Divorce Coach Andrea Javor: “5 Things You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive During and After A Divorce” (Contributor: Authority Magazine)

bestself divorce Feb 24, 2021

Full article pasted below: Divorce Coach Andrea Javor: “5 Things You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive During and After A Divorce”

AN INTERVIEW WITH Ilyssa Panitz

FEBRUARY 24, 2021

The second time around can be the fairy tale romance you have been fantasizing about. If you are wondering how to make Mr. Tall, Smart and Handsome a reality let Andrea Javor show you the way. As a Divorce Coach she has designed programs through her company, “Happily Better After” to help women stop wallowing in their divorce and stack the proper building blocks to ward off the negative and keep in the positive.

Ilyssa Panitz: You have a strong background in marketing. What made you shift your focus and want to become a divorce coach?

Andrea Javor: My journey to becoming a divorce coach has been slowly building over the past two decades. Since my story has included divorce, on two occasions, I felt this strange conflict in even talking about it with people outside of my small circle. I did not talk about my divorces at cocktail parties. When an acquaintance at work asked me how my step kids were doing, I hid the fact that I was not sure if I would ever see the kids again once I divorced their dad. After more time went on and I properly healed, I realized that my mess is my message! One of my business mentors used to tell me to embrace the things, good, bad, and ugly, that make me uniquely qualified to do the job. What I realized is that I was walking around my life feeling both ashamed that I have had two divorces and at that same time so proud at the way I have handled both. I had this constant feeling that I was meant for more, destined to do something with my life beyond what I had been doing. I had to fully embrace both sides of my story, the shame, and the sense of pride — to get to the realization that I have a huge value to add to women who are going through divorce. I knew that working another 20-years in corporate marketing would be safe, secure, and predictable for me, but I also knew if I did not somehow spread my message of living happily “BETTER” after divorce, I would not be making a larger contribution to society, and to strong women.

Ilyssa Panitz: What did you learn about yourself during your own divorce that you teach other women making the transition?

Andrea Javor: The most important lesson I learned early on is that the process is going to feel like being on an emotional roller coaster. I felt everything from shame to doubt to relief to freedom to despair to hope. All of it. Divorce is overwhelming and creates so much uncertainty. I remember feeling schizophrenic some days, depressed other days, and elated at times too. All of those feelings are normal, and deeply feeling those feelings is what got me through it. The reality is that not all marriages last forever and if you must go through divorce, it is not something that has to completely frame the rest of your life … even if you must do it twice like me!

Ilyssa Panitz: Tell me about the company you created called, Happily Better After?

Andrea Javor: “Happily Better After” was founded with a mission to reduce the divorce rate for second marriages by empowering women to learn how to find someone who will bring out the very best in her the second time around. This enormous goal in reducing the divorce rate for second marriages is coming to fruition every day as I work 1:1 with women who are going through the process and starting to see a much better future on the other side of it. At “Happily Better After” I specialize in working with professional women who are stuck in their story of divorce, whether that is considering a divorce and worried about what it means, wading through the messy middle of the legal process, or post-decree building a life they love. I help these women write a new story highlighting their own self-worth and tapping into what makes them uniquely beautiful as a mother, a friend, a colleague, and eventually, a partner again in a wildly healthy and grounded relationship. My approach is compassionate and the work we do is intentional. I am intent on helping women make opportunistic decisions that will “future-proof” their happiness post-divorce.

Ilyssa Panitz: Can you please list and explain what the four divorce mindset shifts are?

Andrea Javor: I teach quite a bit about mindset as one of the most powerful tools in the divorce recovery process. Again, it is about living with intention, even during this time. “I will really feel it.” Feel your feelings, lovely lady. We are conditioned to put on a happy face, show up wholly for our children, our colleagues, our friends, and family, even when we are going through a divorce. It is just not realistic; you will need time and space to grieve. Instead of pushing feelings away, find healthy mechanisms to allow yourself to process all the emotions gently and lovingly. “I’m not privy to the master plan.” Of course, we know that The Universe/God/Higher Powers are masterful, omniscient, and sometimes feel maniacal. Surrender to the fact that you are not fully in control of what happens to you in your life. You are only in control of how you react to what happens to you — in those reactions we build resilience and lasting character. “I will take small steps and consider them big wins.” I cannot think of a time more appropriate than divorce to ensure we acknowledge small progress. When you are going through this time, it is critical to continue taking very small steps forward each day and periodically pat yourself on the back. You will be amazed at how quickly the small steps add up to big wins for you in the journey. “I will actively manifest positive energy.” I know, during divorce, you are more impaired than ever in seeing those silver linings, the glimmers of hope. Life feels desperate, you feel despondent. You are not alone. Start this mindset shift by simply repeating this mantra daily, “The universe is ready to bring me positive gifts.” Keep your heart open as you reflect upon what has manifested.

Ilyssa Panitz: What is the benefit of applying each one to their daily routine?

Andrea Javor: First, feeling your feelings will guarantee that you will move through your divorce. When I meet with new clients, I often am faced with a woman who is stuck and it is so easy to get stuck. She may be stuck in the feelings of being betrayed and aggressively wanting emotional justice from the man who put her in this situation. She may feel stuck to make healthy decisions, just wanting the divorce to be over and waving her right to what she deserves. Daily habits of processing feelings will get you unstuck.

Second, surrendering to the fact that we absolutely cannot control things is just practical in life. This will help you in any aspect. Focus on what you can control, your reactions and you will begin to realize that stuff just does not bother you the way it did before.

Third, acknowledging progress in our daily routines is something I find women especially do not do often enough. When I first work with a new client, I invite her to do a post-it challenge. Write down one positive step you took every day (yes, you can do this!) and stick them on a desk, a bathroom mirror, in a drawer for privacy if needed, wherever. When we review it is always amazing to see how much we realize we are doing well.

Finally, fourth, practicing a daily mantra of any kind can help us realize that life is more beautiful than we may realize. I am such a believer that we attract in the same energy we put out. Actively manifesting positive energy creates positive change in our lives. Try to live life with an open heart every single day.

Ilyssa Panitz: What are the three “C’s” of building connections during a divorce?

Andrea Javor: Building deliberate connections during a divorce will help you shape a healthy support system. Try the 3 C’s of Healthy Connections:

Community: Reflect upon who you invite into your larger social community. Reshape your social media to eliminate potential emotional triggers and instead invite supportive groups onto your device. Here is what I mean in practical terms:
One: Silence or unfollow/unfriend your ex’s friends, coworkers, family, etc.
Two: Do not stalk his page and check out what he is doing with his new girlfriend. This will NOT help you at all and in fact will keep you stuck.
Three: Instead find supportive groups join the Happily Better After Divorce private Facebook group and others like it. When you find yourself keying in his name, instead go to the group and share your struggle in a safe space.

Crew: We all know a small group of people who have a front-row seat to our lives. For me, this was a “boo-hoo crew” of three close girlfriends, my mom, and my therapist when I was going through my divorce process. You know who they are but how do you effectively use the Crew? Be deliberate and ask for help. I asked my friend to come stay with me for her Spring Break week. It is OK to ask, friends want to help you. Do not feel pressure to tell everyone in your life about the divorce, in fact avoid unnecessary details in general outside of this Crew.

Core: The third 3 of building Connections during divorce is staying connected to “YOU” at your Core. The upheaval you feel in your life may create doubt that you are even connected with yourself. In fact, many women tell me that they “lost themselves” in their marriage. I understand that a toxic marriage can completely overshadow even the most dynamic woman. Connecting to your Core will help you take actions that are in line with your character, actions that allow you to stay on that high road, knowing that as you look back on this one day you want to know you did the very best to nurture healing for you and your kids.

Ilyssa Panitz: Would you say the fourth “C” stands for career since many people have to head back to the office after a long absence?

Andrea Javor: Because I work with professional women mostly, the 4th “C” in the Connections exercise is ensuring you deliberately create Career connections. I offer customized tips depending on the type of business you are in and your role within the organization. Often you will want to seek some level of support during your divorce in the workplace, and other times it is best to remain completely separate. Ask yourself a few questions before determining whether or not your Career connections will help you get through your divorce process:

Does my boss or HR rep need to know anything so that I can ask for time off when needed?

Do I need a personal break from work to heal? Many professionals take a long vacation (2 weeks), and others take even a sabbatical to emotionally heal.

Is there someone at work who can help cover for me when needed?

Do I simply want someone to be aware who can smile at me in the hallways and support me in general?

In my experience strong women usually have other strong allies in the workplace who can be called upon to help when needed. Keep the details to a minimum while in the workplace in service of your long-term success at the company.

Ilyssa Panitz: I say that because you also help women re-focus on themselves professionally.

Andrea Javor: One of the most interesting aspects I have learned about divorce coaching is how often the work dovetails into career coaching. This evolution of my services has been incredibly fun and rewarding as I see my clients not only handing the divorce process with ease, but also becoming more confident at work. Divorce leads to change over time, and often that change is in the form of career moves. With my 20+ years professional experience, I am a whiz at everything from networking, resume building, hiring, operational excellence, and more. It is a pleasure to help women create beautiful futures at work and at home.

Ilyssa Panitz: How should someone address the time gap on their resume if asked by a potential employer?

Andrea Javor: Keep it short and explain what you learned during the time in between jobs. If the gap is longer than two years, put together a list of the three most important things you were able to accomplish in your life during that time. For example, did you take time off to write a novel? How did the creative writing experience and subsequent work in the publishing space build transferable skills you will use in the organization? There is always a way to communicate transferable skills to an employer. If you need help, work with your coach. Employers know they are hiring a holistic person, not just the person on paper. You are presenting your whole self during an interview. Channel your positive energy and own the experience you had in between.

Ilyssa Panitz: Where can a woman go to put together a great resume?

Andrea Javor: In the past, I have both done my resume myself and have worked with a professional resume writer. It is all about preference, your industry, and how much time you want to work on it yourself. One of my favorite DIY resources is Canva where you can easily work with resume templates. It is user-friendly and does not take graphic design experience whatsoever. If the thought of even trying to do this makes you cringe, then hire a professional. In terms of content, be sure to create headlines, measurable results, and details of what you have accomplished by working well with others. There is an art and a science to resume writing and I am confident with professional help you will get it done with excellence.

Ilyssa Panitz: What are the advantages of getting back in an office environment?

Andrea Javor: I think career choices are personal, especially after getting divorced. Someone may be eager to start working to gain more financial independence in which case I encourage that person to get into the workforce even if the job is more short term. You will move into someone different when you are ready. During and right after divorce is not the time to expect huge accomplishments. Take it slowly and work towards what you want. I worked with a woman who decided to leave her corporate job and start her own business after her divorce. There are pros and cons in any scenario. I think the biggest advantage women should be seeking, whether in an office environment or not, is to find tasks that light them up on the inside and allow their best attributes to shine, at least 80% of the time. I know well enough that I looked at 20% of my corporate tasks as annoying or mundane. If you are mostly enjoying the role, you are in good shape.

Ilyssa Panitz: Why does working give a woman a confidence booster?

Andrea Javor: Working in any capacity usually means being part of a team. You may be doing data entry remotely, but you are still reporting into someone who is counting on you. Others will start to rely on you to complete work and you will have a sense of accomplishment each day that you complete the tasks at hand. Being part of any team is a huge confidence booster!

Ilyssa Panitz: Does having a full-time job help her handle the divorce better?

Andrea Javor: I think this completely depends on the person. I advocate that you take the time you need to heal and work through the intense emotions that the divorce process will bring up for you. In my first divorce I poured myself into my job and absolutely used that passion and energy to distract me from the sadness and pain. This worked well some days and others I was not taking my own advice to feel my feelings. During my second divorce I took time off work as I went through it, for me and my step kids. From a practical standpoint, everyone has a unique financial reality, so my primary advice is to be sure you have a precise understanding of your finances. Your clear financial framework will help guide career decisions. If you need help, reach out to a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA).

Ilyssa Panitz: What tips do you have to help women who are stuck and cannot move forward from their divorce?

Andrea Javor: When you are feeling stuck, reach out for professionals to help you get through it. Divorce coaching is a new field, one that many women have not even heard about! When I talk to people about what I do they are amazed that this profession was not established sooner. What I think most women are looking for when they are stuck is validation. I know for me I need to believe I am seen, I am heard, and that what I say matters. Coaching can help you get really clear on where you are not feeling validated and then we will work to make decisions that will keep propelling you forward. After a while you will be excited to lead a life without the baggage of the past. Someone asked me recently about the difference between therapy and coaching. Therapy helps you look backwards and unpack the baggage you are carrying with you — from childhood, past relationships, etc. Coaching helps you pick up your baggage and move forward during and after divorce. As a coach I am constantly thinking about which thought patterns, beliefs, or items my clients need to take out of their bags and leave behind so that they have room to pack the things they will need for the next adventure. Unpacked, unstuck, moving on!

Ilyssa Panitz: Can you paint a picture of what their outlook may look like once they go in with the right frame of mind?

Andrea Javor: What I hear time and again is that my clients will tell me they felt broken when we first met, and they never would have believed they could have come so far after divorce. You will start to not only believe, but to see the beautiful gifts materializing in your life as you re-frame your mindset around divorce. You no longer see the process as something shameful, painful, and altogether horrible. You will learn that while painful, divorce is most likely going to be a time in your life you will look at as the most transformational in terms of personal growth. From here, ladies, you can take on anything the world is going to throw your way!

Ilyssa Panitz: What are 5 things someone needs to know to survive and thrive during and after a divorce?

Andrea Javor: One: Welcome divorce as a process and a journey rather than something you are ashamed of in your life. Your story is not finished, and this divorce process is one chapter in the beautiful book of your life. Invite a process of healing to be sure your heroine comes out on top at the end of this chapter.

Two: Mindset matters at work and at home while going through it. Whether you see the glass as half empty of half full is somewhat irrelevant if you fail to see the glass is refillable.

Three: Divorce is a time to go easy on yourself at work. Take the time you need, knowing that in the long term you will continue to show up and be present as the bad a** boss lady you are.

Four: Be deliberate about who you invite into your divorce recovery process. Make connections that will help you, while breaking ties with connections that will hold you back.

Five: Every day, write down one thing you feel good about. One thing. Put it on a post-it, in your journal, wherever. Review weekly and I promise you will start to see beautiful gifts, even amidst divorce.

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