How Chopped Got Me Through My Divorce

Use These Lessons Learned From Chopped to Feel Like A Champion In Your Divorce!

I’ll be honest. I didn’t start watching the TV show Chopped to learn anything. In fact, I only started watching it during my divorce. Everyone has their own “numbing” strategies for giving themselves an emotional break. There’s even a joke in the divorce support world about how you hit the bottle really hard during the first 6 weeks of a divorce, before you can pull yourself out of it. Not me. I hit the couch. Pretty hard. And for longer than 6 weeks.  And Chopped became my go-to show for turning off my mind for at least an hour. Eventually, though, I actually started watching it and realized that there are some pretty basic things that make some contestants more successful than others. And that these things were easy. Even I could do these in my divorce! And why not? Doesn’t divorce feel like a competition sometimes?

Think about it. Just like the Chopped contestants, we walk into a divorce without a clue about our options, the process or what’s going to be thrown at us. We have to do our best under pressure with the eyes of our world upon us. And ultimately, we are judged. And while we wouldn’t be winning money by being time-efficient, we would most certainly be saving money by being more aware of the clock and our attorney’s billable hours.  Unfortunately, while there are no real winners in a divorce, there is a way for you to come out on top and feel good about how you managed the process and yourself. It’s not a competition, but it is a challenge – one that you can use, if you want, to move forward and grow.

So, here are my top lessons learned from Chopped that helped me in my divorce. And maybe they’ll help you too!

Know What You Want

It seems like a no-brainer that Chopped contestants would be better off having a real concept for their dish before they start cooking. But most of them don’t. They start with one ingredient and then try to find a way to work in the other three as they go. I get it. They’re flustered by the limited time and working under intense pressure. Unfortunately, they’re the ones that end up getting surprised by the clock and throwing food on their plates at the last minute. What a mess! Well, it’s the same thing in a divorce. You need to know what you want, now and after the divorce, so that you can manage your time better and focus your resources on getting what you want. That detailed vision, goal or concept will give you positive momentum and drive you to make better decisions. Clarity will help you own your time, your life, so that you aren’t surprised in the end. Otherwise, your divorce could turn into a long, expensive mess.

Don’t Overthink

While you need to have a clear concept of your dish on Chopped, it doesn’t pay to overthink or forget what is realistic to accomplish. When Chopped contestants get too ambitious, they are forgetting that their end goal is to win. And winning requires transforming the basket ingredients and getting them all on the plate within the allotted time. So, they need to do what they can do within those parameters. Trying to do extra will likely end up working against them. Divorce is no different. There are parameters, precedents and guidelines that define the divorce process. So, you need to be realistic about what you want and never forget that your goal is to get divorced. If you insist on unrealistic goals however, you will be making your divorce longer and more expensive than it needs to be – and probably still won’t get what you want. In the end, trying to get extra will probably work against you.

Get Creative

In Chopped, there is always a way to make the mystery basket ingredients work – even the worst things that I never knew about before and hope never to come across, like durian. Ugh! Who knew anything like this existed? Anyway, contestants need to not only work with the 4 mystery basket ingredients, they need to transform them. It seems like a tall order, but the best contestants are the ones that can see past the actual ingredient, understand its flavor profile and use it in completely surprising ways. The lesson here is that everything is not always as it seems. In a divorce, you have to dig deeper and really understand the issues and all of your various options. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to get creative. Judges would rather see you find a creative solution that works for you and your family in an agreement than see you in court.

Season Your Food

If I had a dollar for every time a Chopped judge (yes, you Marc Murphy) critiqued a dish for lack of salt, I wouldn’t be rich, but I’d finally be debt-free. Even with what appears to be contrasting flavors, the most successful chefs are able to create a balance of salty, sweet, spicy and acidic in their dishes. They are able to find harmony even in the midst of chaos. Too often though, contestants forget the basics in the rush to get everything on the plate. You need to taste your food though! You need to make sure it’s seasoned properly!  There has to be balance! And just like in Chopped, you need to make sure that you find the harmony and balance in your life. There is a whole lot more in your life than just this divorce. While my time on the couch felt like a time-out, it really wasn’t. Life was still going on, still happening. I just wasn’t participating. And if you think of time as money, I wasted just as much money on that couch as I did on my attorney. You only get one life. It’s precious. Find balance. Make sure you are living it even during this challenging time. Live it. Taste it. Enjoy it.

Who knew Chopped had so many lessons for us? Use these and you will become a champion in your divorce … and your life.  And if you ever get stuck, shift your perspective by looking at your life through the Chopped lens. Think of your life as the perfect meal. You’re the chef.  You can create anything you want. You are in charge of choosing the ingredients you want to use and how you want to put them together. It’s your vision that makes the meal what you want it to be. And it’s your experiences that give you the skill to execute it in the way that you want. It’s all in your hands. There is unlimited possibility. Add some zest. Make it pretty. And if you don’t know what do with something, make it into a sauce!

Laura Miolla is a leadership and divorce coach empowering women to use personal and professional challenge as a springboard for positive change. Please contact Laura via moxielifeleadership.com or moxielifedivorce.comOr click HERE to schedule your confidential consultation!

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