Article written by Nardine Collier
Family Lawyer Cairns & Alice Springs

I credit this blog to two amazing women I am lucky to know at the moment. Lucy Stokes who nags me to write blogs and then has the tedious task of posting them for me; and Laurie Pritchard who runs Small World Adventure Tours and who sits on the Cairns Business Women’s Club Board with me.

Laurie recently did a presentation about “the confidence con”, busting the myth that confidence comes from being good looking and /or wealthy. She says true confidence doesn’t comes from being beautiful or rich, but rather from doing something that’s hard. The achievement of something challenging (particularly when you doubt yourself) is the greatest confidence boost of all.

She told us of an African teaching called “Run towards the Roar”, a means by which African lions catch the antelope. The older lions with less stamina – and teeth! – waited on one side of the long grass. The younger, fitter lions waited on the opposite side. The older lions roared and the fearful antelopes ran away from the roar, but unknowingly, towards certain death where the younger lions waited. (Actually, it was probably the lionesses who came up with this strategy and did all the work!).

So, the elders said, “Run towards the Roar”! for there, is the greater chance of survival.

In other words, face your fears. If you can do this at every opportunity, that is what will build confidence and resilience.

Lucy’s message is “Eat the frog first”, which is a saying from a book written by Brian Tracy. OK, no-one wants to literally eat a frog, right? (unless we are French and the frog’s leg is cooked and smothered in garlic; or starving in the wilderness…but you get the picture). Lucy says, when faced with something you REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t want to do, is to just eat the frog. Do the unpleasant thing and get it out of the way. She uses this in the context of work. You know that task you have just been putting off? Get it out of the “too hard basket” and just do it. Eat that frog. Make it the first thing you do each day. (I have lots of frogs in my pond at times!).

How often, when finally we tackle an unpleasant job, do we find it actually wasn’t as horrible as we thought..?

So, what does this have to do with separation and Family Law?

Well, firstly, the message is to face your fear. Here are two scenarios you might relate to (or know someone who does).

#1 You are in a relationship and shouldn’t be.  You are scared of what is to come if you were to separate. Face the initial fear and talk to a family lawyer about your options.  We can tell you what is involved, how to prepare, what your options are. It just might not be as bad as you think.

#2. You have separated but it is all so overwhelming? Come and talk to us.  We can break it all down for you into manageable chunks, the things you need to do, step by step. We will give you frogs to eat  – sorry – but they might turn out to be not so daunting after all (think little green tree frogs, not cane toads!)

The one thing I can promise you is that once you’ve taken that first small step, which can just be to get family law advice, you will feel a sense of achievement. That first small step towards the lion’s roar is the hardest to take. But take it, because there might just lie the path to safety.

Nardine Collier is a Nationally Accredited mediator and has been mediating family law disputes for 20 years. She is a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, a Family Law Arbitrator, a panel mediator for various Australia wide organisations and for courts and tribunals, and regularly mediates at legal aid conferences in family law, in Cairns and the Northern Territory. She is also the Cairns representative of the Queensland Chapter of the Resolution Institute of Australia.