When you are going through trauma, energy, freedom, or even getting out of bed, are the last things on your mind. Let’s face it: if you had the energy to rise out of bed, you would. And freedom? This is not how you envisioned freedom. Right now, it might feel more like you are being oppressed by memories, anxiety, disappointment, depression, fear, financial burden, and maybe even where you will rest your head tomorrow.

Breakups break you down. They also crush any mindset that can help you recover.

And yet, there is hope. Even if you don’t feel certain things, if you DO certain things, these behaviors can change the energy around you, transform your mental state and create better circumstances.

Authentic Collaboration is a process used in the workplace that can also be engaged in our personal lives. It consists of five core behaviors that have nothing to do with talent, mood or marital state. By intentionally practicing these behaviors each day, you support your emotional strength, mental freedom and physical energy. Let’s dig in!

The Five Behaviors of Authentic Collaboration

1—Generosity is the ability to give without measuring or keeping track. Generosity starts with assuming positive intent before acting while giving freely without expectation of the same. There is a reason to help others when we are feeling down. It makes us feel better! Science backs this up. Generosity triggers the “Helper’s High” which releases mood boosting hormones and blocks cortisol, the stress inducing hormone. Maybe you found a deal on rotisserie chickens and can grab an extra for an elderly neighbor. Or make healthy cookies to give your ex when he or she comes to pick up mail. How about being generous with information about the kids or their events? Helping someone launches a virtuous circle of mutual happiness. Go forth and give.

2—Resourcefulness is the ability to think on your feet, pulling from your knowledge, skills and network. No matter where you are, what you might have lost or how behind you feel, you are not starting from scratch. Take an account of all the resources you have and use them — your health and home; your friends and business networks; your job and savings; family you can visit; the phone number to a handyman; access to search engines. And, most of all, you still have your ability to simply ask questions to acquire more resources. If you listed all you really had, you would be overwhelmed by the abundance of your resources.

3—Co-Creation is the ability to ask for ideas, build on ideas and test ideas before dismissing and detracting. In all you do — whether it’s a negotiation, new role, or new project, the act of exploring ideas, finding solutions, or even innovating — this usually requires the art of co-creation with at least one other person. In this instance, pausing and using open language is going to pay dividends. First, you don’t ever have to do something a certain way because that’s how it’s always been. Ask someone to help you find a new solution to a problem important to you both. Engage with words like: “How might we do this a new way?” “That’s intriguing. How might that work?” or “I don’t totally understand. Can you tell me more?” Be open and curious. Listen and repeat back to affirm you heard and understood. By giving room to explore and build on an idea, you create an energy between you and others that is usually positive because creation is about making something new and exciting.

4—Preference for Action means you will do, not just talk. In fact, “do” more than talk. Take a step, evaluate, pivot, take another step. Preference for action is a general mode of operating that impacts everything. Do you want to see yourself laugh, feel better about yourself, or get some shopping done? Get your coffee, make a list, and move on it. Order groceries online. Meet with a lawyer. If something is not a fit, ask for more recommendations. If you’re really struggling, start with one small thing each day to advance your spiritual, physical, intellectual and emotional growth. For example, say a prayer, take a walk, read a few pages of a book and send someone an encouraging text. If you do one action in each of these categories every day you will grow in confidence and strength.

5—Gratitude is the act of thanking, not just “feeling” grateful. Feelings don’t move the needle. If a neighbor took in your trash bin, thank them. If a friend called to check in, give your appreciation for their time and thoughtfulness. If someone has come to walk your dog all week because you couldn’t get out of bed, send them a digital gift card. Better yet, get out of bed and purchase a physical one and include a handwritten thank you.

Why does this work? The actual act of thanking makes it a more concrete experience and a positive memory. It also makes the receiver of your gratitude feel seen and appreciated, and this keeps the positive energy flowing. You know who else you should thank? Yes. Your “ex.” Find whatever is good and praiseworthy and thank them. Thank them for being gracious about a compromise, for discretion or for paying childcare — even if it’s mandated. Gratitude softens attitudes. Make a list of 100 things you appreciate about your former partner or relationship and give it to them. There are good things to remember. Be the one who reminds you both of this. If you are co-parenting kids or pets, this is a step toward starting a new relationship with them.

Intentional Growth Transforms

Trauma is hard. Just telling yourself to change your mindset doesn’t change it. However, by practicing Authentic Collaboration behaviors daily, you see yourself differently and the world will respond to you differently. Soon, rising up, being free and having energy will no longer be goals because living a full and collaborative life is just what you do.

Tricia Cerrone and Edward J. van Luinen are Co-CEO’s of Authentic Collaboration, Inc. They teach leaders and teams how to collaborate to compete with a new way to work that creates more effective and joy-filled lives at work and at home.

Instagram @authenticcollaboration.com
Phone: 213-814-9693

Tricia Cerrone
Tricia is a former Walt Disney Imagineering creative executive, professor, leadership coach and award-winning author of “The Black Swan Files.”

Edward J. van Luinen, Ed.D
Edward is founder of Global Talent Builders, board advisor and a former human resource leader at Fortune 500 companies.