and after divorce or separation.