Sample Sunday: Chapter 1: Oh Shit Day!

“Oh Shit” Day: The Day that Turned Your Lives Upside Down

This day could have been yesterday, or perhaps it was ten years ago. The day you became a single dad is, without question, one of the hardest days of your life. This is the day many men have hoped for, regardless whether they come from an abusive, hopeless, or simply dissatisfying situation, and yet dread at the same time. There’s a chance you will have freedom: the opportunity to turn your life around and make it the way you want it … then there’s the reality check: how is it possible to get everything done and retain your sanity? Pay the bills? Raise the children?
My daughter went from being a happy, normal two-year-old one day, to being a clingy, needy, demanding, temper-tantrum throwing Tasmanian Devil the next. She seemed to sense how unsettled I was feeling and almost instantly began reacting and acting out based upon my mental state. On top of my pending divorce, I now had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach regarding how my daughter was going to be affected – short and long-term – by this new situation and the dark clouds over head. Here’s the kicker: I didn’t want to burden anyone with my feelings and insecurities, so sadly I kept most of them to myself. I didn’t ask for help – I didn’t know how. I didn’t know what was going to happen next and I wasn’t sure how to navigate what was coming.
Did you live that day in your mind a thousand times prior to it actually happening? Before I separated from my ex-husband, I used to think a lot (daydream is probably a better word) about what it would be like to be single again, have my freedom and raise my daughter on my own.

Then I would start to really think it through, and my mind filled with fear and uncertainty. I questioned and doubted. I came close to pushing the eject button for about two years before my actual Oh Shit! Day.
Can I tell you a secret? I was scared to death! I’m in a service business and self-employed, so I didn’t have a regular paycheck. Would my income continue and could we not only survive but also thrive if I went out on my own? I was living in Hawaii because my ex was stationed there in the military. Where should I move to? How would I get there? What would I do in terms of support when I got there? Doubt and trepidation kept me stuck for a really long time. If this resonates with you, trust me when I say you are truly not alone.
Although everything has ended up better than great, there were many times I wasn’t sure the garden was growing roses!
Like I did, you may feel there is a seemingly endless list of things to do: dishes, laundry, shopping and other chores, in addition to work … oh yes, and there’s also providing emotional support to your child or children. I remember feeling overwhelmed at the daunting situation. Here’s what I have discovered: it’s never all done, there are always at least two dozen things on my list … laundry, organize the linen closet, hug my girl, buy school supplies, read email, return phone calls, get dog food, make food shopping list, drop off dry-cleaning, wash the car, finish manuscript … more laundry … sleep …
What has worked for me is the act of surrender. I surrendered to the situation as it was as I was working toward how I wanted it to be. I also began to open my mind to the possibilities. I began to expect the best, and not be surprised when I got it. Once I cut myself some slack, upgraded my attitude to official positive status and raised my expectations, I was able to start to enjoy the days, relax into the time I spent with my daughter and actually make great progress toward my goals.
Take a Moment to Acknowledge Yourself
You are to be commended for your courage! Whether you chose to be a single dad or being a single dad was chosen for you, it takes a tremendous amount of guts to put one foot in front of the other, all on your own. Be sure to acknowledge yourself for using these circumstances as an opportunity to choose you, your future and the future of your children. Congratulations on reaching this new phase of your life - the best is yet to come.
Something Better is Coming
In the last ten years, I’ve spoken to countless single moms and dads. When asked the question: “What would you say to a new single dad?” the answer time and time again was a resounding, “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Hang in there! It will get better. Someday you’ll look back and realize every challenge has resulted in a blessing.”
Sadly, no one said that to me until I was already feeling better. I needed to hear it before that moment, and I hope you’re hearing it just when you need it the most. I now say, “The light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train!”
The Successful Single Dad is a man who follows a set of principles, both to get his groove back, and then to keep it. Success is how he defines it, whatever success means to him. You’re a success just for picking up this book and being in the pursuit of your version of success. We’ll explore these principles throughout the book, including the step-by-step instructions to get them implemented in your life. Here are those principles:
The Successful Single Dad Principles
1. Discover the Real Truth
2. Envision Your Exciting Future
3. Assemble a Support Team & Ask for Help
4. Expect and Create Magic and Miracles
5. Prioritize Your Priorities
6. Say Hello to Inner Peace
7. Make a Plan & Set Goals for Your Amazing Future
8. Give Back
Discover the Real Truth
Your self-esteem is most likely, in large part anyway, based upon what you’ve been told about yourself. We’re all affected by what people say about us, even if we’ve chanted a million times, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It is time to excavate what’s really true about you, and use that truth to move you forward.
Envision Your Exciting Future
When you were eight years old, if you wanted a bicycle, you wanted to get a new one all tricked out and one for each of your best friends. It was so easy to use your imagination first before you bugged your parents (constantly) to get you what you wanted, until you got it! Now is the time to awaken those “imagination juices,” and get them flowing in order to become fully connected with the exciting life you’re going to bring into being. In order to be able to attract those new and exciting results, you must begin to radiate more positive energy in order to attract more positive outcomes. The higher your personal vibration, the more opportunities that are going to come your way.
Said another way, you’ve got to have “good vibes” that open you open to new, good stuff.
When I had a network marketing business years ago, my upline used to say, “Honorée, you’ve got to get excited and set yourself on fire! When you do, people will come from miles around to watch you burn!” Are you drawn to people who are passionate, excited, and on a mission? Of course you are! I know I am. I want to talk to them, get to know them, pick their brains, be around them, and help them achieve their goals. You’ve chosen you, now continue to do so by making your vision so real you can see it, taste it, feel it and believe it is on it’s way to you (right now!).
Assemble a Support Team & Ask for Help
Your Support Team consists of the people you can count on – really count on – no matter how low you get or how high you fly. They are your cheerleaders, they champion your causes, encouraging, pushing, hugging and tugging you to a better place and eventually your definition of success.
It is important to have this team in place and the sooner the better. Have someone to tell you how fantastic you are, on speed dial, ready for your call anytime 24/7. Just knowing they are there will make all the difference.
I am positive you need to be a strong member of your own support team. You will be alone sometimes and it will be easy in those moments to say things to yourself that are simply not helpful. You can rely on others, and you must also rely on yourself. We’ll talk a lot about how to do that most effectively.
There are probably many people in your life that want to help yet are not quite sure what to do. Perhaps you want two hours to take a nap, or you simply need to do a bit more work to make ends meet. By all means reach out to other dads and offer to trade play dates. I did exactly that when I moved to Nevada from Hawaii nine years ago. I didn’t have a team of babysitters or know where to find any, and my closest family members were two thousand miles away. I had to get creative in order to attend the networking meetings that would allow me to grow my business, get my hair cut, or take a hot bath.
Here’s some great news: people want to help you! You may find that some will offer to help, others won’t. I know from personal experience that there are a number of people just waiting to feel useful, helpful, and like they are making a difference. Now is your opportunity to allow them to give you that gift, a gift that you can pay forward a little later on.
Find a way to step through the fear, if that’s what is holding you back. If it’s too hard to call, send an email. Dan resonates with the fear. As a single dad, he knows how much is on his plate and it’s terribly difficult to want to burden another dad (or mom) with more to do. Every person feels like there’s an endless list of things to do, whether he’s single or not. Suck it up and ask anyway.
Expect and Create Magic and Miracles
Almost twenty years ago, I discovered the works of Eric Butterworth and Catherine Ponder, both teachers of spiritual laws. I learned from them – and the other works their work led me to – that while we live and operate by the natural laws on the physical plane, the truly powerful laws are mental and spiritual. An example of a physical law is the law of gravity. This law is in effect whether we know about it or not. Remember when you were watching your children learn how to walk? Karma is a well-known spiritual principle – what comes around goes around. Once you know it, you can use it for the greater good. Knowing the laws and how to navigate and use them will help you to effortlessly create bigger and better results quickly. When we tap into the laws, we are tapping into laws that are so powerful they can be used to multiply, neutralize, or even reverse natural law. When we use them, they create results that seem truly magical and miraculous. In this book, I’m going to whet your appetite for this kind of information.
Prioritize Your Priorities
Many single dads fall into the “Disneyland dad” trap, feeling that in addition to working all day, they must also keep their kids “happy,” keep a clean house, serve home-cooked meals, and tend to their children’s every need. We have to be realistic about what we will and won’t be able to accomplish in a day. In addition, we don’t need to feel as though we have to overcompensate just because we are parenting on our own or going through a separation or divorce.
It is important to lower your expectations just a bit (or a lot!) and give yourself a break. It is certainly fine to serve cold cereal for breakfast or a fast-food meal for dinner every now and then, as long as your child’s overall diet is healthy. There’s no need to have a spotless house, what’s important is the quality time you get to spend with your kids. Given the choice, I would much rather read The Magic Umbrella for the zillionth time than vacuum or dust (ok, the real truth is I would rather do almost anything than vacuum or dust, but you get the picture). Did your fondest childhood memories consist of living in an immaculate home or spending one-on-one time when your parents, where they focused just on you? If they didn’t spend quality time with you, wouldn’t it have felt better if they did?
In case it didn’t occur to you, you are meant to be very high up on your priority list. As I write this, I’m flying from Las Vegas to Dallas, and for the umpteenth time I heard, “In case the cabin loses pressure, put the mask on yourself before you put it on any other adults or small children.” That applies to your life right now – you must give to yourself what you need in order for you to be an effective anything – dad, friend, son, or employee.
Say Hello to Inner Peace
It is easy to feel massive amounts of guilt for the choices we have made, or may have been made for us. Whether we are single parents by chance or by choice, it is natural to feel there’s a lot wrong or lacking.
It’s a great idea to focus on what is wonderful and amazing about your family than to dwell on what’s missing or lacking. Many years ago, Oprah Winfrey suggested creating a gratitude journal. The exercise of writing down five things a day we’re grateful for keeps your conscious and subconscious mind focused in the right direction, the direction you want to go in. By staying focused on where you want to go, you’ll get there sooner. I have also found that by focusing on where I want to go, I’m able to let the daily bumps and challenges more easily roll off my back. I’m focused on what I want, and I don’t expect the journey to be perfect – so when there are challenges it is easier to “be the ant that moves the plant.”
Worrying is a lot of wasted energy that produces no solid, positive result. I know it is easy to do and to do often. You are better off utilizing the tools that are effective at bringing to fruition your goals and dreams. There are some “distracter activities” that are very effective and can keep your vibration high and the magical results consistently on their way to you. I’ll share them with you in an upcoming chapter.
Make a Plan & Set Goals for Your Amazing Future
You are probably finding it hard to get through all the things on your to-do list each day. It is important to set daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals for yourself so you have exciting things to look forward to. This can help keep your spirits up and keep you moving forward. These goals are part of the master plan you will be putting together to keep you on track.
It is important to note here no goal is too small. Some of you may be on the fast track to super stardom with a new invention that will change the face of humanity (or at least add 10 minutes to my sleep time). Others may be having a hard time getting out of bed and taking a shower. Your goals must be in alignment with a few key things: (1) where you are in your process, (2) how you’re feeling currently, and (3) where you want your life to go.
If your ambitions are longer-term, such as going back to school, losing weight, starting a new relationship, or moving to a better neighborhood, it is crucial to have more immediate, sanity-saving goals that involve such things as finding some much-needed personal time, going out one night a month, listening to music, writing in a journal, getting fresh air and exercise, or spending a few minutes a day in quiet reflection.
Single fathers must take care of themselves, so include self-care goals in your plan! Make sure you eat well, sleep well, exercise, keep in touch with friends, get a massage, read for pleasure or even seek professional help when you need it. This will help you be the best dad you can be. When you make yourself a priority, your children will imitate that now and as they grow older. Jason understands this all too well. Participating in a weekly basketball game was a gift he gave to himself. He realized his personal time was non-existent and decided to do something about it. Now he practices yoga, gets weekly massages, and he also meditates, watches football and baseball games and goes for long rides on his Harley as often as possible.
Your powerful, positive plan will get, and keep, you in the “flow state.” The best way to describe the flow is that you always have more than enough of everything you need: money, space, time, love and more. It always comes to you in advance of when you need it, sometimes just in the nick of time, other times long before you actually need it. For me, just when I decide I want a new client or speaking engagement, my phone is ringing or I get an email inquiry. I meet people all the time who say, “I’m so glad we’ve met. The timing couldn’t be more perfect.” Of course it is!
Give Back
You can perpetuate your flow state by activating the Law of Giving and Receiving … by giving. It is a universal truth that when you give, you will receive. When you’re focusing on the needs of others, many times it will make your needs seem small in comparison or even inconsequential. When I think I’m having a bad day I’ll see or hear from someone who makes my situation pale in comparison. As I reach out to lift them up, we both feel better. 

The Successful Single Dad is the only book for single dads written in a positive, can-do voice, from the coaching perspective, by an executive coach who was previously a single mom. This book provides that road map for creating the life you want, starting right now, today!

Honorée Corder has dedicated her life to being a positive force for good. She writes personal and professional growth and development books, and The Successful Single Mom book series. As an executive coach and corporate trainer, she turns service providers into rainmakers, average producers into rock-stars, and dreams into reality. For more information on how she can specifically help you or your organization, click here.

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