During the first few months of my separation, I was heartbroken, displaced, and lost. When I would meet up with friends and family, they would inevitably ask the daunting question: How are you? What a loaded question. In an instant, I would melt into a puddle of tears or go on a victim-spurred bitch fest. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but in some cases, I wish I had a shorter answer prepared and saved the real ramblings for my true confidants.
Whether you are elated or dreading your divorce, a practiced and well-crafted elevator pitch can come in handy when the ‘how are you’ question takes you by surprise.
We have all heard ‘I’m fine’ thousands of times, especially from other women. I want you to move beyond and think of a summary that shares where you are without unleashing a rant. The elevator pitch is merely a tool; I don’t want you to censor your feelings during every interaction. I finally found mine a few years after my divorce when I started dating. What the elevator pitch did for me was cut any drama associated with my past relationship and bring the focus back to the present. I hope it can do the same for you.
So, what makes a good elevator pitch?
First, it’s authentic. I don’t want you to be a robot, but we also want to avoid word vomit and over-explaining. Your story is important and valuable, however, it should be saved for people who are genuinely interested and ask more profound questions. You’ll intuitively know who to share your full story with. The grocery clerk is usually not one of them, and in most cases, neither is a first date.
To craft this pitch, create a 1-3 sentence explanation of how you are feeling at the moment. It will be short but honest. It might make people uncomfortable (I’m ok with that), but it won’t send them running and screaming, “who is this hot mess?”
Practice your pitch in the mirror a few times. If it makes you cringe or freeze up, try again. Seeing yourself practice can be tricky, but go with it.
The goal of the pitch is to have a tool in your back pocket to use with strangers, common acquaintances, and when you are not in the mood to open up. Be careful if you are overusing it to avoid the deep work; it’s only a tool in your toolbox, not the solution to move you forward.
Here is one I would have used at the beginning of my divorce:
How are you?
That’s an interesting question that I am working through right now. I have gone through some personal changes (mention divorce if you are comfortable) and figuring out my next steps. Thank you for asking. If they continue to ask questions, game on! If they don’t, you will know to move on. They either might not be in the mental space to help or be uncomfortable with the situation. It’s ok.
The elevator pitch evolves. In the beginning, it might be incredibly short because that is all you can do to hold it together – either from your excitement or pain. In the end, it could summarize your experience, and focus on your new life.
When my divorce proceedings wrapped up, my elevator pitch transformed from focusing on an end of a relationship to my own self-development. If friends wanted to revisit the details of my divorce, I wasn’t interested. I was ready to move on. Looking back, I think this helped me move forward and not stay stagnant in my life.
If you are unsure of your initial pitch, practice it on a trusted friend. Remember, your pitch can and will evolve, but arming yourself with one will help you feel more at ease and ready to embrace your new lease on life.