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Podcast Episode 011: One Heart, Two Homes- Co-Parenting Tools and Tips to Help Your Kids Live a Successful Childhood with Tammy Bennett Daughtry
The main idea behind co-parenting is to create a stable environment as active participants in a child’s life despite an unsuccessful marriage. This is especially hard when you have to cooperate with someone you would rather forget. There are decisions to be made, differing opinions about child-rearing, interaction at hand-offs, and all the drama and emotional turmoil that come with it.
“The greatest thing we can do is forgive all the mistakes of the past, including the ones we made ourselves, and forgive ourselves for being divorced. Because what our kids need from us is the most stable, healthy, and thriving parent that they can model their life after.” -Tammy Daughtry
The main idea behind co-parenting is to create a stable environment as active participants in a child’s life despite an unsuccessful marriage. This is especially hard when you have to cooperate with someone you would rather forget. There are decisions to be made, differing opinions about child-rearing, interaction at hand offs, and all the drama and emotional turmoil that come with it. But it’s always good to keep in mind that even when a marriage ends, parents never stop being parents. As the Founder of Coparenting International, Tammy Daughtry shares wisdom, tips, and tools for better co-parenting. You can still give your children a family where they can feel safe, loved, and be happy. The key is to focus on what you can do yourself and trust that your co-parent loves your children as much as you do. Learn the importance of taking control over your happiness, choosing to forgive, and showing up as the best version of you to your children’s development. The weight of divorce is beyond any child can ever carry, but you can help lessen that burden by giving their one heart two homes that cherish them. When they grow up, they’ll remember how you were as a parent and as a co-parent.
04:06 Saving Your Children’s Hearts
07:13 How to Hold a Successful Co-Parent Meeting
13:25 Plan For Your Alone Time
18:56 Find Your Support Circle
21:29 Avoid of Competing Attachment
26:00 One Heart, Two Homes
30:35 Forgive and Choose to be Free
36:36 What Will Your Kids Remember?
06:49 “You're not going to be super happy to see that other parent who you have a hard history with, but making those hand offs as positive as possible can literally set the emotional journey to a positive for your kids, instead of feeling like they're growing up broken.” -Tammy Daughtry
11:41 “The goal [of co-parent meetings] is to compartmentalize information, keep it safe so you can go back to it, and to have less misfires.” -Tammy Daughtry
12:54 “What all kids need from us is to manage our own stress as parents.” -Andrea Javor
15:29 “When you are playing to your strengths and you utilize the time well when kids are away, they come home to a happy, stable parent.” -Tammy Daughtry
17:50 “I tried to make it easy because I didn't ever want [my daughter] to feel responsible to make me happy.” -Tammy Daughtry
22:05 “If a child knows a parent is sad that they're leaving, they will have a competing attachment. And that competing attachment has no win for them.” -Tammy Daughtry
24:53 “Your kids are going to be just as stable with the other parent if you can be just as stable as that other parent.” -Andrea Javor
27:21 “Coming and going between spaces and people will give a narrative that defines the rest of [the children’s] life. Growing up divided is different from growing up broken.” -Tammy Daughtry
27:57 “Stay focused on how much you love your kids. Don't try to solve the equations of the past.” -Tammy Daughtry
28:34 “We can choose to forgive the other party even if they don't acknowledge anything was wrong. Because the choice and forgiveness is putting yourself at ease and setting yourself free.”-Tammy Daughtry
28:52 “The greatest thing we can do is forgive all the mistakes of the past, including the ones we made ourselves, and forgive ourselves for being divorced. Because what our kids need from us is the most stable, healthy, and thriving parent that they can model their life after.” -Tammy Daughtry
34:17 “If you want to let go and you want to be free, you can be no matter what the other person does or doesn't ever do. You can choose to be free.” -Tammy Daughtry
38:21 “Letting it go and being free makes all the next things for your kids easier… You may see everything else differently, but you love these same kids.” -Tammy Daughtry
39:40 “Maybe we didn't get Plan A in the first round, but we can have an incredible opportunity to love again and to be loved well.” -Tammy Daughtry
Meet Our Guest:
As an adult child of divorce and stepmom, Tammy has a personal passion for children impacted by divorce and remarriage. She is the founder of Co-Parenting International, an organization launched in 2003 to help divorced/divided parents raise healthy kids. She is a HarperCollins author of “Co-parenting Works! Helping Your Children Thrive After Divorce” and has extensive media experience with radio having been a guest on over 100 radio, TV and national podcasts. When not presenting and/or training at professional seminars on the matter of co-parenting and its impact on children, Tammy can usually be found in Nashville, TN engaging with parents as she helps them navigate the challenging dynamics that divided and remarried homes can present. Personally, Tammy has experienced the pain and uncertainty of divorce and was a single mom for many years. She has been a co-parent raising a daughter “between two homes” since 2001. She remarried in 2009 and has happily raised a blended family that is her pride and joy! Now she is enjoying the blessing of four grandchildren with her husband, Jay, as they watch their family tree blossom.
Andrea Javor: In this episode, Tammy Bennett Daughtry and I talk all about co-parenting after a divorce and showing up for our kids in the right way. To me, Until there was me, until I really prioritized myself, I didn't know how to show up for others. I think this episode is a beautiful example and conversation around, how do we really show up at our best selves when it comes to parenting and co-parenting? Enjoy.
Welcome to the podcast, Tammy Bennett Daughtry. It is great to have you here today.
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: Oh, I'm thrilled to be here. Thanks, Andrea.
Andrea Javor: Wonderful. Well, I would love for everyone to know a little bit more about you and what you do.
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: Sure. Well, gosh, that could take 20 minutes. I'll tell you the three most important things. How's that?
Andrea Javor: Great.
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: I'm a mom to a daughter who is now 21 and engaged to get married. Yeah, that just happened this week, and she's got an amazing sweetheart. I've been co-parenting her since she was one. Her dad and I went through a divorce, which was a catalyst to what I do now around the country is to help people with complicated families. I'm just so proud of my daughter. Even in planning a proposal surprise with her fiance, there was a co-parent element in there in working with her dad. So it's a journey for life. And it's very, very important. So let's see? Second thing, I'm a blended family, mom and grandma. So I remarried nine years, no, backup. I remarried 2009, I need a little more coffee, and have a wonderful hubby named Jay, and he was a single dad for a journey too. So I know we don't have a ton of time to talk, but he and I both walked that single parent path for a long time. We blended our kids and now have four grandkids so I am Grammy Tammy, to those kiddos. And then the third fun fact is, what? Oh, here's a random one. If your listeners met me now, they would never believe this. But anyway, back in college, back before Janet Jackson had wardrobe problems, I actually won first place in Janet Jackson in the rhythm nation dancing thing in a suit, a lifting contest. So I used to be quite the dancer though. Oh, yeah. Anyway, still can do half those moves, though I'd never do it in public, my family would disown me.
Andrea Javor: That's fantastic. Well, we're gonna have to do a separate podcast someday to just talk all about your singing and dance, your lip synching and dancing career that never came to be. But I know, I know that you run an organization called Co-parenting International. And you're making a huge impact on a very important part of the blended family process, which is all about the kids. So like you said, there's a lot of complexity in the family structure today. Tell me, how do you help kids get through those issues?
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: Well, like I mentioned, 20 years ago, I was beginning the journey to become a single mom. I had been raised by divorced parents so I have a lot of experience in my tool belt. Some things to do, some things not to do. But I was really passionate about trying to raise a well adjusted healthy daughter even though her dad and I were getting divorced. I was on a journey to do two things. One, to divorce well and be the most stable, happy, fulfilled person possible. And then secondly, to figure out a journey that would work well, to encourage her, to have time with her dad, to encourage her to enjoy her dad's family. And for he and I to find a compartmentalised time and space to talk. Fast forward 20 years down the road. I can tell you a couple things I did a good job back then that has panned out very, very well. I do share these with the clients that I coach and work with.
One of the most important things, Andrea, if mom and dad are exchanging kids who cares where it's at, that's not so important as to how they do it. It's really, really hard on kids to come and go between two homes. And so anything mom and dad can do to be proactively kind thoughtful to mind, your body language, your tone of voice, and even your facial expression. When you're doing that handoff, having a happy handoff can literally save the emotional sanity of your kids. So the bottom line on that one, I know that when you're working with your ex and you're seeing them at the park, or the school, or every other weekend at the front door of your home, that's hard on adults. I get that. I watched that as a kid. I knew it was hard on my parents, but what we really tried to do is have a healthy mindset about having a happy handoff. So that [inaudible] would never have extra stress when she went back and forth between our two homes.
So the two most important things we did there, Andrea, were never talked about co-parent business at the handoff, like never, ever, ever. We didn't talk about child support. We didn't talk about calendar exchanging Friday for Tuesday, who had the cleats, who needed to buy the volleyball gear, we didn't talk about any of it. Instead, we had a co-parent meeting. And that honestly saved our daughter's heart. I know for myself, it actually really made my whole life work in a healthier way. So having a happy handoff, I would say to anybody listening who's been through a divorce, or maybe you've never married but you have a child or children that you co-parent with their other parent, thinking about it from the child's lens and helping that handoff be as happy and positive as possible. Even though inside, you're not going to be happy about it and you're not going to be super happy to see that other parent who you have an art history with. I get that. Making those handoffs as positive as possible can literally set the emotional journey to a positive for your kids, instead of feeling like they're growing up broken.
Andrea Javor: I'm so curious about this co-parenting meeting, how often did you do that? And what did that look like for you and your ex husband?
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: Well, we started out, again, she was one when we moved into two spaces, and it was final when she was two. And we could have talked about business that the handoff she wouldn't have remembered, but I never wanted us to get in that pattern so I suggested initially that we meet at a McDonald's. Honestly, kind of close to where we both live in a public setting. Because a lot of times, people will ask more appropriately in public. And it gave us a safe space so that if something wasn't going well, or one of us felt like I needed to take a break and let's try this next week, there was an easy way to get up and go. So thankfully, we were able to do that at McDonald's. We also did a lot of conference calls on the phone.
But again, it was planning ahead, maybe a 60 minute, 90 minute window, never when she was listening. Not when she was watching TV in the next room, we always did it at a time and space where she was not able to overhear it. And as far as frequency, I would say that every family is going to be a little different. I think when we first divided, we probably did that about once a month because we were first time parents. We were trying to figure out about potty training and weaning her off a bottle, the food and all that stuff that comes with a one to two year old. And then as she grew, I'd say by the time she was in school, we probably had a meeting every other month. And we used email for some of the exchange of information as well. And by the time she was in high school, honestly, maybe once a quarter. And by then, her dad remarried at five, I remarried at nine. So by that time, we were in junior high. It was actually four adults at McDonald's. And we had four day timers, and then we worked. Just a co-parent team trying to work together, to help her have the most successful childhood. So anyway, time and space is important. And putting a limit to the time, that's one of the things. I could talk for six hours, but we would always say, hey, let's set aside 60 to 90 minutes. We didn't get to, we'll schedule the next meeting as soon as we need to. And one other thing I'll just throw in quick, I didn't know about co-parent apps 20 years ago.
Andrea Javor: Oh, sure.
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: What they call the technology immigrant who's kind of drowning in the deep end, always trying to catch up. But there are a lot of wonderful apps, Andrea, that divided parents can utilize, and even traditional families can utilize. Especially when mom and dad live in two places, and then you have step parents or other adults that function in a step parent role. Just keeping a calendar straight, that's a lot of work. Some people do that on a Google spreadsheet and they share links with each other. But I found that these apps are just smart and effective. They have calendars, you can reimburse each other for shared expenses, you can upload dentists notes and doctor visits, even forms that both people need to sign. There is a portal that thinks for you. You can all have everything in one spot and keep it organized so that you have less misfire. So a free one that exists, I don't get a dollar from them, it's called appclose.com, A-P-P-C-L-O-S-E.C-O-M. And then there's another one again, I'm not getting any money from them, But it's called OurFamilyWizzard.
Andrea Javor: I love OurFamilyWizzard. I recommend them. I'm not an affiliate, I don't get any benefit from recommending them either. But I have personal experience with it as a stepmom. I have to say that I think it is I think it's wonderful for not only the calendar, but like you said, keeping track of expenses, keeping track of communication, it makes it so simple. And it's very affordable for anyone. It's not a huge expense on an annual basis.
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: Absolutely. And I know they give discounts, I think for military families, and then they're available in like a dozen or more languages. And the thing that I love about it, Andrea, there's a tone monitor. So if you're sending messages back and forth, it's smart software, and it will flag a message if it seems like you're being hostile, or what you're asking or saying could elicit a hostile response. I've always thought, Andrea, if they could take that now and make a mask out of it, wouldn't we all be better off?
Andrea Javor: Maybe they could make one, but anyway. I sometimes need that mask more days than others. Yeah.
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: I think they're great solutions. And again, the goal is to compartmentalize information, keep it safe so you can go back to it time and time again. But then to have less misfires where, because if you were a stepmom, I'm sure you experienced sometimes that even a handoff, you can think everybody, part of the parents can think it's Friday at 4:00, but maybe six months back, somebody asked for it to be Friday at 2:00. And people are in places that they're not planning to be and then up big conflict happen. And anything you can do to minimize conflict and help kids come and go at peace, then the children win. And again, it's all about helping them have a successful childhood even when it's hard to be.
Andrea Javor: Well, I'm so in awe of your advice to really compartmentalize the co-parenting conversations and have the happy handoff that's not filled with the logistical drama, and sometimes, emotional turmoil that can come with that. So I think you're really done a service to everyone who's listening here, that this is an opportunity for you to really think, what does a happy handoff look like for your family and for your kids. I love the idea of compartmentalizing and have that co-parenting meeting at a separate time. Because really, all kids need for us is to manage our own stress as parents. And that brings me to a question, you said that when you split up with your ex husband, when your daughter was one, it was final when she was two? I cannot imagine that it would have been very difficult for you to spend time away from her when she was so young. Can you talk about how did you coped with that as a young mother?
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: Well, it's interesting. It was helpful for me to identify the fact that I was a high extrovert. And the thing I know about high extroverts is that alone time is not our happy place. If we're given a few hours in several days, or even two weeks in the summer, which usually comes with co-parent families to be alone, it's really hard for us. Introverts may not struggle the way we do. Introverts enjoy their alone time, they thrive, they have an internal world that is deeply satisfied even if they're doing something at home and no other human is there. I knew my own personality type. I think that's part of how do you plan for that alone time. You want to lean into the strength of your personality, and also to be aware of that so that if you're a high extrovert like me, what I would always do is have a fun plan. And every year, it was a little different in those long chunks of time. But even on the short weekends or the shorter timeframes, I would always look at the calendar, try to plan ahead and do something meaningful with my time every day that my daughter was gone.
And there were two reasons I did that, Andrea. First and foremost, it was for my own, I guess you'd say emotional health. If I knew that I had a fun plan, that I could anticipate that. Back then, it was something maybe like, literally going to a dollar movie, when those did exist. I don't know many markets that have dollar movies anymore, but something affordable. I didn't have a ton of money the first couple years, but I also didn't want to find myself in places and spaces that would make me either have regret or come back to the time she comes home. And I'm exhausted and tired. Because maybe I have tried to numb out pain, which again, we all go through seasons of pain and we all handle them differently. And I think, COVID especially, we've all become more aware of our strengths and weaknesses during COVID. I would say, just thinking ahead to make the most of that time. Because when you are playing to your strengths and you utilize the time well when kids are away, they come home to a happy parent, they come home to a stable parent. And one of the most important things I always tried to do was do something meaningful on holidays. Because when there was maybe a Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter, the ones that rotate back and forth, most of my family was in another state so I didn't necessarily have the funds to travel every time she was away.
So sometimes, Andrea, I just had like an open house, and I would invite other single parents and their kids, I'd invite some of the older couples in my neighborhood who maybe didn't have children or family nearby. And literally, we would just have a big open house potluck. Because one thing about me is I'm not a good cook, like I can get us fed. But it's not going to be exciting. So I would always think, let me invite a dozen or more people over, bring a pot, a food item to share and a game to play, and we would have a lot of fun on those holidays. So the funny part, though, when she was seven, she called one time and it was really noisy at my house. She's like, Mom, what are you doing? What's going on? And I think it was Thanksgiving. And I said, Honey, I've got a house full of friends here. We're having a potluck and a game day. She's like, what? Who's there? She's an extra lady. She does not want to miss out. That FOMO thing, Fear Of Missing Out, it's real. She's like, well, what are you doing? So I named some of the people there and I said, we're having a good time. But I also know you're in Georgia, and you're having a great time with your dad and I listed names of people I knew she was with. She's like, well, okay. Well, I love you.
And she came home from that trip and she asked me, and I don't know, there's not a visual for this. So if you can imagine a seven year old kid who's about going on 13, with her hand on her hip, all kind of staunch saying to me when she comes home: "Mom, what else do you do when I'm gone?" And I said: "Honey, I said, I love you and I think about you every day." I said that: "When you're with your Daddy, I do things with my friends. I do book clubs, I go to movies, I go to the park and I go walking. I have a lot of fun when you're gone, but it's not because you're gone. It's because I'm having fun with my friends, just like you have fun with your friends." I tried to make it easy because I didn't ever want her to feel responsible to make me happy.
Andrea Javor: Wow.
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: That's a huge blind spot with single parents. And if I hadn't grown up in a deeply complicated family, I might not have known to do a good job of that. So I was always looking for ways to make sure I was stable. But she wasn't the only reason I was breathing. So over time, it's really been a blessing, first to me, but especially to her.
Andrea Javor: Especially to [inaudible] to know, I think what you just said is so beautiful, that she is not responsible for my happiness. It is up to you to adjust to the situation that you're in and make the most of your life. And what a role model you're being for your daughter, showing her that you're able to enjoy and have fun, and that you know that you can still reiterate to her, I think about you every moment of every day, I love you and I'm not having fun because you're gone, I'm having fun because this is what you do in life.
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: Oh, I'm sorry to interrupt. I was gonna say, and I want to be honest and say, there was certainly a lot of sadness some of those times, especially the two weeks in the summer if she was off doing something extraordinary, or getting to do something for the first time that I didn't get to take her to do for the first time. And her dad was never, we weren't trying to outdo each other by any means. But there were times she got to go somewhere or be part of something that I was sad. I was sad that I didn't get to witness her first time doing whatever that was. So in those times, Andrea, I tried to really lean in to what I call my three friends, three women who've worked closely with me for two decades now. Two of them have also been divorced, and one that's happily traditionally married. But I leaned into them, so I had safe people to process the hard stuff with, and that helped me be able to be that stable, happy version of myself. Because there were a lot of dark times, they weren't easy, and there were tears, there was sadness. But knowing that even in those moments, I had my three friends, I wasn't alone.
So I just want to make sure anybody listening doesn't feel like I'm candy coating the hard part. Because trust me, even now at age 21, I waved goodbye to her when she heads to college. Like part of our heart is taken out of our being as it drives away. That's the ongoing journey of launching your children. I'm never happy when she's gone. I have always tried to remember those four words, she's okay, I'm okay. She's okay, I'm okay. And to remind myself, she's with a good father that loves her. She has a wonderful family on that side of the family, and I want to be the best mean when she comes back. So sorry, I interrupted you there. But I just want to be honest with the listeners that, yes, there were lots of tears, lots of sadness. I walked it out with appropriate adults, so I wasn't leaning on her to solve that for me.
Andrea Javor: Well, I think it's beautiful that you have those three women who you can, your 3 friends. That's what you're supposed to do, you're giving a great example, What you don't want is your daughter to call you and you're sitting at home crying. You're sitting at home upset, maybe you are doing that. But putting that emotional pressure on her, I think that's too much. I think it's much healthier for her to know that mom's doing great, moms thriving, and I'm thriving, and she won't feel guilty about spending quality time with her dad.
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: Absolutely. And the other thing on that, let's see? When she was 17 ish, I guess we talked about some of this stuff more openly than we've ever talked about before. And I can remember her saying, truly saying to me: "Mom, I never felt like I had to pick a favorite." And she was thanking me for that. I think part of that, Andrea, goes back to the happy handoff. And to those moments where, if we did talk and it was over a long period of time she was with her dad, that she knew I was okay. Because what happens is a huge blind spot. What happens if a child knows a parent is sad that they're leaving, then they have what we call this competing attachment?. Inside their heart and soul, they love their mom, they love their dad. And that competing attachment, there's no win there for them. Because leaving one, if I feel like I'm leaving one and they're not okay, it makes it hard for me to enjoy being with the other. And so back and forth, kids do this thousands of times in their life. And when mom and dad don't realize the blind spots, I think sometimes accidentally, we can put what I call emotional boulders in their backpack.
And so reminding a parent or somebody listening, if you've got a friend going through this, just reminding them that that little things, like when you talk to your kids and they're at the other house, instead of saying, oh, I miss you so much and I can't wait for you to get home. Use a different phrase like, oh, I look forward to seeing you on, and then say the day. Because even a positive motive of, honey, I really miss you. Sometimes can give a child the impression that, oh, gosh, maybe that mom or that dad's not okay. And then that competing attachment arises. So finding little ways to affirm to your children that you're doing great when they're gone. Again, like we said, not co'z they're gone, but because we're thriving parents. And then try to affirm their relationship with that other household. And then they'll grow up, hopefully, and be able to say the same thing that, wow, I never had to pick favorites. I felt like I could love everybody. And that's a hard thing to do. It's not easy. It's always trying to be proactive ahead of our emotions, because our emotions can share a mess with us.
But anyway, I think that competing attachment internally is not fair for kids in traditional families. Because if mom and dad are in one house and they say something about, because parents are deployed, or maybe parents travel, they could certainly say that they miss the parent or that kind of thing. But it doesn't draw out the competing attachment problem when their mom and dad are in one place. It happens when mom and dad live in two spaces. Anyway, sorry, I'm rambling a little on that one.
Andrea Javor: You're not at all. Honestly, the things you're saying make so much sense. And I have talked to many clients who have recently separated or in the process of divorce who have said to me: "If I knew how hard it was going to be away from my own kids, I probably wouldn't have gotten through with it." And what I say to them is, take small steps, find ways to enjoy your life with just the weight, like the weight within the parameters of this co-parenting agreement. And try to remember that your kids are going to be just as stable with the other parent if you can be just as stable as that other parent. I think it's all about, and I love what you're talking about, Tammy, on so many levels because you're really advocating for two strong parents kind of coming together having the tough conversations, and also being strong, independent parents who are thriving individually.
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: Yeah. Well, four words that I started saying back when I was going through my divorce, my attorney was giving me some advice on something, things I should do and make it really hard. And other than that, I kept pushing back saying, no, I don't want to do that. No, I don't want to do that. She's like, well, why not? And one of them was connected to how far apart we live from each other because I didn't want our daughter growing up on a freeway. An hour apart from one another. Because in almost every city in the country, you can live in a suburb on one end of town and a suburb on the other end of town through traffic, you can be on the freeway for an hour or more.
Andrea Javor: Oh, yeah.
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: And my Attorney had, I was giving a suggestion to something that I wanted to be in the parenting plan. She's like, oh, that's a bad idea, wouldn't do that. And I said: "You know what? My daughter's gonna have one heart and live in two homes, and I want it to be as whole as possible." So that phrase, one heart, two homes is something I started saying 20 years ago when I was getting the journey because, again, I had grown up in that. I knew what it was like to have mom and dad in two cities. And I'm thankful for my childhood. I'm beyond grateful that I had two loving parents, they both stayed involved, their families were involved. I look back, and it wasn't the worst thing in the world to live in a city away from my dad. But it made it hard in different ways. The common experiences, the afternoon awards assembly or ballgame, those kinds of things dad missed out on because we lived an hour over an hour apart.
So I just kept coming back to that concept of One Heart, Two Homes, how do you keep the divide to a minimum? And so that's actually become the mantra of what I talked to mom and dad about is, every family's got unique dynamics. Trying to figure out, how do we keep our children's hearts as whole as possible? And that's different for every co-parent duo. But because them coming and going between spaces and people, it will give a narrative that defines the rest of their life. Growing up divided is different than growing up broken. Growing up apart from mom and dad is different than growing up where you feel alienated from your parents. There's so many layers to all of this. And that one heart, two homes, every parent that's listening, I know they love their kids, they don't like their co-parent necessarily, and they may have other feelings associated with that person. But I just try to remind mom and dad to stay focused on how much you love your kids. Don't try to solve the equations of the past.
And the other huge thing, Andrea, that was hard, but I wanted it more than anything. I wanted to forgive my daughter's dad for everything. And I wanted to forgive myself for being divorced, because I carried a lot of my own personal shame for having that as part of my description in my life. And so that first year for me was, it was critical to forgive and to move forward. And he could say this, I hope for me as well is that we can choose to forgive the other party even if they don't acknowledge anything was wrong. Because the choice and forgiveness is putting yourself at ease and setting yourself free. And I think sometimes, we live in this dark, emotional place for maybe the first two, three years post divorce for real reasons, for real pain points. But at the end of the day, especially when we have children, the greatest thing we can do is forgive all the mistakes of the past, including the ones we made ourselves, and forgive ourselves for being divorced. Because what our kids need from us is the most stable, healthy and thriving parent that they can model their life after. And hopefully, they end up with two of those even if they're apart. So forgiveness is hard, but choosing to stay toxic and angry only puts us in our own personal prison. I knew from my own childhood what that looked and felt like from some of the adults, so I really wanted it to be different.
Andrea Javor: I'm curious, forgiveness is very tricky business, just like you said, my own experience with my divorce was shame and guilt. Really, I felt the same way you did. I thought I really want to forgive my ex for the things he did and didn't do during the marriage, the betrayals and things like that. And as I started to really feel forgiveness, what I realized is that I did have to forgive myself more than anything. I had a lot of guilt there. I'd had Catholic guilt, I had family guilt, I had a lot of really, really dark emotions and the shame that I felt. Not that I did something wrong, but something must be wrong with me that I got into this marriage in the first place. But here's my question for you on that, Tammy, I work with a lot of women and men who are really struggling to start down the path of forgiveness, where do you suggest people start when they're struggling with that?
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: Oh, wow, you get to save a big one. Well, again, there's not a one size fits all answer. I think, for some people, writing and getting words out on paper. For some people, maybe those words are all the pain, all the anger, the specific things that were done that were painful to you as a person. Maybe it's like you said, your own shame, your own guilt. Putting words on paper sometimes can help. Some of my clients have written pages and pages. And I remember one lady said that she was writing so hard, the pen was like ripping the paper because she was so angry. And I get it. We have those emotions for a reason. But sometimes, writing those down, and then I've seen some people take them, don't do this in your home, but maybe outside to a campfire and light them on fire. The trash can or a barbecue pit and let them burn. For some people who are creative souls and like to paint or draw, sometimes, that's a great release of both pain and joy.
One of my clients, she is an artist as she said, sometimes when she's processing something, she'll go buy some big canvas or some big cardboard, because they're cheaper, and just put paint on the page, or crayons, or watercolor. And then there's music too. I think sometimes, music with all the technology today, we can just about finding any music at our fingertips any day. I think sometimes, putting on some instrumental music in the background, that can help us. Whether, again, writing, painting, maybe it's going for a walk and revisiting the places that represent the pain, going back to some of those, whether it's a place, or some people have public spaces, they almost can't drive by because they have so much pain there. And sometimes, going back to those and creating new memories in those old places is part of the journey towards forgiving. But I would say that most of the time, Andrea, and again, maybe introverts are different.
But I think most of the time, the process of trying to move through that is always most effective if we don't do it alone. Because in isolation, we're only going to see one view, we're only going to feel one way, and having a coach like yourself, coach like myself, or 3am friend who's been down the road a few years ahead of us, somebody that we can be just completely raw and honest with as we unpack and figure out, where do I need to forgive myself? Where do I forgive my former partner? And maybe I'm even mad at God. Because if anybody who's a spiritual person, I heard you mentioned the Catholic guilt, whatever faith base a person may have, we may assume that God is mad at us, and we may be quite honestly mad at that God. So sometimes, those spiritual journeys with the emotional, I think keeping it inside is never the answer. I know some people do yoga, some people travel to try to kind of express and explore.
In our area here in Tennessee, there's a farm where there are animals outside and you can go and spend time with therapeutic animals. So I think finding a safe space and at least one other healthy adult, if it's a best friend, or it's a professional, but finding one other person to help walk you through, and to really identify what you want. Because if you want to let go and you want to be free, you can be. Other person does or doesn't ever do, you can choose to be free. Then you thrive, and your children can have the best version of you and every other relationship, friendship, work relationship, etc. It doesn't have to have the toxic fingerings after you process, but I think it's deciding that that's what a person wants. And then how do I go after that?
Andrea Javor: I agree with you. I think forgiveness takes intentionality. I think you have to want to let it go and you have to want to work on it. When I was going through my divorce, my therapist said to me, she's like, I want you to go buy a candle, one of those tall, skinny candles. She's like, I don't care what's on it. So I bought a candle with Freddie Mercury on it, because I love Freddie Mercury, which is so random. And she said, I want you to light it every day, and I want you to say something, it was something along the lines of, God, please help me forgive him. It was something like that. So I would light the candle and she's like, I want you to do this every day. I said: "Well, for how long?" She goes, until it burns down and then buys another one. So because the real answer was the first week, probably two weeks. I would just curse at this thing. I would light it every day because I set an intention that I would do it. I pursue this thing and thank God, I just don't want to be doing this. I'm so mad. I'm in this situation, the whole thing. All those agar emotions. And after some time went by, before the candle burned all the way out, what I realized is that I was actually doing this for myself. I was doing this to let the love in and let God kind of shine a light on me and say, Andrea, the person that you're actually trying to forgive is yourself.
So there was a beautiful moment I had after lighting that candle several times where I went back and said to my therapist, I finally feel at peace. There's something that happened to me, I just feel at peace with the situation. And it didn't happen in a day, a week or even a month, that happened over time. I think the forgiveness thing is such an important aspect of everything that we're talking about, because I think it leads to better co-parenting relationships in general.
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: And I say to parents, do it for your kids, do it for your kids. Because all about the future life, they're gonna walk out with you. And 20 years from now, however old your kids are, they're gonna look back, and they're going to remember who stayed angry and who didn't. Who was fun during their parenting time, and who wasn't. They're going to remember hard handoffs where people were either loud and angry, or they ignored the other person and acted rude.
Andrea Javor: Sure, passive, aggressive, or whatever, yeah.
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: And 20 years from now, I tell every parent, you get to write your story, nobody else writes it. You get to fill in the color, the joy and the spark, and create the moments and memories with your kids. And yes, this is hard and this wasn't plan A, it certainly wasn't for me. Not B, C or D, it's probably down there around F or Z. But whatever it is, keep walking and do the next right thing so that the kids can look up to you. They can model their life after you, they can want to be like you even though some days, as a parent, we may wonder if we're doing anything right. We may think that we've ruined their lives, ruined our life and it's all going to go to crap. But the truth is, it won't. We can do this by having a healthy community and really thinking about the long view. Because in most families, I would say, the years that you were with the other party with your kids, is a tiny snap of time compared to all the years ahead that you get to enjoy your children. And letting it go and being free makes all the next things for your kids easier, because they're not living on emotional eggshells. And it makes it a lot easier on you to recognize, yes, they have another parent, and that's my co-parent. We both love the same children. We may see everything else differently, but we love these same kids.
So the more we can work alongside each other, like positive business partners who communicate, we don't hang out and have birthday parties, or take trips together, but we communicate, collaborate and try to keep that child or children whole, healthy and safe. Then hopefully one day, we can launch them from two healthy homes. And they go forward and go, yeah, my parents divorced, but that's okay because they both stayed in my life. And I had great parents. That's what the long views after. I'm so glad that I was able to do that hard work in the beginning. Because like you said, it gives our heart more space for love both to give and receive. Get rid of all the crazy stuff, then there's space for new people, and beautiful space for people that are also wanting to love, and you can create something new in the future. I believe there's open space for all of that. Maybe we didn't get the planning in the first round, but we can have an incredible opportunity to love again and to be loved well, so I hope that helps out. Hopefully, buddy.
Andrea Javor: I do as well. Well, I think that was beautifully said. Finally, my question for you is, where can the listeners find more information on the One heart, Two Homes program? I think it's called co-parenting kids of divorce to a positive future.
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: Sure. Well, our website is coparentinginternational.com, just C-O parentinginternational.com. And then we have a bunch of different resources and ways you can connect with us. We do coaching, we do live training, we have resources. But yeah, there's tons of free stuff there too. Some handouts, 10 things kids a divorce wish they could tell their parents, lots of things on there. And then we'll have, in fall 2021, we'll be launching a podcast. So ongoing conversations and just talking about these things, and hopefully being authentic and also being strategic.
Andrea Javor: Well, and on that note, I am very happy to have an authentic dialogue with you. And actually get some really practical strategic tips today on co-parenting. I know I'm taking a lot away that I will share it with my clients, and I just want to thank you again for being here and genuinely sharing so many helpful pieces of information for us.
Tammy Bennett Daughtry: Well, thank you so much, Andrea. Appreciate your time, and what an excellent job you're doing on your podcast. Three thumbs up.
Andrea Javor: Oh, thanks to me. Okay, until next time, thanks again.
Podcast Episode 010: Give Yourself a Second Chance at Life, Love, and Career with Lisa Kay
Being able to regain momentum in life after a divorce is a long, arduous journey to take. Sometimes, we may even drown in the illusion that we’re back on track. Lisa Kay has been trying to live her life like normal after the divorce until she got laid off from the job she kept for years.
“You're never too old for marriage or finding love again. It's never too late and you only have one life.” -Lisa Kay
Being able to regain momentum in life after a divorce is a long, arduous journey to take. Sometimes, we may even drown in the illusion that we’re back on track. Lisa Kay has been trying to live her life like normal after the divorce until she got laid off from the job she kept for years. With the support of her second husband, Lisa took this second chance at life to find her passion and joy- her very own photography business. Of course, this road was never easy. In this episode, Lisa shares the challenges she had to overcome in order to rebuild her confidence and strength to keep going and stand out. Like Lisa, you may also feel a cocktail of dark emotions as you try and navigate the sudden changes happening in your life. Tune in as Andrea and Lisa share how you can find the balance between your emotions, be your true self, and finally, make your dream life manifest. Life only creates “second chances”, to grab it is an individual’s decision.
02:50 Helping People Find Confidence
07:45 Finding The Right Person
10:53 Second Chances Exist
12:34 How to Manifest Your Dream Life
18:13 Feel Your Feelings
24:50 Be YOU
03:04 “No one's a model. No one is used to being in front of the camera all that much.” -Lisa Kay
08:52 “There is someone out there for everyone. And sometimes, you need round two or three to find it, and that's okay.” -Lisa Kay
11:57 “You're never too old for marriage or finding love again. It's never too late and you only have one life.” -Lisa Kay
18:13 “Sometimes, you have to feel the bad stuff too…. Have some time to feel your feelings. -Lisa Kay
19:57 “You don't have to give too much power to the negative thoughts, and you can give grace yourself in a real way.” -Andrea Javor
24:57 “The more you are yourself, the more people will be drawn to you. Be whoever you are because the only thing between you and your competition is you.” -Lisa Kay
27:58 “It takes a really talented person to bring to life a feeling and an attitude.” -Andrea Javor
Meet Our Guest:
Lisa Kay is a branding and headshot photographer who is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners show the world how amazing they are through dynamic photos.
Andrea Javor: Today on Until There Was Me, I talked to Lisa Kay, a photographer and an entrepreneur who shares her story about leaving Corporate America to pursue her dreams. She talks about how her husband has been incredibly supportive of her journey, how she had to go through a tough relationship and a divorce in order to feel really confident about where she was going in life. I hope you enjoyed this episode, and I hope it empowers you to really think about what you want to do with your life and go for it. Enjoy. Alright, welcome to the podcast, Lisa Kay. It is so nice to have you here today.
Lisa Kay: Thank you for having me. I'm super excited to be here, Andrea.
Andrea Javor: I'm so excited to get into talking about being an entrepreneur, I want to learn all about your business. So first of all, tell everyone a little bit about yourself.
Lisa Kay: So my name is Lisa Kay, my company name is Lisa Kay Creative Photography. And I do branding and headshot photography for entrepreneurs, professional women who really want to stand out online and on social media and need some really impactful professional photos to do so.
Andrea Javor: Well, I have to say, having just met you recently and during the photo shoot with you, I was so blown away at how confident I felt in myself. Not only with the photos that came out of it, but just in the process. You just made me feel unstoppable as we were doing the shoot. And I think it was amazing. How do you get people to feel comfortable taking pictures of themselves?
Lisa Kay: Well, first of all, I love, love, love to hear that. I absolutely love, I think with the whole branding industry, I've had to do branding shoots of myself too. And it's uncomfortable. No one's a model, no one is used to being in front of the camera all that much. So I think by nature, I'm just an easygoing person. I love talking to people. I love meeting new people. So I think my nature is kind of calming. And that helps. I've heard people tell me that, and that's just kind of me, I'm not a high pressure kind of person. And then just the experience of working with different people, the posing and everything, just getting people comfortable. And honestly, I tell every client that the first 10 minutes are really uncomfortable. And then we really just have fun with some music on. I remember, we did it for you to shoot, we put some music on and we just started like chatting and just having fun with it.
Andrea Javor: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Well, you're a natural in terms of making people comfortable. So how did you get into photography?
Lisa Kay: So it's interesting because there's a lot of photographers who on their website, they claim that at two years old, they picked up a camera and then they never put it down. And I was not that person. I've always been very, very creative. Art class was always my favorite subject. I dabbled in like jewelry design, painting, drawing and all of that. But my parents were very adamant that I was not going to be a starving artist. So I went to school for business and kind of landed in a marketing company for many, many years. Probably 10 years in. I got let go from my company. They were just making cutbacks and needed my salary. They were like a small startup and they needed my salary for a salesperson, and I totally understood, but that was the first time I found myself without a job since college. I was kind of freaking out. I was newly married to my second husband, and he was the one who really, really encouraged me. I started setting up interviews. I wasn't excited about him because I wasn't excited about what I was doing. And he said to me: "Why don't you use this as an opportunity to find what you really want to do, what you will be happy doing." And it blew my mind that he was going to support me kind of finding myself, and not just going to get another job where I can be guaranteed a salary, like I was gonna have to build a business.
Andrea Javor: And I remember you saying to me that you may not have started your business if it weren't for the encouragement of your current husband. I mean, I just think that's a really powerful statement, and a testament to what a great guy you have who's so supportive.
Lisa Kay: Yeah. I will say, when we met, I wish I would have known you when I was getting divorced because there's just, it's just such a hard time. It's just as hard time. Nothing against my first husband, he's a great person, and we ended amicably. We just were different people, and it was getting more and more apparent. And I think me and my first husband both came from families where you go to college, you just get a job at a corporation where you're gonna have a 401(k). And you're gonna have guaranteed health care and all of that. And my second husband, his family has owns their own company. For years, his grandfather started it, his father ran it. Now, he worked there for a time. They're a big family. They have the American dream. And I think that they instilled in him that that can happen. And honestly, I don't think I would have had the guts to do this without his support. It's crazy. It's crazy. And he doesn't like to take the credit. He's like, you did it. You did it. But if I didn't have him, that initial statement of, find what you want to do. I truly believe that.
Andrea Javor: I love this for so many reasons that I talk a lot about dating with my clients. Because the big question is, how do I avoid dating my next ex husband? I don't want to get back out there and start dating someone new who hasn't, and I end up in the same spot, right? So it's interesting to me. Was it something that you saw in your current husband that he was, really understood that you were, he was really supportive and kind of what you wanted to do? Like, was that kind of one of those green flags you fell for him in the beginning?
Lisa Kay: Yes, I will. So I totally agree with you. I think everyone kind of has a type. And you're kind of attracted and drawn to a certain type, but then you do if you do get divorced and you know it wasn't working, you're very scared of that. I totally look, then someone may be completely the opposite and might not be the right fit, either. But it's just someone with different qualities. But I will say, I noticed right away when we were dating, the way he would react to things was pleasantly surprisingly different from my first husband. And it was just more comforting. Like, it was just a different way to react. And I was so used to a certain way that I would be like, oh, you're not angry about that? And he's like, no, that's fine. Like, we'll just keep going. And just the compatibility was different. It just felt good. Unfortunately, I don't have any secret sauce on how to find that person because it's really hard. It's hard, but I think there is someone out there for everyone. And it's crazy. Sometimes, you need round two or three to find it, and that's okay.
Andrea Javor: Okay, I know, I think so too. I think it's okay. Generally speaking, we know divorce affects 50% of all adults in the country. And it's just something that I'm personally very passionate about putting conversations out there about this topic to sort of de-stigmatize some of the negativity we feel about divorce and really help women feel confident on the other side of it. And I agree with you. I think that there are definitely lots of opportunities to find a better match for yourself out there. And it does take time and it does take some intentionality around it. So my question for you is interesting. And I'm like you. I spent 20 years in Corporate America. I think, probably, I don't know what the statistics are, but my guess is 75% of the country is in like a W-2 kind of study. Salary with benefits kind of scenario for themselves. Like you, after 20 years, I was laid off from my job for good reason. The company was downsizing, there was a big reduction in force and I was part of that. I understood that. And like you, I also was the access buddy. I was dating someone at the time, and he had a really non-traditional path. He was actually in a band for a long time. He did a very different, he had a very different kind of path versus what I did. And I feel the same way. I felt like, oh, this person is either has asked me, well, what is it that you really want to do? Like kind of the sky's the limit if you could do anything you wanted. And I remember saying, well, I kind of want to help people get through divorce, but I don't really know what that means. And I don't know how to do that. So I think, ultimately, I'm wondering if you agree with me that I think in a real long term relationship, we also get second chances with our careers as we move through life.
Lisa Kay: Oh, I definitely agree. And what I love is with my new business, and I'm sure with yours too, you also get to meet people with that spirit. I network a lot, and I'm sure you do too. And you just meet people with this spirit kind of where I don't know if we could ever go back to Corporate America. You know what I mean? Because you just know that being your own boss, all the hard work you put into your company and all of that. Like you meet other people with that same entrepreneurial spirit, and it's just so encouraging. And I agree. There's second chances. And it's actually funny because my current husband now, he was working for the family company, but he wasn't really happy. He actually went back to school to be a teacher. I remember him, he was like in his mid 30's. And he's like, I'm too old to do something. And I was like, that's when I did it. I mean, you're never too old. I meet people all the time who totally change careers. It's never too late, just like marriage or finding love again. I'm a big believer in self help books and manifestation. And I think we bonded on that at your photoshoot. It's never too late, you have one life.
Andrea Javor: I would love to talk about manifestation with you. I think we share this mantra. So what are some of the things that you like? What are some actual things that you could teach people about manifestation? What do you do to manifest things in your life?
Lisa Kay: I just started to get really into it probably the past two, three years. And it's just kind of amazing that once you start that, you do realize like, because I've always been spiritual, but you're like, is this gonna work or not? But why not try it? And it really does. So first off, I try to stay away from negative people who are bringing you down. Even TV shows that are making you stressed out and you might not even know, that's number one. I really try to stay away from negative things. And number two, I make lists all the time of goals. Not only yearly goals, but maybe goals for the week, or all of that. And something about writing it down kind of makes it more concrete. And probably the chances of it happening, or at least getting closer to happening help. And another thing I've been doing, which is really easy but it makes a difference.
So before I go to bed, I tried to think of three positive things that happened that day. And I don't know why I feel like I sleep better. I even tried to get my husband into it. Sometimes, he doesn't want to do it. But I'm like, I do it in my head. And I don't know, it just makes me more grateful. And all of that kind of bleeds into being a happier person overall. I don't have as many negative thoughts, because everyone has those that just keep going in your brain. And I feel like they're less if I just keep my eye on the prize and stay positive. What about you?
Andrea Javor: That's really funny. Literally, my clients know that I am like such a psycho. I'm crazy about COVID. You'll see, if you could see around my office here, I have this thing in my way. I have this thing about the sunlight coming through the window. So there's a specific window in my house that I just think it's beautiful. There's beautiful trees outside of it, and I just like looking out. So I have like color coded post it. I'll write down the things I want to manifest in one color, and I'll write down the things I'm trying to shed in another color. My example right now, I have flow, but just the word flow which says that I'm trying to manifest more flow in my day to day life. Right now, lately, I've really been feeling like my brain is kind of going crazy from like one hour to the next. I'm doing too many different things in one day so I'm like, okay, I need to kind of get into flow. You maybe have like one day where you do [inaudible], one day where you just shoot. I'm trying to get a bit better at that so I'm trying to manifest flow. And in terms of shedding, I am trying to shed self doubt all the time.
All right, get rid of self doubt. I will write something, this is so silly. But I will stop staying up past 11:00 o'clock. Because during a given week, honestly, I will find myself, if I don't kind of turn off the electronics and kind of start getting into washing my face, brushing my teeth, getting settled by about 10:30, 10:45, I won't fall asleep until I do it. It'll just keep creeping up on me, and then it just affects me the whole day. I like to sleep from 11:00 to 7:00 if I can get a full eight hours. That's kind of my little routine right now. Anyway, putting the post this up in the window, there's something symbolic to me about the sunlight coming in, the air flowing in and out when the windows open. I feel like there's energy there. I do, actually. I really think I'm going to steal your idea about the three things that went well today, at the end of the day. Because I can imagine that that really does help you relax there. Go ahead.
Lisa Kay: I'm not gonna add that. I swear, I heard that on Gabby Bernstein. She just started a podcast, and I'm excited about it. So I follow her like, I'm sure I think she said that she does that so I'm gonna give her credit where credit's due. But I think we all pick up these good ideas and just kind of take the ones that fit with you. And I love the idea of the post this. I do a lot of that, though. I like that idea because I have some on my wall.
Andrea Javor: Some of the people I work with put them in a drawer somewhere because they don't want their kids to see, especially if you're going through divorce, if you're writing really personal things that you've got kids around, I get that. But yeah, there's something symbolic about the window. And you can even write it, just so that you understand. I love the manifestation and the idea that I think that so many women who are going through divorce, and women who are just trying to get on the other side of something traumatic or something challenging whether it's a career change, or a relationship change, it's sort of this need to channel positivity. So I love what you said about getting rid of the negative influences in your life. And I wonder if someone's struggling to do that, are there ways that you think we can be really intentional about that?
Lisa Kay: It's hard. Because sometimes, you have to feel the bad stuff too. Because I know there's a big thing going around which I've been hearing about, but it's true. There's like the toxic positivity where think positive, think positive, you're not allowed to think negative. Well, that also makes you feel bad . One should let themselves, maybe have some time and feel your feelings. But I've been always saying to myself a lot, like, I've been giving myself grace, like during quarantine and all of that, I was feeling kind of bad. I wasn't doing more and all of what we couldn't. So I was like, give yourself some grace. So I think just kind of being easier on myself to just, I don't know, I think it's so hard as women. We're so hard on ourselves. And I remember, like your clients, I grew up Catholic. I'm not very religious. But for some reason, my divorce brought all this Catholic guilt piled on me. Oh, my gosh, and I don't know why I just felt all of it. I'm sure, and you said the same, women are way harder on ourselves. I've just been trying to, I don't know, it's letting myself feel my feelings but also not letting the negative ones get bigger than they are. It's a hard balance.
Andrea Javor: I like that though. I really like that, but it's like the negative, you don't have to give too much power to the negative thoughts, and you can give grace to yourself in a real way. I think that's the power. I mean, that's a really powerful message in general. For me, the negativity is funny. I was just talking to someone the other day about how to surround yourself with the right people when you're going through divorce, and you mentioned this from an entrepreneurial standpoint. I don't think I could ever go back to Corporate America because it's like this feeling of being with other high vibe women who get it and kind of get the grip of business. I encourage people to find their crew of people who are going to get you through those hard times. And I think that that's just the best thing you can do.
Lisa Kay: Yeah, I agree. And you never know where you'll meet these people. It's kind of amazing that the internet has all these groups and things now, or you could seek out other divorcees in particular, other people just starting a business, I love that. And for me, it was kind of networking with these creative groups and all this stuff. I met people and they really understand. It's just a difference than your friends who maybe are married with two kids, and they just feel bad for you, but they don't really know what you're going through. Same like, I do, I have a lot of friends who are teachers, or are very happy at their corporate jobs. But I don't talk to them. I can't talk to them about my struggle so they don't they don't get it. But they have like photographer friends who we can get into nitty gritty.
Andrea Javor: Well, that's just that. Your friends who are married with kids, like my friends, they have different struggles that they need support with. And other parents who are married, and like me, going through divorce, I need my crew. I need a group of people who can tell me, you're not alone. And I know it because I'm also going to,, oh, yeah. And it is amazing. I've met so many people in the entrepreneurial space over the past two years just through, like I said, this is funny. I was not using Facebook hardly at all for my personal life, and then I got into a program. I'm not advocating Facebook for any reason other than just to play, connect with people. But I am amazed at how many people are willing to help you, especially when you're starting your business. Have you found that you've had a lot of good support for things as you started your business?
Lisa Kay: Oh, completely. In the photography arena, I had someone who doesn't live in Chicago, but someone was like, oh, that's a really competitive area. And there's so many photographers in Chicago, but I didn't find that. I started to meet photographers, and we all work together. We refer clients to each other, and it's been kind of the opposite. I think we all want us, and there's enough clients in this huge city or any city for that matter because everyone has a kind of different style. Everyone's a little bit different. Just like with coaching, everyone has their own kind of thing. I don't know, I completely agree with you. I'm glad that everyone keeps to themselves and doesn't want to, I mean, it is true, social media really helps with that. It really does because I've met people I would never run into.
Andrea Javor: I have to say, I have a coach in LA who helped me with things who I met through a Facebook group or a program I was taking. Like a paid program. I made it like it's kind of incredible. When you reframe, I love what you said about other photographers. It's not really a competition, it's collaboration, it's opportunities to work together. With support coaching, it's the same thing. There are probably thousands of coaches around the country or around the world for sure. And it's still a new field. My style is not going to be right for everybody. I think you do have to look at it as a collaboration opportunity with other coaches, other photographers, other people in business. But it is easy when you're first starting off in business to look at the competition and think, oh my gosh, there's so many people already very well established. Am I ever going to break through? To me, that is confidence in yourself. I know you know a lot about personal branding and being creative with that, do you think it's really just about authentically showing up as who you are every day? Or is there more to it?
Lisa Kay: So that in particular is what I think I always tell my clients, the more you are yourself, the more people will be drawn to you and be whoever you are. If you're that girl who wears heels every day and only wears designer stuff, be that person and you will find your people. If you're the girl in sweats and your hair and a messy bun, be that person. Because if you try to fake it on your website or even on social media, if you fake it in your business, because the only thing between you and your competition is you. And in businesses like ours, if you're faking it, then people meet you and you're a totally different person. I think that they're going to be confused and they're going to think that they wanted to work with the person they saw online. So I constantly tell my clients, your branding and your voice, with your copy, all the copy, make it sound like you. Don't make it sound like someone else wrote it, someone else is saying it. So you can make it, maybe you need a copywriter to make it sound the way you want it to sound, but just have your voice in there somehow.
Andrea Javor: Right. That's good advice. The only thing standing between you and your competition is you, or you and your client, or you and your competition with you. I love that. I think that's such an important message for everyone to really hear. It's like, you're the face of the brand. I love it. Show up in your messy bun and your sweatpants. And Lisa Kay will still make you look very beautiful and attractive to clients, for sure.
Lisa Kay: For sure.
Andrea Javor: Well, I was so impressed. Like I said, when we did our shoot, when I got there, I felt like I just had, you really created a space that represented what I was going for, which is, I'm a professional, I work with professional women, and I'm working in a very sort of emotionally driven space. And I want to convey who I am as a person, I'm approachable, and I want to help you, and I'm all about the future and focus forward. So I think you did such a great job making me feel comfortable in your environment there for the shoot.
Lisa Kay: Oh, that's so good to hear. All of my clients we had, I don't know if we talked a couple times, but we definitely talked like we got into what is your vibe? What's your brand? What are the looks he wants, and just kind of getting to know you as a person. But then also, what you are trying to help your clients do so that we can brainstorm ways for the photos to reflect that. And for people to be drawn, your people to be like, I see her, she looks so nice, I want to work with her. That's what I was trying to do.
Andrea Javor: I think it takes a really talented person to be able to really understand your client to the level that you do, and kind of bring to life a feeling and an attitude. Just as much as you know, you're trying to make the person look good in their outfit. You know what I mean?
Lisa Kay: Well, I also think that's kind of the fun of it, trying to work with a new client and you're like, okay, let's get down to what you're trying to accomplish. But who are you? And how can we make you stand out with your personality and the different things you bring to the table as opposed to someone else? Your brand is all encompassing, all of this is part of your brand and how you're going to stand out there.
Andrea Javor: I love that. I love it. Well, Lisa Kay, how do people learn more about you if they want to get in touch with you?
Lisa Kay: You can find me on social media . Obviously, I'm a photographer so Instagram is my baby. I'm on Instagram most of the time. My name on there is Lisakay_creative. And my website is lisakayphoto.com. And yeah, I would love for anyone to reach out if they are in need of any branding photography or headshots.
Andrea Javor: Wonderful, wonderful. Well, I hope a lot of women are going to come find you because you have such a wonderful experience to offer. And the finished product, I can't say enough about it. Thank you.
Lisa Kay: Thank you so much. And I can't thank you, this is my first, you popped my podcast, the first podcast I've ever been on. But Andrea, I loved you. The minute we talked, and then getting to know you through photoshoot, so thank you so much. This was fun.
Andrea Javor: Likewise. They say you're a natural, this is the first of many podcasts you'll be on. I'm sure. So thank you so much for talking a little bit more about your entrepreneurial journey, your divorce and everything in between. It's really been a pleasure. Thank you.
Lisa Kay: Thank you so much, Andrea.
Podcast Episode 009: Win the Battle Against Domestic Violence with Katherine Gaughan-Palombi
Reports of domestic violence and sexual assault have dramatically increased on a global scale since the pandemic. Hence, there is an urgent need to address this problem. In this episode, Katherine Palombi talks about the legal side of domestic violence, the less identified signs of abuse, common reasons why people choose to stay in abusive relationships, and what can be done to address it.
“You're not alone. There are resources out there to protect you. You have rights, and there are places that can help you.” Katherine Gaughan-Palombi
Reports of domestic violence and sexual assault have dramatically increased on a global scale since the pandemic. Hence, there is an urgent need to address this problem. In this episode, Katherine Palombi talks about the legal side of domestic violence, the less identified signs of abuse, common reasons why people choose to stay in abusive relationships, and what can be done to address it. As the Senior Attorney at Ascend Justice, Katherine also talks about the corporate system’s lack of employee support for the victims that adds to their ongoing ordeal. Domestic abuse may seem like a prison without a chance of escape. But remember, you have a right and there is help. Tune in and discover resources and support available to you and your children that you never knew existed!
02:37 Help For Domestic Violence Survivors
06:39 The Pandemic and the Increase of Violence and Assault
09:00 Signs of an Abusive Relationship
13:39 Comprehensive Legal Services
18:07 Working in a Parentage Cases
21:40 Why People Stay in Abusive Relationships
23:19 You Are Not Alone
- Apply for Ascend Justice Services
- call an intake specialist at (312) 971-5932 ext. 200
- National DV (Domestic Violence) hotline number: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
- Chicago DV (Domestic Violence) hotline number: 1.877.863.6338
13:00 “Domestic violence does affect every part of your life.” -Katherine Gaughan-Palombi
16:30 “If there's an abusive situation and the employee doesn't feel safe, they have the right to request reasonable accommodations.” Katherine Gaughan-Palombi
23:19 “You're not alone. There are resources out there to protect you. You have rights, and there are places that can help you.” Katherine Gaughan-Palombi
Meet Our Guest:
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi is the Senior Attorney in the Economic Justice Project at Ascend Justice. She represents survivors of domestic violence in employment, housing, and Crime Victims Compensation cases and provides brief services for consumer debt cases. As a solo practitioner with the Justice Entrepreneurs Project, Katherine represented survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence in several areas of law, including helping survivors seek orders of protection, protecting the constitutional rights of victims in criminal cases, representing clients in employment discrimination matters, and representing survivors of domestic violence in immigration cases. Katherine has experience teaching as an Adjunct Professor in UIC John Marshall Law School's Family Law and Domestic Violence Clinic, focusing on employment, housing, and Crime Victims Compensation as those areas relate to domestic violence. Katherine has prior experience as a Staff Attorney at the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation ("CAASE"), where she represented survivors of sexual assault and sex trafficking in a wide range of civil and criminal matters. She received her Juris Doctor from UIC John Marshall Law School.
Connect with Ascend Justice:
Andrea Javor: Today, on Until There Was Me, I speak with Katie Gaughan Palombi. Katie works for a Ascend Justice, a nonprofit legal organization that helps victims get out of domestic violence situations. I can't think of a more appropriate topic than talking about taking care of our personal safety as one of the most critical aspects of what we do. I hope you enjoy this conversation with Katie as much as I had had it. Enjoy.
Welcome to the podcast, everybody. Katie Gaughan Palombi, I am so happy to have you here today. Please tell everybody a little bit about yourself.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Thank you. I'm so glad to be here too. I am a senior Attorney at Ascend Justice. I work in the Economic Justice Project, representing survivors of domestic violence under different economic issues.
Andrea Javor: Incredible, incredible. You and I know each other through mutual friends, and I've really been looking forward to having you on the show today because I think that the issues of domestic violence, how they're related to families, and how women actually, a lot of women need help in this area. I just don't think there are enough conversations going on about it so I would like for us to help educate everybody out there listening to really help figure out how, what resources are available and kind of get your perspective on the best courses of action. So before we dive into all of that, how did you get started in this field?
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Well, I was always interested in working with survivors. Even before law school, I worked as a rape and sexual assault advocate. And then in law school, I worked for a domestic violence legal clinic and just had a really great experience. And so all of my work since graduating has been with survivors in one context or another.
Andrea Javor: Wow, that's incredible. And Ascend Justice, tell us more about that organization.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Yeah. So Ascend Justice, we are a nonprofit legal aid organization. We provide free legal representation to survivors of domestic violence and survivors of gender based violence. We have an order protection clinic at the domestic violence courthouse where we represent clients for free and seeking orders of protection. We also have our extended Services Office which provides legal help in immigration cases, family law, family defends cases with DCFS, and I provide the Economic Justice Project representation.
Andrea Javor: And with the Economic Justice piece, tell us what's a typical case that you may see come across your desk.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Sure. I represent clients under VESSA, it's the Victims Economic Security and Safety Act. It's a law that allows survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault to miss work in order to go to court, to meet with their attorney, to get therapy, to relocate, to engage in safety planning, seek medical help recover from the violence. There's a long list of reasons why someone would miss work under VESSA. I also helped clients request reasonable accommodations under VESSA that they need in terms of safety in the workplace. And then if the employer violates that, or doesn't provide the accommodations, or retaliates against the employee after asserting the rights under VESSA, I can represent them in a lawsuit at the Illinois Department of Labor. I also help clients with housing under the Illinois safe homes act. If a survivor of domestic violence or sexual assault needs to break their lease as a matter of safety, that's something that I can help them with. I can also help clients request a lock change for safety reasons under that same law. And then I also help clients file crime victims compensation applications with the attorney's general office. So if someone has experienced a violent crime, they can apply for reimbursement of certain types of out of pocket expenses that they incurred as a result of the crime. So help with those--
Andrea Javor: Wow. It's incredible. So Until I Met You recently, I didn't know about VESSA, so it's the Victims Economic Security and Safety Act.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Yes.
Andrea Javor: Is that correct? Maybe I just don't know this, I wasn't even aware of this. And I'm wondering if a lot of first time clients aren't aware of it either.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: You would be correct with that. Yes, a lot of clients aren't aware of it. A lot of employers aren't even aware of it. Unfortunately, there are some good employers who will actually notify the employers or gonna say something, and then I realize, but like it's not part of the law anyway. So yes, a lot of clients are not aware of it. And a lot of employers are not even aware of that as well.
Andrea Javor: It's amazing to me that, first and foremost, that we have to talk about this in our society that, and it's wonderful that we have people like you out there who are advocating for victims. Absolutely. I mean, my question to you about it is, have you seen an increase in the need to call upon VESSA as we've gone into COVID and as we're sort of coming out of the pandemic.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: I think that job security is so much more important now. Coming from COVID where so many people were unemployed, so many people were laid off, that if someone is fortunate enough to have a job, I think it's so important to keep that job. If someone unfortunately experiences domestic violence or sexual assault and needs to take time off work, they definitely shouldn't be penalised for needing to miss work. I think in terms of an increase in those types of cases, I don't really have any statistics on that. And, anecdotally, I'm not really even sure about that. But I would say that it's even more, in my opinion, it's even more important now than it was before just because of the economy that we're currently in.
Andrea Javor: Yeah, absolutely. It's actually interesting from just a general divorce standpoint. There are a few stats out there that would say anecdotally, that the attitude towards divorce is that some people are staying in very unhappy relationships because of financial instability, because of the pandemic, because they don't know, there may be collecting unemployment, or they're not sure what's going to happen with their job. I mean, I think that it is more relevant than ever that we're talking about what resources individuals have available if they are victim to some of these circumstances.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Yeah. I was just gonna say financial support is one of the top reasons why people stay in abusive relationships.
Andrea Javor: Is that right?
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Yeah. And it makes sense, and that's something why I think laws, like VESSA and the Crime Victims Compensation Act are so important for survivors, because it's really important to have job security, to have economic independence in order to leave these abusive situations and to be able to support yourself and your family.
Andrea Javor: Yeah. For anyone listening, or anyone who knows somebody who might be in a situation like this where they need intervention and need help, I mean, what are some of the signs that you may see that somebody is in a situation that would qualify as, like a domestic violence situation?
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: It's hard because different people experience different things. I'm sure you're familiar, and I'm sure listeners are familiar with the power and control wheel that kind of shows the cycles that abusers go through, commonly in abusive relationships. But apart from physical abuse, which is more outward and visible at some times in terms of economic abuse, that can look like just all different forms of controlling the bank account, controlling the mail that comes in, controlling all the documents in the house, things like that. Controlling spending, and also, there's a thing called coerced debt where an abusive person will pressure the survivor to take out loans in their name. Pressure them to use their social security number, things like that, that they don't necessarily want to do or agree to. So there's all sorts of different kinds of abuse that can come out in different ways.
Andrea Javor: Yeah, wow. I mean, these examples are really powerful. As somebody who works with women going through divorce, I can't say that these are completely out of the ordinary that I've heard from many women. Even things like, he's controlled. My ex husband has controlled the finances for 20 years, 30 years of our marriage. I have no idea what kind of debt we're even as a couple, let alone what financial security I'll have on the other side of it. And thinking about things like controlling the mail and bank accounts, I can imagine the level of powerlessness that the victim must feel at that moment. What are some of the typical catalysts that you see that move people into a place where they're finding help?
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Do you mean like one day after they come to us? Or like what sparks them to like--
Andrea Javor: I would say, well, I think my question is, in a typical case, or maybe you don't have a typical case. But as an example, when someone comes to you, or they typically triage in one specific problem, or is it a myriad of issues that you're kind of trying to help them with.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Gotcha. So when someone comes to us, they're usually being represented by multiple people in multiple cases. And there's even a lot of overlap within my own cases. So for instance, someone might come to us who has very recently left their abuser, or who has very recently experienced domestic violence who needs an emergency order of protection. And then they might mention that they live with the abuser, and they need to move out and break their lease. Or they live on their own, but they're afraid that the abusers are gonna come to their home and harm them so they request a lock change. And then with the ongoing order protection case, there's court dates, usually every three weeks. And if they need to miss work for that, that's something that I can help them with under VESSA.
Similarly, if someone is filing for divorce, or has a parentage case and needs to miss work for that, I can help them under VESSA. If they need to miss work to attend court, and even during COVID, I was helping people under VESSA who needed to take time off even though they're remote just to make sure that everything's covered. And there's no issue with their employer. And then there's people who need reasonable accommodations on top of that for safety. And then I've had clients who are also seeking immigration help so I've helped them under VESSA when they need to meet with their immigration attorney or to meet with USCIS. It's just so much intersection and so much overlap with all of that. I've had clients who I'm representing for housing, for employment, for crime victims compensation, for consumer debt. I've had cases, clients where I'm representing them in all of my practice areas just because there is so much overlap. And massive violence really does affect every part of your life. It just does. Yeah,
Andrea Javor: I'm sure. I'm sure. Well, I think the message that I'm hearing is even if you have a complex situation, and likely, if you're a victim of domestic violence, your situation is inherently complex. It will affect multiple aspects of facets of your life. And it sounds like there are resources such as justice who can help. It sounds like you're really creating holistic solutions regardless of what the issue is, which is incredibly admirable.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Thank you. Yeah, our model is to provide comprehensive legal services because there really is hardly anyone who's just seeking one type of legal services, like they end up needing so much more. So we always say, that makes a lot of sense, for sure. Absolutely.
Andrea Javor: One of the topics that I know that you and I have talked about offline is, I personally feel that there's not enough being done in the workplace to accommodate people who are going through divorce or big family issues. Some of the stats I have read are that on an annual basis, companies in the US lose an average of $9 billion of productivity because of people who are going through divorce, child custody issues, divorce proceedings in general in the US. I mean, in a typical case, I'm not talking about a fringe case, I'm talking about an average case that takes about a year for the legal process to finalize and costs each party $15,000 or $30,000 in total for the average case. So to me, it's just amazing that there aren't more employee first programs going on at major corporations helping people to have the time, and I guess, the emotional support to go through something like a long drawn out child custody battle.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Mm hmm.
Andrea Javor: Do you agree? Do you wish there were more companies who are doing proactively?
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Oh, definitely. Yeah, I definitely agree. Fortunately, Illinois has VESSA which not every state has a law like that, and it only applies to people who have experienced sexual violence, domestic violence or gender violence. So of course, there could be someone going through a divorce who wouldn't be protected by VESSA and wouldn't be entitled to the time off. But in a lot of cases, there is that overlap. So with my clients, if they're in the middle of getting a divorce or in the middle of a parentage case, I can represent them under VESSA that they can miss work for all the reasons that we talked about before. But they can miss work to attend court, they can miss work to meet with their attorney, they can miss work to meet with their advocate or to seek domestic violence services. So from any domestic violence organization to move, to seek therapy, it's really helpful. It's really helpful for clients, it also applies to the victims' children.
So I've had clients whose children needed to go to therapy. And some of those cases were a result of the divorce or a result of domestic violence. I was able to represent the client missing work under VESSA to bring their child to therapy as well, and the same thing with the reasonable accommodation. So if there's an abusive situation and the employee doesn't feel safe, they have the right to request reasonable accommodations. So I've represented clients who needed a schedule change so they could feel safer. In some of my cases, the two parties, like the abusive person and the survivor work together. And so it was just much more complicated in terms of keeping them away from each other. I would request different types of accommodations, like having one assigned to a certain floor, or a different shift, or different parking garage, things like that. I've had people transferred to other locations. So people who work at chain restaurants, or like bigger companies, or hotels, I've had all sorts of clients who were able to get transferred to another location so that they felt safer, or changed phone numbers, just really anything to help them feel safer at work.
Andrea Javor: Yeah, absolutely. Those examples make a lot of sense. I can't imagine what that must be like to have to go into the same workplace with your abuser. So this is why the work that you're doing at Ascend Justice is so critical. You mentioned children and that's a specific area, especially as I work with women going through divorce, it comes up every day. And this is something that I feel like, with children who are in domestic violence situations, what's the light at the end of the tunnel? Are you able to see through and see children getting out of those situations and thriving after because you've been able to break apart the abuser/victim?
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: I'll say, I don't do divorce cases myself, and I don't do parentage cases. So I'm not that close to people in those situations. But I will say, our clients are always relieved. I will say that at the end of the divorce at the end of a parentage case, I think it's just a huge weight off of their shoulders. And obviously, working in the best interest of the child, I think our attorneys do a great job in all the parentage cases and divorce cases. I think there's a lot to be said for just having a fresh start and having the resources available. There's so many community resources, there are advocates, there's free counseling, there's so many places that people can go to for help throughout the process, and afterwards as well.
Andrea Javor: I'd love to get more detail on some of those resources. The first part to me is like, if you're somebody who's listening and you're in a situation that you want to get out because you feel like you're a victim of abuse, what's the first step? What's the best first step for people to take?
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: The best first step would be to contact the domestic violence hotline.
Andrea Javor: And what is that number?
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: I will get it.
Andrea Javor: Okay, yeah. We'll link it in the show notes, for sure. We can link it in the show notes.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: The Domestic Violence Hotline for Chicago is 877-863-6338.
Andrea Javor: That's great. And there's different phone numbers around the country. Is that correct?
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Correct.
Andrea Javor: Yeah. So I would say if you're listening, no matter where you are, just type it into Google, Domestic Violence Hotline. That's a great first step to take. If you feel like you're a victim of abuse, given that first step, I know you mentioned that there are many community resources available including, well, obviously, what you guys do as a nonprofit legal firm. What about after? You said that there's free therapy and things like that, what can people expect? What kind of support can they expect?
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Yes. The hotline that I mentioned for Chicago is a great place to start because they can link you to different agencies in Chicago and different resources. But there are so many agencies in Chicago that provide housing, that provide counseling, that provide assistance with applying for public benefits, just any sort of assistance that someone might need.
Andrea Javor: That's great to know. That's really good to know. Well, I think the message here is you're not alone. If you're suffering in a domestic violence situation, you are not alone. And there are people that can help you get out of that situation and help you figure out a life on the other side of that.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Definitely. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, that's great.
Andrea Javor: We talked about a lot so I'm just thinking like, what other train of conversations may not go into? We didn't talk about immigration that much. Do you want to talk about that?
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Oh, I can mention it. I'm not an immigration attorney. They just kind of say like, it's up to you--
Andrea Javor: No, no. We talked about economic justice. We talked a lot about that, it's interesting. You mentioned earlier about that site, financial reasons are one of the primary reasons that people stay in abusive relationships. What other reasons do people say?
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: I feel like I don't want to look at statistics because, I can say anecdotally, but I did have a resource about those. I mean, just in general, I think that if there's kids involved, I think that a lot of times, people stay with the abuser just to keep the family together. A lot of times, it's the financial support of the abusive person, especially if there's kids. I've had clients who had children with medical issues, and they were covered under the abuse of parent's insurance. So that was a key part of all of it. There's cultural issues, immigration status is also a concern for a lot of people especially if they're undocumented and their partner is not. Oftentimes, there's threats that go along with those untruthful threats that they'll lose their documentation. But there are actually immigration remedies for those types of situations. So there are so many reasons why people stay in abusive relationships. It really comes down to case by case, family by family.
Andrea Javor: Sure, sure. I think it's understandable that you want your family to work out, you want the relationship to work out, and there's probably really good intentions there. You might not even be fully aware that it is a detrimental situation. Maybe you are, but I think everybody's probably a little bit different to your point. What messages do you have for people who are currently in a domestic violence situation?
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Guess I would just say that you're not alone. There are resources out there to protect you. You have rights, and there are places that can help you.
Andrea Javor: That's beautiful. That's really beautiful. It's true. I know it is, it's true because this is the thing too. I think with divorce in general, even though we know the statistics that 50% of marriages end in divorce for whatever reason, as I went through it, I'm like, I'm the only person in the world who has this terrible situation. You feel so alone. You feel so alone in it. So it's really helpful for you to remind people that no matter what you're going through in your situation at home, that you're not alone, that there are resources and people who want to help you. What a powerful statement you just made, you have rights. That message I think is really important, especially because I think being in an abusive relationship can kind of feel like you don't have any rights at that moment. So I love that message that you're sending.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Thank you. I had a call the other day with a client who at the time was representing her under VESSA housing, she was getting an order of protection and she was in the middle of a divorce so she had all these things going on. And she just kind of had a breakdown moment, and just said that she'd never thought that something like this could affect so many areas of her life. And I just said, I just agreed with her and said: "It's true, it does. Really, it does affect every part of your life. That's why we have the services that we do to try to work together to do something for each of those different areas.
Andrea Javor: Comprehensive legal services.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Yep.
Andrea Javor: So how can the listeners find out more information about the firm and about you?
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: So our website is www.ascendjustice.org. I don't know if you would want to share. I could share our intake, or I don't know if you do like notes or whatever, like, if you want
Andrea Javor: For sure.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: So I can also just send you, you can apply online. We have our intake online, and we also have our phone number.
Andrea Javor: Great. So ascendjustice.org is the website to visit. And then it sounds like there's also a forum on the website that clients could fill out, does that then lead to a consultation with one of the attorneys?
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Yes. And you can also call. Our phone numbers, 312-971-5932, and extension 200 is to talk to an intake specialist.
Andrea Javor: That's great. That's great. So for anyone in the Chicago area, that's a really wonderful resource to start with. Again, just as a reminder, the Domestic Violence Hotline is available to you as a first step if you are in an abusive situation in your home. Katie, it has been wonderful to talk to you today. Thank you so much for being on the show.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: Thank you so much for having me.
Andrea Javor: Wonderful. We'll talk to you soon.
Katherine Gaughan-Palombi: All right, thank you.
Podcast Episode 008: Mediation- a Compelling Option Through a Divorce Process with Ellen Feldman
Finding better outcomes through the divorce process is what every person involved might ask for. Undergoing divorce will greatly impact everyone involved financially and emotionally. In such cases, mediation becomes an ideal option to minimize the impact of divorce, resolve disputes between parties, and help the judicial system in general.
“Mediation is not for everyone. But most people, as long as they can advocate for themselves, can see huge potential upside in mediating with their soon to be ex-spouse.” - Ellen Feldman
Finding better outcomes through the divorce process is what every person involved might ask for. Undergoing divorce will greatly impact everyone involved financially and emotionally. In such cases, mediation becomes an ideal option to minimize the impact of divorce, resolve disputes between parties, and help the judicial system in general. In this episode, Andrea and Ellen Feldman dive deep into the process of mediation. Find out more about this method and how it can give a future-forward resolution to every couple after a divorce. Tune in and learn how mediation can benefit you and your family.
04:00 Mediation Benefit 1: Improve Communication
08:45 Mediation To Be Forward Focused
12:39 Mediation To Be An Interesting And Compelling Option
22:44 Mediation Benefit 2: Confidentiality
27:13 Mediation Benefit 3: Shorter Duration, More Swift Resolution
28:28 Work Out Your Own Issues
35:27 Small Agreements Lead To Bigger Agreements
36:52 Mediation Versus Collaboration
06:30 “Learn how to talk to your spouse so that you can go forward and improve your communication. There are advantages to mediation, and improved communication is definitely one of them.” - Ellen Feldman
06:53 “Mediation is like a class on communication. You're teaching people how to communicate with one another.” - Andrea Javor
09:07 “No one cares why you're getting divorced. Mediation is supposed to be forward-focused.” - Ellen Feldman
12:50 “You have to own the decisions as a divorced couple.” - Andrea Javor
26:13 “Mediation allows a lot of creativity that a judge is not going to necessarily listen to.” - Ellen Feldman
27:57 “Getting through the process is the stressful part whatever method you choose. You get to just live your life.” - Ellen Feldman
29:24 “The emotions are for the coach or the therapist… You still may need therapy to work out your own issues, but you can't control what happens in his house or her house.” - Ellen Feldman
30:41 “One of the most painful aspects of divorce is the time away from your kids… It is devastating and something to grieve.” - Andrea Javor
31:57 “Find something that's yours. It's going to help you see that you have your own life that's separate from your children.” - Ellen Feldman
33:09 “Your kids need to figure out how to be with both spouses… They need to be able to let go of the sadness that they feel about missing you.” - Ellen Feldman
33:57 “You're going to have the support and the opportunity to work through a lot of these issues if you do decide to go the mediation route.” - Andrea Javor
36:13 “When you feel like you can make agreements with your partner, it will give you the adrenaline and the enthusiasm to go forward and figure out how to get through the process.” - Ellen Feldman
36:35 “Small steps are huge. Small agreements lead to bigger agreements. Take the next logical small step forward, and you're going to keep getting there.” - Andrea Javor
37:02 “There are multiple processes available to people because everyone's different, and each situation is unique.” - Ellen Feldman
37:25 “Mediation is a very light version of going into a pretty detailed collaborative process.” - Ellen Feldman
40:25 “Mediation is not for everyone. But most people, as long as they can advocate for themselves, can see huge potential upside in mediating with their soon to be ex-spouse.” - Ellen Feldman
Meet Our Guest:
Ellen Barron Feldman graduated from Smith College in 1978, majoring in government. She received her law degree from Indiana University School of Law in 1981. For 15 years, she practiced commercial litigation in Chicago with two small and one large firms. In addition to trying cases, arguing motions, and making other appearances before Illinois State and Federal courts, she volunteered in the schools and her community. She served on executive boards and a School Advisory Council at several Wilmette schools, participating in decision-making with administrators, teachers, and school board members.
Ellen started volunteering in 2006 at The Lilac Tree in Evanston, a nonprofit organization assisting women and men through the process of divorce. She completed Family and Divorce Mediation Training through DePaul University Center for Conflict Resolution in May 2005 and Advanced Family Mediation in June 2005. She has been appointed to the 19th Judicial Circuit Family Mediation Program list of court-approved mediators for Lake County, Illinois, and frequently volunteers as a mediator in Lake County. She is a member of the Chicago and Lake County Bar Associations and the Association of Women Attorneys of Lake County.
- Website - CEL and Associates
- Website - yourdivorce.org
- Facebook - CEL and Associates
- LinkedIn CEL and Associates
- Twitter.com - CEL and Associates
Andrea Javor: Ellen Feldman is a divorce mediator in the Chicago area and a good friend of mine.
Today, on the Until There Was Me Podcast, Ellen and I dive deep into the process of mediation. It's a specific conversation around the divorce process. And it's an opportunity to look at the process of divorce through a different lens, through a lens of really putting yourself and your best interests at heart as you go through the process. I think that all of us who have been through divorce probably look back and say, I really wish it didn't take so much time. I wish that I didn't spend so much money. And I wish I would have focused on the right things. In this conversation, I hope that you take away as much as I took away in terms of really doing what's best for you and your family. And making sure you take care of yourself emotionally through the process of divorce. Enjoy. Ellen Feldman, welcome to the podcast. I am so happy to have you here. Ellen and I know each other through the Chicago Divorce Professional Community. I very much admire Ellen's advice that she gives people, and I wanted to have her on the podcast to talk all about mediation.
So Ellen, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Ellen Feldman: I'm a lawyer, which gives me credibility as a mediator. Lawyers and mental health professionals are the best mediators in terms of credibility to potential divorcing couples. I practiced commercial litigation for 15 years at three different firms. I was then home raising my girls. And this is sort of my act to stage three, I work with a partner who I met almost 15 years ago. We've been together almost 14, we co-mediate. I love our model, I love the fact that we're a man and a woman mirroring good communication for our couples. We bounce ideas off of each other, we sometimes back each other up, and sometimes, offer different ways to look at an issue because we come from different professional backgrounds. His credibility for the court system is that he was a probation officer for a number of years, but felt like the agreements that he was getting his clients to make with each other weren't sticking. They didn't have teeth to them. And obviously, as a litigator, I know what happens if you go to court. I don't want that for my clients, I want my clients to be able to talk to each other, figure out what they want, why they want it for their kids, for their finances. And I want them to be able to make agreements that they both think are good for their family.
Andrea Javor: Well, and that's where my first question comes in. I'm all about finding better outcomes for people through the divorce process. So I have to admit, when I knew I needed to file for divorce, I didn't realize that there were other options versus just looking up and finding an attorney, calling the attorney. And then he gets an attorney, and we kind of let them talk and negotiate. I didn't really know about mediation. I say that because I think that one of the questions I get most often from my clients is, well, I've read about collaboration. I know that I don't want to go to court, but I'm not really sure how to think about the different options including mediation. So how do we start to kind of think about the landscape?
Ellen Feldman: Well, I think people assume, like you just said, you hire a lawyer, they battle it out. Maybe they can settle some of the issues, but people in theory want their day in court. I keep telling potential clients, you want your day in court, you want someone who's going to sit and listen to the nitty gritty of, he did this to me, or she cheated on me, or how you got to the place where you want to get divorced, that's mediation. That's not litigation.
Andrea Javor: Wow.
Ellen Feldman: The thought that you are going to hire a lawyer and actually get to tell your story to a judge is really not the case. If there's a pre-trial conference, the judges in the back room with the lawyers, the number of cases that go to trial is so small compared to the number of cases where the lawyers actually can settle the case. But the reason why I persuade clients to mediate is because, especially if they have small children, I want them to learn how to communicate with each other. I want them to understand that you're not living in the same house, but you need to solve problems together, you need to decide, is your daughter going to take soccer or ballet? Or what if your son decides he wants to leave the soccer field and go play basketball? You need to make those decisions together as a parenting team. And if you go to a lawyer in your scenario and say, I want to hire you, please help me get divorced. You never learn how to talk to your spouse so that you can go forward and improve your communication. I mean, there are very few things that I think are the best, most important advantages of mediation, and improving communication is definitely one of them.
Andrea Javor: Well, my mind is a bit blown on two points. One, that mediation is almost kind of like a class on communication in and of itself. It's like you're teaching people how to communicate with one another. Because I hear you loud and clear, if you couldn't get along and co parent in your marriage, it's going to be real tough on the other side of divorce to do so, right?
Ellen Feldman: You can't just walk down the hall and say, the soccer form is due tomorrow. Or we need to sign her up for camp, is she doing soccer camp or park district camp, you don't have that option. And to your point, if you are fighting about every little thing and you don't have the ability to say, you know what? I'm not allowed to text him to say that the soccer form is due next week, we agreed that I could only use text for emergencies. So I need to email, I need to wait 24 hours till he gets back to me. Or there are many platforms where every single email is trackable.
Andrea Javor: I love our family wizard for that, but I shamelessly plug them because I think they're a great tool. I'm sure there are others you could recommend as well.
Ellen Feldman: Definitely. Talking parents is another one, our family wizard is a wonderful one. A lot of people just really need a Google calendar. Cozy is another app where the beauty of our family wizard is that you track expenses too. You're saying, okay, I signed our daughter up for soccer, it costs $75 for the spring. And the other person says, yes, 37.50 is automatically debited from his or her bank account. You don't have to have five different conversations about it.
Andrea Javor: It's the beauty of streamlined communication, for sure.
Ellen Feldman: Definitely.
Andrea Javor: Well, my mind is blown with the people wanting their day in court, and mediation is your hypothetical day in court. It's just not in front of a judge. So tell me more about that. That's a huge aha moment.
Ellen Feldman: So the other, I think misnomer about mediation is the sort of the backstory, which I alluded to a few minutes ago. No one cares why you're getting divorced. Mediation is supposed to be forward focused. How are we going to go forward from this point? Have a parenting plan for our children, figure out what's best based on his work schedule, her work schedule, how close are they going to live together to each other. If it's 10 minutes, then they can have weeknights during the week for overnights. If it's 20 minutes, it's probably not a great idea. But to be able to talk through all of those things and move forward as a parenting team with the best possible schedule for that family. So I think people come to mediation and they believe that it's sort of like therapy that we want to know that he cheated with her, or she wasn't a great wife because she didn't cook dinner five days a week, or whatever negative things they want to say about each other. We don't care. Because Illinois, really, most states are no-fault divorce anyway. So to be able to get them to the point where they can look forward into the future and realize that it's not about time with mom, or time with dad, or both moms, or both dads.
I mean, we sort of run the gamut of who we are taking care of these days. But I feel like people need to understand that whether you think he's a bad person, or vice versa, is irrelevant. Let's start over, let's talk about where you each are, what you want, why you want it. And I think our model is different from other people. Not only the call mediation team piece, but we keep our meetings pretty tight and pretty short. And if someone's getting crabby, we end it. If someone needs to do some homework, we end it. There are mediators who start at 9:00 in the morning and you might still be going at 3:00 or 4:00, which I think is crazy.
Andrea Javor: The same couple you're talking about?
Ellen Feldman: Yeah, same couple.
Andrea Javor: Wow.
Ellen Feldman: There are several two or three. Not to name names, but they're former judges. Actually, one of them is a lawyer, and you start at 9:00 in the morning with parenting and you go till you're done. So there's no, let's take a break, let's try it out, let's see whether the kids like switching homes on Tuesday night and sleeping at mommy's house Wednesday, Thursday, or whether that isn't really a good plan based on the kids personality, their temperament and all of that.
Andrea Javor: Well, I know firsthand from going through my relationship with my ex husband, he has three kids and we were co parenting with his ex who is now one of my very good friends, which is a different story for a different time. But I remember that at the beginning, you really had to be so flexible with what worked for the kids. Like small things that we would have never thought would be an issue like dropping them off early before school care or having them stay after school care. And it had been an issue on some of the days that they were with us versus when they were with their mom. And it's just interesting because I think, I sometimes think people think they want to stay in court, they want someone else. The judge, like this expert came in and decided, how are we going to divide everything? How are we going to determine where the kids are, and who does what, and which days of the week, and where everybody lives. And the reality is you are going to have to own these decisions as a divorced couple. I mean, this is why I think mediation is such an interesting and compelling option for people. Because like you said, it's almost like this workshop of education on how to actually communicate better with someone. Frankly, you're going to have to communicate one way or the other.
Ellen Feldman: And the other piece of that is, you and your ex might think that a parenting schedule is great based on your schedules, but that might not work for your kids. It might be scary for someone to sleep at Daddy's during the week if you know Mommy's the one who typically makes lunch, or Mommy is the one who does spelling words, or Mommy is the one who reads a certain story before bedtime. So you can come up with a proposed schedule. And if you don't try it and know for sure that it works for your kids, that's not a good schedule for your family.
Andrea Javor: Well, I think that's why you were saying going into a mediation session at 9:00 in the morning and still being there at 3:00 o'clock. It doesn't give you any room to go try anything or to try to work things out. So tell me, Ellen, typical mediation, so if I'm listening to this podcast right now and I'm thinking, wow, mediation really might be an option for me. What's the first step someone could expect once they call you and talk to you a little bit more about your approach?
Ellen Feldman: Under COVID for the last 14 months, we're doing everything by Zoom, or where an attorney used to refer someone to me, or someone would find us on the internet, and they would talk to me for 20 minutes and then say, how do I present this to my spouse? And now, I say let's jump on the computer. Those Zoom calls are, a consult is free. Tell us what day's work for you next week, we'll get it scheduled. I think people feel much more comfortable. And Chrome, if they see my face, my partner's face, and they see the two of us and realize, wow, they seem like really nice people, I think I can do this. Really, for the most part it is a free consult. Unless a lawyer is saying, you're going to Ellen and Brian, these are the mediators you're going to use. And then they have no choice. So then they might be emailing or calling and saying, give us some options. These are the days and times that work for me. I say, once they have signed on, we send them an agreement, they pay our retainer. We have a very low hourly rate, which we split.
Our philosophy is, sometimes, people can't afford to hire a lawyer and the mediator, and then their spouses hire a lawyer, we want to be accessible. Probably 85% of our couples don't talk to a lawyer before they come to us. Oh, we're not allowed to give legal advice, but we know what a judge is gonna sign off on and say is equitable, which is the standard for Illinois. But they are back to a process. So we have them pay a retainer, they're essentially buying eight hours upfront. Our meetings are typically an hour and a half to two hours. A couple weeks apart. We have them do homework.
So the first thing if they have minor children, we send them a parenting plan. We send them a list of notable dates. We call it the holiday schedule because a judge can't see that your agreement says, you're going to figure out Thanksgiving and Christmas and you don't want to agree on anything else. You really need to have dates, and start times, and end times for a judge to sign off on the fact that you've talked about the holidays. So we give them homework. Most parents are most anxious about the parenting schedule. So we like to start with the parenting piece. And then we have them collect documents for us, way fewer than if they went to a lawyer and said, okay, what do I need to do? Where a lawyer might say, you have to send three years of bank statements for every account that you have, or credit cards, multiple months of credit card statements. We try to break it down for them that we are asking them to collect the bare minimum. If you have credit cards that you pay off every month and they're in your name, or your spouse's name, or even if it's a joint credit card but you're paying it off every month out of marital funds, we don't even need to see it. Part of our job is to get things that are in both names, out of both names, like a mortgage, like a timeshare, like a bank account.
Andrea Javor: Life insurance policy or something like that.
Ellen Feldman: For sure. Things that have husband and wife, both on them. If they're standing in front of a judge, or we see from a financial affidavit, oh, we haven't talked about this bank account, but it has both of your names on it, we need to talk about that. Or a credit card, it could be something silly, like a Target credit card that one of them has the ability to charge things and it's not necessarily malicious. They just don't realize that it's in both names, right? So we give them homework to collect the documents and fill out the financial affidavit, which is statewide now. So it's the same if you're in Lake County, Cook County, DuPage County. And then we can go through and say, what's this account that also has your husband on it, or we didn't discuss this credit card that also has your wife on it, let's talk about it. Let's make a plan to get it out of your name. And in terms of process, for the most part, four or five meetings with a couple every couple of weeks. And we draft an agreement that does not take you to court to get you divorced, but it does go to a lawyer for the most part or two. So that the allocation judgment is the kid piece that's drafted and needs to go to court.
The marital settlement agreement is the money piece. Do you have a house with a mortgage that one of you is trying to refinance in your name or his name. Or the credit cards that we talked about a little bit to make sure that those two separate items, the marital settlement agreement and the allocation judgment are addressed. And then the lawyer needs to draft a petition and take the couple to court which, again, during COVID is by Zoom. It's a one time quarter parents, 10/15 minutes with a judge asking a few questions. And really, the legal piece is much less expensive, much more efficient. And the couple has made all the decisions themselves. So for the most part, the judge isn't going to have to worry about seeing that couple, again, down the line, fighting about things.
Andrea Javor: So it really streamlines the process, then to basically agree to put in the time to try to work it out together in these mediation sessions over one to two hours over the course of every other week. It sounds like that's the process. So they get started with mediation, I have a question about like, what if people aren't willing just to be on the same Zoom call with their spouse? How do we handle it? So basically, get on the same call, try to get on the same page and work it out. Then you each have a lawyer, look at your portion of the agreement, or look at the agreement to represent you.
Ellen Feldman: For most of our clients, one lawyer represents one person. And the other person says, you know what? This is straightforward, I like Ellen and Brian, I trust the process. I don't need my own lawyer.
Andrea Javor: Gotcha, gotcha. And then you go to a judge to get the sign off, but it's a quick Zoom meeting. This is not the process of, litigation by comparison is completely different than this
Ellen Feldman: Totally different. Litigation these days is by Zoom also. Motions are by Zoom. The lawyers who I'm sure you know as well as I do, the lawyers are complaining that their clients are a lot more adversarial. I think COVID and Zoom are making people crazy. And I understand.
Andrea Javor: I do too.
Ellen Feldman: Yeah. People are tired of being in the house and working on the computer. And I think they're finding little things to fight about with their soon to be ex. But to your point a few minutes ago, I think being on the same Zoom call is pretty great as opposed to sitting in a room together when you have to talk about something that you think your spouse really doesn't want you to bring up. And there you are in the room bringing up that he drinks too much, or that she smokes pot in front of the kids, or that she has a beer in the car when she's going to soccer pick up. I mean, all kinds of things. Another benefit of mediation that I think people don't realize is the confidentiality piece.
Andrea Javor: Tell us about that.
Ellen Feldman: We get a lot of couples who say, he's not going to want to talk about the fact that he's an alcoholic, or he's always smoking pot in front of the kids, he's on his computer looking at porn all day and I don't want the kids to see that. If you have a job and a reputation, you don't want that in pleadings that are going to go in front of a judge or be discussed in front of a judge in emotion. You want that to be able to be in a confidential setting. And let us put in the agreement that you agree not to drink in front of the kids, or you agree not to smoke pot when you have parenting time. I mean, I think it's a lot more prevalent than people think. Or one person says, okay, he/she doesn't want me drinking in front of the kids. Well, sometimes, he has a glass of wine at dinner. Well, okay, that doesn't make her an alcoholic. But if you want to talk about it, let's put in the agreement that neither one of you will drink when you have parenting time with your children. And most people are pretty willing to agree to that.
Andrea Javor: Mm hmm. Yeah, that makes sense too. I think the conference, so if you were to go to an attorney, each of you hire an attorney. Is there a confidentiality risk there? That's different from mediation?
Ellen Feldman: Well, the whole process of mediation is confidential. This was a long way of answering your question. If mediation doesn't work after a couple sessions, I always say, okay, you guys decide if you don't like me or you don't like Brian, or things aren't going your way. That's fine. But all the agreements that you've made in mediation are confidential, so you can't then go to your lawyer. And today, he agreed in mediation that I could have X, or we've already agreed to this parenting schedule, or we agreed that we were each going to keep our own retirement accounts. All of those things are great. If mediation is successful and you feel like, okay, she gave me that so I'm willing to give her this, or I got an extra week night with the kids. I'm willing to say to her, okay, your retirement is a little larger than mine. Go ahead and keep it. No, as long as a judge would sign off back to the, is it an equitable agreement. I think things happen in mediation. And mediation allows a lot of creativity that a judge is not going to necessarily listen to things happening as long as it's not obviously illegal, or not sanctioned by Illinois law. But I feel like if you go to court and you're getting divorced because your spouse is an alcoholic, or not a good parent in your mind because he or she is smoking pot in front of the kids, either of those two things are going to be in pleadings that you're not going to want in pleadings. If you can discuss those things in mediation and come to agreements that you think are fair and appropriate, no one's gonna know. No one's gonna know if you just brought it up because you want to make sure it didn't happen, or because it's an actual fear of yours that your spouse, soon to be ex spouse is going to drink in front of the kids, or drink on the soccer field or whatever.
Andrea Javor: Number of concerns, yeah.
Ellen Feldman: Those two are mild compared to some of what we hear.
Andrea Javor: Oh, my goodness, I bet. Well, we're not going to go there today. But maybe over drinks, you and I can talk about that.
Ellen Feldman: Exactly.
Andrea Javor: Well, what I'm getting from this conversation so far, it seems like mediation, there are three big benefits that I'm coming up with from what you've said. It's more affordable, there's the benefit of confidentiality, and it helps you communicate better with the person you're still going to need to communicate with. Tell me about the time period, like does mediation typically lead to a more swift resolution versus other options for getting to divorce?
Ellen Feldman: Always, always. So then you've got the benefit of time as well. We have a couple of couples that have sort of dragged on because we can't get them to come back to the table to talk, or because someone's complaining about something even though we've essentially finished the process. He's still not a good dad, and he's not taking the kid. I'm like, you can deal with that separately, just get divorced. As I feel like, and I'm sure you've seen this with your clients too. Getting through the process is the stressful part whatever method you choose. But then being able to say, as my partner always says, then you get to just live your life. We hope you put the agreement in your desk drawer, you never look at it and you don't care who's supposed to have Thanksgiving, or who's supposed to have Presidents Day, we hope you are just co-parenting your children in the best way possible. But going through this process, whatever process you choose is still stressful.
Andrea Javor: This is the work I do. So when it comes to the process of getting divorced professionals, you can really help navigate people, help them navigate through it with ease, shorter duration, saving money, saving time, becoming better communicators. My side of the desk is really helping people with the emotions because there is still that need to get it out there to say like, I'm so upset, he cheated. I'm so upset, she lied. I'm so upset, this, that. So there is still this emotional processing that I think needs to go on. And what I love about what you're saying is that mediation, it seems to be a very focused process that is meant to give that future forward resolution that every couple needs after a divorce.
Ellen Feldman: I also think, to your point, the emotions are for the coach or the therapist. As much as we beg our clients, you really need a therapist to work out the fact that he cheated on you or whatever the example is. For some reason, many of our clients think I'm divorcing her. I don't need therapy. We don't need to be a good coset, co parenting team because we're not going to be living together anymore. They just don't understand that you still may need therapy to work out your own issues, whatever you think went wrong in your marriage, whatever you still want to try to blame your spouse for, but you can't control what happens in his house or her house. You can talk about eating healthy meals if your spouse wants to give the kids peanut butter and jelly every night for dinner. You really have very little control over that unless he or she is willing to discuss it and come to an agreement that you're going to have healthy meals when the kid is at your house.
Andrea Javor: Those are the things that I think is so hard for us to let go of, because I think that's probably one of the most painful aspects of divorce is the time away from your kids. Anyway, you've got it.
Ellen Feldman: And I spend so much time, and I'm sure you do too. I will never forget one of our very first couples in 2008. I had three little kids, I think the youngest is three or four, she was so sad that she was going to have time without her kids. And at that point, she was a stay at home mom. I said: "Find something to do that's yours." And she ended up counseling, helping women and later men, but apply to grad school and work on their essays for grad school.
Andrea Javor: Oh, wow.
Ellen Feldman: And it was such a beautiful transformation. She said: "I don't have time for myself." And I said: "But this is time for yourself. This is YOU, figuring out what you're going to do next." And he's going to have the kids a few nights a week. I feel like he was a school teacher. He did have time after 3:00 o'clock to have the kids on weeknights, and she was desperately sad about not having her kids every single night. And I said: "Find something that's yours. And working part time, seeing that grow through the years. It's not about the money, it's about your self esteem and your growth. It's not going to affect child support or spousal support in such a great way, but it's going to help you see that you have your own life that's separate from your children."
Andrea Javor: It is an amazing thing. I do think the time away from kids is something that is painfully devastating and something to grieve. I also think exactly what you're saying, it's actually an opportunity to rediscover yourself, to show your kids how to be strong, and to show kids how to be a really strong mom or dad, just to build your independence and build your self esteem. Exactly what you said, you have to have something that's yours that you feel confident about. And I think it just helps you be a better parent.
Ellen Feldman: And your children, you don't want your children thinking, mommy's sitting at home with nothing to do when I'm at daddy's house, and mommy is so sad. Mommy misses me as opposed to mommy's working now, or mommy's with a friend, or mommy's taking a walk. Your kids need to figure out how to be with both spouses even though the houses look a little different, the routines are a little different. As long as you can agree that the kids are still going to go to bed at 8:00 o'clock at the other parents house so that they're not dragging themselves to school in the morning, or they need to be able to let go the sadness that they feel about missing you the same way you need to let go of, now the kids are with him, and what am I going to do with my three hours?
Andrea Javor: Well, I think this is a really important topic to discuss. Especially in light of the mediation conversation, it just makes sense that you're going to have the support and the opportunity to kind of work through a lot of these issues if you do decide to go the mediation route. One of my final questions for you, Ellen, you've talked about the co-mediation model. So not all mediation is co mediation with two people, two mediators in the room. Is that correct?
Ellen Feldman: Most mediators work on their own.
Andrea Javor: Okay.
Ellen Feldman: Yes. So the fact that we are a team years ago when we started, and almost 14 years we've been together. Years ago when we started, there were some other teams of mediators, but they didn't necessarily both show up at every meeting. So it might be a meeting where the couple is supposed to talk about the kids, and one of them wants to talk about the house, how to refinance the house and the person who's the financial person isn't at that meeting, then what do you do? I think part of our model is we'll talk about anything you want to talk about even though this meeting is supposed to be talking about the parenting schedule, or the holidays, or refinancing the house if they had to worry. We obviously know what needs to be agreed to to get through the process. We don't care what order we discuss the issues. And if it makes them homer, feeling like they already have a few agreements when they get off the first call. I mean, it was very sweet. We had a couple on the call, and then I know you want to talk about collaborative too. I don't want to forget that.
Andrea Javor: Oh, sure.
Ellen Feldman: But we had a couple in what was supposed to be a first consult last week. And they, like just right away and said, okay, the other spouse said: "Let's just do this, let's just start." And it was silly agreements that they were making, but they made them feel like, you can do this, you're going to be able to come to agreements. And I can't even remember if it was, each keeping their own car, or taking retirement off the table because the retirement accounts were closed. They weren't that complicated. But I said: "Look, guys, you already made an agreement." And one of them said: "Wow, that feels great." You think it's a silly thing. But when you check things off the list and you feel like, I can do this, I can make agreements with this person, it's not going to be so bad. It just gives you the adrenaline and the enthusiasm to go forward and figure out how to get through the process.
Andrea Javor: Small steps are huge. Just small agreements lead to bigger agreements. I just tell people, just take the next logical small step forward, and you're going to keep getting there. This doesn't all get resolved in a day or a week, this is just small steps forward.
Ellen Feldman: Yeah, exactly.
Andrea Javor: Well, the collaborative thing, the reason I wanted to talk about collaborative is I have a lot. I think collaborative has been this buzzword out in the industry right now. And I want to just say, I think there are multiple processes available to people because everyone's different, and each situation is unique. I think it's wonderful that there are options. I maybe shouldn't say this because I don't know if it's true or not. But I tell people all the time, I'm not giving you any legal advice. I almost think of mediation as the original collaborative process. That's not as complex. I don't know if you agree with that, but that's kind of what I tell people, mediation is really kind of a very light version of going into a pretty detailed collaborative process.
Ellen Feldman: I totally agree with you. I also think that mediation, for sure, doesn't repeat this to all the collaborative lawyers, for sure. Mediation is less expensive. And for all the other benefits that we've discussed, collaborative is confidential as well. But for the improved communication, for advocating for yourself in the process, for being able to figure out how am I going to tell him that his daughter doesn't want to play soccer anymore, how am I going to tell her that her son wants to do ballet, whatever the issue. I feel like mediation forces them to talk to each other and come up with creative ways to solve a problem. And in collaborative though, in theory, you have your team, your lawyers, they're your coaches, you're making agreements.
Theoretically, it could be the opposing counsel who says, hey, Ellen, what do you think about doing it this way as opposed to the way your lawyer suggested you do, you come to an agreement on that issue. But I feel like collaborative is a more drawn out process than mediation. And to the point of improved communication and talking to each other, solving problems together, that you and I have been discussing, I think that if you can advocate for yourself, and some people can't, I think mediation is the way to go. I'm the first person to say, if someone says on the phone, tell me about both. I'm afraid of my spouse, or I'm afraid to bring up issues. Mediation may not be for everyone, it isn't.
If you want the protection of a team and coach who's going to rephrase things that you've said or maybe suggest a different way of presenting an option to your spouse, collaborative is fabulous. If you've been married 30 years and there are lots of assets and you don't really understand what your spouse earns because he or she isn't bringing home W-2's, 1099, a piece of paper that says, he or she earned $100,000 last year, or it's a business that's potentially a cash business, or the biggest reason to do collaborative as opposed to mediation, if you don't trust that your spouse is going to be producing all the documents disclosing every bank account, mediation is not for everyone. But I do believe that most people, as long as they can advocate for themselves can see huge potential upside in mediating with their soon to be ex spouse.
Andrea Javor: I think we've discussed so many of the benefits more affordable, confidential, helps you communicate better, the duration is shorter. These are wonderful benefits for mediation. So for those people listening who are curious to learn more, how can people find you?
Ellen Feldman: They can find me on our website, which is celandassociates.com, or actually, yourdivorce.com, or org (yourdivorce.org), or both. But I think just googling my name. Our website brings up my partner and me, lets them read about our BIO's and articles that we've written. And I think mediation is very easy to learn about. I wish it had been a viable process option when I went to law school because I think I would have come to this alternative dispute resolution process a lot faster if I had taken classes in law school that taught me about it.
Andrea Javor: Well, I think it's a wonderful option for people, and we'll make sure to put all your contact information in the show notes, because I'm sure many people are going to be calling you and asking for more information. So Ellen Feldman, thank you so much for being on the podcast today.
Ellen Feldman: Thank you. I so enjoyed this.
Andrea Javor: Great.
Podcast Episode 007: Dating After Divorce- How to Know When You Are Ready with Andrea Rappaport
Andrea Rappaport is a bubbly, confident woman. But behind her ability to make people laugh in an instant, this gorgeous woman lived a story far from Cinderella's. She was in an unhealthy marriage and was getting used to unhappiness until she knew she already had enough of it.
“You have to get yourself back together and that's going to take time. Once you've done that, you have to know that there is a life for you. The divorce wasn't the end and you have a whole second act coming.” -Andrea Rappaport
Andrea Rappaport is a bubbly, confident woman. But behind her ability to make people laugh in an instant, this gorgeous woman lived a story far from Cinderella's. She was in an unhealthy marriage and was getting used to unhappiness until she knew she already had enough of it. She decided to stop tolerating the emotional abuse and made one of the toughest decisions of her life- divorce. Divorce is hardest when there are young kids involved. In this episode, Andrea shares what helped her move forward with her decision, at the same time helping her children cope. She also talks about how to take care of your mental wellness and enhance your beauty after a dark past. Divorce is simply the end of a page in your storybook. There are yet new chapters to unlock, new adventures to take on, and maybe a new love coming your way. Tune in and find out what you can do NOW to welcome that moment with confidence, beauty, and humor!
02:02 The Everyday American Girl
07:03 Getting Used to Unhappiness
12:29 The Moment of “I’m Done!”
19:17 Getting Back the Laughter
23:00 Laughter and Mental Wellness
27:36 Are You Ready to Date?
32:07 We All Need Levity
37:24 Find Reliable Support
42:12 You Deserve a Team!
12:40 “Once you feel it in your blood that you're done, once you listen to your heart and your gut that is screaming at, you can't go back.” -Andrea Rappaport
16:31 “We have to be happy and healthy in order to be good moms.” -Andrea Rappaport
17:52 “The divorce doesn't just happen to you. It happens to the family. And you have to find ways to support your children in the healthiest way you know how to.” -Andrea Rappaport
18:04 “You're going to make mistakes… it can be a nightmare, but it's not your forever.” -Andrea Rappaport
24:54 “Laughter is the most beautiful and refreshing counter feeling to everything that is so dark and heavy and achy.” -Andrea Rappaport
26:36 “After you go through a divorce, you are like lying in the middle of a highway flat after semi trucks run over your body and then reverse the truck and go in the opposite direction. When you're in that place, you're not ready to date.” -Andrea Rappaport
28:08 “You have to get yourself back together and that's going to take time. Once you've done that, you have to know that there is a life for you. The divorce wasn't the end and you have a whole second act coming.” -Andrea Rappaport
30:32 “We all know that the way we look is of relative importance because it's a visual platform that you're going to be on to meet people. But it's (more) about how you talk about yourself.” -Andrea Rappaport
32:17 “Women and men need a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on; they need insight, they need support, but they also need some levity sometimes.” -Andrea Rappaport
34:47 “The time to find a partner is when you feel so completely happy being on your own.” -Andrea Javor
38:04 “It's harder to see the patterns in your life when you're living it.” -Andrea Javor
50:00 “Asking for support is not an admission of weakness. It's showing how strong you are to say ‘I know what I'm good at. And I know where I deserve some support’ because we all need it.” -Andrea Rappaport
42:44 “You need a team and you deserve a team.” -Andrea Rappaport
Meet Our Guest:
Andrea Rappaport is a humorist, divorced mom, and beauty expert. Soon to launch: the How Not to Suck at Divorce podcast and the Dating after Divorce course.
Known for her candor, she speaks openly about her struggle with panic attacks, and how she found her voice after years of living in an emotionally abusive relationship. Andrea’s wit has been featured on TODAY Parents, The Jam, The Tamron Hall Show, Windy City City LIVE, The Jam, and Great Day S.A. Her hobbies include: keeping her boys alive, watching her own insta stories, and bragging about her VIP status at Marshall’s/TJ Maxx/Home Goods.
Andrea Javor: Today on Until There Was Me, I talked with Andrea Rappaport, who has quickly become one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram, and more so to know as a friend. Andrea talks all about self confidence, beauty, humor, and all the things we need to really optimize our own mental health and well being. Andrea is a straight talker. She is a fun person to be around. And I hope you really enjoyed this conversation as a way into getting to know yourself a little bit deeper. Enjoy.
Alright, Andrea Rappaport, welcome to the podcast. Thank you for being here today.
Andrea Rappaport: Hi, thank you. This is fun.
Andrea Javor: I love the power of two Andrea's coming together and helping women get through divorce. Everyone has such humor, and I just can't wait for everyone to learn more about you. So tell everybody a little bit about yourself and what you do.
Andrea Rappaport: So I am a humorist. I'm a beauty expert. I am a divorced Mom. I'm your everyday all American girl. I grew up performing. I grew up doing musical theater. I lived in the comedy space for a while, and then I got married, had kids. My life fell apart with what I thought was postpartum anxiety, and it turned out to be just normal anxiety. And through the course of putting myself back together, I looked at my marriage, and I was like, oh, hmm, I think that might be part of the problem here. So it took me a few years to figure out how I'm going to do this. I always tell people, it's that whole saying like, you plan and God laughs. You have this whole plan together like, this is how I'm gonna do it, it's gonna go exactly like this, and everything's gonna be fine. And all of a sudden, it's like, well, that plan went out the window.
Andrea Javor: Oh, girl, I'm a recovering corporate marketer. I get it. That was my plan. And any further from it, it's wonderful.
Andrea Rappaport: I thought that my divorce was going to be so easy. I had such realistic expectations. I mean, it's insane. I am like the poster child for why you need a Divorce Coach, an excellent Divorce Attorney, a team of therapists, a closet full of medication. I mean, you name it, I made every mistake. And luckily, I'm here on the other side. So now, I'm helping other people get through it. And my day job when I was working as an actor was, I worked in the beauty space. I've actually had my own hair and makeup company here in the Chicago area that I co-own with a friend of mine. And I've been doing this for 20 years. I'm taking everything that I know from the beauty world to how to talk about yourself, how to converse with people in an entertaining way and turning this into some lemonade. We're helping other women figure out how to date after they go through a divorce.
Andrea Javor: Right, right. Well, I want to get to all of that. But first, I want to ask you something because I hear the opposite. When you said I thought my divorce would be so easy, that's interesting to me because I usually hear from people. I stayed in it for so long because I was so afraid of divorce. Tell us more about that.
Andrea Rappaport: Okay. So my divorce story is a little bit different. My marriage was bad from the beginning so I did not have the story that a lot of people have. I remember the good old days and I look back at my wedding video and cry. No, that wasn't for me. I had a plethora of unhealthy behaviors that I carted around with me for most of my life. And that led me to engage in a wildly unhealthy relationship. That was bad from the start, and it got worse with time. I'm careful right now. I'm choosing my words, because you learn for those of you who are nodding along already, because you've been through this. You know that when you go through a divorce with someone who's very controlling, everything that you say is scrutinized. So I am taking my part for my role in all of this. But it was bad, it was bad. And I dreamed of getting divorced almost from the beginning. I knew when I got married, that I would not be married to this person forever. I didn't know for how long, I thought that this was just what I needed to do. I wanted to have children. I was at the age where if I was going to have children, I needed to get married. I married somebody who was never in love with me, who was not attracted to me. And I knew that from the beginning, I thought that I could manage it. I thought that I could just put all of that information in a box and sort of doggy paddle my way through life. And it turns out that I couldn't.
Andrea Javor: Your story, I think it's so important to hear this story. Because again, I think we all have these unique sets of circumstances around us when we are in a marriage. And it sounds like you were in an unhealthy marriage/toxic relationship with your ex.
Andrea Rappaport: Yeah.
Andrea Javor: And you knew that you wanted to get out. But I'm sure that once you did, and once you started the divorce process, did you suddenly have an epiphany that you needed help, or did that kind of come slowly?
Andrea Rappaport: So in my situation, I knew that I needed help as soon as I started getting the ball rolling, because we had a lot of abuse going on. Not physical abuse, but a lot of emotional, mental, financial, all of that kinds of stuff. So it was apparent to me, not in the very, very beginning, but almost towards the beginning. My kids were really young at the time. I mean, this was not so long ago, but both of my children were in preschool. I was taking my kids to school one day, and the director of the school could tell that I just wasn't quite right. But I didn't look right. She asked me what was going on, and I kind of brushed it off. And then she asked me again, and I made some sort of comment in passing. And honestly, I have no recollection of what I said. But she then said to me: "You need help." And I said: "No." And she said: "No, no, you need help. Do I have permission to reach out on your behalf?"
And again, I was still kind of out of it. And I think that, probably a lot of other people who go through this phase where you feel like you're in the eye of the storm, you do kind of go through life, feeling like you're kind of out of it. I don't remember a lot from this period, and she reached out to an organization that helps women. I'm jewish, and this organization helps Jewish women out of domestic abuse situations. So they reached out to me, and that was the first inkling that I had, that things were really wrong. And then as you start talking, and people start helping you, because this group does a little bit of counseling, a little bit of logistics, all of that kind of stuff. I remember as I was starting to do a little bit of unpacking as far as what had been going on, then it was like, oh, my gosh, this is really overwhelming. I did not go with an attorney. That was right for me. I went with someone who was recommended. I did not do my homework and do research that I would advise everybody to do, but it was kind of downhill from there. I have learned so much more about my divorce on the other side.
Andrea Javor: Wow. Wow. Well, I can relate to you. I don't know if I've ever shared my divorce story with you.
Andrea Rappaport: No.
Andrea Javor: One aspect of it is that it is similar to you. When you said that the woman at the school who sort of said something to you, maybe you look off, I also lived in this world where I didn't really know what was going on around me because I was so unhappy. I was so insulated in my own little world just trying to survive, just trying to make sense of the terrible things that were happening around me in my own home. I have with my husband that I didn't know. I didn't know how kind of sad and isolated I was at the time. Well, you get used to being miserable. It's like your norm. It was for me like a year. I mean, I lived that way for the better part of a year before. Finally, I had someone say to me, one of my best friends called me and she said: "Andrea, I just feel like something's off. I don't know why, but I have a feeling that I need to talk to you." She's a friend who I saw routinely all the time, and I just finally broke down to her. I just said things have not been right in my marriage. But it's interesting because I do think it takes someone else from the outside to point it out to you, and to really help you get on that path.
Andrea Rappaport: Wait, did your friend hint at it? Or did she just ask you a general question and you were open enough?
Andrea Javor: She came out and said to me: "I feel like something is really not right with you." And she didn't say I think it's about Matt, about my ex husband. But she just kind of said: "Is everything okay at home?" And I'm like: "No, nothing is okay at home, literally nothing.”
Andrea Rappaport: You know what? Like, good for you for doing that. Because I can tell you, I wouldn't have done that. I think my friends were afraid. I know my friends were afraid to bring it up because I had spent so many years justifying his actions and protecting everything. And I think that my friends kind of saw that as, like you could ask Andrea about a hundred things, but you were not asking her about this. Because I was close to it. So imagine, Andrea, had you not said something, I wonder how much later your tipping point would have been. Like, have you just said to your friend like, oh, it's about work.
Andrea Javor: Yeah. Right.
Andrea Rappaport: Isn't that, but it's not so interesting. And then I've said this before, and I'm sure that in your work, you say this. But that whole sense of once you know, you can't unknow.
Andrea Javor: Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, people deal with this everyday, especially when it comes to infidelity. It's really difficult to move past some of those things. But I think beyond that, like a big incident, once you sort of like the poison was in my heart, I realized that I'm like, I can't flush this poison out. We've been in therapy, we've been working on it.
Andrea Rappaport: Exactly. Obviously, if there's a major incident, like infidelity or something happens, and then you know that you can't move past it. But once you feel it in your blood that you're done, I think that's the way that I should have phrased it. Once you know, once you listen to your heart and your gut that is screaming at you, you can't go back. And then it's the first time you say it out loud, what was that moment for you? I went for so long saying to myself, I remember I had a conversation with my dad. This is what I remember. I remember that I used to stall coming home from work. I would drive around my neighborhood. And a lot of like, this is kind of a typical mom joke. We all drive around and scroll Instagram to avoid seeing our kids. Well, I was not avoiding my kids, it was my husband because it was such a depressing feeling being at home. So I remember parking my car in the neighborhood I lived in and talking to my dad at one point saying: "I think I'm gonna have to do something soon because I'm drowning." And my dad was like, how miserable are you? And I said: "I'm really bad." And my dad said, there's so much backstory here.
Andrea Javor: Of course.
Andrea Rappaport: Anxiety and what had been going on with me, physically and emotionally. But he said: "Do you think that this is contributing to your anxiety?" No one here knew the answer. And I think I surprised him when I said: "Dad, I think this is my anxiety. I don't think that this is contributing to it. I think that this is part of the route." Obviously not. I think I had anxiety prior to entering my marriage. But I think that it's really the WHY. Why did I enter this marriage? Why did I tolerate this kind of treatment for so long? And why did I contribute towards it? I remember that moment, I remember saying that. And I think from then, it was kind of like tapping that first domino. You're like, I like that. There we go. And then everything just started to roll. And then for me, I'm a bandaid ripper offer. A lot of other people go through this and why can't leave because of the kids, and I can't do this, and I can't do that. I can't do that, I rip and process later.
So in this case, thank God I did. Because had I not, if I would have processed what it would have been to divorce having two small kids at the time, they were two and four, I don't know that I would have done it. Had I known, and this is the part where Andrea starts to cry. The only part about my divorce that has been tragically difficult has been separating from my children, like not having my kids every day. But the pain of that has been something that at times felt insurmountable. And had I known that it would hurt as bad as it does, I don't know that I would have been brave enough to do what I needed to do.
Andrea Javor: Thank you for your authenticity and sharing that. I mean, this is a real concern that women do have, especially, that parents have when it comes to co parenting and the reality, especially when your kids are young, two and four. I mean, you have two boys, right?
Andrea Rappaport: I do. I have two boys, they are now four and six. You have to do it. That part of your job as a mommy is to be a role model. And we have to be happy and healthy in order to be good moms. And also, you deserve to be happy. We know all of that stuff, but it's just, I was so miserable. I didn't think what it would be like to not be a mommy every day, a hands on mommy every day. It honestly didn't cross my mind, and I keep saying, and thank God it didn't.
Andrea Javor: Right, because you probably wouldn't have let--
Andrea Rappaport: I don't know if I would have, and I am a million times healthier and happier now. But I have had to process feelings and pain that I don't want to say I wouldn't wish on anyone because it's not going to kill me. But it's the easiest hardest stuff I hope I will ever have to go through.
Andrea Javor: It's the stuff that really stretches you to your limits, the stuff that really gets through likes gets you to the edges, right? Well, I think it's common, I just want to tell you that you're definitely not alone in that, especially with young children. Once your kids are teenagers and you get divorced, it's like a bit of, well, they want to be with their friends anyway. I mean, adds a whole different layer of not being able to see them. But I think when they're little, I just applaud you for being real about that. You find ways to cope with it even if some days are really not easy.
Andrea Rappaport: You find ways to cope with it, and you find ways to help your children cope with it, because the divorce doesn't just happen to you. What happens to the family, and you have to find ways to support your children in the healthiest way you know how to. And also, you have to know that you're going to make mistakes, or you're going to make so many mistakes. And it's not the mistakes that define you, it's how you recover from them. But it's true, because this whole thing, it can be a nightmare, but it's not your forever. And thankfully, I'm a funny girl. I always find them funny, and I have a community of other funny women that I roll with on social media. And sometimes, I feel like my day or my life was saved by a meme. You need that.
Andrea Javor: My day has been shaved from one of your memes on more than one occasion. I do want to talk about this because if you're not already following theandrearappaport on Instagram, let me just tell you, sometimes, I'm having a day and I see something. You posted something the other day and I'm just like, thank God, I follow her account. Thank God, you are out in the world putting the humor out there. I know that you have a background as a comedian, but tell me how you started to come up applying this to the sort of dating after divorce and kind of just this whole space.
Andrea Rappaport: So here's how it came together to the best of my knowledge, because I think the honest answer is I have no idea. But I think, to anyone who's listening to this who's also an entrepreneur, I think that, and Andrea, you can relate to this as well. Our job is to throw a million things up against a wall and see what sticks. So I've been through, anytime somebody gets to know me and I start talking about all the jobs I've had, people are like, who are you? How many things have you done? But basically, yeah, so I grew up performing. I lived in the comedy space for a while when I was pulling myself out of the fog of anxiety. And mind you, I was still married at this point. I launched a social media platform to talk about all of this because I thought, and what's funny is I was not really active on social media at all.
Prior to this, I was actually funny enough for people who follow me. I was really private. And now, I am far from private. But I didn't talk, I didn't share, I just kind of kept to myself. I was so guarded because I was so uncomfortable. And there was so much shame, and I was hiding so much. And then I thought, okay, I'm going to try something. I'm going to peel back these layers of the onion, and I'm going to do it. Not with an audience, but with a community. Let's see if there's a space. Then also, I thought, truthfully, maybe this can be something, maybe this can be a way that I can perform and feel alive again. I had worked for a long time, and then I had my very own special ME TOO moment that stopped my performing career in its tracks. And I didn't even realize what had happened. I was processing so much and like, why did I stop performing? So I started talking.
And then once I started talking, other funny women on Instagram found me and we became friends. I started to watch what they were doing. And at first, I was like, what is this meme world? Like, what do you do? You add words to a picture, and people think it's funny. Like, okay, that's not what I do. I make funny videos, and then I started watching more and more. And I'm like, God, these women bring so much joy in an instant, in an INSTANT. So I studied it, watched and talked to them. I watched these meme creators for about a year before I dipped my toe in the main pool. And then I just started, and then I would share them with other women. And we have these amazing communities on Instagram of other women and men, mainly all parents who do the same thing. Most of them are writers. Some of us are performers, comedians and other things. We all share each other's content. We all support each other. We talk about real life stuff. I have met almost none of these people in real life. They live all over the world.
Andrea Javor: Funny. I love the digital world for that.
Andrea Rappaport: They are the most supportive people.
Andrea Javor: That's cool. Yeah.
Andrea Rappaport: It's incredible. I think the answer to your initial question is, I wanted to make people laugh in an instant. And I realized how important laughter is nowadays.
Andrea Javor: Tell me where laughter comes in with the mental health awareness piece of things?
Andrea Rappaport: Well, anxiety is hilarious. And no, because it's so important, because we need that levity.
Andrea Javor: Oh, yeah.
Andrea Rappaport: So let me ask you, I'll answer your question with a question.
Andrea Javor: Sure.
Andrea Rappaport: You said that a few days ago, you had a day and you can't anymore. And then you saw a meme, do you remember the first emotion that washed over you?
Andrea Javor: I mean, probably like a lightness. Like sort of this levity, like a lightness of everything isn't so bad. Kind of a call, because I went from a very dark, intense kind of grief place of, oh, gosh, my business, I can't run my business. The way I want to, I have a big issue going on, and then I looked at, it was you and one of your kids, I think it was your youngest, doing a little, either a Tik Tok that you posted on a real, whatever it was, but it was like a little, it was a song.
Andrea Rappaport: Oh, God. Yeah.
Andrea Javor: And I just didn't like, this is what life is about. It's about having fun with your kids, and putting like, this is really how I want to feel, just light and breezy.
Andrea Rappaport: I wish that people could see us right now. What is that thing that people that use like--
Andrea Javor: Like just the scales.
Andrea Rappaport: The scale just. So it's like your everything is down and heavy, right? And then you see something, whether it's a meme that's just like a visual thing or a funny video, something quick that makes you smile, and it's like, it evens out the scale in your mind.
Andrea Javor: I love that.
Andrea Rappaport: And also for me, my favorite action and my favorite sensation is laughter. So I feel that it's like the moment, a beautiful and refreshing counter feeling to everything that is so dark, heavy, achy and mental health stuff. I mean, anxiety and depression feels like you're not in control. And it just feels scary, isolating and dark. And the cool thing about these memes is you immediately feel like somebody else gets you. Because the power of memes is they have to be specific. You don't just talk about a type of chips you like. You write out, cool ranch doritos, because that means something to someone. If you just say, I'm gonna go drown myself in a bag of chips. You're like, oh, okay. But if you say like, I'm going to bathe myself in cool ranch doritos and tell my mouth burns from, whatever, I don't even eat. If people do, they like, oh, I know that feeling. I get it. And that's actually something that I teach in my course about dating is the power of specifics. When you're talking about yourself on a dating profile, don't just tell people that you like tacos. First of all, nobody cares. I don't know who's doing the PR for tacos these days. I don't know what tacos are getting. They're getting enough press. Leave them alone. Really love tacos. Tell someone specifically what you like. I love getting tacos and the jalapeno Margarita from this place.
Andrea Javor: Sure, sure.
Andrea Rappaport: Tell somebody something. Going back to the comedy world, I just found that if I can make people laugh in an instant, that I'm going to do that because I know how much it meant to me when I needed humor. So it's like, I'm really doing God's work, honestly. Just kidding.
Andrea Javor: Honestly, I think that you bring something so unique to the space. I want to hear more about your dating after divorce course. Because so many people out there, so many divorce professionals, myself included, we all have these little mini courses, or dating after divorce boot camps, or whatever they're called. But I think what you bring is such a specific element between how you tell your story, as well as the beauty and confidence. So I just want to dive into the dating after divorce course and hear more about it. Just tell me more about how that came about and what you hope to accomplish with it.
Andrea Rappaport: I think that after you go through a divorce, you are kind of like lying in the middle of a highway flat after semi trucks run over your body, then reverse the truck and go in the opposite direction. And when you're in that place, you're not ready to date. Okay, take note people, this is not when you take the course, you need to get your button therapy, you need to get your butt to a bar and drink some margaritas. No, I'm just kidding. I'm not promoting alcohol, but you've got to get yourself back together. And that's going to take time to deliver. Once you've done that, you have to know that there is a life for you. The divorce wasn't the end. It might be the end of that chapter of your life, but you've got a whole second act coming, you do it. I don't care how old you are, but I wanted to help people get there.
And as I mentioned before, I lived in the beauty space for a really, really long time. I still do, but I wanted to teach women how to fish. Not just catch the fish for them, rather, doing people's hair and makeup for events, which is what I've been doing for years and years. I thought I really want to teach women how to do a few quick, tiny little tricks so that their features are pulled to the forefront. Not teaching you how to do a smokey eye, I'm not teaching you how to change the way that you look because that's not doing yourself any favors. I'm teaching people, here's what you do so that your eyes pop out. And then I took my experience in social media. I do a whole section on how to take flattering profile pictures that aren't selfies that you take in the car.
Andrea Javor: Right, right. I say this to women all the time. You need to go out and get a couple of new outfits that you feel great wearing.
Andrea Rappaport: Correct.
Andrea Javor: Get a friend to take the pictures, you should not get selfie's in the car.
Andrea Rappaport: If you have the means to do a professional photo shoot, that's what I actually recommend. And if you are in the Chicago area, that's actually part of what I do. I direct photoshoots, and I work with photographers who know how to capture your personality and not have it look like a LinkedIn hedge shot, or that you went to Sears and had some creepy portraits done. But I also teach how to put together a capsule wardrobe for dating, things like the dating go bag. So if you're at work and someone messages you and says, hey, I'm in your area, do you want to grab a drink at whatever downtown. I show you the things that you have on hand with you at all times. So you do a quick pop of this confidence and you're ready to go. The biggest part of this, though, and yes, we all know that the way we look is of relative importance, because it's a visual platform that you're going to be on to meet people. And obviously, we all have eyes. But it's about how you talk about yourself. So it's about not wasting your time. Don't waste other people's time. No BS, be authentic, know that you are enough and be specific. So that's a big part of it is what I talk about, how do you talk about yourself in a positive, impactful and entertaining way. And I laced in a bunch of humor, because I know that these courses are not necessarily fun. And I'm taking courses on how to do these courses and they're always like, it's fun.
Andrea Javor: I'm in the same boat as you. I take courses on building courses, because I love building courses. I'm sitting here talking about divorce and then it's like, but I have to smile. And I have to be upbeat. I love that you're injecting humor--
Andrea Rappaport: Because you're so stupid, so inauthentic. And so I thought, how do I do this in a real way? So at the end of every module in my course, I insert means that are on topic so it feels light. I'm filming my pores to feel like a television show. Because ultimately, hello universe? Listen, listen, that's what I want. I want a TV show that focuses on all of this.
Andrea Javor: Let's put that out there as future gratitude for you getting your TV show.
Andrea Rappaport: Andrea, you know this because you're working with women in the steps prior to when they would meet me, right? And you know that women and men, they need a hand to hold, they need the shoulder to cry on, they need the insight, they need the support. But man, do they also need some levity sometimes.
Andrea Javor: Oh, totally. Well, I love that because your course is available now, or tell us more about it.
Andrea Rappaport: It's not available yet. But by the time that this podcast comes out, we might be very close. So I would say the best thing is follow theandrearappaport on Instagram and you will know what you need to know about.
Andrea Javor: Awesome, that is awesome. Well, I'm really excited for that to come out. I know that there are going to be so many people who benefit from your wisdom. It's also trial and error, right? Like some people just haven't had to date after like, some people have been married. I have a client and she said: "I haven't dated since 1997." I was like, I love you. You're such a wonderful person. She's like, I don't even know like, two people date after the, yes, and there's a wonderful person out there for you. Here are some of the things we could talk about, but I think that it's also just a lot of it to me is confidence.
Andrea Rappaport: Also, don't you feel like the confidence that they can also take to other aspects of their life. It's not just about, but they need, do you have clients who haven't been in the workforce for a long time because they were at home taking care of the family? And then all of a sudden, they're like, what do I do now?
Andrea Javor: I do. But I'll be honest with you, because of my background in the corporate world for 20 years, I tend to attract professional women who are really like badass career women and are like, I don't know what to do now that I have a divorce on my plate as well, because I'm already balancing this high profile career with my family, with my kids. And now, whatever. But yes, I mean, I get where you're going. So to keep going with that, yeah.
I do think that no matter where you are as you start going through divorce, whether you have been working for the last 30 years, or you have been staying at home for the last 30 with your kids, quite honestly, you lose a bit of yourself when you're in a toxic relationship. So I do think there's a pivot point while you're going through divorce, where you realize I have to get back in touch with who I am. And that's exactly what you said earlier, which is the woman who's laying in the middle of the street with the semi moving back and forth over her. That's not the time to ask someone else to be part of that life with you. The time to find a partner is when you feel so completely happy being on your own. But that's hard. That's a tall order with divorce. It's like, how am I ever going to be happy? I say this because I know from experience that you can get there. We all know that it's possible. But when you're in it, it's hard to see that.
Andrea Rappaport: That makes me wonder about what you do with your clients. Are you still with them post divorce?
Andrea Javor: Yeah, yeah. So probably 50% of my clients are already divorced. Or like they're just about to get to the decree, like they're signing an agreement, they're pretty close. So because what I'm really in search of, my mission in life is to modernize the fairytale narrative we have put around marriage and divorce. I think there's this sort of toxic social order that we're all under which is this mesmerizing idea that, well, I have to, I'm going to grow up, I'm going to meet the love of my life, I'm going to get married, I'm going to have two to three children, and then the story ends. To me, I think that there are much more expansive paths to life fulfillment. So what I love doing is helping women get to those pads once they have gotten out of the toxic marriage.
Andrea Rappaport: How do you do that? How do you take them through? Do you have a formula that you use and modify with each person? Because I'm finding that with what I do, because some people, I'm taking people on, like one on one clients, and everyone's story is different. Everyone's background is different. But as far as helping people tap into that confidence and knowing that this is not the end, there is more. So how do you take them through?
Andrea Javor: Yeah. Right now, most of my work is one on one. I do private clients. I'm like you, I'm building different online courses and building different group coaching programs. Because I actually think that the riches of a group coaching program are that you can build a community for yourself with other women that you really connect with and vibe with. But I would say that it's such a customized approach, because everybody kind of comes to me. For one on one, you're coming in at a kind of a different stage. So week one, we may be talking about the divorce process, literally of like, okay, I need to find a lawyer, here are things to consider going through that list of, don't just hire the first person who you're recommended because you have to do your diligence. This could be someone you spend tens of thousands of dollars with over the next year plus.
Andrea Rappaport: So lastly, everybody pause, rewind and listen to what she just said over and over again.
Andrea Javor: Well, if you're not alone, Andrea, there's so many people I've worked with who I've had to say, hey, I want to ask you some critical questions about your legal representation, because I don't think you've got the right person. And then they're kind of like, well, no, my cousin used this person and that their husband got taken to the cleaners. I'm like, but do you really want to do that? Or do you want to have an amicable divorce for your children? So anyway, the point is, I think for me, it's a very individualized approach. I mean, there are definitely frameworks to help me guide my clients through, depending on where they are. But it's a lot of visioning exercises, it's a lot of just asking the right questions and getting real with, it's harder to see what's the patterns in your life when you're living it. But to have a third party come in when you're explaining something to someone, it's like, well, wait a second. You're telling me that you're a very creative person, how does creativity show up outside of work? And it's like, oh, well, I would never have thought of that. Things like that.
Andrea Rappaport: It's really neat, you just said it, it's the power of having a third party who's an expert. Or third parties like, not your drunk aunt who's like, yes, said I've gotten into finance. You want someone who actually knows what they're talking about. And I think that that's something that I really hope for, and I'm assuming that if you guys are listening to this podcast, you probably have an inkling that you might need some support. Go find support beyond just your group of girlfriends because, yeah, they love you, but they are not equipped to manage what you are about to go through, what you've gone through or what you're going through. And you can still go to your friends, of course, but I think that, gosh, divorce is such a consuming process. There's so much, and when you feel like you're in the eye of the hurricane, you're hanging on to the side of the hurricane or whatever it is, you need a place to go. You want someone who you can bounce ideas off of and to know like, this is a person who has the space to support me, has the knowledge to support me, and I'm doing this in a healthy way. Not dumping on your friends who at some point are going to stop returning your text messages.
Andrea Javor: Sure, sure. You go to an expert, right? You don't buy lipstick at a hardware store. You buy lipstick at the beauty counter, you don't buy at--
Andrea Rappaport: That's right. It's taking us back to the very top of this episode when you were like, with our powers combined.
Andrea Javor: Well, and with that, I just want to say, I think to me, what I have taken away from talking to you today is that there is no limit to the things you can accomplish in this world. I think you are such a dynamic individual. I mean, performer, comedian, beauty expert, mental health advocate, you're a divorced mom, you've gone through a lot. And I think that you are just an inspiration to so many that there is such a beautiful life on the other side of tragic events like divorce.
Andrea Rappaport: You're absolutely right. It is not the end, it truly is a new beginning, as cheesy as that sounds. What I have taken from this episode is, I think that I probably still need a Divorce Coach. After hearing so many things that you said, I'm like, you know what? And this is something that I talked about, asking for support is not an admission of weakness. It's just showing how strong you are to say, you know what? I know what I'm good at, and I know where I deserve some support. Because we all need it. So many entrepreneurs have coaches because we're going through all of this on our own like, there's no one else to help us.
Andrea Javor: I have multiple coaches from an entrepreneurial standpoint. And because I coach, I think the coaches need a coach.
Andrea Rappaport: Totally.
Andrea Javor: We need that. But well, I think that if there was a hashtag for this episode, it would be #askforsupport. I think that's a huge piece. I think back when we were talking about being afraid to talk to your friends about something or not sure how to open up to people when you're really miserable, my advice is pick one person. And if that one person is Andrea Rappaport, or if it's me, Andrea Javor, and you need professional support, that's fine. But if it's not, if it's your sister, your mom, your good friend, someone you trust, that's where it starts. And you can get out of a bad situation just by taking small steps in that direction.
Andrea Rappaport: It's true. It's 100% true. And that's one of the reasons why on the podcast that I'm doing, which is called, How Not To Suck At Divorce, we're taking myself and a family law attorney, we're taking you through each step of everything so that you know, like, here's what's going on. I'm sort of the case of like, don't do what she did. And then the attorney is giving you insight and guidance. And one of the things that we talk about so frequently is the power of having a coach, the power of like, you need a team and you deserve a team.
Andrea Javor: Right. Absolutely. You deserve a team in the early stages in the messy middle and post. You do need a team of people to get you through. Well, that's great. We'll have to definitely link to and look out for How Not To Suck At Divorce, you and your podcast. And we will make sure to link to the Dating After Divorce Course because I think that many of the women listening to this are going to be excited to get to know you better and be part of your world in a really meaningful way. So Andrea, how else can people find you?
Andrea Rappaport: You can find me on my website, which is theandrearappaport.com. Find me on Instagram at theandrearappaport, on Facebook at theandrearappaport and I will put my personal address in the show notes, or I will have Andrea put it so you guys can drive by and honk your horn coming on my window in the middle of the night.
Andrea Javor: Be careful what you wish for there. Andrea, thank you so much. This has been truly just the power of the two Andrea's in one room. I think we have uncovered and unearthed some really great insights for people.
Andrea Rappaport: We're like the divorce version of Captain Planet.
Andrea Javor: Well, I can't wait for the next meme or the next real that I see on your Instagram page. So until then, thank you Andrea so much. I really appreciate it.
Andrea Rappaport: Thank you for having me on.
Podcast Episode 006: How to Successfully Get Through the Best Worst Time of Your Life with Andrea Hipps
It’s been 10 years since her divorce, and Andrea Hipps has become the authority on building beautiful two-address families. Andrea is a trusted CDC© Certified Divorce Coach. In this episode, Andrea talks about her best-selling book, The Best Worst Time of Your Life, and how you can uncover your best self and recover after all the trauma of divorce.
"Your former partner or your co-parent does not need to be cooperating with you and leveling up in any way in order for you to start becoming the chief narrator of a better story for your kids.” -Andrea Hipps
The depth of the pain of divorce is impossible to describe. It is a mixture of all the darker emotions one can ever imagine. But, is it possible to turn this dark moment of your life into a more beautiful story for yourself and for your kids? It’s been 10 years since her divorce, and Andrea Hipps has become the authority on building beautiful two-address families. Andrea is a trusted CDC© Certified Divorce Coach. In this episode, Andrea talks about her best-selling book, The Best Worst Time of Your Life, and how you can uncover your best self and recover after all the trauma of divorce. Learn the secret to peaceful co-parenting, working with your former spouse with gratitude rather than resentment, and gaining your children’s trust while teaching them how to navigate their own relationships now and in the future. Join in and say “Yes!” to the life unexpected!
02:25 The Best Worst Time
07:03 The Divorce Continuum
14:41 Uncover and Recover Yourself
19:19 Don’t Call Them Negative
24:00 Don’t Buy Lipstick at a Hardware Store!
29:50 Celebrate the Unwavering Gifts
33:31 Welcome a New Story
- The Best Worst Time of Your Life: Four Practices to Get You Through the Pain of Divorce by Andrea Hipps
02:25 “Your former partner or your co-parent does not need to be cooperating with you and leveling up in any way, in order for you to start becoming the chief narrator of a better story for your kids.” -Andrea Hipps
09:10 “The people that do best in their recovery are the people who release their former partner to be who they're going to be anyway, and instead turn the spotlight on themselves to become the best and most beautiful version of themselves.” -Andrea Hipps
11:06 “You have the capacity to live in what your former partner does and doesn't do for the rest of your life.” -Andrea Hipps
11:39 “You want a life where what this person is doing or not doing does not affect you anymore. The harder part is realizing that you have to let go of your story in order to get that.” -Andrea Hipps
16:43 “Despair is when our will meet something it can't change. And the truth is, you can't change that fact. But it's important not to skip over it.” -Andrea Hipps
19:51 “Sometimes, the darker and painful emotions are some of the most important emotions to feel. Do not be afraid of your feelings.” -Andrea Javor
25:37 “Don't buy lipstick at a hardware store. We often insist that people become something they simply can't be or they aren't good at offering.” -Andrea Hipps
28:38 “There are a million different ways to tell the story of the same events happening. Put together a story that your kids want to live in, rather than one that they want to reject.” -Andrea Hipps
33:26 “Beautiful gifts are around the corner if you're able to look at things differently than you are today.” -Andrea Javor
Meet Our Guest:
Andrea Hipps is a Licensed Social Worker and Certified Divorce Coach® who helps parents all along the divorce continuum resolve their divorce debris and create beautiful two-address families for their kids. She's the author of the international bestselling book "The Best Worst Time of Your Life: Four Practices to Get You Through the Pain of Divorce" which outlines the four practices you need to create wholeness and healing for you and your family before, during, and after divorce. As a regular contributor to our nation’s divorce recovery conversation, she's been featured on NBC, ABC, FOX, and the CW discussing how we can do divorce better for the sake of ourselves and our families.
Andrea Javor: Today on Until There Was Me, I talked to Andrea Hipps, a fellow certified divorce coach who just came out with a wonderful book. It's called The Best Worst Time Of Your Life. Andrea offers tips on getting through divorce. I cannot think of a time better to focus on your relationship with yourself when you were going through a very traumatic experience like divorce. Andrea will share tips and helpful information both on the podcast and her book. Andrea is one of the people in this world who I most admire for the work that she's doing to build beautiful, to address families in her work with co-parents.
Andrea Hipps, welcome to the podcast. I'm so happy to have you here.
Andrea Hipps: Thank you, Andrea, I am more than delighted to be here with you. Two Andrea's, two divorce coaches, good things.
Andrea Javor: This is like double Andrea's, double the power, double the fun, double the badass women in this world. For those who don't know, Andrea and I actually had similar paths to getting into divorce coaching. We both are certified together, and we're both in a couple of mastermind programs together. But for those who don't know you, Andrea, tell everybody a little bit more about you.
Andrea Hipps: Okay. Well, I am a licensed social worker and a certified divorce coach, and I help people along the divorce continuum, resolve their divorce debris and create beautiful to address families. And I just wrote a book about that, it's called The Best Worst Time Of Your Life for practices to get you through the pain of divorce. And so my mission in divorce coaching is really, that your former partner, or your co parent does not need to be cooperating with you and leveling up in any way, in order for you to start becoming the chief narrator and have a better story for your kids.
Andrea Javor: Wow. There's so much to unpack in everything that you just said. First of all, congratulations on the book. I love the title, The Best Worst Time Of Your Life. And is it four practices?
Andrea Hipps: Four practices to get you through the pain of divorce. When I was sort of going through my own divorce over a decade ago, I found a lot of books that could help me with the logistics. And the thing that was really hard for me was I didn't know what to do with all of the rage, all of the pain. And I have to sit next to this person at the choir performance, but I hate them. Like there wasn't anything to deal with, just the absolute wildness of emotion. And I honestly think, even I'm sure your clients have expressed it too. People get really surprised by how big the dark emotions are in divorce. It's really scary that you actually do say to yourself, at some point, it would be easier if the other person died. Those are really uncomfortable things. So this book is really too, it doesn't get into the just logistics of your divorce, it gets into the emotions of your divorce.
Andrea Javor: Well, it's so critical. Because you're right, the emotions can be not only so deep, dark and big, but I think they can be really traumatic in some ways to feel those feelings and to actually not really know how to deal with them. So I applaud you for taking on such a difficult subject, which is kind of these intense emotions.
Andrea Hipps: Yeah, thank you. And I feel like when I was going through my divorce, I was devouring anybody that could try to put to words, just the amount of destabilizing that happens inside your head on a daily basis. So I just want to contribute more to that sphere in the hopes that, not that people won't suffer at all, because I don't think you can go through divorce without suffering. But maybe the experience of it can somehow be time compressed in a way that is more useful.
Andrea Javor: Right, right. I agree with you. I don't think that anyone can get through it without suffering to some degree, unfortunately. But I also think that if you can look at it as an opportunity to create something beautiful, such as your statement of beautiful to address families, if you can create something better on the other side of it, I think that's really where the opportunity is.
Andrea Hipps: Yeah. And I think that's really hard to have a picture of, on the front end. When you're in that first part, I know in our certification, we talked about William Bridges Transition Model where you go through anger, denial and shock. And then you get to the bottom of the curve, and it's this neutral place. It's kind of weird, and you're kind of like, what happens next? And then you start to go back up to the other side of the curve, and you start to get possibility, creativity and initiative. But when you're over on that first part of the curve in shock, anger, denial and depression, all the things, you have absolutely no imagination for the other side of the curve. So I think it's actually really funny to watch when clients start to get to that spot. Wait a minute, I didn't just enter divorce. And now, I have closed the hatchet on all future happiness and a sense of regulation in my life. There actually is something new that will come of it.
Andrea Javor: I think what's beautiful about what you do is you talk about working with people all along the divorce continuum. And I want to ask you about that, because I know with my own experience, and with clients I work with, some things are harder to come to in the very early stages when you're just sorting through it versus as you kind of get further along. I would love to talk about like, talk to me about that divorce continuum and how you see that playing out for people.
Andrea Hipps: Yeah. So I work with people, I kind of summarize it into three stages. First, the do I or don't I stage. And these are people who are really trying to assess, is it time? Am I ready? And the work that I really do with those people is to sort of gently walk them away from those questions because they feel really pressing like, is it time? Am I ready? If you knew that, you would either get divorced or reinvest in your marriage. But the bigger question that I try to direct people to is, am I willing, because divorce sort of life rearranging on the low end of things a couple of years on the realistic, innovative things more like four or five years. So are you willing to go through this process where everything is going to fall apart in the ways that it's familiar to you, and then you are going to rebuild it in a way that will become newly familiar to you. So you're never going to be ready to do that. It's never going to be time to follow that up. But are you willing to walk through the process of like, we were talking earlier, breaking and remaking. That's really kind of the focus to me of that particular part of the continuum.
Andrea Javor: Right, right.
Andrea Hipps: When we move into the middle, which I call the messy middle of people who are going through divorce, those issues, really to me, span a lot of things. I have some clients who are in the later stages of their lives. Their kids have moved out, they're going through divorce with adult children, and really with a long history of some very fulfilling experiences with their former partner. So the issues they need to work on are very different than the ones who have a two and a five year old at home who are going to have post divorce life and a relationship that's longer than their married life was. So we're working there on how to integrate a new sense of family that isn't built together. And I think that's the hardest part is when we're married, we're working on it together. We come together to talk about the couples, to talk about the marriage, to talk about the things that we have.
And as we are divorced, the people I observed that do the best in their recovery with that are people who release their former partner to be who they're going to be anyway. And instead turn the spotlight on themselves to really become the best and most beautiful version of themselves in service of their family, but not waiting for the other partner to sort of step in or come alongside. And then finally, the people who are their divorce are finalized. Now, these are people who are five and maybe even 10 years out who still have some part of their divorce story that is limiting their ability to feel at home in their new life, whether that's unresolved issues with their former partner, financial strain, career limits, all of the things that sort of show up when, okay, I thought that problem was my former partner. I thought the problem was this. But the problem is now, just me sitting here unhappily living this life. What do we need to remove in order to release those people into a better experience? That's kind of the continuum that I work with people on.
Andrea Javor: I think in all aspects, it does take quite a bit of self reflection, which can be one of the most difficult things to do is turn the mirror around on yourself. When it's easier, in some ways, I think to get caught up in the anger, resentment, the conflict with either your soon to be former spouse or your former spouse.
Andrea Hipps: Yes, yeah. I do talk about that in the book, this idea that it's always the other person's fault. That is the easiest knee jerk instinctive reaction of a divorcing person is, this would be easier if he or she would start or stop this or that. And that narrative is what keeps people getting divorced even after they're already divorced. And the real work, like you said, is self reflection and coming to a point where you have the capacity to live in what your former partner doesn't do about this or that for the rest of your life.
Andrea Javor: And how can you help people to make that subtle, yet really poignant shift to focus not on what he or she is doing, but on what I can do myself.
Andrea Hipps: It's interesting because it seems that it's very appealing to people when I can describe it as, you want a life where what this person is doing or not doing does not affect you anymore. When I say that, most people are going through divorce or just like, please give me this relief. Please, that is what I want. So the harder part is realizing that they have to let go of their story in order to get that, because when you're the victim of poor characters, and poor egos, and poor behaviors, and all the other things that we sort of blame as the reason for our misfortune, you have a very sympathetic victim story that helps you feel like, well, this is warranted that I feel this way because all this is happening at me and to me. And in order to really reflect into the new life you want, you have to drop the story. And the new story you have to take on is, I'm directing the ship. I'm the one that controls how I respond. And I do think people instinctively want to do that. I think they're not quite sure how to manage the volume of triggers that they're getting every day, that sort of propel them backwards instead of using those triggers to propel them forward into new experimenting around how to respond.
Andrea Javor: Well, I believe so strongly in coaching. To have somebody there by your side to help you deconstruct the situation, help you talk through it, help you work through what's really going on. Because a lot of times, I think the people we work with can be, you're in such a heightened state of emotion, the emotions are so intense, it's difficult to see things for what they are right in front of you. So I applaud you for being able to point those things out in a way that I'm sure it's very empathetic and compassionate towards people who probably have a lot of levels, want to have a better outcome on the other side of this and just don't know how to get there.
Andrea Hipps: Yeah, and it is empathetic and compassionate. But in my case, it's also very direct. That if you want to spend your life, let's say in the case of the other woman, if you want to spend your life rejecting her, or making your former partner feel punishment about the fact that he or she chose her, then you're going to get certain outcomes for yourself that have nothing to do with the fact that they're having a great time in Mexico without you.
Andrea Javor: Sure.
Andrea Hipps: And really helping people to say yes to life unexpectedly is at the core of what I am working with people on. This isn't what you expected, and this isn't what you wanted. And the people who do best find a way to say yes to this anyway.
Andrea Javor: Right, exactly. I think you're exactly right. If you can find a way to make opportunistic decisions as you're going through your divorce and think about it as an opportunity. That to me seems like a subtle shift in mindset that does help people move forward with more ease and in a more timely way than others, for sure.
Andrea Hipps: Yeah. And I don't know if this was your experience, but when I look back at my own divorce, and I didn't have a divorce coach. I didn't know divorce coaching even existed either. I did pursue therapy which is great for uncovering and recovering your former self, and the patterns that got you to this place. And I certainly needed to do that work only to make sure that I didn't repeat it in a future relationship. But I think the part that I couldn't get hold of was, what now? What's ahead? Because everything I thought I had was just less than. And for those of you who are old enough kind of side B of the record, it wasn't going to be, we're going to try to make it through to the end of life. Now, this is the less than version. And a coach at that time for me, and my story really could have helped me start to do the discovering that coaching is so amazing where I'd already done the uncovering and recovering. I needed to get into the discovering of, actually, there is something out here. Actually, you have control over what you make of it. And being able to get out of the victim, the powerless and the feeling like it's over is going to absolutely revolutionize your ability to step into it.
Andrea Javor: I love what you said about really discovering the opportunities in the future. Because that to me feels like it's the work of self optimism that oftentimes is really difficult to see when you are stuck in. He's on vacation in Mexico with the other woman, it's tough to let go of those stories.
Andrea Hipps: Yeah, yeah. I don't want to deny that there is a solid window of time, in which and during which you need to be kicking doors, screaming into pillows and crying yourself to sleep. And really despairing, there is a point to our despair. I mean, despair is when our WILL meet something, it can't change. And the truth is, you can't change the fact that he or she has moved on with her. You just can't. And that leaves us to raft for a period of time. It's really important not to skip over it. But there's also so much benefit in having a divorce coach to be able to come alongside you and really challenge the NOW WHAT part of that, like you said.
Andrea Javor: That's exactly right. Yeah, but now what with the optimism? Yeah, I mean, it's funny. For me, I definitely cried myself to sleep some nights, I did an angry thing where I'd get in my car and turn on like just heavy metal music. That's just loud screaming. And it was like, that was just by cathartic release. I was part of the anger, the despair that you know, the grief that we have to feel. I tell people this almost every day, it won't work through you unless you let it, it's not going to release unless you let those feelings kind of work out in whatever way you need to work them out.
Andrea Hipps: Mm hmm. I think you're absolutely right. And I think part of that is this top down regulation of talking and of thinking which we do with coaching, and which we do with therapy, and which we do with our friends. And then there's also the bottom up which is, sometimes, your brain knows exactly what you ought to be thinking and saying, but it's not happening. And there's part of your body that's still holding this fight or flight and it's on defense, and it can't do the better thing that your mind knows that ought to be doing. So how do we integrate both of those things together? In my case, when I was going through divorce, I lived in a cold climate that had an indoor racing track, running track. I would run, and I remember somebody stopping me one time after that, and they're like, you run like somebody is chasing you. And I'm like, I feel like I'm being chased by this thing, anger in his rage. And I remember doing push ups, like my eyeballs gonna burn holes into the floor. They were so steely, and it just felt so untameable. And when we can acknowledge that it's both of those things coming together, the sort of thoughtful talk experience of making sure we're checking our thoughts and casting for division for better ones, but also letting our body incinerate a lot of those negative emotions for us, or dark emotions for us.
Andrea Javor: What a visual, I love that. Incineration of the dark feelings internally. I love that.
Andrea Hipps: Yeah. I read a great book recently that talked about being careful to not call them negative emotions, but to call them dark emotions. Because when we call them negative, that implies that we shouldn't be having them, which couldn't be further from the truth. And especially in divorce, they serve a very important propelling purpose for us if we allow them to. So when they're just dark, it's here, and I'm uncomfortable versus it's here, I'm uncomfortable, and I shouldn't be feeling this way.
Andrea Javor: I love that. I think that's a really important distinction to make as well. I think sometimes, the darker than painful emotions are some of the most important to feel and to not be. Being afraid of your feelings is, I think, a common condition. You're sort of pushing away those negatives, so I love that idea that you wrote about. Thank you. I'm interested to know, it's been 10 years since your divorce and you are maintaining a beautiful to address family life for your children. How's that going today?
Andrea Hipps: It's going fantastic. And it was interesting when I wrote this book. I was careful with it because for two reasons. One, I wanted to make sure that my children were of an age to hear the story, and to be able to, there were parts of the story that maybe we hadn't talked about yet, and that we're going to appear in this book. And yet, there was also this very real factor of my former partner, my current co-parent not wanting to sort of blow up the great progress that we had made. So he was my first reader. I gave him the book and I said, I want you to read this as a parent of our two kids. And I want you to read it as a person that I don't want to damage.
And it was very interesting because he came back into my kitchen after reading it and he said to me: "It was a great book." And in fact, he's highly endorsed it, which I'm very grateful for. But more interesting to me was he said: "I had no idea that this is what you were doing, but it worked for us." And it was the first time we'd ever really talked about the fact that we have a great relationship that we have never worked on together. And I think that's the part that surprises people. Because when they see these co-parents that have these beautiful tandem experiences, it's because they sat down and they got over themselves, and they put the kids first and they just got along and put the past behind them. Those are just false narratives that make people feel like crap. And I don't recommend them, it doesn't work to just do better and be better. The truth is, he wasn't going to work with me in the ways I wanted him to. And chances are, I wasn't going to do the same.
Andrea Javor: Sure.
Andrea Hipps: So what we needed to do was get really divorced where I allowed him to be who he was going to be anyway, where I allowed the time and the space. One of the practices in this book has to do around gratitude, where I started a gratitude practice for him so that I could stop focusing on everything. He wasn't going to be a failed way to go about a marriage, it's a super failed way to go about co parenting. Just really tried to introduce gratitude for what was working, and to only think about, promote and champion those things with my kids. In doing so, he became the separate person who was going to offer a lot of great things. Sure, he wasn't going to do X, Y and Z that I really wished you would do. But if I was so busy harping on X, Y and Z, I was gonna miss A through M that he was killing it in.
So how I decided to parent was a lot more parallel parenting, which is something we talk about as divorce coaches, which is, how do I be the best parent in my home in this way? And how do I allow you to do the same? That to me gave us the basis from which to start co-parenting. When you try to co parent immediately after you get divorced, you're asking people who really have a hard time with each other to start braiding each other's hair and singing songs to each other is not going to happen. It's an unfair expectation. It was a very interesting reflection with him many years later. We are doing a great job, but we didn't ever sit and talk about it.
Andrea Javor: Right. Well, I wonder if, because you were reflecting on your role and kind of letting things go on his side of the fence, was he doing the same thing? And advertently kind of letting things that you were doing that bothered him?
Andrea Hipps: Yeah, possibly. When one person up levels their health, typically other people respond to that. Now, it doesn't mean that they absolutely become the most healthy versions of themselves, but you start to be less impacted by what it is they can't do. So I think it just gave a lot of breathing room. And who doesn't want to be known for what they're great at? I mean, there's a lot of stuff that I'm not great at, and I don't want to hear about it from him any more than he wants to hear about it from me. And I think that motivation comes from a really great place. I work probably 70% women, 30% men. And I think, especially in the women that I work with, including myself, that fear comes from this desire to make sure nothing happens to our children. And in order to make sure nothing bad happens to them, we need to make sure that our former partner is lining up in the right ways doing the right things. And when they don't, the kids are at risk, and it's just simply not true. I mean, there's ways to work with and around people for what it is. They are genuinely and authentically going to give anyway to your family, rather than insisting they read from your script like a robot that isn't genuine anyway.
Andrea Javor: Well, it's not genuine anyway. And quite honestly, I think you could challenge yourself a little bit more to say, how can I learn from the other person. There are definitely things that he is doing well that wouldn't have been in my script. And it takes some humility to do that.
Andrea Hipps: You're absolutely right. And I talked about in the book, this girlfriend and I have this line that I don't buy lipstick at a hardware store. You go to the hardware store to get the hammer, you go to the makeup counter to get the lipstick. And instead, we often insist that people become something they simply can't be or they aren't good at offering. So to me, that's an act of parenting as well where I'm teaching my kids, go to your dad for this. He's awesome at this. I'm lipstick in the hardware store on this topic, and he's absolutely crushing it. In that way, they also see me championing him, which is a huge part of what helps to create beautiful to address families if they are not just hearing me, not saying something bad about their partner, which I think a lot of people use as the end point. Like, I never say anything bad. Okay, well, by the way, they're stupid.
Andrea Javor: They pick up on energy.
Andrea Hipps: Exactly. That energy is very much there. And so to change that from, I'm not going to say anything bad, look at me saying these great things, look at me being able to give away this, and I don't lose anything from giving that away. In fact, again, more, more comfortable kids, if anything.
Andrea Javor: I was gonna say you probably gain even if they don't know, I don't know how old your kids are, but even if they don't know how to articulate this yet, you probably gain children who trust you more as a parent because you're being authentic with them about your relationship.
Andrea Hipps: Yeah. I think families who have divorce in their storyline are given some advantage, should they take it. They're given some advantage in that they have this very real material experience of being able to tell their kids and live for their kids. This is how you deal with a life unexpected. This is how you deal with problems and pains. And as one of the most important adults in your life, I am going to live this out for you so that you have no excuses going forward when something unexpected happens to you, you've got this real life example. You want to show them that we just closed down, get crabby and push against and blame. Plenty of people are doing that. And they're raising kids who think that's what we do when things don't go our way. And the legacy of divorce kind of gets lodged in a place that requires future therapy for them. And when we can do the work that is uncomfortable, we can move through it in a way that I think our kids will actually express, I don't know, they'll express gratitude that sort of like, oh, hey, thanks for making this hard for me. But I think they can express some appreciation for how this unexpected was made as whole as possible for them.
Andrea Javor: Right. And exactly what you said, you're really modeling that for that. And you're battling how to get through unexpected challenges. I don't know whose life, who hasn't been thrown an unexpected challenge in life to try to get by so.
Andrea Hipps: Thank you. I appreciate that. And I think the one of the things that I talk to my clients about is becoming the narrator of the story. Because there's a million different ways to tell the story of the same events happening. And in one story, it's a tragedy, and it's awful. And in another story, it's the hero's journey. So how do you keep bringing back your story to look at what we've figured out, look at what we've learned, to look at what we're doing in a way that just puts together a story that your kids want to live in, rather than one that they want to reject. And that sort of dogs them for their adult life as well.
Andrea Javor: Right, exactly, exactly. I want to go back really quickly to one thing you said about the gratitude practice for your co parent.
Andrea Hipps: Yes.
Andrea Javor: So how did that work for you? Did you just literally write down every day sort of reflected on what you're grateful for and tried to touch base with that?
Andrea Hipps: Well, it was interesting. I tell the story in the book that I was paired up with a spiritual director, which is just the person who sits and listens with you around. The story that God, or essence, or divine were going to call is trying to work out in your own life. And she was great. She was like, what if you want a deep peace and freedom for your former partner no matter what it meant for you? And I was like, how about not? I mean, honestly.
Andrea Javor: That's a big mic drop question.
Andrea Hipps: Exactly. I was like, how about I don't want that, I want the pain and suffering for him, and lots of deep peace and freedom for me. And yet, when she said it was a very appealing question, I knew there was some better truth that lived there. And I said: "Tell me how to get there." And she said: "I want you to start by doing three gratitudes a day for your former partner, no repeats, and you don't get out of bed till you do them."
Andrea Javor: Wow.
Andrea Hipps: I didn't write them down. No, I just laid in bed, and I spent a lot of mornings in bed, long mornings in bed. And that's that first little bit. And I talked about in the book how pathetic they were, I'm glad he's not here. And I'm really grateful. He's not coming over today. I think it was really prophetic. And over time, it really opened me to not only the gifts that he brings, then the gifts that he brought, and they give some, he still brings now. But it also helped me to realize how I maybe didn't celebrate those when we were married. And so it became the entryway to one of the practices, which is on your own part. And it was sort of so hard to realize. But the more that I put the spotlight on what he isn't, the less happy I am with my experience of it to address family. The more I celebrate the absolutely unwavering gifts that he contributes, the more freedom, the deep peace and freedom I'm giving him is coming back to me.
Andrea Javor: It's ironic how this happens, I think. My own story of divorce, I had to do quite a bit of forgiveness around a duality of infidelity, lying about money, things like that. And I remember, and like you, I didn't know about divorce coaching. I didn't have a coach helping me three years ago, but I did have a therapist. And I remember, she said to me: "I want you to light a candle for him every day. Say a prayer that you can forgive him because you're not there yet." And just everyday I'm like, every day, you're out of your mind. That's way too much time to dedicate to this. Like, he did all these things. He's out of here. And I did. I showed up to that candle, I really did. Every day, I set a timer on my phone in the evening and I thought, okay, this is gonna be my time. So I'd like the candle, I'd let it burn for a while. And the first weeks, it was like, I wish he were burning in this flame.
And what I do think is like, I think it's a spiritual gift in some ways is I was able to kind of transition the way that I thought about it, and I kind of get out of my own way of feeling like this was a chore that I had to do something I didn't want to do. And I wasn't sure how this was working. I like a plan, I like a roadmap, do this and you'll get this result. I'm like, this candle thing was way too nebulous. But it's woo-woo. But I will say over time, what I realized was the miraculous gift was, at the end of the candle exercise, probably about a month after I started doing it, I realized that actually the person I had to forgive was myself for being in the relationship. And the reason I tell you this, because I sparked so strongly. My heart started fluttering when you said that one of the things in the book is to look at your role. Look at your role and things. So I do think that, in general, putting positive energy towards healing and towards a strong relationship with your ex. In my case, it wasn't to co parent necessarily, it was just more to like, let that forgiveness come into my life. I think that beautiful gifts are around the corner if you're able to look at things differently than you are today.
Andrea Hipps: Yeah. It's a big ask, I completely agree. And thank you for sharing that story because I feel like we're asking people to open up to something that the traditional divorce recovery community doesn't ask of anybody. I mean, there's just sort of this belief of, oh, you get divorced, we're just gonna dog on that person the rest of our lives. That there aren't really a lot of great shining examples for people of how to go through this process in a way that undoes you and reproduces you as a beautiful, free person. Most people just get dogged by that stuff the rest of their lives. It takes some sort of outside presence, I think in your life to really say, where are we going with this? And I think in your case, it was the therapist with the candle in mind as a spiritual director saying, do you want peace and freedom? And once you can catch on to that, and it really opens up to the fact that this is probably something your life was crying out for a really long time. And now, you let your own self out of the jail that you've been in and can really welcome a new story or continued more healthy story.
Andrea Javor: It's incredible. It's such a beautiful gift to be able to look at a tragedy in your life and then actually realize that this was probably the most beautiful opportunity I've had to rewrite my story and to come out stronger on the other side of it, for sure.
Andrea Hipps: Yeah. The best worst time of your life, just like the book title. Exactly. For most people, it's the worst time of their life, and it continues to be the sort of prelude to the worst of the rest of their life. But for people like you and me, and the people we get to work with, it really can become the best worst thing.
Andrea Javor: Yeah, it doesn't have to be that way. It can be the best worst time as long as you look at it as an opportunity. Follow the guidance from experts, such as yourself, Andrea, and what you're putting out there is tremendously helpful to many people.
Andrea Hipps: And you too, I'm so grateful to be in this world, this little niche of the world along with you and your good words as well.
Andrea Javor: Oh, likewise, likewise. So for anybody listening, tell us more about how you work with clients and how to reach you.
Andrea Hipps: Sure. You can find me at andreahippsdivorcecoach.com, there's two P's in Hipps. And on there, you will find an enormous number of things. The best of which is scheduler to hop on a free 30 minute consultation call with me where we can figure out what it is you're facing in your divorce story. But even if we don't work together, I will send you away with a strategy for what you might need to consider as you're going forward. And you can also find a link to my book there. It's available on Amazon. I have a free communication guide for talking to a difficult former partner. And more than anything, I am putting out material, and how tos and tips almost every day on Instagram and Facebook. You can find me on those under Andrea Hipps Divorce Coach as well. I just want people to feel deeply supported. And the way that I do my coaching, if you walk into that, I have various terms of sessions that contribute to packages. And I really customize those based on the specifics of what it is you need to be working on. But I also backfill it with homework. So it's not just the sessions, it's also customized homework that dives into the specifics of what is keeping you in the place you're in. That is not the place that you want to be. So it's a lot of fun. It's a lot of work. But as we've been discussing, you don't get to the great release unless you put in some time and energy.
Andrea Javor: Well, that is very well said. So if you want to have the best worst time during your divorce, get in touch with Andrea. The book is available everywhere, books are sold on Amazon, The Best Worst Time Of Your Life. And it's been such a pleasure, Andrea, to talk to you in depth about the book and about your business.
Andrea Hipps: Thank you. It's been a total delight to be here. Thank you for having me.
Andrea Javor: Absolutely. Thank you so much.
Podcast Episode 005: How to Get Over the Guilt of Divorce and Rebuild Your Life with Christine Carr
Guilt and its accompanying emotions are part of the divorce process. But for some, the intensity of negative emotions becomes so overwhelming, especially to the one who chooses to leave the marriage first. Christine Carr, the Founder of Monkey Mind Chicago and host of She's On Top, personally experienced how devastating this can be.
Guilt is something that you have to learn to separate and redefine. When we feel bad about letting other people down, it makes us feel like we're doing something wrong. However, you don't have to feel guilty for choosing yourself. You're supposed to be choosing yourself." -Christine Carr
Guilt and its accompanying emotions are part of the divorce process. But for some, the intensity of negative emotions becomes so overwhelming, especially to the one who chooses to leave the marriage first. Christine Carr, the Founder of Monkey Mind Chicago and host of She's On Top, personally experienced how devastating this can be. In this episode, she shares how to redefine guilt and rebuild yourself. Learn how to overcome the challenges of choosing yourself first and become a model of forgiveness and honesty that your children can trust and look up to. Sometimes, when emotions shout louder than intellect, we make hasty, detrimental decisions. As a real estate broker, Christine also imparts practical advice on how you can make wise real estate decisions as you move forward. Divorce will make significant changes to your life, and those changes can be positive. Say Yes! to possibilities. Manifest your vision.
02:14 Yes! to Possibilities
06:50 The Challenge of Choosing Yourself
14:50 The Process of Rebuilding Yourself
21:32 What is a Home?
25:11 Manifest Your Vision
29:17 Before You Move Forward
32:44 The Reward of Being a Better Person
38:56 It's Never Too Late
08:36 "Guilt is something that you have to learn to separate and redefine. When we feel bad about letting other people down, it makes us feel like we're doing something wrong. However, you don't have to feel guilty for choosing yourself. You're supposed to be choosing yourself." -Christine Carr
14:46 "Other people have trauma. We're supposed to all be here at community helping each other deal with it." -Andrea Javor
17:26 "You have to decide what is for you and what's realistic. Anytime you make a significant change to habits or routines, start small. And then try to build on that one small thing." -Christine Carr
30:13 "Sometimes, we're so ready to move forward, we almost toss caution to the wind and move forward without thinking through our real estate decisions." -Andrea Javor
31:29 "When you're in reaction, very often you're not thinking as your best self. The longer you can wait to settle, the more information come forward and help you make a better choice." -Christine Carr
36:30 "Everything that we do, everything that we feel, and every way we show up, [our kids] feel it. Whether they say it or not, whether there's a reaction or not, they are watching you, and they are going to bring it back and use it to their own good or detriment. If you can find a way to take the high road, you will reap the reward of that in the long run." -Christine Carr
37:44 "We start thinking [our children] need us less than less. But they're leaning into us more and more, we just aren't paying attention." -Christine Carr
40:28 "Give your children the benefit of your mistake. Show them that when we make a mistake, we go to the person who we made it with, and we own it, and then we try to do better. That's what we can do as parents, as humans in general." -Christine Carr
42:20 "Until you know yourself, it's pretty tough to try to know others." -Christine Carr
Meet Our Guest:
Christine Carr is a Chicago-based residential real estate broker and professional life coach. She is also the founder of Monkey Mind Chicago, a holistic approach to coaching that combines traditional coaching methods, mindfulness, neuroscience, and psychology. Christine is also the host of a recently launched podcast entitled, She's On Top, Conversations with Chicago's Leading Women where she hopes to call attention to the many ways that women lead.
Andrea Javor: Today on Until There Was Me, I'm talking to Christine Carr. Christine is a realtor and a mindset expert who runs a business called Monkey Mind Chicago. I love talking to Christine because she really understands the human psyche and how we process emotions. It's a wonderful conversation to help you get in touch on a deeper level with who you are and where you want to go. Enjoy.
Welcome Christine Carr, it is so nice to have you here.
Christine Carr: Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to speak with you.
Andrea Javor: Wonderful. So please tell everybody who you are and what you do.
Christine Carr: So I'm Christine Carr. I am a real estate broker here in Chicago. I am also a professional life coach credential through the International Coaching Federation. And I am a mindfulness practitioner with a coaching platform called the Monkey Mindset. All kinds of stuff.
Andrea Javor: I love the work you do because you are such a dynamic individual with multiple offerings. Tell me how did you get into this?
Christine Carr: Well, it's quite a story, actually. So probably about 12 years ago, I was introduced to mindfulness meditation by the gentleman who owns the brokerage that I work at the real estate firm. It really hit me that it was something that could really help me and I changed my life dramatically in that moment. But then, life gets in the way. I had two little kids at the time and was working, and I kind of got away from it. And as I was going through some life changes, my therapist kind of reintroduced me to it and brought it back full circle as a way to help manage a difficult time. And I realized in that moment that it was life saving for me, life changing so I kept that up and really wanted to find ways to share that with other people.
And then right around that same time, I also started going, I went back to school and got my master's degree in counseling psychology. I thought, oh, you know what? I'm going to be a therapist. And when I started going and trying to be a therapist, it was not a good fit. I care so much about people, and I care about the profession of therapy tremendously. I think that they do work that is, like I said, life saving, saved my life. I have tremendous respect for it. But as far as me personally, it just wasn't a good fit. So right at that time, the gentleman who had actually introduced me to mindfulness decided he wanted to do a coaching program within our brokerage, so he invited me to be a part of the fledgling coaching program at Dream Town. And we were trained by a master coach from the International Coaching Federation. It was just like a lightbulb went off, it was like the third rung to my three legged stool to put it mildly. I just fell in love with it. And through my own experience, learning how to coach, I've been coached and I know it works, I just did love it.
Andrea Javor: Oh, that's so wonderful to hear that story. It sounds so similar to many women who I've worked with as entrepreneurs. You just keep taking the next step forward, and the universe kind of brings you what you need. Did you feel that's the case for you?
Christine Carr: Yes, yes. I think the more you can give yourself over to that belief, which is not always easy, the more you see it show up, and the more belief you have. Because you're like, wow, that really was kismet that just happened. And oh, my god, I'm gonna cry. This is unbelievable. This is exactly what I needed. And what's the saying, when the student is ready, the teacher will present itself. So I try to keep my eyes open, and I try to say YES to as many things as possible.
Andrea Javor: I love that, when the student is ready, the teacher will present itself. It's just beautiful. I want to make sure we talk a little bit about divorce, which is the reason that many of the people are listening to this podcast. It is really difficult to have that belief and that belief in yourself to think, I know for myself, I was devastated by my divorce. Thinking there's no teacher that can come along and help me do anything to get past this yet. I know you've been through divorce, and you found kind of that better after on the other side of it as well. Do you think that belief system has helped you get the right coaching and teaching that you've needed?
Christine Carr: Oh, boy, I wish I could say that I was right on top of it, and managing it all and doing all the right things. But I think when you're going through something messy, it's just messy. And it's painful. There's hearts that are breaking, your own and others. And in my case, I wanted to leave my marriage. But the other person involved, my husband, did not want the marriage to end. So that added another layer of challenge. I think what I did have going for me at the time was an excellent therapist, and a good support system of friends and family who knew what I was doing, and why I was doing it. So I was able to continue to move forward even though it was really, really scary.
Andrea Javor: Yeah. I would imagine that there is an influx of emotions that come up when you are the person who chooses to leave the marriage, and your spouse doesn't want it to end.
Christine Carr: Yeah. A tremendous amount of guilt and a tremendous amount of self doubt. Because I kept thinking, okay, well, maybe this is just temporary. Or maybe I'm just going through a crisis, and I can find a way to circle back to that person and save the relationship. Maybe if I took some time, I tried to do the separation for a while thinking, maybe if I just got some distance that would maybe clear my head and miss that person, and I would want again, or want to fix it and want it to work out. And unfortunately, that was not what happened. So there was a lot of anger, and it was just very, very challenging to continue to keep moving forward and keep choosing myself. And choosing myself because, I think I read somewhere in a book. It's one of those things where, oh, gosh, it's a popular saying where it's like, the pain of staying was greater than the pain of leaving. So I just had to choose the ladder. And it was the first time I think that I chose myself over other people's needs, wants and beliefs. And that was painful too because I had to create a new me to do that. And once I did that, I couldn't turn back. And that was just the truth of it.
Andrea Javor: Wow, wow. Yeah. It's incredible what happens when you do start choosing yourself over other people and kind of showing up as your best self. As you were talking about the guilt and the self doubt, I'm curious if you have any practices that helped you deal with that that you would share?
Christine Carr: Yeah, I think guilt is something that you have to learn to separate and redefine. Because I think that when we feel bad about letting other people down, it makes us feel like we're doing something wrong. And in my better self, or my more mature self, or my happily ever after self, however you want to put it, I look back and I realized that you don't have to feel guilty for choosing yourself. I just didn't know that at the time, you're supposed to be choosing yourself. I just didn't have the tools or the self awareness to recognize that at that time, I'm very grateful for that process because I realized now that I needed to relearn how I saw myself in the world as a whole and in all relationships, not just my romantic ones. That was deep work that I had to do.
Andrea Javor: Wow. I feel like it's an opportunity that so many of us probably don't even know is presenting itself at the time. I don't know how you become so self aware of that. It's a beautiful thing.
Christine Carr: It is beautiful, but it's a process. And like I mentioned about the messy, as humans, we definitely don't try to lean into the messy and I kind of was in a situation where I burst open and didn't have much of a choice. So I think I was in it, and it was messy. I just started reading and I went to therapy, and I started meditating again, and I just did the work. I did the messy, messy work and the timing of the coaching work dovetailed perfectly because I was able to use that coach as someone to help me. As I learned to teach other people about becoming more self aware and learning about their habits and their belief systems, I was questioning things that I had been taking for granted and assuming for my whole life. I mean, it's really interesting to say without getting too weird about it. But when I look back at pictures of myself before my divorce, it's a different human. I look at her, and I have tremendous compassion. I love her and I see her fully, but it doesn't feel like me. It's really odd, it's a really odd thing.
Andrea Javor: Like the person who you are today feels fundamentally dissimilar to that other person while you were married.
Christine Carr: Yes, yes.
Andrea Javor: Wow. So it's truly an evolution of who you were to get more mindful and self aware. And it sounds like the catalyst to a lot of that is meeting new people and kind of bringing in new influences into your life to uncover some of that.
Christine Carr: Correct. I think I got triggered by some different emotional things. It's tough to share, but I had a pretty difficult situation growing up, which a lot of people do. I'm not trying to say it was special in any way, but it was definitely challenging. I think as children, and it's interesting because as a student of neuroscience and family systems, how we cope with our environment and all those other things, that helped me tremendously as well post divorce. But what I know now about myself is that I was traumatized. I did a lot of survival things as my personality, and I didn't question it. I was just rolling along, just doing my best every day to stay small and to stay in the system that I thought I needed to be in. And I didn't question it. And then when things fell apart, I started to really look at who I was, and where those beliefs came from, and why I had chosen the things that I had chosen for myself based on those reactions from that trauma. So when I started to release the trauma and feel better about who I was, and heal from a lot of the things that I've been carrying around, I just felt a lot lighter. I felt a lot more open to other people and more open to the differences that other people have and other people's trauma. And I just started to just be much, much more accepting of myself and others. And that's kind of where it starts.
Andrea Javor: Well, it makes sense. When and why we are as humans, I think we all deal with some level of trauma. Not to trivialize anybody's persona, but it's like, when you said, my trauma isn't special, I would disagree. That is special to you, as my trauma is special to me. But we all go through it. So it is sort of ironic that sometimes, we try to push those feelings away, when ultimately it's the human experience that we all share.
Christine Carr: Absolutely. No pain is like your own pain. And that's what's so interesting about our culture too because we want to believe that we're good people, and that we're capable of seeing others, and being compassionate and wanting our world to be equal, and all those other things. But unless it hits us, sometimes we're not capable of seeing it. So I think maybe for me being broken open, that just opened my eyes to the fact that there's a lot out there that is happening, and I just became a lot more connected to other people's true reality.
Andrea Javor: Right, right. Sometimes I feel like trauma can be a gift in our lives depending on how we handle it, and how we deal with it, and kind of what it leads us to. In the human experience, we're here for the love, and we're here for the pain. Nobody is escaping through life without any pain and just with love, or vice versa. I think we have that opportunity to lean into those areas and learn from them. Sometimes, I think it is really difficult for myself specifically to look at the trauma and look at the patterns and say, hey, maybe there's a better way to handle this. Or maybe I need to deal with this. And hey, I love what you said too, which is that other people have trauma that we're supposed to all be here in the community helping each other deal with.
Christine Carr: Oh, it's a process. I mean, I think that even recognizing when you're in a place of being triggered by something that's from your past or something that you've been carrying around is part of the process, and being open to sort of looking at that. I started to say before, as humans, we don't necessarily lean into that. We create a lot of differences, a lot of diversions to avoid that. I think it's baby steps for the most part.
Andrea Javor: I love the baby step idea. Because it truly is, especially when you're going through trauma in your life, whether it's the ending of a marriage, or career changes, whatever it may be. When there's a big change in your life, oftentimes, I go and lean into. Well, I have to make big changes, I have to do big things. And it's like, Andrea, no, you actually just need to take really small steps forward, and they add up to big changes in your life. I'm wondering if you agree with that.
Christine Carr: I totally agree with you. As a coach, I know it's true. Because I think what happens is, it's so hard because when you're going through a divorce, that's a lot of big stuff. That's like 17 big things at once. All of a sudden, you're not with a partner, so you're single. That's huge. You're probably moving, which is a part that I relate to a lot with real estate. Maybe you're renegotiating relationships with children and pets. My husband and I worked together, so that was super challenging because it was like, okay, are we gonna all be friends? Guess what? No, I'm the one that wasn't friends with everyone anymore. I lost a big portion of my social circle as well. So those are big, big ones.
I think as you're starting to go through that process, you have to be so kind to yourself, try to give yourself a break, and really lean into the self care and taking care of yourself and your close ones, and doing the things that you can do to support yourself, your career and things like that. And then as you get a little stronger, you get a little distance from it, then you can start to say, okay, what is it that I could realistically do today, and then tomorrow, and then the next day, and then the next day, and the next day. And I think it's interesting because I've seen these lot of posts during the pandemic, or you have the one faction of people that are like, oh, my God, we're shut down. I'm going to write a novel, and I'm going to paint my bathroom, and I'm going to do all these other things. And some people are like, under the covers like, holy shit, I'm not doing anything. So you just have to decide what is for you and what's realistic. But I do feel that from a behavioral standpoint and from a scientific standpoint, that anytime you'd like to make a significant change to habits, or routines, or beliefs that you start really, really small, very granular. And then you try to just build, build, and build, and build on one small thing.
Andrea Javor: Love that. I really love that. Well, I want to switch gears a little bit. As you mentioned real estate, one of your key offerings that you help people with in the real estate world, intersection with divorce. Talk to me about that life stage, where you're in the life stage of divorce, and you also have a real estate implication to that. Whether it's selling, buying whatever. What are some tips, how do you work with people who are going through that huge change?
Christine Carr: Oh, God, such a good question. I'm such a big one for people. I think the first thing I would say, and the first thing that I tried to do is to really just listen to what the person or persons, the family needs at that time. And it can be challenging. Because sometimes, they don't know what they need. And sometimes, there's a tug of war going on. I would talk to someone just recently who said that they stayed in their home. This still happens, it's not just on TV where they stayed in their home because they were afraid that if they left, that their significant other would lock the door, and they wouldn't get their things. I try not to judge, I just listen. And the other thing I think is really important to pay attention to is that we are very, very emotionally attached to our home. We don't always think about it that way. And that's the challenge of being, I think, a really good real estate broker is to manage, listen and coach the emotional part of that process. And also to give them permission to maybe not make a change right away. Have them ask their attorney like one of the things I wish I would have done, because I was so quick to agree to things because I did feel like it was my fault, for lack of a better way to put it. I gave up things that I probably shouldn't have.
And if I look back on it now, I would love for an attorney to say to me, well, if we do this, how about if we don't sell the house right away, but we'll put something in writing that says, you own part of this house. And if there is a sailor when there's a sale or when you're ready, then this is how we're going to do this. So that you don't necessarily have to liquidate everything in order to do the 50/50. I think there's a lot of really thoughtful ways that you can manage some of that anks without it necessarily being an automatic we've got to move kind of thing. Because I think, also in my heart, uprooting your kids to another place, their schooling involved, there's so much finance involved that I really try to work hard, listen and see what's the best solution for this particular family at this time. And then I just make suggestions and I try to go slow. I offer as many options as I possibly can, and hope that it turns out amicably for everyone.
Andrea Javor: I know, that's what we all hope as a divorce professional. I see this every day. Oftentimes, when I'm talking to clients, some of the trends that I see are either this really passionate need to hang on to the house, even though really, it's not going to serve you in the future. But I think what you said is right. It's the emotional attachment that you have to the place that you live and the place that you may have first lived when you were first married, and had your babies there, and your first family dinners and holidays, things like that. It is really difficult to let go of the idea of that home, let alone a house that is different from the home.
Christine Carr: That's a really important distinction that you just made. I think that that takes me to another thought of what we believe about home. Is it the brick and mortar? Or is it the feeling and the space that you create. I remember, I'm a big vision board person. And when I was separated, we were doing the nesting where we shared an apartment, and we each went back and forth to our regular house. I mean, it worked for the kids. It was challenging because you're like, Oh, my God, he's here on the weekends. And then I'm switching, but it worked out for us at the time. And financially, it was the best choice. But while I was doing that process, I created a vision board for what I want, what kind of space I wanted to create for my boys.And I when I did get my own place, and none of it had anything to do with how big it was. I mean, guess where it was because I wanted them to be close to their dads so that it wouldn't be super stressful. But I wanted it to be bright. I wanted it to be comfortable. I wanted it to be someplace where they could have their things. There was so much involved that had nothing to do with the actual physical structure. And I think, if that's helpful to anyone listening to this, making a list of what you want it to feel like, and then maybe through that process, you can start to break up with your current space a little bit. Then start to think about what would be my dream date for my new place?
And oftentimes, I'll do that with clients. Not even in a divorce situation, but where they're going to a new state. Or maybe they're getting a job transfer, something's happening and there's some fear there about, where am I going? And I don't want to leave my house. I'll say, well, why don't you make a list of the things that could be cool, like a wish list. And sometimes, that process alone will start to get them into a forward thinking mindset like, Oh, I'm going here, as opposed to I want to hang on to where I was. And that shift can be really, really powerful.
Andrea Javor: I'm such a list person myself. If you see my office around me, I've posted everywhere like little things I want to manifest. And yeah, I paid to write. But I'm curious about your vision for the process. I'm not much of a vision board person, but I'd like to learn how to do that. What's your process? How do you do that?
Christine Carr: I've made all different kinds of one. And I do them with my clients, sometimes in groups, and sometimes individual coaching clients. It kind of depends on the person. I'm a super visual person, and I'm also really creative. So if you put me in a room with a bunch of magazines and scissors, I could create a wall like that.
Andrea Javor: So literally cutting out images of things that you want to represent and you're like, that's amazing. Okay.
Christine Carr: I'll buy like, if you go to the art store, you can buy the prefab like canvases and things like that. They have all different kinds of stuff that you can use. And then when I try to do it, I set an intention for each board. If I was going to be moving and I might say that my intention is, what do I want my space to look like, my new space. And then I just kind of start to cut out things that speak to me. I'm very affected by light. I love being by the water. I love anything, natural plants, greens, window coverings.I like texture so I'll cut out paint samples, textured fabrics and all those different things. And I have to tell you, it's uncanny how those things will start to show up in your life. It's unbelievable.
Andrea Javor: Isn't it amazing? Yes. Whenever I work with clients on manifesting, when they haven't done it before, they are blown away.
Christine Carr: It's the craziest thing, and it's so weird too. Have you read that book, Atomic Habits?
Andrea Javor: No, I know of the book. It's on my list. Yeah.
Christine Carr: Okay. So he said something in there, I just read it yesterday. I'm on the treadmill, I'm reading and it really hit me. He was saying that scientists believe that up to 500, like sore eyes are one of our most powerful things that dominate what our eyes do in the realm of our whole brain. So he was saying, I'm not putting this very well. You'll have to go back and read it, I apologize. But basically, in a nutshell, what he was saying is that our eyes are so powerful, that they account for more than half of what goes on in the rest of our brain in total. And that's what a lot of scientists are starting to believe. So if you think about it, and if you truly believe that you are manifesting your life and you make something visual for yourself, it only makes sense that seeing it is going to have a really, really powerful impact on how it shows up. It makes sense.
Andrea Javor: It totally makes sense. The idea, the impact of visualization I think is really critical. I have a mentor, I love the story. I have a mentor, her name is Jen Gottlieb, she's a pretty well known public figure. She's in the media PR space. She was on VH1 for a number of years, and hosted a TV show. But in any case, she talked about really wanting to find someone who she could connect to. Finding her person, finding someone who she wanted to be with. And she said, she used to actively visualize walking around Manhattan, holding hands with a man who could be her partner. And she did that for years. She really visualized it like where they would go? What would they talk about? The kind of person that this guy would be. And it's amazing because she's actually engaged now to Chris Winfield. They're in business together. It's just this amazing story when you hear about it. And think about my life the way that it is today. But obviously, I want to progress. I want more things with my life. How can I actively visualize those things to bring them to fruition?
Christine Carr: Well, first of all, thank you so much for sharing that someone else does that because I do that too in my manifestation of my next partner. And I kind of don't talk about it, because I feel like people are like, that's insane. But I do it. And I feel like I'm okay with it. So thank you for that. That's so funny. But some people, not everybody, and this is something I've learned through coaching, not everybody is as good at the visualization in their head. So the vision board for me is helpful for those types of, co'z I'm super, like I said, I'm creative. I can envision where I'm going to live and what it's gonna look like. Very, very detailed things. And that's something that I think is really helpful. We could talk about, it's a separate topic, but when you're trying to like forgive people, or create a new kind of relationship with someone, if you can visualize them in a different way like as a child, or maybe when they're not angry, or you can picture their hands, there's ways to use that visualization to recreate a relationship. But I think the vision boarding itself, because it's so concrete for people and they pick the vision that picks the pictures, and they pick their stickers, and their sayings, and all those other things, that's really helpful for people as a jumping off point. If they're not, someone who kind of leans into that realm of stuff. Yeah.
Andrea Javor: I love that. I mean, I like that your process is so hands on. And like literally to me, there's like a bit of satisfaction with the idea of literally cutting a magazine and gluing something. But even like doing it digitally, like cutting and pasting images that you see on the web and putting them kind of into a board.
Christine Carr: Oh, yeah. Pinterest is great. That's a whole world.
Andrea Javor: Oh, totally. Pinterest is its own sort of digital scrapbooking system. Yeah, for sure.
Christine Carr: Yeah. Yeah.
Andrea Javor: Oh, that's awesome. Well, I love talking about manifesting. I love talking about visualizing the kind of home that you want. Because again, I do think that this is a tricky one for people to get through. I often see either holding on to the home or getting rid of it really quickly, and then buying another home quickly. And sometimes, I say to people, are you sure you want to invalidate, so for me, I say this because I made this mistake. I had a big house in the suburbs with my ex, and I wanted a big condo in the city when I moved out because I needed something to be excited about and look forward to. So I bought this huge condo. And honestly, in retrospect, I wish I would have just gone and rented something for a year before committing to that big real estate purchase. But it all worked out. Sometimes, I think we're so ready to move forward. We almost kind of throw, toss caution to the wind, throw caution to the wind and just move forward without really thinking through our real estate decisions.
Christine Carr: Yeah. Especially in real estate. Because when we find our new place, it makes us, or we have the belief that it's going to make us feel settled. And when you go through something crazy, like a divorce, or a death, or a job loss, or job transfer, or whatever it is, we have a strong belief that that's going to kind of be the finish line, or it's going to be the thing that we can put roots into. And we don't necessarily always take the time to really think it through. I think that happened as a result of the pandemic. I have clients that have moved to the suburbs, because they want to have a yard, they want all the space and all that other stuff. And it's such a reaction to what was going on that they're, when you go to get your haircut and the hairstylist is like, I'm not cutting your bangs during COVID. We're not doing this because they know that you're in reaction. And that's a big thing about coaching too, and also real estate. Are you doing this as a reaction to something else? Because when you're in reaction, very often, you're not thinking as your best self.
I mean, sometimes, if you're a trained professional, you might be better because of the adrenaline and everything else that happens when you're in reaction. But there's a little bit of a space between stimulus and reaction. And in that space, the longer you can wait to settle your bones a little bit, the more information you're going to allow to come forward and help you make a better choice. And to finish my original thought is that people moved from the pandemic. They just jumped ship from the city, and now, they're calling me like, Oh, my God, what were we thinking? This is not for us. Why did I do this? You know what I mean? I can't do it. It's challenging. It's really challenging.
Andrea Javor: It is. I think exactly what you're saying, I mean, sometimes when we're going through big changes in life, it is hard to stay connected with the very best version of myself.
Christine Carr: For sure.
Andrea Javor: I've been taxed everywhere else emotionally. I know that you and I have talked quite a bit about taking the high road when it comes to going through divorce, when it comes to just making decisions in life. Talk to me about that. Why do you believe that's important for us to do?
Christine Carr: Oh, boy. I think I learned that I've always tried to do the right thing. That's kind of who I was growing up. It's so funny, my friends from high school. We always joke that the reason we're all alive is because I was the one that was driving when we'd be driving around High School and asking strangers to buy us beer, and climbing billboards and spray paint. We were nuts in high school. I was like the getaway car person. I was the brain. I'd be like, no, we're not doing that. No, we're not doing that. So they're always like, thank you for keeping me alive. But that was just who I was. That's how I was. I was trying to do the right thing. And that's a big part of who I am in just my core values.
But as I was going through the process of the divorce, and when you have someone on the opposite side of it who is angry, and maybe not taking the high road, or maybe having a belief system that they felt was real or that they had to share with other people or maybe just not always being thoughtful about all the feelings, all the people involved, it was very, very challenging not to get sucked into participating into that, and to start feeling like you have to defend yourself, or prove that that's not what was happening, all those things. Because when you feel like your reputation is being damaged, it's hurtful. And when you feel other people judging and maybe pulling away because they're taking you aside when they really don't know what's happening, it can be really, really, really hard not to get in there and not to be like, hey, that's not true. Or he did this, you have no idea you could do that. And a lot of people do it. We've all heard it all been at parties, there's things that happen.
And what I will share is, I remember saying something to my therapist at the time like, when is it my turn? When do I just get to shout from the rooftops all my anger, all my frustration and wish this person would have acted like this. And I'm like, where's my reward? And he's like, and I remember him exactly saying to me, he's like, that is the reward. You not doing it is the reward. And I was like, but it doesn't feel very good. I don't feel very satisfied. And he was like, you'll be fine, you'll be fine. And then sure enough, as time has gone on, and unfortunately, my son's father passed away. So it's just me. I try really, really, really hard to be honest and to tell the boys the truth. The truth that I think they can handle at the age that they are, and that changes every year.
Andrea Javor: Yeah, that's critical.
Christine Carr: Yeah. But I think what I will share is that what I learned is that because I did take the high road and I didn't get involved in that back and forth, and that drama, and I didn't throw anybody under the bus, and I didn't try to pull people and do all those things, now, the boys,trust me to answer the questions that they have, and answer the questions that they have about relationships in general. And that's the gift, because they don't have to carry the weight of my anger, my frustration and my broken marriage. I think as parents, we forget that our children are going through something really, really traumatic as well. We're so in it ourselves, and we don't realize a lot of times that everything that we do and everything that we feel, and every way we show up, they feel it. Whether they say it or not, whether there's a reaction or not, they are watching you, and they are taking notes, and they are going to bring it back up, and they are going to use it to their own good or detriment. And if you can find a way to take the high road and to be a better person to just wait and take deep breaths, and maybe talk to your therapist and a few very trusted friends, you will reap the reward of that in the long run. Most definitely.
Andrea Javor: It's like goosebumps to think that the reward is actually trust from your boys. I mean, that's incredible to think about that reward. And what the consequence could have been otherwise if you didn't take the high road.
Christine Carr: Yeah. Like I said, what I've learned and I wish I would have known this when they were born. If I could go back and do it all over again. And knowing what I know now, the life that we live as humans, so many different things, so many different ways, I would have handled different things at the time. But I feel very, very strongly that our children, especially in their teenage years, start thinking they need us less than less. But statistically and psychologically, they're leaning into us more and more. We just aren't paying attention. So they are going to model what you're doing and what you're saying. And if there's accusations of cheating, for example, and one parent feels really strongly that that's the case, they're going to believe that. They're going to be like, well, Dad said, it's got to be true. You know what I mean? So there's so many stimuluses and layers to all that, and it's too much for them. They're just trying to figure out who they are, they don't need to figure out who we are.
Andrea Javor: I think that's a poignant statement on many levels. Kids are trying to figure out their own worlds. And then when divorce comes into play, they have to figure out how to reshuffle the way that they think about relationships and marriage. And you're right, it evolves over time. I love what you said that you talked to your boys differently, depending on their ages and how they can process some of that information. And I love that it's all in service of trust, and that the high road is in service of trust over time in the relationships that you have.
Christine Carr: Yeah. I think that's well said, that's a good way to summarize it. Because yeah, those relationships are lifetime. You want them to be able to use you as a sounding board so that you can have some input on how they're walking in the world and in their life. And if they're not feeling safe to share with you what they're going through because they're afraid they're going to disappoint you, or that you're not on the right side of whatever that belief is, then put a wrench in that trust. So that's the lesson no matter how hard it is. And like I said, of course, you have your moments where you lose it, and you get angry and you might call your friend, or you talk to your therapist. But when your kids are around or any other innocent bystanders, it's important. It's really, really important.
Andrea Javor: Well, I say that it's never too late to start taking the high road. I think that's also a piece of it to where it's like, well, I've already chosen not to so I'm just going to keep on this bad path. If you can always course correct on that one, you know what? I may have set the wrong thing in front of my kids early on. But hey, I'm going to commit to myself from this moment on. I'm not doing that anymore. I think that's a really important message. It's never too late.
Christine Carr: It's never too late, and it's always a good idea to tell your kids the truth when you suck it up.
Andrea Javor: Wow, I love that.
Christine Carr: Sit down with them and say, I fucked it up. I'm so sorry. Like, I reacted, you told me something. I went there, and I'm so sorry. And give your children the benefit of your mistake. Show them that when we make a mistake, we go to the person who we made it with, and we own it, and then we try to do better. That's what we can do as parents, as humans in general. I also think too, one of the things that I learned as well is that I will take 50% of the responsibility in every relationship I meet. Sometimes, I'll take 80% because I know that I'm a lot. So whether it's a friendship, or a partnership, or romantic relationship, or a job situation, a client, if I'm willing to take 50%, I share with them, especially with my boys. My expectation is that they will take 50%, that's a really powerful message because it's like, hey, listen, I'm in this to write and then you don't have to blame each other. When things fall apart, it's like, okay, my 50%, this is how I felt. What did you think in your 50%? And then you can kind of like, start from there as opposed to, you did this to me. You know what I mean? That language alone has helped me in so many of my relationships, so many.
Andrea Javor: Oh, that's such wonderful advice. really, truly. Christine, it's been such a pleasure to talk to you about so many different topics. I know like, gosh, really, and we've covered it all today. This is really, I think, you know what I'm really taking away from this conversation, continually touching base with yourself. And really, I think you were such a model of progress and personal growth. I hope that people take away that sentiment and that spirit and energy that you bring forward from this podcast today.
Christine Carr: Well, thank you so much for saying that. I appreciate that. And I agree, and tell you to know yourself, it's pretty tough to try to know others.
Andrea Javor: Well, to that point, if others would like to know more about you, how can they find out more information about you?
Christine Carr: Well, they can always find me on Facebook or Instagram in Monkey Mind Chicago. I'm actually in the process of revamping my website. So if you go to it right now, it really just has a picture of a monkey. And they can always call me, they can call me, they can send me an email at [email protected].
Andrea Javor: That's great. That's great. Well, we'll put all your contact information in the show notes. And thank you again so much for this lovely conversation.
Christine Carr: Thank you too. Thanks for having me.
Podcast Episode 004: The Key to a Healthy Relationship With Your Ex with Dan Faill
What if hurt feelings and animosity still linger? In this episode, International Speaker and Life Coach, Dan Faill talks about how he and his ex-wife/"Spouse Emeritus" were able to show up as better persons and as dependable role models for their children post-divorce.
"Figuring out who you are and showing up for who you are, help you show up for others, including former spouses." -Dan Faill
Life after divorce is a tough period for everyone, especially if there are children involved. On top of that, maintaining a good relationship with your ex is the most challenging task you have to overcome, and probably the last you think about. Is it even possible? What if hurt feelings and animosity still linger? In this episode, International Speaker and Life Coach, Dan Faill talks about how he and his ex-wife/"Spouse Emeritus" were able to show up as better persons and as dependable role models for their children post-divorce. Dan also shares the lessons he learned about dealing with overwhelming emotions, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, creating peaceful co-parenting arrangements, and finding a support system that will help you get through the dark times. Don't miss today's exciting episode!
02:07 Don't Skip Vulnerability
05:00 An Overview of the Divorce Journey
09:27 How to Cope Up with Initial Emotions
12:33 How Do Your Kids See You?
15:00 Get Over Yourself
18:30 Managing Intense Emotions
23:26 A Lesson From Pooh and Piglet
29:33 Show Up For Yourself and Your Kids
35:34 Acknowledge the Uncertainties
03:26 "Being vulnerable is uncomfortable. But when you skip it, you aren't talking about the things that need to be discussed. You put on the mask of whatever you think other people want to see rather than showing up as how you should be." -Dan Faill
04:30 "You can't compare your chapter one to someone else's chapter 20, especially if you're not reading the same book." -Dan Faill
06:28 "It's easier to coach and speak than take your own advice." -Dan Faill
12:09 "Finding ways to communicate and show appreciation is important post-divorce. Kids see that and they hear that." -Dan Faill
19:45 "The mirror is the hardest place for us to look especially when it comes to self-truth." -Dan Faill
25:06 "No one wins when you come from a negative perspective. Anger and resentment are easy reactions because they are acknowledged first. The level-headed approach is the hardest to do, but you get further that way." -Dan Faill
29:14 "Figuring out who you are and showing up for who you are helps you show up for others, including former spouses." -Dan Faill
29:36 "You don't ever fully know who you are all the time. Good individuals always grow new opinions, new facts, and new things." -Dan Faill
30:02 "You always need to be improving in some capacity. Because if you're not, then you're just complacent. And if you're complacent, you are not showing up for anyone, especially yourself." -Dan Faill
Meet Our Guest:
Dan Faill is an accomplished storyteller and international speaker. Having worked for over a decade on college campuses, advocating for safe and positive student experiences, Dan now travels the country as a full-time speaker, coach, and consultant, engaging audiences in hard but needed conversations. Dan shares personal stories that engage and inspire others to address impostor syndrome to be their authentic selves and be brave enough to have the conversations that matter.
Andrea Javor: I'm so excited to talk to Dan Faill. In this episode of the Until There Was Me Podcast, Dan has such a relatable way of talking about vulnerability, talking about having authentic relationships and connections with people. I think it's really important as Dan discusses very openly his strong relationship with his ex-wife, Brooke. And really his journey I think towards figuring out what's best for his kids, and what's best for her, and what's best for him. Dan is a truly inspiring person. I hope you enjoy this episode talking all about how to put yourself first so that you can have a really healthy relationship with anybody in your life, including an ex spouse. Welcome, Dan Faill, so happy to have you today.
Dan Faill: Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.
Andrea Javor: Awesome. Awesome. So tell us a little bit more about what you do.
Dan Faill: Okay. Hello, everyone listening, my name is Dan Faill. I help people find their stories to craft memorable and engaging keynote experiences to help impact the lives of others. I'm also, as a professional speaker, I share my own stories with colleges and corporations around imposter syndrome, failure, vulnerability, kind of everything under the umbrella in an effort to create conversations that matter. And I've been doing that full time for about four years now.
Andrea Javor: Well, that is awesome, Dan. And for anyone who doesn't know Dan and I actually met each other in a coaching program. And we've gotten to know each other pretty well over the past several months. I was really interested to have you on the show because vulnerability is a key aspect of divorce. And this podcast, and what we try to talk about here is kind of the business of moving on. I think a lot of people want to skip the vulnerability so that they can move on. Well, tell us why we can't skip the vulnerability.
Dan Faill: I think there's a lot of reasons why I think vulnerability connects us as human beings. I have a friend of mine who says that you can't learn from people who are perfect, you can only learn from people who are imperfect. So imperfect leaders are amazing. And his name's James Robilotta is an amazing human being, he actually helped me a lot in my own vulnerability, or vulnerable journey post divorce. So that's why I don't think you can skip it, I think we want to because being vulnerable is uncomfortable. But I think when you skip it, you aren't talking about the things that need to be discussed. You then put on the mask of whatever you think other people want to see, rather than just showing up as how you should be.
Andrea Javor: I love that idea that you don't learn vulnerability from perfect people, you've learned it from imperfect people. I think so often in the divorce process, we want to show up and like to be more perfect than our ex spouse or present ourselves in a certain way. And I think that can be really challenging to show up as anything less than perfect.
Dan Faill: Social media, social media is the perfect example of a comparison game. Where's my chapter one in a divorce, but look how happy they are? They've been divorced for seven years, like, give it a break. Come on, there's that time so you can't compare your chapter one to someone else's chapter 20, especially if you're not reading the same book.
Andrea Javor: Wow, I love that. I absolutely love that. Dan, you had shared that you're divorced. I would love to hear more about you. I know that you have a great relationship with your ex wife. And I think from the perspective of being a divorced Dad, how did you get there?
Dan Faill: It was not an easy journey. It was not a linear A to B by any means. I would say, just to kind of give a, I guess a brief overview of the divorce journey. I did come home one December, one day in December and just kind of fell apart. So far that I said, I needed a divorce. I want a divorce. I couldn't let myself feel connected anymore. And my wife at the time, ex-wife, was just kind of like, we need to try to make it work. And we need to try counseling, we need to do all this stuff. And I was like, it's not going to work. But whatever, if it gets you off my back, again, not a good approach by any means. And so we went to counseling. And literally, at the end of the first session, the counselor said: "Well, there are some fires that you can rekindle. This one's out. Like it's gone. This does not stoke the fire." And at the end of the first session I was like, see? Pardon the expression, but I really had my ass on my shoulders and just was like, I can't be bothered. I don't want this. So I just shut down. And what I didn't realize is that in that process of shutting down so that I didn't have my feelings, I also didn't care how I was treating my ex at the time.
So our journey now that's been almost seven years, our journey was not sunshine and rainbows for that first year. I know a lot of that had to do with my own inability to communicate and be vulnerable. But then, also that ability to communicate, which is ironic because I'm a professional speaker. It's easier to coach and speak than sometimes take your own advice. But I wasn't also ready to have those open and vulnerable conversations with my ex. It took some time. I think it was about a year and a half after the fact. And I told her, I was like, you know what? I'm really, I told her I was like, I'm really sorry for the way that I proceeded throughout the whole divorce or in the process. I did all the paperwork. We didn't hire lawyers, thankfully, because I was the only people who went when some of the lawyers were involved are the lawyers. Sorry, to all the lawyer friends listening.
Andrea Javor: That's okay. We've heard that before. Yes, for sure.
Dan Faill: And so yeah, it took time. And then I think the more that I honestly, honestly, the more that I got over myself, the better our report became. I shared a lot of why I wanted to divorce probably two, three years after the fact. I shared a lot about how she felt during those stages right before the divorce, during the divorce. And now, we do family vacations. We're going to Hawaii in a month. As a family, we do all kinds of stuff. We're going to Disneyland for a few weeks. So for us, I think what really helped and what really helped me, I guess, as a Dad frame was, I want my kids to know that they have two loving parents. They just aren't married anymore, right? And so as soon as some of that clicked with putting the kids first, what's best for them? Could I fight a custody battle? Yes. Who wins? No one. And then my ex and I hate each other, right? And that's not helpful. I come from divorced parents, she comes from divorced parents, her parents can't even be in the same room. Tolerate each other, but not well. So I knew that I didn't want that to be our experience. So in the back of my mind I was like, anything is better than those two? Divorce exam. Yeah. So we do a lot together. I'm thankful for it. I think COVID, the pandemic, certainly brought us a little closer together. Because in terms of family bubbles, that's it. We did happy hours, we celebrated together, because what we needed to do is to share, like the world is still okay and we're gonna get through it all.
Andrea Javor: Right, right. Well, as I listened to your story of how you guys have learned to communicate better, how you kind of took some time, it sounds like, I'm sure there are a lot of people listening to this right now thinking, I don't think I'll ever have a relationship like that with my ex. I don't know how I'm ever going to get there. We're so at odds, we can't be like, to the point about her parents can't be in the same room together. So what I'd love to do is sort of break down some of the things that did work for you guys. The first thing I heard you say is it sounds like at the beginning, you maybe needed a little bit of space. That it took seven years to get to a place where you feel like you're in a good way of communication with her. What's your advice early on? Is it to kind of take a little space, don't have high expectations, or kind of what would you say?
Dan Faill: I do think it is, you need to communicate whatever your desire is. And if that's desire for space, if you're starting a conversation, I remember I would shut down the conversation and not a great way of saying, I'm sorry, you feel that way. Not a great conflict resolution statement to say, because it puts all the onus on the other person, not on myself. And so communicating, hey, this is an important conversation. Can we please come back to it when I'm not hot headed, or can we come back to it when we can have a level headed conversation, both of us. Even now, again, it's not all perfect right now. We've gotten to where we are, however, we still have some rocky exchanges and conversations. But we've also acknowledged to be like, you know what? Let's stick a pin in it, and let's come back to it either in an hour or tomorrow until we've been able to figure that out about each other. And that's just learned experience. But I mean, she and I joke that we get along better now than when we were married.
Andrea Javor: Is that right?
Dan Faill: Yeah. Several people thought that we were still together. Now, there's a lot of the parents of the kids at school that are like, wait, y'all are divorce, but you're always here together? And then it's like, well, yes, because we co-parent. There's a different level of respect and admiration that happens. But yeah, in the midst of it, to come back to that initial part of the question. Taking time, the pause button, let's put this in the parking lot. Let's come back to it a little bit later, I think it's extremely valuable. Because in the midst of all those initial emotions that are being shared, a lot of witches anger and frustration, that's where you got to take that deep breath. I know for a fact that I did not. So I think that when I acknowledged how I treated her, that's when things started to kind of heal for both of us.
Andrea Javor: I'm sure it was very healing for her to hear the apology. Even a year later to say, for us to be able to say as individuals, I didn't show up as my best self at that moment. No matter what the moment is, divorce works otherwise. I think it does take quite a bit of courage and vulnerability to be able to say that to someone. And equally, I think it takes courage and vulnerability for her to accept it and hear it from you.
Dan Faill: Yeah. We've had lots of hearts to hearts over the last couple of years, more so of just sharing it. I'm still learning about, almost like the woman that she's become post divorce. She's learning about the guy that I've become post divorce. And we've even commented, and I'll tell her, probably not often enough, but I'll tell her like, hey, you're a great mom. Your fantastic ex-wife. She was like, can we please come up with a different name than ex-wife? And I was like, how about spouse emeritus. So that's what we're currently using, spouse emeritus. But really finding ways to communicate and show appreciation is important I think in post divorce. And the kids see that, and they hear that sometimes too.
Andrea Javor: Well, that's a huge part of the question, which is, you said that you thought you were seeking this idea that I want the kids to both have loving parents who just aren't married anymore. How do your kids see your relationship with your ex-wife?
Dan Faill: They understand. They know that mom and dad are divorced. But when they look at their friends who also have parents that are divorced, there's not many that still do stuff together. And currently, they're 9 and 11 so they get it. They understand that we are no longer together, but we do a lot of stuff together. So I think that they understand, but they are very confused. And the pandemic, obviously, when you can't do anything, I was, she's a teacher. So when her school opened back up, my son was in third grade, and her, they both went back in person. But my daughter was in middle school, and they weren't back in person yet. So in essence moved in from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM every week day to help out with online school and all that stuff. So they're confused, but I think in the best possible way.
Andrea Javor: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Well, I think that leads to a whole other discussion, which is a lot of people asking, what's the right thing to do? What should I do in this situation? What is the roadmap to co-parenting? My answer to that is, it's up to you. It's what works for you. And I'd love to hear from you if you agree with that.
Dan Faill: 100%. This is the Choose Your Own Adventure book. You and I are old enough to remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books. Like this is the Oregon Trail current edition of Nope! This Divorce Was Horrible. You've died of dysentery. But I think a lot of it is how you're going to approach it. So you can approach it with a positive attitude and a positive mindset of, hey, let's acknowledge that this sucks. But like, can we make the most of it? Great. How do we make the most of it? I think, yes, there's no roadmap, there is no step A, after step A, step B. It's more like after step A, oh, by the way, don't forget number three, and then we're back to like one A, and you're like, wait? So there's not a right way. There's not a wrong way, there's your way. So I think figuring that out for what works for you makes the most sense.
Andrea Javor: I agree. I think it's about figuring out what your own boundaries are. Some people may not feel comfortable going back into their exes house and spending the day there for the kids.
Dan Faill: It's super awkward. Like I still acknowledge. So she's in the house that we all moved into. She's still in that house that we moved into as a family several years ago, I don't remember how many now. That's a standard guy thing to say. I don't know how many years now. But like, she's still in it. It is awkward where I'm like, okay, I'll spend Christmas Eve there so that I'm there when the kids wake up Christmas morning. And I'm like on the couch that's like, this is very different. It's different, but at the same time, I'm there for the experience of the kids. So yeah, it's still awkward still doing some of that. But it's so cliche to say, but as soon as you get over yourself, things kind of happen pretty easily.
Andrea Javor: Wow. I want to say that again, as soon as you get over yourself, things happen pretty easily. If that's not a mic drop moment, I don't know what is.
Dan Faill: I'm gonna trademark that.
Andrea Javor: You should. Especially as we're talking about the entire divorce process, even before when we were talking about taking that step back so that you don't say things in anger, or you're able to communicate respectfully with your ex. I mean, imagine if we're able to kind of get over ourselves in that moment, and to kind of put a pin in it, just like you said, get over yourself, take a step back. That's I think is where the growth is gonna come from.
Dan Faill: 100%. And that's where, when you think about anything, you and I have joked before, in terms of some of our own coaching sessions that we've done, that it's amazing what you can do when you get out of your own way. And I think in the divorce process, we tend to look for reasons to argue. Could I have fought for the TV that I bought? Yes. Could I have bought it for the entertainment center that I purchased? Yes. Would I? What in the world, like, I'm not going to nickel and dime this, but there are some people and some people that we know in terms of their experiences, like, oh, he likes the instapot. I want an instapot. And it's like, it's a $40 instapot. Come on, y'all. And I think that's where it's a thing. We look for things to argue about, or we want to find it whether there's not a fight there. Because sometimes, that's anger. That's what bottles up in us. And as humans because we're not super vulnerable. And that's not like the easiest thing in the world to do. I think as human beings, we are looking for those because we're about to explode. So nitpick every little thing. And then divorce process, you want to nitpick everything possible.
Andrea Javor: And that anger is so intense, especially I think, if the divorce wasn't your idea. Because I hear a lot, he's the one who wanted the divorce, he can give me the house, right? Or whatever it is. And to your point about the instapot, you're actually not looking for the instapot, you're looking for emotional justice. And that's gonna cost you more than 40 bucks, by the way.
Dan Faill: Cool. Retweet that, yes.
Andrea Javor: And at the end of the day, I can promise you, even if you get the instapot, you're not going to get the emotional justice that you're trying to find. And I think that's where the whole idea of getting out of your own way. Kind of get over yourself in the process. And I say that with love. I say that with compassion. Because I know in the moment of deep, deep sadness, anger, guilt, all the things that come along, especially early on in the divorce process, it's really hard to manage those emotions. And my question for you, from a man's perspective, how did you handle the intensity of emotions early on? Do you have any tips for people in terms of reaching out for support?
Dan Faill: Yes. I'll also say that I obviously don't speak for all men. So put that in the world. For me, I started to develop closer friendships. So I had groups of people, I had lots of friends spread across the nation. I'm from the East Coast. I live on the West Coast. I was a speaker so I travel everywhere and see people at conferences. So I have a lot of friends, but don't necessarily have a lot of close friends. Actually, James, the guy that I mentioned at the top of the show I've known for a while. I reached out to him and I was like, Hey, man, I just need someone to process my current life with, and you're the person that is going to ask me the hard questions and not let me get away with excuses. And he was like, Okay, I appreciate it. Then he said: "Well, how do you need me to show up? Do you need me to show up as a friend? Do you need me to show up as a problem solver? Do you mean you show up as like, wow, this sucks. Like, how do you need me right now?" And I said: "Honestly, I'm not sure, but yes." So I told him, look, I'm going through this divorce. Here's what's happening. And he was one of the few friends that would say, Dan, this is your problem. This is not Brooke's thing. This is not her issue, this is on you. Are you sure that you want this? And so he would flip it and make me have to look in the mirror.
And let's be honest, the mirror is the hardest place for us to look, especially when it comes to self truth. I knew that he would show up for me in that way. I think opening up to him allowed me to open up to a lot of people. And I think that also allowed me to open up to my ex, my spouse emeritus over time, like, oh, we're at a better place, let me be a little bit more vulnerable with her. I mean, we really, I would say a lot of my ability and a lot of my own journey of vulnerability, and opening up started from those conversations with James. So finding that person or persons that aren't going to blame the ex of like, oh, yeah, they're so horrible. I hated them, you know what? I never spend, this is where friends were like, yeah, I never saw you all together. And I was like, What? Oh, was that 12 years ago when we started dating? Also not helpful right now. I think finding those friends to open up to and even articulate, I don't know how I want you to show up for me right now, but I don't want you to blame the other person.
Andrea Javor: Well, I think that your friend, James, was so powerful that he said to you, how do you want me to show up for you? I mean, wow, I don't hear that from a lot of people.
Dan Faill: Yeah. And a lot of that comes from the fact that he's a vulnerability and authenticity coach and speaker. So he's grown into that over time, as well. And I think that's a question that we need to ask almost anytime and every time that a friend's like, Oh, my gosh, can I just talk through this with you? And I even share that example for people who disclose sexual abuse, or sexual violation, or misconduct. People who are saying like, hey, this is a problem I'm having in my life. Or maybe it's alcohol abuse, or any of that. I think, finding ways to say things like, I'm here to listen. I'm here to problem solve, what do you need right now? And if you don't know, that's fine. And James and I actually had a conversation last week. I said, Hey, man, I'm hearing you, how I bond with people as I share my own story. So I'm almost like, it's a projection back to make sure that I'm hearing you the right way, and to say that my lived experience feels similar to yours. Is this how you're feeling? So that in my mind also makes sense. And he even said that because he was going through some stuff. He was like, hey, I want to just acknowledge how you showed up for me just then. And that was really great. It was like, I didn't even recognize I did it, but you're welcome.
Andrea Javor: It's amazing to be able to have conversations with people, and to actually just stay in that authentic space of really listening, and really trying to understand how you best can help. Because I think I have very well intentioned moments where I'm trying to, somebody asks me something and I'm like, Oh, well, here are the three things you should do. Or, oh, well, I did it this way, so let me share my thing with you. I'm totally the same.
Dan Faill: Yeah, right. Problem solver friend like that is, I'm a brainstorm or problem solver. I also know that's how I show up. So people come to me like, hey, how do we brainstorm this? Or like, hey, I really need like, how do I fix this? I'll brainstorm that, and then I have to, sometimes, I even struggle with like, you know what? Pause. Which Dan do you need right now? And then giving space in those moments I think is powerful.
Andrea Javor: Well, and for anyone listening who has a friend, or colleague, or whatever going through divorce, and they don't know how to show up for them, here's the answer. How can I show up for you? And the person going through it may not know, and that's where, I think just being together. And just being there for someone and communicating that, hey, I'm here to sit with you. I'm here to listen to you. I'm here to just be on the other end of the phone breathing if that's all you need, just so you know that someone is with you. I think that can be really powerful for people.
Dan Faill: There's that Winnie the Pooh example where it's Pooh and Piglet. Like they're walking and who's like, oh, it's been a hard day and like da-da-da-da. Pooh sits down on a log, and then Piglet sits down, and it's just kind of like, I'll just sit here with you. And Pooh's like, you know what? Like, why? What are you doing? And Piglet says something to the effect of, well, I also know what it's like to have had a bad day, so I just wanted you to know that I'm here for you. And we can just sit in silence if you need it. And that's friendship.
Andrea Javor: Oh, my gosh, Isn't that beautiful? I love that you brought that. I love that. You're talking about Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. I love such a cute story.
Dan Faill: I think sometimes, we've got those friends that are Eeyore. And it's like the old [inaudible]. And then we've got our other friends that are like Tigger, where they're basically like, you're getting a divorce, let's get a hammer. None of this is helpful right now.
Andrea Javor: I mean, it's really funny because I do think at certain times, we need Piglet, we need Eeyore, and we need Tigger. We do need, I think, different levels of support. I think the problem is when you don't want to go to the Eeyore place and you get Eeyore. So I think it is also, I try to help people advocate for what they need at the moment. And when you do have that friend who's like, he's such a jerk. Take him to the cleaners, you should get X, Y and Z. It's like, you know what, take a step back and really, just maybe say to your friend, thank you so much for being so concerned. Right now, all I need you to do is just be here with me. Or all I need you to do is chat about something else. Let's talk about something else like, a new show I'm watching on Netflix or whatever.
Dan Faill: And it comes back to its feeding negativity. And no one wins when you come at it from a negative perspective. And I think that's the easy right. That is anger, resentment. Those are the easy reactions, they are the ones that are quick to do because they are acknowledged first. I think the level headed approach is the hardest to do, speaking from experience, but that's also how you get further that way.
Andrea Javor: Yeah, yeah, I think to be level headed is a tall order when you're first going through this process. But I don't think that it's impossible. And I think that we should all strive to show up as our best selves, even when that's the worst possible time of our lives. So I appreciate that we can have these conversations and talk about how we show up for each other in the process as well.
Dan Faill: Well, some of that even comes back to, I knew I needed to talk to someone that wasn't a therapist because I didn't have the money, because I was getting a divorce. Then like, who could I talk to? And that's when I opened up to James. But therapy is great. Everyone listening, please try that. If it's not couples therapy, cool. Go to an individual therapist. I tried three different therapists in the midst of a divorce. And like the first one, she's like, literally just was projecting hard on me. I got to be in my master's program on counseling. So like, I know a little bit enough to get a B. But she was just like, well, your kids are not going to like it, and you're going to be seen as a bad husband and a bad father. And I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, you're just supposed to sit and say how you feel it. And I went to a second one, a very similar experience. And then the third one just sat and listened, and let me vent. Then just kind of said, okay, here's what I'm hearing. And I was like, oh, nope, I articulated that wrong. That's not what I said. That is what I said, but I didn't mean to say it like that. So finding, I think, opportunities that exist in the world to have those, whether they're a coach, whether it's a therapist, whether whatever that looks like it's going to be valuable. And it's okay if it's not a good fit right away. Well, my approach to coaching and speaking is very different from others. That's fine, and that's okay. So I think finding those people to talk to is going to be important, and then the approach that they take.
Andrea Javor: Well, I think finding people is important. And just to your point, finding the right people, if at first you don't succeed, reach out to someone else. If you're not getting the support you need, it is important to continue looking for that and continue putting that energy out in the world that you need some support, you need some healing. And this is what that might look like.
Dan Faill: I remember some of my most social media posts that year were opening up and saying, like, dear world, I'm leaving a current position that I've been in for eight years. I'm also leaving a marriage that I've been in a relationship for 12. This sucks, and this is not easy. But I appreciate that I've got a couple friends that have helped me through it, etc, etc. And that was my most liked post that year. And it was not, hey, look at my food that I just had, hey, look at this tropical vacation that I just went on. People messaged me and commented and they were like, but y'all look so happy. I was like, well, yeah, it's amazing. Because no one ever posts how crappy of a day was 10 years ago, or even currently. No one's posting how bad of a day they're having in Facebook, Instagram or any social media. And it wasn't attention seeking. It was just, hey, we're all going through some stuff and owning that. I still have people that reach out and they're like, I just love you and your ex wife, and they can still do stuff. And it's just refreshing to see. I'm like, okay, we're just living, we're just trying to get by day by day and continue to uplift each other. I was like, I would love to be able to move. I'm not moving anywhere because the kids are here. I'm also no longer bitter. I was for a while about being like, while the kids are here, and now I've gotta live in LA where it's not cheap and traffic. But again, nobody likes the constant Eeyore. And that's also not me.
Andrea Javor: Hmm.
Dan Faill: And figuring out who you are, and showing up for who you are also then helps on how you show up for others, including former spouses.
Andrea Javor: Wow, wow. Well, I would assume that that was a long journey to totally figure out who you are. And something I think we're all figuring out every single day.
Dan Faill: Sure. Yeah. No one ever knows, like, I don't think you ever fully know who you are all the time. I think good individuals always grow new opinions, new facts, new things. And so you're soaking that in as best as possible. Like for those who can't see the video right now, I got a lot of books behind me. I've read one of them, but I look smart. No, I'm kidding. I need to read these books, which is why it's near my desk. I've got another stack of books over there. We always need to be improving in some capacity. Because if you're not, then you're just complacent. And if you replace it, then are you really showing up for anyone, especially yourself.
Andrea Javor: Especially yourself. Well, I love what you said about you and Brooke tapings a day at a time in terms of your model. What other people think about that, I think, could very easily turn into feelings. Like some pressure of like, we feel pressure to keep this up and to keep up this wonderful relationship. Whereas, no, I don't hear that. I hear that what you're doing is taking things a day at a time and showing up for each other offensively in the best way you can.
Dan Faill: Right. I've got the freedom as a professional speaker and coach. I've got the freedom to not have an 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM ish job. And so I left the comfort of a cubicle position, benefits and standard salary. I left all of that because I was like, you know what? I'm not showing up for my kids, or what I am, I'm tired. And like falling asleep in the midst of a conversation. Like this is not helpful for anyone, and I'm not showing up as a good dad. And this was five years ago, maybe four or five years ago. So I was like, you know what? I got to go full time speaking and coaching so that when I'm here, when I am home, I am present. And that for me, that was what was needed. So much more active in my kids' stuff.
I know Jack about sports, okay. Like I can watch sports. I know nothing about coaching. Guess who was an assistant coach for my daughter's softball team. Guess who didn't get a lot of great professional development work. While on the softball team, my daughter, but I was there, right? And they needed a coach. And I was like, just put me in the dugout please. I'll help with practices and set up the field, but I know nothing. And then like the next season, I was a soccer referee. Guess who knows nothing. Like I called offsides for the wrong team every freaking game. But I'm there. So finding ways to show up is important. And I knew that I wasn't showing up as my best self because I was just tired all the time. So now, even the kids have been like, when you're here, you're not just fun Dad. And that was a conversation that my ex and I had to have. She was like, anytime they go visit you, you do fun things. And I was like, that's because I want them to love me.
Andrea Javor: I am the Disney dad. We're going to Disney.
Dan Faill: Yeah. Right. So when they would like to visit me, when I moved back to North Carolina for a couple years, I'd be like, we're gonna go to this, and we're gonna go to this.. And she was like, it sucks that I'm always the rule person, and you're not. And I was like, well, I am, but I just have different rules. Again, got over myself and realized that that was for me, that wasn't for them.
Andrea Javor: Sure.
Dan Faill: And as my daughter goes into the tweens, I'm like, alright, what are the rules that are in place at your mom's house, I'm going to mirror them here. Maybe we'll stay up a little bit later. But maybe, there are little things that we'll do. But my ex and I, we still talk about what are the parameters? What are we doing? But then also, I think some of that comes back to the vulnerability of, I mentioned this to you right before we started recording, but my son had an audition. It was such an early statement to say. But my son had an audition and she got notified at like, maybe 1:45, 2:00 o'clock yesterday afternoon. She calls me frantically. I'm like, I'm about to hop on a coaching call, I literally can't help right now. And she said that the agency and the company that it was with. And I was like, God, this is a great opportunity. Let me see what I can move around. Thankfully, I've got great clients that were like, yes, go ahead, do it, take care of it. My ability to drop whatever I needed to do, reschedule what I needed to do and show up because that's not only important to my son, but it's important to my spouse emeritus. She knows that I don't have a traditional job, so I've got more flexibility.
Well, what does that look like? Again, how do you show up? I want to be dependable. I want to show up as a dependable, consistent figure for both my kids and my ex. So how does that look, day in and day out? Sometimes I'm like, I'm not flexible, sorry. Like there's literally nothing I can do right now. And then there's other days that I'm like, great, I might have to take four days off next week to be on set with my son for this commercial, which he landed by the way. But I think that a lot of that just comes back to I'm there for the kids. I'm showing up for my kids. That's what's most important to me right now, and that's what I will continue to do. And she knows that, and that's where we are. I think that's why we get along really well. Now, I took her to a happy hour or brunch happy hour, I guess now is about a month or so. I was like, it's been a long pandemic and we deserve brunch served to us. We deserve bottomless mimosas. And I just had a really good Q1, and I was like, my treat. This is a thank you for you as much as it is for me. But this is really to thank you for putting up with my crap for I guess it's been 15, or actually it's been more than 15 years since we've known each other, but showing appreciation can go a long way. I don't know that I realized that in the midst of being married, especially as the less we talked in those moments.
Andrea Javor: Yeah. Well, I would say that being able to take your ex out for bottomless mimosas at brunch is what I would call divorce goals. I really applaud and admire your relationship that you've been able to keep with your ex wife. I would say, not even keep, but build over time. I love your tips here, you just have to show up, you kind of have to get out of your own way and show up in the best way possible for the kids. I know that people are going to take a lot away from that huge message that you're sending.
Dan Faill: Exactly. And a lot of it just comes from knowing that you don't know it all. I don't know what I don't know, and there's a lot through the divorce process that we don't know. And there's a lot of uncertainty. I think the more that you acknowledge the feeling of uncertainty, and that's what causes a lot of anxiety in the higher emotions. Again, it's not going to be smooth sailing. I don't think any separation, kids, no kids, like house pets, nothing is easy. But I do think that if you're able to just at least acknowledge that you're both willing to discuss and talk about it, and to not front. And for guys, I think it's a lot easier for us to just emotionally shut down because we've mastered the ability to silo and shut down as men. We've been taught for years that the only emotions we can have are stoic and anger. And the anger can be expressed at whatever and sports, like that's it. And then we've not done a great job of society to prepare men to deal with a lot of these complex, layered emotions. My plea is give them a little bit of patience, don't let them get away with anything. But give a little bit of patience, ask and find ways for them to open up because maybe they won't open up to the ex, but they'll open up to someone. Hopefully it's not like their crew of just like, oh, yeah, she's a horrible person, like, it's a productive way to open up. And those are the important friendships that I think are the most important for people to have in the midst of separations.
Andrea Javor: Well, Dan, I can't thank you enough for talking about your platform, which is conversations that matter. And all of these details around how you've handled your divorce, how you co-parent, I think you've given us some really valuable tips today. I appreciate you being on the show. And for anyone who wants to learn more about you, where can they find you?
Dan Faill: Oh, well, first of all, thank you so much for having me. This is exciting to see everything that's happening in your world, so thank you for that. I am Dan Faill on all social media. So the website is danfaill.com. That's D-A-N-F-A-I-L-L.C-O-M. I'm Dan Faill on Instagram, Twitter, all the things. It's pretty consistent. There's not many Faill's in the world. There's a lot of fails, but man with two L's because I'll just go twice as hard.
Andrea Javor: I was just gonna say that you're not gonna fail working with Dan. I can say that from personal experience. Thank you so much, Dan. It's been such a pleasure.
Dan Faill: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.
Andrea Javor: Thank you.
Podcast Episode 003: Walk the Path to Financial Freedom After Divorce with Lisa Williams
Most of the time, a woman's income is greatly reduced after a divorce. Play as your own money detective, understand your cash flow, know where to begin in building your financial future, find ways to generate passive income, attain financial peace, and teach your children to do the same as Wealth Mentor and Business Builder, Lisa Williams teaches how you can take back control of your finances.
"Don't make your financial roadmap the last road trip you look at. Make sure you plan it ahead." -Lisa Williams
Most of the time, a woman's income is greatly reduced after a divorce. Play as your own money detective, understand your cash flow, know where to begin in building your financial future, find ways to generate passive income, attain financial peace, and teach your children to do the same as Wealth Mentor and Business Builder, Lisa Williams teach how you can take back control over your finances. Let your money work for you as you sleep. Tune in and be empowered to handle all aspects of your financial health and well-being.
02:06 25 Years and A New Company
05:38 The Foundation of Your Financial Life
09:33 How to Deal with Financial Fear
12:22 Where to Start
18:53 Empower Your Kids to Think and Grow Rich
23:12 The 4 Quadrants of Wealth
26:04 Plan Ahead!
- Three Feet From Gold: Turn Your Obstacles Into Opportunities (Think and Grow Rich Series) by Greg Reid et.al
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki
- Rich Dad's Cashflow Quadrant: Guide to Financial Freedom
06:34 "The foundation of wealth is protecting the ability to produce for yourself. You can never replace a loved one, but you can replace what that loved one can produce for the family." -Lisa Williams
11:35 "Think about hiring yourself. There are so many amazing home-based businesses are out there available to families." -Lisa Williams
12:51 "Our school systems are the same. They train us to be good employees. So probably the hardest part for someone is to first work on this brain of ours." -Lisa Williams
13:22 "If one person has done it, you can do it. But be committed to working on your mind because it's 90% mindset." -Lisa Williams
20:45 "Every family has their own economy. You contribute to that economy and you get paid because of your contribution to that economy." -Lisa Williams
26:32 "Don't make your financial roadmap the last road trip you look at. Make sure you plan it ahead." -Lisa Williams
Meet Our Guest:
Lisa Williams is the Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer of Lisa Williams Co. After 25 years in the recruitment industry and a divorce, Lisa finally decided to start her own company. Today, she helps her clients build their businesses and attain financial freedom as she did.
Andrea Javor: I welcome Lisa Williams to the Until There Was Me podcast. Lisa and I are going to talk about financial literacy. Talk about putting yourself first when it comes to taking control of your finances. We're going to talk especially about post divorce and about women being empowered to handle all of the aspects of financial health and well being. I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as I enjoy chatting with Lisa. Welcome Lisa Williams, it's wonderful to see you today.
Lisa Williams: Thank you, my friend. I've been looking forward to this.
Andrea Javor: Me too. Me too. For those of you who don't know, I recently was on Lisa's podcast, Dream Big Nation. And we had just such a wonderful conversation about kids, about divorce, about blended families. We wanted to have another conversation today, really about finances. But before we get into all of that, Lisa, I would love for you to tell everybody a little bit more about yourself.
Lisa Williams: Yeah, absolutely. One of my favorite topics as a wealth educator, but I'll start real briefly. I was really fortunate one of those, I think few souls that landed in my career that I was just meant to do. Very much by accident, I was recruiting for 25 years. And about three years ago, I found myself in a place of just wondering what's the next kind of thinking, it's been a long time since I've learned something new. So started to tiptoe into this world of entrepreneurship that you've been in for a little bit longer than me. And now, I've shifted into wealth education, debt elimination and also business matchmaking. So I help solopreneurs and business managers to really just identify additional income streams they can add to their business so that they continue to move around that cashflow quadrant that we teach about as entrepreneurs and things, and not have all their income in one basket. So a super big passion of mine also loves educating our youth about financial literacy and things like that. I know we're gonna talk about it.
Andrea Javor: There's just so much to unpack here, and so many wonderful things that you're putting out into the world. Where I'd like to start, I read a really jarring statistic that after a divorce, women's income on average is reduced by 41%, which is more than twice as much as men's income. Have you heard that as well?
Lisa Williams: Yeah, absolutely. I've actually heard as high as 60%. Probably depends on what you're reading. It's funny, that's actually when I look back, that's actually where my own journey started in what I do now. I like you was faced with a divorce, rather unexpectedly, now mine was about, how old is my middle son? It was about 18 years ago. So I was a single mom of two little boys. I had a three month old and a three year old. Now, I was really fortunate because I was always really good at making money. I knew what to do when it came to that, but I had no idea how to manage it because my husband had done everything. So my journey started with just getting really clear about where my money was going. For you Dave Ramsey fans out there, I think it was a precursor to his Financial Peace University at my church, and never dreaming that it would actually be the foundation of God's plan for my business in the future. Because I was in corporate for a really long time. I'm a recovering corporate executive.
Andrea Javor: Same here.
Lisa Williams: I think that there's a lot of us. I love walking with women like you and having some fun. So yeah, but you're right. Most women are not in that position where they really struggle when divorce comes along. First of all, getting really clear about where your money's going, I think, is just so important because it's like a teenager. If you don't give it a job, it'll disappear.
Andrea Javor: Well, it's such an important first step just understanding the cash flow. There's money coming in, and there's money going out. For me personally, I'm not great with numbers. I'm not great with spreadsheets, and it intimidates me. So my question for you is, for those who don't really know where to start or feel intimidated about that process, what's a good first step?
Lisa Williams: Yeah, great question. First of all, a great first step is just educating yourself because there's so much out there that's available, it's free. I personally have a journey to a financial wellness session that I do with clients, entirely complimentary. There's so many budgeting tools, and, you know, just a Google Sheet. First, getting clear where your money is going. And sometimes, you have to kind of play detective. What am I spending on? Really big passion for me also, Andrea, one of my mantras is, I will be the reason GoFundMe accounts are no longer necessary. In our country, at least I'll be very instrumental in it. I'm a licensed life and health professional in 23 states. So many families forget about what I consider the foundation of their wealth, which is protecting these two hands, the ability to produce for yourself. Life insurance to me is the bedrock of a financial foundation because you can never replace the loved one. But of course, you can replace what that loved one can produce for the family.
So women, if you're not insured, please insure your life. And even if you don't have kids, by the way, my phone used to just be able to flip it open and make a call. And now, I can do this appointment on my phone because technology has evolved. And just like Tech has evolved, financial products have. There's products out there now that are called living benefits, for example. It's no longer, if someone passes away that you benefit. God forbid we as women get sick or injured and can't perform, take care of ourselves. We can actually draw benefits from those policies and just pay our bills, things like that. So educating yourself about what's available.
Andrea Javor: What is involved in that initial consultation that you? You said that it's called the path to financial freedom?
Lisa Williams: Yeah, it's fun. We basically, really, all we do is we first get clear on your budget. Where is that money going? What's coming in? What's going out? We look at what your asset allocations are right now. What have you saved? And we asked you that very important question, hey, when do you want to retire? And then we actually help you find your financial freedom number. Imagine going on a road trip and you didn't know where you were going. You didn't have a GPS, you didn't have any type of mapper. I'm dating myself, like Thomas Guide, it would be really difficult to get there. And that's what's happened to so many families in our countries. We haven't really taken the reins when it comes to our finances and what our financial future looks like. We're not sure where we're going so it's very, very difficult to get there. Have you noticed how many grandmas and grandpas are working at places like McDonald's or Target? You know what I mean? Surely it's because they want to. It's just because they have to? Yeah, absolutely.
Andrea Javor: Yeah, yeah. Well, I think it's really interesting to think about this, that sort of path to financial freedom especially for women. Really just a way to empower you, to feel like you have control over something. And I say this because, especially on the precipice of divorce, it can feel like there's nothing in your life that you have control over. And finances can feel like that as well.
Lisa Williams: It's very scary.
Andrea Javor: Yeah. Talk to me about how you deal with that fear with the clients that you work with.
Lisa Williams: Well, think about, is there going to be enough money at the end of the month, for example. And then think about the piece that you'd feel if you really knew where things were going, where your money was going. You knew that there was enough at the end of the month, that to me, it actually creates a really, fear that is replaced with peace. So that's really in a lot of ways what I feel like I have the pleasure, the blessing to do for families is really give them financial peace. And it really gets rid of the fear if you actually know what you're doing instead of winging it, if that makes sense.
Andrea Javor: It does make sense, right? I think it's the piece of knowing, I pictured myself going somewhere and wanting to order something online, or go buy something that I'm not really sure I can afford. It's sort of this pit of my stomach feeling bad like, oh, should I really be doing this? Can I really do this? But the peace of mind to know that I can buy that fancy dress, or I can go to the spa, or I can take that vacation. And knowing that you can afford it and it's part of your financial plan, that's invaluable, really.
Lisa Williams: You planned ahead, you built it into your budget. It makes those treats in your life, the holidays. I teach families, have a Christmas fund, Happy Holiday fund. Now, granted. There are a lot of families that simply need to increase their cash flow. So what I also teach about is, in my opinion, every family should have a business. Something else that you are doing that can be a tax advantaged resource for you, that you don't have all your income in one basket. For those that are in corporate America, like Andrea and I, if you're finding that there's a cap on your income, because there is most of the time, then think about hiring yourself. There's so many amazing home based businesses that are out there available to families.
Andrea Javor: I find that so fascinating because you and I have both gone on an entrepreneurial journey. I've shared this with you, I spent 20 years in corporate America with fixed W2 income and benefits, and very predictable, just a very different path. So going out on my own, I probably wouldn't have even thought of having my own business when I was in the corporate world. I guess my question to you is, if you are on the other side of divorce and you're suddenly faced with the need to supplement your income, and you're just not sure, what would I even want to do? What's a good place to start?
Lisa Williams: Yeah. I love this question. We never took that class, what am I meant to be when I grew up? So many people, myself included, I accidentally landed where I was. My first suggestion is start working on your mindset of doing something different. Because I host, talk about, it's called Employee to Entrepreneur Mindset. Because think about it, we, our system, we are part of a system in corporate America. Our school systems are the same. They train us to be good employees so that's probably the hardest part for someone to really even think about doing something for themselves is, first, working on this brain of ours. That would be my first thing. Start absorbing content, start listening to podcasts like this. There's so many great inspirational, motivational people out there that have been where you want to go. You don't have to do it. If one person's done it, you can do it. But be committed to working on your mind because it's really a 90% mindset. Just think about the average small business owner. 90% of them really have only traded one hamster wheel for another. They might have found what they want to do, but they're usually not really producing revenue unless those two hands are working. The doors are open, right? So think about different asset classes. There's so many ways to invest, for example, outside of the traditional 401(k). By the way, that has been deemed a failure by the person that invented it.
Andrea Javor: Wow. Tell me more about that.
Lisa Williams: Well, let's just think about the 401(k). And I speak from authority because I had one for years before I did better. So think about the 401(k). You put a little bit of money in every month for 20 or 30 years. That's how you have this big bucket of money, and you've paid no taxes on that money. Now, do you think taxes are going to be higher or lower when we retire?
Andrea Javor: Higher, much higher.
Lisa Williams: Right. So think about that concept. We give this analogy, if I was going to give you $100,000 for a loan, what would you want to know about that loan? What's the interest rate? You'd want to know the terms, exactly. Interest, time to pay back. Andrea, you know what? You and I are podcast buddies. I'll let you know when it's time to pay me back. Would you ever take that deal? So do you see the analogy? What we've all done, because think about it, we've gone to work and we take whatever they offer us, which is a 401(k). I would love to say that there isn't a system involved with this, but it's a proven system to just be part of that worker bee mentality and go to work. Take whatever they give us, and go on our retirement plan. The problem is taxes will probably double when you and I retire. And if we haven't paid any taxes yet, that we're going to be in a world of hurt, we're gonna have half of what we thought we did. So there's just education, there's a fabulous book I give to my clients, it's called Top 25 Ways an IUL can Secure Retirement. One of my partners wrote it. There's two ways to save tax free. One is a Roth IRA, which most people are familiar with. I love teaching people about how to use cash value life insurance as an upright vehicle. You really can be your own banker in a sense.
Andrea Javor: You can borrow the cash value. You can borrow against the cash value while you still have a death benefit.
Lisa Williams: It really becomes like your own pension. They're calling them like the pension of the millennials, or the rich man's Roth.
Andrea Javor: Oh, that's so interesting. It's so interesting. Well, I love what you say, Lisa, just in general, about sort of absorbing information, finding out what else is out there and figuring out what you might want to do. And I really do agree that 90% of this is mindset, and just knowing that you can do it. I remember sitting being so miserable in my corporate job, and just feeling so limited. Like, well, this is what I'm trying to do. I went to school for marketing. I've been doing marketing for 20 years and no one else would hire me to do anything else. I can't just go to be a doctor or lawyer. I mean, obviously, those aren't things I want to be anyway. But it's really difficult to get out of the mindset of having, we're taught to have, we have such a clear path. Well, you go to college, graduate, get a job, get married, have children, and then you realize that life happens and things get in the way of that linear path. But I think the mindset piece is so powerful to help people get out of that sort of doldrum kind of repetitive way of thinking, and really challenging ourselves to think differently.
Lisa Williams: Well, talk about how you help families when they've gone through a divorce. What a great time of reinvention. The reality is entrepreneurs, they are making up to 1% of the wealth in the country. So whoever said you only have to be one thing in your life. I feel like the women that I'm locking arms with we're all almost like I started when I was in my mid 40's. I'm having more fun than I ever have in my career.
Andrea Javor: Yeah, absolutely the same. No, it's so true. It's so true.
Lisa Williams: Think about the example that we're giving our kids. Those lifelong learners and not get pigeonholed into one thing that they do the rest of their lives.
Andrea Javor: Well, it's really funny because I had a hard time talking about my entrepreneurial journey with my stepkids because they were like, oh, well, Andrea doesn't have a job anymore. And I don't think I talked about it in the right way. They're young. I said: "Well, I don't have a job right now." I said that for a while while I was building the business and getting certified and accreditation, things like that. And then it was like, well, do you have a job yet? Do you have a job yet? And I would say: "No, not yet. But I'm working on something." It's just interesting because I would really love to learn about how you would advise us to empower our children to have healthy relationships with money.
Lisa Williams: Oh, yeah. I love that question. I do it every day with my own kids, but I haven't always. First, I would say, if you have little ones. I heard this great story from one of my mentors, Dr. Greg Reed, if you haven't read his book, Three Feet From Gold. It's amazing. He told this story about, he was getting some advice from one of his mentors, and it was talking about, what do you do with your child when it comes to allowance, for example? So do you pay an allowance, first of all. And he said, Sure. And he's like, okay, so what do you pay your child to do? Your son does? Well, the usual, make your bed. Take out the trash, whatever it is. So does your son like doing that? Oh, no, not really. So what we're doing when you really think about it is we're training our kids to trade their time for money as something they don't enjoy.
Andrea Javor: Wow. Oh, my gosh, you're right.
Lisa Williams: I never did either. So he suggested instead, and he did it actually. He said: "What is your son enjoy?" He loves Tik Tok stuff. So he actually had his son help him create some Tik Tok videos, and then he paid for it. He's like, why are you giving me this money? And he's like, well, you help me with something that I wasn't good at, you're really good at it. So that's why I pay you now. That example alone, how cool is that? Another one I have, something we've always done in our family is, and maybe it's because I was always a commissioned salesperson in my corporate career. We never paid our kids allowance. It was commissioned, and they were part of the family economy. We really consider, when you think about it, every family has their own economy, and you contribute to that economy. You get paid because of your contribution to that economy.
So just kind of thinking in different ways. We also always have done, it's actually back to Dave Ramsey, again, he does an envelope system. In our case, it was saving, spending and giving. That's a really good one too. Our kids have always worked, whether it's in our home, or now as they get older, they can get jobs. We don't buy them a car, we teach them, hey, you save what you're gonna save, and we'll match you. And it's been proven statistically as well that even at the university level, if your kids work in some way, shape or form, they actually will do better. You statistically, from not only an education standpoint, the better more importantly, when they graduate because they've had some stake in the game.
Andrea Javor: I've heard that actually. And actually, when I was in college over 20 years ago, when I started in like the mid to late 90's, I remember my parents said to me: "Well, you have to get a job while you're there. We're helping you with tuition, we're helping you with expenses." And I can't do that, I have way too much going on. Of course, I thought I was overwhelmed with classes. And truly, the one semester I did not work, I did worse in school than all the other masters of the four years I was there that I did work. I also think it really teaches kids prioritization, it teaches you how to manage your time a bit better. You have to be a well rounded individual. So teaching kids early, that just makes a lot of sense to me. That's great.
Lisa Williams: I'm teaching them to be entrepreneurs early. This has been new for me because I wasn't for many, many years. And man, if I had it to do over, I mean, I'm doing it now, but it's never too late. Thinking about teaching our kids about the cashflow quadrant, about principles of thinking and growing rich, and the things that all these great thought leaders in self improvement and self development teach about. They teach about what is the 99% versus the 1% have in common. The 1% always have a business, they always are making their money work for them while they're sleeping.
Andrea Javor: The passive income. Can you talk about that quadrant, talk about the four quadrants of wealth.
Lisa Williams: Yeah. One of my favorite topics, one of my life mentors, a woman named Sharon Lechter. More people are familiar with her male counterpart, who was also co author of the book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki. They teach about the CashFlow Quadrant. So you picture it like a foursquare, playing foursquare with a ball, and the upper quadrant, upper left quadrant is the employee category, you're going to be constantly trading your time for money. That's where 90% of people are. Squarely planted. Now, you have your business owner category. Some people get tired of having a boss. They're like, okay, I'm gonna go do my own thing. But that's often where they get stuck because they're really still just trading their time for money. They're just doing it in their own way now with their own economy. So the goal is really to move into that business system category and investor category. That's the right side of the quadrant.
So the business system category, McDonald's is the best example. One of the first franchises ever created. There's a year-long waiting list for McDonald's. You have to pay a million dollars and pay 100,000 just for an application, for example. But the reason that is is because they have a proven system that works. You can plug a 17 year old or a seven year old into their system, and they'll run the restaurant for you. But any business that has a system, network marketing firms are great at it. They teach about the cashflow quadrant. My sector, financial services and debt elimination. All have passive residual income components to it. So I help a family once, and I get paid a little bit every year, after that I'm helping that family. So whatever you're doing, if you choose a business, think about, is there going to be a passive residual component that I can create with my business? Coaches often have coursework and things like that that are evergreen. And then you can really get into that fourth quadrant with it, which is the investor where you really are sleeping and your money is working for you.
Andrea Javor: It's so powerful to think about all these things. I think that many of the listeners here are, like I said, going through divorce or kind of on the other side of it trying to create a better financial future. And I think some of these tips can really help get in the right frame of mind and start to feel more empowering, feel like you're in the right mindset to actually do something different than what you were doing in your marriage previously.
Lisa Williams: And I feel so often, we kind of forget about the financial piece of our lives. And it is one area where you can't put it off. Because every single year that goes by, you're losing out on that beautiful compound interest. I consider it the eighth wonder of the world. Again, imagine if they taught this stuff to our kids in school, how much better off financially our country would be. Don't make your financial roadmap the last road trip you look at. Make sure you plan it ahead.
Andrea Javor: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Lisa, you have so much wonderful advice and perspective for people. I know several listeners are gonna want to know how they can find out more. So how can people find you?
Lisa Williams: Yeah, absolutely. Come visit our site at lisawilliamsco.com. Schedule a session with me. We have lots of different programs, debt elimination, wealth accumulation, dream business launches. If you're looking to create a business, I take people on a journey of evaluating a variety of home based businesses and different verticals. I have a podcast myself, make sure you listen to Andrea and my interview as well. And I would just love to be of help however I can, it would be lovely to meet you all.
Andrea Javor: Thank you so much for putting these messages out in the world, Lisa. We're so grateful to hear them and to get to know you better today.
Lisa Williams: Absolutely. So nice to see you my friend. Sorry from my family noise in the back.
Andrea Javor: Oh, no, no, that's okay. It happens. It happens. It was lovely to see you as well. God bless.
Lisa Williams: God bless and see ya.
Podcast Episode Episode 002: Find Your Tribe! with Daniel Herrold
Discover the healing power of a community with our first-ever guest, Daniel Herrold, one of the co-founders of Divorced Over Forty. Daniel shares how a simple backyard cookout with friends turned into a valuable support center for many individuals across several countries.
"People have an insatiable need to connect. And if they're not getting it from their family and their friends, they only have two options: They either make new friends or date to get the connection. And dating as a means of connecting is probably not healthy. People come and go. Whereas, if you're focusing and investing your time in fostering brand new friendships, they can be there for a lifetime." -Daniel Herrold
Divorce is one of the top destroyers of social life. It leaves a void that will continue to grow unless the person himself becomes intentional about filling it. Discover the healing power of a community with our first-ever guest, Daniel Herrold, one of the co-founders of Divorced Over Forty. David shares how a simple backyard cookout with friends turned into a valuable support center for many individuals across several countries. Listen in and find out how you can also be a part of the Divorced Over Forty community and maybe find yourself a lifetime friendship in one of their exciting events!
02:58 The Divorce Over 40 Community
10:58 From BackYard Cookouts to World Chapters
18:07 Put Yourself Out There!
22:19 Check Out DO40's Upcoming Events
27:04 Reach Out and Get Plugged In
16:52 "The common piece that everyone goes through with a divorce is to have other people in your life that will help you get through it. There is no way to get through this on your own." -Andrea Javor
17:45 "People don't have to give you advice. They just sit there and nod. Those are the type of people that you want and you need definitely them." -Daniel Herrold
20:21 "People have an insatiable need to connect. And if they're not getting it from their family and their friends, they only have two options: They either make new friends or date to get the connection. And dating as a means of connecting is probably not healthy. People come and go. Whereas, if you're focusing and investing your time in fostering brand new friendships, they can be there for a lifetime." -Daniel Herrold
22:05 "Over time, as you start to trust people, you'll open up and it can be a healthy experience." -Daniel Herrold
29:46 "For a lot of people who are just starting to go through [divorce] and are trying to find a better life on the other side of it, starting with a community. is a good step to take." -Andrea Javor
Meet Our Guest:
Daniel Herrold is a Divorced Dad of 3 daughters living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is one of the Co-Founders of Divorced Over Forty, a recently formed group that provides a community to divorced men & women across the world who are in the ’40s, ’50s & ’60s. This community provides support through content on its social media channels, as well as hosts events with the specific intention of fostering and cultivating friendships. With over 10,000 strong virtually, tribes have been formed in over 50 cities across 7 countries worldwide.
The Divorced Over Forty community has enabled Daniel to pursue his passion for writing, where he writes on a number of topics including his divorce journey, dating, and being a dad to three daughters.
Connect with Divorce Over 40:
Connect with Daniel:
Andrea Javor: Daniel Herrold is one of the founders of Divorced Over 40. In this episode, we talk all about finding community, especially after you go through a divorce. It's a topic that is personally very important to me as I went through divorce on two occasions, and had to find the people who I loved hanging out with finding my tribe. It was a really important part of my own finding out how to prioritize myself, my healing, and just really the next chapter of my life after divorce. Some of the friends that I made personally have been friends with me through the next chapter of my life, and have really remained part of who I am. I know Daniel and his group offer so much of a sense of community that people really need. I think putting yourself first means surrounding yourself with people who will really help you be the very best you. And today on the podcast, Daniel and I talked about just that. Enjoy.
All right. Daniel Herrold, welcome to the podcast. So happy to have you here today.
Daniel Herrold: I'm happy to be here. How are you, Andrea?
Andrea Javor: I'm doing great. I'm doing great. I'm just coming off of a couple of weeks ago, visiting your hometown of Tulsa, having a great time at the Spring Fling. So I'm excited to dive in and talk all about it.
Daniel Herrold: I know. It was not your first time in Tulsa?
Andrea Javor: It was my first time in the state of Oklahoma.
Daniel Herrold: There you go.
Andrea Javor: Yeah. And I thought, you know what? This is a great opportunity to see another part of the country. I'm all vaccinated, ready to be around people. And like you, I'm also divorced. So it's such an important piece of moving forward and moving on after your divorce to build a community. And that's why I love the work that you're doing. So tell everybody a little bit more about Divorced Over 40.
Daniel Herrold: Yeah. Well, just to give you a little bit of background on myself, because I think that plays into why I created the community. I'm born and raised here in Tulsa. I was married right out of college. So literally, I think I was 22. My ex wife was born and raised here in Tulsa. Matter of fact, we went to the same high school together. And you know? We had three kids before 30, which was very much what you normally see in Tulsa, and kind of these, this type of culture. And we were married for 22 years together for 26. We got divorced about two and a half years ago. So here I am, I literally had dated her all through college. I've never dated before, period. I've never dated before other than my ex wife. And it was scary and exciting at the same time. This is pre COVID so I went through kind of like everybody does kind of, well, not like everybody, but like a lot of people do it kind of go through a crazy phase where I'm like, enjoying being single. And I'm doing a lot of traveling with work and dating, and COVID hits. And as you know, Andrea, COVID pretty much shut down not your entire social life, let alone any dating all together.
Andrea Javor: Yeah, Chicago has been shut down for a long time. Absolutely. It's tough.
Daniel Herrold: It wasn't that much. It wasn't like that. And Oklahoma, Oklahoma, I think mirrored a lot like Florida in terms of people kind of what went on to their own business regardless of what was restricted or not. I say that because, I mean, dating did shut down, and my travel shut down for business. So here I am working from Tulsa, and just kind of reflecting on, okay, it's been 18 months since my divorce. What have I accomplished? I was like, I haven't accomplished a whole lot. I knew that I wasn't ready for a relationship, so I was smart and kind of not Focusing on that. But I really realized that I didn't have any friends at all. All the friends that I had had all gone just like everybody else typically experiences when they get divorced, they lose a lot of their married friends. And I hadn't really worked on really finding my tribe. I was very intentional going into last summer, and really trying to find a circle of friends that I could hang out with, and not have to be so reliant on dating as my connection.
Because honestly, that's what I was doing. I had a colleague that I worked with, it was almost at the same stage from a divorce standpoint. We started hanging out, we started having cookouts every Thursday at his house. He had the best bachelor pad in Tulsa, but they weren't hooked up. They weren't dating events, they were just, hey, everybody bring potluck. We're gonna grill, and let's just hang out. I think because everybody had all this excess time, and they're all kind of, everybody's kind of locked up, they kind of look forward to this event on a weekly basis. So it's funny because once we were doing like a month of this, my ex approached me. She goes: "What are these divorce parties that you guys keep having?" I'm like a divorce party. They just happen to be a bunch of divorce people. Anyway, long story short, we started to create this community. We decided to put it in the form of social media because there was a tight group of six people for women, myself and my colleague that were super, super close, and we wanted to kind of chronicle our life. And what was originally intended to be a self deprecating kind of comical look at the shit show of our lives, post marriage ended up being something where we shared our guts.
I mean, we became very vulnerable. And it resonated so much with other fellow divorcees that we realized, well, we're onto something pretty big here that's not really offered in the marketplace. And that's what started Divorced Over 40. And really, it's evolving. I think that, what I would say is we're still trying to figure out how to define ourselves. But what we know we do well is we provide good support to people that are either going through a divorce or coming out of it. We try to provide more of a positive kind of light. We kind of describe this as being the light for people to kind of gravitate towards, tell a lot of stories about just everyday people, what they've gone through and how they've come out on the other side. And probably the most fun part that we didn't really predict, Andrea, is the community part. Everybody just wants to hang out. And that just kind of build from those cookouts to, now we're all across the country, if not the world, and people are congregating.
Andrea Javor: Well, what I think is fascinating. I mean, there's so many aspects to unpack here. I mean, I think you guys are that positive light for people. And you didn't say this. But for me, it's like this non threatening community. I think a lot of people jump into dating very quickly. It's actually one of the six most common mistakes that people use, or people do when they go through divorce. It's like just betting it all on the next relationship. And I think it's so important. The way that you all are building community feels like it's really inclusive for people at all different stages. Maybe some people are ready to date, but a lot of people may not be. And going to a divorce over 40 of that just feels like it's a very inclusive community based, kind of like that, find your tribe five versus find your next hookup, or find your next relationship. I love that it is truly about community, and it's interesting. It's interesting, you say that that wasn't the original intention.
Daniel Herrold: No, but it kind of birthed from that because those cookouts really, we just saw that and that was just like organic. They really weren't meant to like guys prey on women, and for women to look for guys. We were just all hanging out, drinking, listening to music and having fun. So what happened is we started to have people that were following our social media accounts. They would say, can I come to your party? And we were like, well, we don't even know you. I'm already nervous about having someone at my house so we started to put it in a public setting.
And when we started to think in the form of a happy hour, we started to think about, okay, when we put this together, how do we try to replicate what we were doing in an organic way with strangers? And what we realized is that we needed to be really really, really explicit that these are not dating mixers. And we were right out of the gate. You said, look, do not come if you're looking for a phone number or going to ask someone out on a date as your primary motive. Our people coming to me, people of the opposite sex? 100% yes, and we're okay with that. But don't come with the notion that you want to expand your tribe and be friends. And what we saw early out of the gate is a lot of women would come because they could let their guard down. Because men can tend to be so predatory. It turns people off. So women would come in, they felt comfortable. And men would come and they feel comfortable because they don't have to be on their game. They can just be themselves. And so right, really something new. We still have to police it. I mean, let's be honest, there's still people that come in for the wrong motives and we kind of corrected as we go. But generally speaking, people are kind of self policing themselves. They're like, what do we have? If anybody comes in that doesn't fall into line, they let them know themselves.
Andrea Javor: Yeah. Well, so for anybody listening who has not yet followed Divorced Over 40, tell us a little bit about the digital footprint, and how you started to expand across the country and across the world now?
Daniel Herrold: Well, yeah, all of it. So our content is really a mixture of two things. Number one is the six people that founded that are now three. So it's myself and two women, Julie Lucas, and Amy Greene. And the other three, just for personal reasons, just couldn't make the commitment to stay in it. And we're still good friends with them. So we provide, we're kind of like the face of the Divorce Over 40. So we're providing just different perspectives. We write once or twice a month on different topics, which I love. I love writing, but then we've blended it in with experts.
So it's divorce coaches like yourself, we've got a sex therapist, and we've got someone that provides an attorney. We thought that we wanted to weave in there just not lay person stories, but actually people that have been trained, and are capable of providing good advice. And then the last thing that we add, which actually is my favorite and I think it's the whole community is every Friday, we throw in just some person in the community from Toronto to, we had someone from South Africa, just some person to tell their story.They're always unique, but they always resonate with people in the community. So that's what we're doing digitally through Instagram and Facebook, and we have a website. But how we grew up outside of Tulsa was kind of a funny story. We started to see during our happy hours, and we were doing it initially, like every other week, which was a little bit too much. I was a little bit too social last year. We've spaced them out to once a month, but we started to notice people came in, and we're driving them from Oklahoma City to come to the happy hour.
Andrea Javor: And that's like two and a half, three hours or something?
Daniel Herrold: Two hours, two to two and a half hours. They drive in, hang out with us, and drive home. And we're like, well? And then we had other people say, hey, I want to come to Tulsa to hang out with you. And we were like, look, we're not that cool. We can show you how to do it. It just takes a lot of intentionality and a lot of focus. We've started to have these people first in Oklahoma City, these type A, mostly women, but some men who kind of raised their hand and said, I am yearning for what you guys have created so much in my backyard because I don't have it, that I'm willing to help create it. We call them city ambassadors. And we have 77 right now. I mean, we're growing at a pace of like three to four week of people that are soliciting us, saying, do you have a chapter in Atlanta? Do you have a chapter [inaudible]. No, we don't. But we're looking for people. And they're like, well, I'll do it. So they're kind of the point of contact/social chairman of that particular city. And it's so fun getting pictures throughout the week of happy hours that are occurring or events. And you see this group of like 20 people in Cincinnati, and five people in Chicago, and Minneapolis had an event, Atlanta had an event. And we're like, holy crap. Well, this is clearly resonating with people.
Andrea Javor: I was just gonna say, the message is clearly resonating. And the fact that you have 77 City ambassadors around multiple countries, I mean, did you have any idea that this would happen?
Daniel Herrold: No. We weren't even planning any social events. I mean, we're just gonna tell our stories, and people just wanted to hang out with us. I mean, if there's one thing that we did as a group of six as we were, and it's kind of a really good model for cultivating friendships is we were incredibly intentional all throughout the week of making sure that we were connecting, whether it was by phone, or FaceTime, or seeing each other. And it really just created this really deeply rooted friendships, which frankly, we needed in the midst of going through your divorces, and everybody was at a different stage within that group of six and being single. So you're less reliant on the dating apps if you've got a group of friends to hang out with. It's almost like an excuse. So that model is really just starting to get replicated across the country. Because everybody, I mean, that's what's so cool about is, everything that I'm yearning for personally, and my friends, anybody else that's divorced, by and large has the same set of needs and the same set of wants. And so it's an easy sell.
Andrea Javor: Right, right. Well, and I think for anybody listening, who's wondering, is there a chapter near me? What should they do to go find that?
Daniel Herrold: Well, we've started the process of everything. Because it's been overwhelming with the data, we actually on our website, we have a form that you can fill out. Go to our website at divorcedover40.com, and there's a button that says Find Your Tribe. You basically fill out your name, where you live, how you heard about us, and I get it personally. And if we have a chapter, I forwarded to the chapter and they reach out to that person to get them plugged in. If they don't, then I solicit them and see if they're interested in leading. One out of four say yes. Three out of four, no. But when you open the chapter, I want to participate. So that's really where growth is occurring.
Andrea Javor: Well, I can say specifically, being in Chicago, I know the two women who are sitting ambassadors here. We all came to the Spring Fling together in Tulsa, and they've been planning happy hours. We've done dinner, we've done a drinks night out. I would encourage anyone listening who's looking for their tribe to start with divorcedover40.com. Click on that button, try to find out where there's more happening. Because I do believe that the common piece that everyone goes through with divorce, no matter if you initiated it, your spouse initiated, whatever is happening, kids, no kids, whatever, you have to have other people in your life that will help you get through it. There is no way to get through this on your own. I don't think so.
Daniel Herrold: I, 100% agree. And I don't think that, sometimes, family aren't the right people to share those, be vulnerable with, and probably have seen in your work. I have two brothers, I'm not going to sit down and talk to you about all the emotions that I felt. But if it's a friend, particularly a friend that has gone through that or is going through that, they get it. So you start talking about, man, today, it's just been two and a half years after my divorce, today was an incredibly crappy day. And because of this, and people are like, yeah, I get it, I know that I can. And they don't have to give you advice. They just sit there and nod. And those are the type of people that you want. And you need them, you definitely need them.
Andrea Javor: It's just like to be in a community with other people. And to know that I'm at this event with other people who on some level kind of relate to me in what I'm feeling and going through at any given moment.
Daniel Herrold: 100% agree. And that's what we've tried to do. What I've found is it's hard to foster new friendships when you're middle aged because you're raising kids, and you're busy with your career. Usually, you're right. Or in many cases, you're restarting a career. Being divorced, you're busy. You're like, where do I go to find friends? I can find them at work. Maybe I can find them at church. Maybe I will go to a bar, which most people don't want to do. So all we're trying to do is we're creating an immediate plug and play. We've got a group of people, they're all in the same age category, 40's, 50's, 60's, and all have gone through divorces or going through divorces. So it's like minded people, and all you have to do is show up. And that in itself is hard for people just to show off. But I've heard so many brave stories of people that come to a happy hour, sit in the parking lot for 30 minutes because they're scared to death because they don't know anybody. And then finally they're like, gosh, darn it. I'm going in. And now, they're in every social activity. I mean, it's so cool looking at that.
Andrea Javor: Cool. But also what I think is really nice and non threatening is that if you're scared to go to an event, start with the Facebook group in your local city or start with the Instagram page. Get to know the content, get to know the people a little bit. I think you, Julie and Amy are so wonderful about putting yourselves out there and sharing your stories. It feels very relatable and very non threatening to join in whatever way you feel comfortable with where you're at in the process.
Daniel Herrold: You're very nice to say that, and I will say I think a lot of people were prompted from out of Tulsa to come to the event that we had because they had connected with people on Facebook or Instagram, and they're wanting to meet them. And next thing is we're planning a big vacation in September. For four days, three nights. Everybody's been asking for vacation. They're like, I want a vacation with you all. I think it would be fun. So we put it together. We just announced it last week. I mean, we have almost a hundred people that are getting quotes and probably are gonna book. I think it's going to be a huge event. People just have this insatiable need, or desire to connect. And if they're not getting it from their family and their friends have kind of all gone, they only have two options. They're either gonna have to make new friends, or we're gonna have to date in order to get a connection. I would argue that dating as a means of connecting is probably not healthy. If you do it the right way? It can be, but it is likely not going to be a healthy experience. If people come and go, they're not going to be there forever. Whereas, if you're focusing and investing your time, fostering brand new friendships, they can be there for a lifetime.
Andrea Javor: Right, right. Well, I think that's a wonderful message.Something, I don't think that that message is out there in the world enough. So I'm happy that you're spreading that message today because it is about friendships. And I would argue, any good relationship I've ever been in has started with a solid base of friendship anyway. So it's kind of two birds, one stone.
Daniel Herrold: Well, and we're seeing romantic connections that are springing up from our community. But to your point, it started on the basis of a foundation of becoming friends, not immediately going into a dating environment. I think that's a help. That's what everybody wants. Everybody's asking for that. How can I get off the online dating apps and meet someone organically? Well, we're creating that. We don't want you to come for that reason, but it's going to happen naturally. And that's what everybody wants to show up, and you be part of the community. Get plugged in, be brave, because a lot of people are shy, and it's hard making new friends. A lot of people have been through some pain so they're really tightly wound and don't want to open up. But over time, as you start to trust people, you'll open up and it can be a real healthy experience for people.
Andrea Javor: It sounds like you guys have some great things planned. So you've got Cancun coming up. Will you do another big kind of Spring Fling event next year or even sooner?
Daniel Herrold: Yeah. It's funny because it was kind of like a trial run to see our people are going to show up, which they obviously did. In a COVID year, we had 325 people show up with four months of planning. So actually, tomorrow or Wednesday, I'm touring a venue that will hold a thousand people because we think that next year, our second annual Spring Fling, which we are planning, could probably be north of a thousand people. And that's going to be more. We had a lot of good ideas from feedback as far as how to cater that weekend a little bit better, more professional, a better tour of the city. Maybe putting the event on a Saturday. So we're going to tweak it to make it more of a real event that everybody's gonna want to go to. And I think what's on the horizon that we're kind of thinking about is a weekend retreat which will actually have content. So it's gonna have panelists and speakers to talk about different topics, whether it's high conflict, divorce, or financial matters after your divorce or whatever matter depending on your stage. But then we, the social aspect, that won't be until now, I think we'd want to go to kind of a fun city that everybody could kind of go out like Nashville, or Austin, or Chicago in the summer for sure.
Andrea Javor: Gorgeous. Love the idea. Yeah.
Daniel Herrold: So I think that's, a lot starting to kind of pick brains of some other people that are kind of in the industry, and just to see if that is something that would resonate because there's a lot of programs online as you know. A lot of people think that they can get reached, but what if you had one central annual event where people can actually have a lot of fun and learn stuff?
Andrea Javor: Well, I love that. I mean, I love having the professional aspect as part of this as well. But I have to say, I mean, for a first annual event, I hope that all three of you are very proud of the turnout event itself. I mean, for anyone who is listening who is curious about it, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I knew it was going to be a fun party, but I arrived at this gorgeous venue with a lovely open bar. There's cocktails, there was food and then a band. The band was so much fun. People were dancing. People have a great, I mean, it was just such a nice, the energy was really high. I think people had a lot of fun with the photo booth, and there were lots of tables where you could sit down if you weren't feeling like dancing or mingling. But it just felt very inclusive and high energy. Very positive vibe of that to me.
Daniel Herrold: It was kind of like the prom of your 40's, wasn't it?
Andrea Javor: Right. It's so funny you say that because a couple of my friends back home, they said, where were you this weekend? Were you at a divorce prom party?
Daniel Herrold: I mean, it really felt that way. Because people were like, I don't know what kind of dress I'm gonna get. And all the guys are like, what do I wear? Do I wear jeans and a sports coat? Right? So people were like, really, people would get their hair done the day out. I mean, it really turned into been a really cool event. But I think it was so needed because all the nonprofit events that a lot of people go to where you get dressed up and do that have all been shut down because of COVID. So there's like this pan demand to go out and dress up nice, look nice and participate in an event. So I'm glad you loved it. On the other side, I see all the things we did wrong that we can do better. And then generally speaking, it was a good event.
Andrea Javor: It was a great event. It's funny with the dress code, or like the suggestion to dress up a bit. I do think people need that. I mean, how many of us, I think a lot of us stressed out about what to wear, get the hair done and all that kind of stuff for the women. Whatever people did. I think it was really needed. It felt really special to put on a dress and heels, and get out there in a way that many of us in many cities have not been able to do. So I think it's only gonna get better as time goes on.
Daniel Herrold: I think we're going to do a double next year. Our goal is to try to get a thousand people of which, hopefully we can get 30% outside of Tulsa. So that's 300 people coming into Tulsa for the weekend. I think that's going to be a big deal.
Andrea Javor: That's awesome. Yeah. I will say the city of Tulsa was a delight to explore. The hotel that you had, everybody stayed out, the group was wonderful, high service, high quality and had a lot of nice meals when I was in the city and got to walk around. A little walk in too was great. So it was a really great experience overall.
Daniel Herrold: Yeah, I wish the weather had been a little bit nicer. But you know, that's April for you. I hope we had a good time.
Andrea Javor: What can you do? Well, that's great. Well, I know we will continue to follow all of the exciting things that are happening with Divorced Over 40. Is there any other information that you'd like to share on how to get in touch or what people can do to get involved?
Daniel Herrold: Well, I would tell you that we're, again, with the evolution of what we're seeing is we're really starting to see a lot of offshoots, particular needs that are rising. For example, amongst the city Ambassador group, I have about six or seven women that are South Asian, Asian, Middle Eastern and African. And the divorce stigma in those cultures is so extreme. So we put together a group that we're wanting to try to provide more resources, content and community specific for those cultures, which I love and wouldn't have ever thought of. Also the widow category. We've had so many people that are widows that asked to be involved, because there's so many common denominators of the emotions, the grief and the loss that you feel. And of course, saying you're more than welcome to be a part of it. And now, we're pulling together three or four people that are widowed to start to talk about how we can cater to that particular subset. So it's really starting to spawn off into a lot of different things.
Every day I wake up and I get something positive in my inbox, or a text, and it's just fuel for the fire, it just charges me, Amy and Julie. We know we're doing something good. We're having fun while we're doing it. And we just, I just encourage everybody to just reach out and figure out how to get plugged in and find your tribe. We want to get you involved. And I think once you do, you're going to tell everyone that I haven't had any negative experiences. It's like everybody that gets plugged in, that was apprehensive, always comes back and says, and I think it's seasonal. I think that people will come in when they need it. And then maybe they find their little friend group from the group where they find a relationship that they wonder, and maybe they might come back, maybe then they don't. So we provide a season for people in their lives. I just encourage you to reach out and get plugged in.
Andrea Javor: I love that. I love that. Well, I would like to further give encouragement and be your positive note today that I love what you're doing. I believe very much in the power of community, and I'm just privileged that we got to talk about it today.
Daniel Herrold: Thank you so much. I love what you do and the content that you provide. I love everybody that's been in the industry because I know, it's so negative at times for people to be in that industry and the divorce industry. You have to really have a heart for people. You have to love people, and you want to really help people. I know you're one of those, so I want to do whatever I can to support you and in your efforts as well.
Andrea Javor: Well, thank you so much for being here to talk today. I think it is very supportive for a lot of people who are just starting to go through it and are really trying to find a better life on the other side of it. Starting with that community, it's a first really good step to take. And my final message is for anybody who's like sitting in the car, worried to go into one of Daniel's events, just get out of the car, you're going to be okay.
Daniel Herrold: Everybody has a name tag so you know that they're part of the community. You know their name, we have a balloon where,, I mean, we're like a church. You know how the churches are so good at getting the guests and feel welcome. We're like, we got to be like that for new people. So we do make it really easy for you.
Andrea Javor: Well, that's wonderful. Well, everyone will have all the information to contact you. Is there anything else that you want to share about Divorced Over 40?
Daniel Herrold: No, that's it. Thank you so much for your time and allowing me to be on your podcast.
Andrea Javor: I am so happy that we were able to do this today. Thank you, Daniel.
Daniel Herrold: Thank you.
Podcast Episode 001: Introducing Until There Was Me™, the Podcast
Andrea Javor introduces the Until There Was Me™, The Podcast. Join Andrea and her guests every week as they teach you how to write the beautiful self-love story that reads, until there was me.
Imagine if your career aspirations and relationship goals could feel magically improved by optimizing one critical element in your life: The relationship you have with yourself. Andrea Javor believes that the key to finding your next-level life fulfillment is through a deliberate focus on YOU, the most challenging, rewarding, and significant relationship you have in this world. Go deep with the one and only bad-ass you to unlock the elusive career, relationship, and life goals you are wanting but aren’t getting. Through life experience and candid dialogue with experts, Until There Was Me™ will spark compelling conversations to help you move up and move on in your life.
Hosted by Andrea Javor, a 20+ year Corporate Marketing Professional and CDC© Certified Divorce Coach, Until There Was Me™ will give you practical, actionable advice to intentionally build your beautiful future at work and at home. Join Andrea and her guests every week as they teach you how to write the beautiful self-love story that reads until there was me.
- 01:23 Until There Was Me
- 05:00 When Fairy Tale Meets Reality
- 08:40 #Blessed
- 12:48 Until There Was ME
- 16:00 It’s All About You
- 19:18 Optimize Your Relationship With Yourself
03:27 “Instead of focusing on someone else completing us in life, the real opportunity is for us to work on the most significant and challenging relationship we have in this world, which is the relationship we have with ourselves.” -Andrea Javor
04:40 “When you take care of you, the world will take care of you too.” -Andrea Javor
13:33 “The secret to living fully is in empowering yourself to love yourself.” It's not always the first love that we're taught to think about. Yet, at the end of the day… the one relationship that is going to remain critical and your entire life is the one you have with you.” -Andrea Javor
15:13 “When you get to that point where you feel fully grounded and in support of the best version of yourself, people will be drawn to you magnetically.” -Andrea Javor
Andrea Javor: Welcome to the inaugural episode of this podcast. My name is Andrea Javor. I am the host of Until There Was Me. And I hope you'll enjoy exploring this topic as much as I do.
I want to talk about what this podcast is and why did I create it? I named the podcast Until There Was Me. Some of you may be wondering what it means, Until There Was Me. What does that really mean? Well, you may have heard the popular love song, Till There Was You. It's actually a show tune that was written by Meredith Wilson. It was originally entitled Till I Met You. It was recorded in 1950 by Meredith Wilson and his orchestra. It was actually used in The Music Man in 1957. It was also one of US top 40 hits for Anita Bryant, and then it was also covered by The Beatles in 1963. So hopefully, you know the song. It's popular. I love it. And I love it also because it's one of the top love songs of all time on the Billboard Top 500 list. The lyrics are beautiful. So it goes, there were bells on a hill, but I never heard them ringing. No, I never heard them at all till there was you. There were birds in the sky, but I never saw them whinging. No, I never saw them at all, till there was you. Hopefully you know the song.
So why did this love song inspire my podcast? Well, I am a person who loves love. I've always been enamored with love stories with romance, fairy tales. Stories of guy meets girl, all the traditional love stories. I grew up as a child of the 80's when romcoms were all the rage. So I watched movies like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, One Fine Day. These are just to name a few, I really could go on. I also loved Disney movies, the Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Those were my favorites. When I was a little girl, my mom read Cinderella to me every night before bed, and I couldn't get enough. Again, Mom, again, I want to hear it again. I've really been in love with love since I was a little girl.
And by the way, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I do think though, that instead of focusing on someone else completing us in life, I think the real opportunity is for us to work on what I would call the most significant and challenging relationship we have in this world, which is the relationship we have with ourselves. My relationship with myself is in a constant state of optimization. I'm constantly trying to optimize my relationship with myself. I'm a person who likes progress. I love doing things. I'm an expert at creative problem solving, and I'm really competitive. So I'd like to try to improve myself. I like to try to improve myself on a daily basis. I'd like to work on myself. And sometimes, it's hard to go deep into all of my issues. But hey, that's what self help and more so self love is all about really. And you know, I want to really know myself deep down and what makes me tick. The most significant impact I think I can have in all of this self help in this journey is really working on the relationship I have with myself.
And so this podcast is focused on just that. It's focused on working on the relationship you have with yourself. I believe that when you take care of you, the world will take care of you too. It's an important one. I believe that when you take care of you, the world will take care of you too. I didn't always know how to take care of myself, and for how much I absolutely loved fairy tales as a little girl. My path to true love is anything but a fairy tale.
So let me tell you a little bit more about me and how I came to this point in my life. I grew up in a middle class family with my parents and two younger brothers. Due to job changes over my formative years, I moved schools every year, between 7th and 11th grade, it was really tough. There's no way to sugarcoat that I had to make new friends every year. I had to learn how to fit in. I think I carried a sense of instability for a number of years because of having to move around so much. But on the flip side, I gained invaluable lessons in my life. I learned how to really judge the character of a person. I learned how to make friends quickly, how to just be myself. And even though it was really hard to change schools every year, I honestly wouldn't trade it for anything. It's really made me who I am today. After moving around so much, I remember when I was growing up, and again, I was watching a lot of romantic comedies and fairy tales. I really wanted my life to take a traditional path when it came to love and family.
My parents have been married 45 years now, which is incredible. When I was little, I admired that. And I still do. I thought to myself, well, I want to get married, and I want to be married as long as my parents have and even longer. I used to think about going to weddings, which is another place that I really loved love, right in the presence at a wedding. And I just remember when they would do that dance where all the couples start on the dance floor. And then the DJ announces, if you've been married for more than five years, stay on the dance floor. If you've been married more than 10, if you've been married more than 20, etc. And I thought, Oh, I want me and my husband to be on the dance floor the longest. That's the fairytale. That's the dream.
And really, I thought my path would be really traditional. So I thought I was going to get a college degree, then I'll get a job in my early 20's. I'm going to start dating, and then I'll meet Prince Charming. I'll get married by the time I'm 30. And then after that, I'm going to work on having three kids, and the perfect picture asks, house on the hill. That's what I want. I wanted to live happily ever after. I'd seen it a hundred times. I didn't want anything less than that for myself and for my life. And of course, I wouldn't settle. Which is really ironic, because what I ended up doing was settling and not really knowing myself. So in reality, because I was fixated on that fantasy and that fairy tale, I ended up getting married when I was 29 to the very wrong person, which led to divorce. I worked on myself some more. And then I met another person who I thought was the love of my life. But in reality, he had a lot of mental health issues. And after we were married when I was 37, we had to divorce a couple years after. And I remember the devastation of realizing that I was about to turn 40. I had two failed marriages, and no children of my own. It was heartbreaking. And I have to say, I really truly don't regret either of my marriages or divorces. I know some people would be surprised to hear me say that my friends and family certainly deplore both of my ex husbands who ended up doing terrible things during the time that we were both, that I was married to each of them. But really, I think I gained invaluable lessons about myself through the last 12 plus years of being in those marriages, and really getting to know myself, and what was going to work for me.
The other thing that was a huge blessing for me, and something that I would never ever wish away is that in my second marriage, I had the blessing of being a stepmom. So my ex has three children. I met them when they were young. My ex and his ex wife had been divorced for two years, but the kids were young. They were four years old and just about to be six years old. So two twin boys who are about to be six and a little girl who just turned four. And really getting to know them and being part of their lives opened up a parenting aspect and opportunity for me that I just had no idea how to navigate being a stepmom. And I have to say that those children continue to be three of the most important people in my life. They have brought so many gifts to me, and I wouldn't be where I am without them today. So even though I'm no longer married to their dad, I love them the same. I wish I could be part of their lives on a daily basis like I was before. They're doing great, and I'm very grateful for that relationship that I had with their dad at the time. And I'm grateful for the relationship I now have with their mom, which is a whole other podcast and a whole other story about how she and I really came to become friends and really support each other in a way that we weren't able to do originally when we first met.
So even though I didn't want to settle, even though I have these two failed relationships, even though all of this had been going on during my life on the personal side, it's very interesting because while my love life was a total mess, my 20 years in my career in marketing was anything but a mess. I was thriving, I was getting promoted, I was taking on new challenges, working my way up and are really different dynamic heavily matrix organizations. I was an expert at figuring out how to get department A to talk to department B to do something new and different, and be really innovative with our approaches to marketing. I was a badass in my career, I was a power player, I knew exactly what to do. And it's amazing because while I was kicking ass in Corporate America, my personal life was a disaster in the background.
So why was it that I was always falling apart in my personal life while I was doing so well in my professional life? And what I came to understand is that in my career, I really knew myself. I think I was thriving because I had incredible mentors. I got feedback, I had professional coaches over the years. I built big teams of people, and got a lot of feedback on how I showed up as a leader. I knew how others saw me in the workplace. I knew me, I loved me. The Andrea that shows up for work every day is the kind of person I wanted to be and the kind of person I was. But while that version of me that worked, Andrea was familiar, it was also very separate from the way I saw myself in relationships. Unfortunately, I hadn't really known who I was in relationships. I don't think I've got the feedback I needed. I didn't get the coaching or counsel to help me unpack all of the issues that I had in relationships. I tried really hard, and I think I did make a lot of progress.
But really, I think now where I'm at, it's interesting because while I think that if I could only work on the relationship with myself, in my personal life, I could also be much more successful at romantic relationships. And ultimately, what I've also learned is that this like quote work, Andrea and all other Andrea's are one in the same. So the same strength that I bring to work, I also bring my personal life and vice versa. You can't really extract yourself into two different people, that's just not the case. I am the same person, I am this person who shows up. So what I think is amazing is that by getting to know myself as this holistic person capable of great career success, as well as real meaningful love I've been able to answer deep questions.
So Until There Was Me is a podcast that is all about getting to know who you are. Until There Was Me is a podcast all about building relationships with yourself. Until There Was Me is a podcast for anyone struggling to get what they want out of life. Whether that's your career, your home life or just life in general. This podcast will bring experts in to talk about how to optimize that relationship that you have with yourself. It's the most important relationship in this world. I believe that the secret to living fully is empowering yourself to love yourself. Yes, you have to be empowered to love yourself. It's not always the first love that we're taught to think about. Yet, at the end of the day, relationships with friends, with colleagues, with co-workers, sometimes even with family and spouses, those relationships are going to come and go and change the one relationship that is going to remain critical, and your entire life is the one you have with you.
So really, I think this is all about figuring out what makes you tick and getting closer to who you are. I don't believe this work is ever done. I think this is all about continually learning how to feel our feelings, not being scared of how others are going to see you, how others are going to take you, how others might criticize you. I actually don't even think it's about worrying whether or not others will love you. I think it's about having the ultimate sense of self security, really knowing and loving yourself and being close to you.
So while I think being in a healthy relationship is one of the best things we can do and something we should continue to strive for. I don't think any of us need to wait to meet someone else to make us whole. In fact, I think some of you are probably in relationships that may not make you feel whole, or maybe you've recently left a relationship that depleted you no matter where you are, it's okay. No matter where you are, what I really wish for you is to figure out how to make yourself tick, how to get closer to you. Because guess what? When you get to that point where you feel fully grounded, and in support of the best version of yourself, people will be drawn to you magnetically. You will exude an energy that people want to be around. People want to be around healthy people. I love feeling the energy of people who have got their stuff together, they've got it figured out, and they really know what they want. They have good boundaries, they understand what's important in their lives. That's different for everyone, and that's okay. I think it's all about what's right for you, and just really having a laser focus on you and who you are.
In this podcast, I will end up talking a lot about divorce and divorce recovery. I'm a certified divorce coach, and I help women every day to get through the process of divorce. A lot of women come to me, professional women will come to me when they are in the middle of the process. Some of them are actually post decree. And what I really helped with is figuring out how to pick up your baggage and move forward when you have a major change in your life such as divorce. It can be really painful. I mean to say the least honestly, it can be traumatic, it can feel like your entire world is crumbling around you, and you don't even know where to begin. And for those people, I coach them to find a future.
One of the most common things that I hear from women going through divorce is that they'll say to me, some version of, I don't even know who I am anymore. I don't know me, I lost touch with myself. I built my life within his. It's so common. I think when we're in unhealthy relationships with other people, unfortunately, the first relationship to experience detrimental effects is the relationship we have with ourselves. It's really easy to feel disconnected with yourself. So if you're going through divorce, if you're going through the end of a long relationship, please know that I am in community with you. Please know that you are in community with many other men and women all around the world who have also lost a bit of themselves and are in the process of figuring it out just like you are. And in addition to working with women going through divorce, I also work as a career coach. So with my background, I understand how to climb the corporate ladder, I really understand organizations, how they work, how business and sales become really important and how employees can fit into that mindset and fit into different cultures. So if you are someone who is struggling with career, I hope that you get a lot out of this podcast as well.
I'm going to be talking with fortune 500 workers, talking to executives, and C suite leaders, as well as talking to people who are entrepreneurs. So the experts that I have on this podcast are going to offer a breadth of information about navigating your career. It's something for me that I feel really lucky to have had the career, the 20 plus corporate career in marketing, and now in coaching. And I have lots to share with you about how to really figure out what's best for you, how to navigate many different situations that may seem impossible at the time, but really focusing on abundance, focusing on what matters to you.
And again, that relationship with yourself is the most important thing. So no matter where you are, whether you're just wanting to talk about life in general, whether you want to talk about career, relationships, anything, here's what I wish for you. I want you to go back and remember that song Until There Was You. Remember, I wish for you that there were bells on a hill and you can now hear the ringing because there is you, that there are birds in the sky and you can now see them whinging because there is you. And there is music and wonderful roses. There is love all around you because there is you.
So every week, I'm going to bring in experts to dig into the ways you can get in touch with you. I want you to imagine all of your career aspirations and relationship goals feeling improved. Feeling like you can optimize that one critical element that ties it all together in your life, that relationship that you have with yourself. I believe the key to finding your next level fulfillment is through deliberately focusing on yourself. I think the relationship you have with yourself is also probably the most challenging, the most significant, the most rewarding that you can have in this whole world. So I want to help you go deep with that one and only badass you. I want you to unlock the elusive goals you have in life for your career, for your relationship, for your life. I know there are goals that you have that you really are wanting, but you aren't getting. So let's uncover that. I have life experience in building a successful career, as well as going through divorce.
So I'm a 20 plus year corporate marketing professional and a CDC certified divorce coach. So we're going to start with conversations about career, love, life and relationships. That's where we're gonna start, and I'm so excited to see where we go. My goal is that this podcast will spark compelling conversations to help you move up and move on in your life when you need it the most.
Until There Was Me, the podcast will give you practical, actionable advice to intentionally build your beautiful future at work and at home. I do hope you'll join me every week as I teach you how to write the beautiful self love story that reads, Until There Was Me. Thank you and enjoy.
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