Post-Divorce Hilly: Why, Hello, Dahling!

I’m delighted to welcome Hilly as my Guest Blogger today.  Hilly responded to a Facebook post on the Divorced Women’s Club page by sharing the link to her article, this morning I took some time to read it, more than once 🙂 and I love it…….  I hope you enjoy her writing as much as I did.

Welcome to Post-Divorce Hilly. I’m sitting in my favorite sushi-Thai restaurant in a perfect little corner, on my laptop, waxing reflectively. A few months ago, while still married, I impassively missed this very scenario which had for so many years been a part of my life before marriage. Chunks of my entire life have been spent in restaurants this way, pad and paper(s) spread across the table with a copy of whatever book I was into, or, laptop (in later years) glowing on said book, fingers wildly hammering out thoughts before they escaped my head. Or just the book, splayed open with a sugar holder or set of salt and pepper shakers. Whatever.

During busy lunches and slow, 5:00 PM-early-bird dinners, over a lovely cup of tea-bliss, in the lilt and lull of foreign tongues and clinking cleared-away cups, I mulled the things I read, found the parts I related to, and churned over the parts I did not. I parsed out my life in fairly unremarkable keyboard chapters. Poetry, songs, fiction and non….(bless this keyboard I bang on. HA. Sorry.)…plays, scenes– that book I’ve started and stopped since Moses wore short pants…..

I write and read in this scene far better than I do in the quiet bosom of my own home. The goings-on become white noise, until that ONE damn kid can’t stop kicking my chair or clanking their metal spoon against the water glass, which Mummy finds so darling, especially when he hops out of the booth and goes barreling down the aisle with a wooooooooosh and a banshee wail.

“Isn’t he precious? Now he’s a truck!”  (Yes, Mummy, dearest, and I wish the front axle would snap off his cab so he’d careen off the……).

But the writing. The purposeful reading in places that inspired me, free of home distraction. The love of looking up for a pause and seeing life go on around me, all of its moving parts, in people bustling and in their actions and faces.

Why had I stopped?

This was not an abandonment of self, before we traverse down that road. This is not that huge and popular statement on women in marriage, that “losing myself” in the gnarly-knuckled fist of institutional patriarchy, etc. etc.; no. This was just a turn I took because something else pulled my attention away for a spell. A 4-year-spell.

Why did it happen?

Why does anyone stop doing certain things they love to do? Maybe as a show of consideration toward a significant other? Maybe just not time enough? In my case, when there was a choice of doing something in free time, I mostly chose to do things with my partner. It’s kind of the point, n’est-ce pas? Having a partner with whom to do things? We did many things together, and I didn’t notice or miss the practice of purposefully dining/having tea alone whilst creating. Until one day, I did.

Creative casualty.

Laze. It is too easy not to explore, to discover, to spill, to wrap up, to release, to mull, to orchestrate, to produce, to bear fruit. This is choosing the couch over the walk in the park at the end of May: you know it will thrill you if you can. just. get. up. And go. But Neflix just released the 4th Season of the Dr. McNuggets hospital drama…..and the decision is made, and the page is left unread, and the word left unwritten, and the brain bleeds from being spoon-fed a story you didn’t take the time to read or write yourself.

And you turn your back on who you are, on God, really, when you think of it. My mother always said, “It’s a sin to waste God’s gifts.” Who are you to sidestep what God gives you???

Parallel and akin to, “Oh- you’re not going to church again? You don’t have one hour for God?” I’ll have an hour next week, right? Dr. McShitbird ended last season in a widely publicized affair with Datia, the 11-fingered Ukranian Foreign Exchange Student turned Candy Stripe-trix. God understands.

My point (there might be one) is that we sometimes make decisions to stop cultivating significant pieces of who we are for spells. It’s okay. I was never empty-handed. I was filled in other ways, and in result, seem no worse for the wear. I didn’t fully stop reading, I didn’t fully stop writing, I didn’t ever stop being Hilly, I just stopped this particular routine and took up others for a while.

I am glad to have this time again, and I’m glad to sit and sip with an old friend.

If you enjoyed this article visit her website here:  http://tippyteacup.com

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WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR EFFECTIVE SELF LEADERSHIP?

As I began to think about writing this blog I went to my bookshelves and was astounded at how many books I have that are related in some way to ‘leadership’.   Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In – Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Stephen Covey The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Ken Robinson The Element, Malcolm Gladwell Outliers to name a few and I’ll throw in The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz slightly off topic and yet fits beautifully and is one of my favourites.

What is self-leadership? What exactly does it mean?

Andrew Bryant in his book Self Leadership defines it as having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do and where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behaviour on the way to getting there.   All of this can be summed up as self-awareness and the maturity to take responsibility for your personal development, goals and outcomes.

Women come to me for help. The end of a relationship is a highly emotive time and there is not a great deal of difference in the emotional and physical responses from the stay at home mum with children, the women who have been married for 20+ years and professional women in those first 3 to 6 months. Divorce wipes people out, they can’t think straight, and many lose every inch of their self worth and confidence. Their lives have been turned upside down and they struggle to come to terms with the reality of a situation they never signed up for.

There is no way I could address all the different situations and circumstances that women come from and through because of the end of a relationship. Relationships do not fall into a common category simply because no two people involved in a relationship have the same personalities, beliefs, values or lifestyle choices as any other couple on the planet.

What role does self-leadership play in the lives of women going through divorce and conversely for those who are ready to step into a new relationship?

What’s the difference between the women who are able to get their lives back on track more quickly and those who stay stuck for years hanging onto their story?

In very simple terms the difference is this: the women who get on with their lives choose to create a different story.

This is where self-leadership falls nicely into this conversation.

Here are the three important components of effective self-leadership inspired by some brilliant writers and thinkers.

Self-leadership requires self-awareness

Women who move on with their lives more quickly after separation and divorce have a clear perception of their strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions.

They are willing to ask for help and they are coachable. By that I mean they use the tools and resources I teach them to take control of their emotional state on a daily basis. They want someone who will be honest with them and allow them to uncover their own answers to questions and solutions to their problems.

They are willing to let go of the things they cannot control, how other people act is always a trigger in separation and divorce situations. They are willing to accept that they have no control over what the other party might do or say knowing that they do have total control over themselves and how they respond.

Self awareness is many things including:

Listening to our internal dialogue and recognising when we are making judgements about other people, circumstances or situations based on the story we are telling ourselves, essentially making up shit!

It’s about knowing what questions to ask yourself to gain insight into the what, the why and the how of a situation.

It’s about being in control of your own mind, where you focus your attention, your emotions, your responses to situations and ultimately your behaviour.

When it comes to creating change in your life being in control of your thoughts comes first, the emotions, the language you use to describe a situation and the actions you take all follow on from your thoughts and will have a massive influence on how you view the world around you.

When it comes to facing those curved balls that life tends to throw our way from time to time self awareness is critical when it comes to managing yourself and your situation.

When it comes to wanting your life to be better or different in some way, knowing what it is you want and being absolutely clear about why you want it is essential for moving forward.

Self-leadership requires living according to your values and priorities.

Living according to your values and priorities will show up in your life on a daily basis.

Being fit and healthy is both a value and a priority and it will be evident in the choices you make about what you eat and as a priority it will influence how you plan your day.

Stephen Covey discusses our independent will as human beings that make self-leadership possible: “It is the ability to make decisions and choices and to act in accordance with these.” Successful self-leaders are those who live according to their values. They know what to say “yes” to and have clarity on what to say “no” to.

Self-leadership requires taking personal responsibility for your development.

Self-leadership requires a willingness to learn from the people around us. If creating amazing relationships is something we desire then we spend time finding out more about how we can do this, speaking to people, researching and getting very clear on what an amazing relationship looks like and feels like for us.

You can substitute any other quality or trait for the word relationship, wealth, freedom, contribution, independence, creativity, community, honesty, self-expression and so on.

We all have the ability to continually improve ourselves, our lives and in turn the lives of others. It is a journey and once to take that first step you soon discover that there is no end to this journey. As we grow into being more of who we really are without all the bullshit beliefs and lies that we have told ourselves, our dreams, goals and desires also expand.

Accept that there will be times when we fail, we fall in a heap, we struggle to continue, and yet we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and continue on the journey knowing that we have just taken one giant leap forward.

There is no taking away the heartache and pain we experience when it comes because of the challenges we face with separation and divorce, that’s a fact.

My clients know that once they have moved through the worst of the situation and out the other side, there is a whole world of new possibilities and opportunities waiting for them to discover. And that’s when we begin to create magic together.

To share your thoughts or your story please email me: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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MANAGING FALSE ACCUSATIONS

When I made the decision to specialise as a divorce coach to fully utilise my skills and experience and implement access to the resources that were missing when I went through my divorce, I became exposed to many aspects of human behaviour that defy belief.

When two people are involved in conflict, one or both parties driven by a desire for revenge and control with the sole intend being to destroy their ex partners life, their careers and/or their relationship with their children.

The way they go about doing this is calculated and specifically targeted where it will cause the most damage to the individual, hit them hard where it hurts the most, that means using the children and making life extremely difficult by completely stopping all access to financial support.

How they go about this is often starts by setting the stage very early in the separation phase or prior to this in some cases. Changing bank account access, moving money out of accounts and making false accusations about how they treat their children or their mental state to family, friends, day-care staff or teachers often sighting abuse against the children or that they are emotionally unstable.

A word like abuse is open to interpretation by the listener. This of course triggers all sorts of alarm bells in the listener who has their own meaning of what this word suggests. Children are the sharpest weapon with which the high-conflict parent can cut their target to the core, hit them where it hurts the most and this is why it happens far too often.

If you are in a situation where you are seeing signs that you are being ‘setup’ by your partner or ex-partner, or if false accusations about you have already began then it’s time to start taking steps now to be fully prepared for what may eventuate.

  1. You have a voice recorder on your mobile phone, ensure that you use it for all conversations you have with your ex, or other relevant parties, save them with the date and time
  2. Written daily documentation of interactions with your ex, your activities, little comments that someone has said to you that has caught you by surprise, notice if day-care workers/teachers/in-laws are saying or doing things that seem out of the ordinary
  3. At the end of each day document your daily activities, where you were, the times you where there, who you were with or who you saw, why you were there, what time you were there and what time you left Steps 2 & 3 must be done every single day
  4. Prepare yourself mentally and physically for might be a long and arduous battle ahead and this means engaging professionals to help you. Nutritional needs, a personal trainer, attending the gym regularly, yoga classes, long walks along the beach or wherever you feel most at one with the nature, a divorce coach who is more than a counsellor, someone who will provide you with the tools to ensure that you can control your emotional state at will so that you can engage in those difficult conversations without reacting to comments designed to get a highly charged emotional response from you
  5. When it comes to false allegations the stakes are very high and you will need a lawyer who is experienced in this area
  6. The Divorced Women’s Club a private/secure online support group for women and access to these women, many who have been in a similar situation, will ensure that you don’t feel isolated and alone

If you find yourself in this situation or feeling uncomfortable about some things that are being said or done then it’s time to pick up the phone and speak to someone who is experienced in this area to express your fears and concerns and start making details notes in your diary today.

To share your thoughts or your story please email me: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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STUCK IN A MONEY RUT?

Let’s talk about money!

It’s up there with topics like politics, religion and sex when it comes to having discussions about it with a partner, a colleague or a friend or your ‘friendly’ bank manager.

Far too many women really struggle financially as an outcome of separation and divorce. And yes, I know a lot of guys do too, unfortunately it’s true for both parties. When you have spent years working towards some financial goals and things fall apart, by the time credit card debt, mortgage, leases on cars and all the other many expenses that are part of everyday life are taken out of what little might be left over after the divorce often what is left is little or next to nothing. Then it’s a matter of starting all over again to create some financial security and wealth, never an easy thing particularly for those who divorce later in life.

Have you found yourself in a financial rut and have no idea how to get your self out?

Here’s the thing!
WE ALL HAVE THE ABILITY TO CHANGE THE DIRECTION OF OUR LIVES!
Including where we are headed financially.

And just like creating any change, the first place to start is by taking a good hard look at where we are. Much like going on a diet, you have to know where you are now and where you want to be and then get focused on the end goal. Make it a project you are working on, a well formed plan that includes knowing exactly what you want to achieve both short and long term.

Start doing the numbers. It can be really scary and most of us like to just bury our heads in the sand rather than deal with what makes us feel uncomfortable. Spend the time to go through all your credit cards, your bills and regular expenses so you know your outgoings. If you have kids there are always things that crop up that we haven’t budgeted for and it really does put a great deal of pressure on parents.

If you have been putting more value of the thrill of going on a shopping spree, having nice clothes and shoes or going a holiday or whatever it might be then I would suggest you spend some time really thinking about your values around money.

When my marriage ended and I became totally responsible for all the bills and other expenses I used a Collins 18 Money Column book. I divided it up into months of the year with my income for each month at the bottom, then all the regular bills in whatever column they were due. I knew at the end of every month whether I was going to be under or over. This system really helped me decide how I spent my money. There are plenty of other great tools available online these days to make it even easier.

If your outgoings are higher than your income it’s time to look at how you can pull back in some area, purchase different brands that are cheaper or take on some extra work. If we are consistently spending more than we earn, there is only ever going to an unhappy ending.

If you are finding it still too difficult to do on your own and can’t afford to speak to a professional advisor, get an accountability partner. Someone you trust to help keep you on track. Make it as much fun as you can and give yourself some little rewards for your little wins along the way.

Many of us turn a blind eye or simply justify our spending habits. Time to take your head out of the sand, look around you and decide what you really want in your life and then do whatever you have to do to make it happen.

A money map so you can see exactly where you are going and what you need to do

  • Persistance
  • Consistency
  • A burning desire to create a happier, more financially secure future
  • And an accountability buddy to make the journey more fun

To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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OH SHIT! DIVORCED AND NEED A JOB – Continued

‘My Exciting Career’ – The next bit.

If you haven’t read the previous post then now is a good time to do that.

In Part 1 I mentioned that the job market consists of both the VISIBLE MARKET (that which you can see online of employment opportunities like SEEK or advertised generally) and the HIDDEN MARKET (that which is below the surface and is never or rarely advertised).  I also mentioned the beginning of the process by being sure in your mind of what you will not do as opposed to finding the answer to what you will do. To some it can be clear what they will do but my experience tells me that the majority have no idea let alone how they will do it.

So, this time around we will explore how you might begin to crack that hidden market and how you respond to the question people will ask you, ‘what are you going to do?’

For a start make a list of all your contacts regardless of how you know them or their relationship with you.

Begin with an ‘A’ GROUP. This is the relatively small group of people who you regard as very close to you, either friends or relatives who you have very regular contact with. Make a note of where they work if you know or find out if you don’t. Remember all these people know people who work somewhere even your grandmother! I remember once someone had been trying to get into see a CEO of a company to little or no avail. At a family BBQ she mentioned her frustration to others and on mentioning the CEO’s name it turned out that her grandmother, a long retired secondary teacher, exclaimed that if it was the ‘little Freddie’ she knew then he was a former student of hers. ‘Use my name” she apparently said and it worked, she managed to get her foot in the door and speak to this guy.  True story.

Next will be a ‘B’ GROUP. This is a list of people who you know quite well but who do not reside in your ‘A’ Group. In other words they are not very close but one step out from that. These normally comprise a larger number and are people who you may know through your social circle, church connection, sport, schooling, former work colleagues, people in small business you know well, etc.

You may even have a ‘C’ GROUP of people and these can be those more distant. People you may have attended some classes with, or long ago school friends that you recall or may have kept in contact with. Maybe former customers or suppliers of business. Make a note.

Almost everyone will tell me that they do not know many people but again, my experience here is that we tend to know more people that we give ourselves credit for and once you get the brain working it can be amazing how a name will pop back into your head as you are walking down the street or watching TV. Write them down.

Now, the question “Julie, I hear that you are on your own these days, what are you up to? What are you going to do? Are you working?” The answer typically is a throw up of anger, frustration, panic, or cold sweat etc., the dog’s going to die, the roses are going to fall over, how the hell do I know what I am going to do. Who’s going to employ a 50 year old? And so on, and so on.

Strangely this is one of the most important questions you can face and almost everyone shoots themselves in the foot with the answer as they are NOT LISTENING to what people are saying to them and they are NOT LISTENING to what they are saying to people.

Imagine a scenario. I know you through some manner. I run a business and I have heard of the issues you have been through and I am thinking to myself ‘Gee, I wonder of Julie would be interested in working for me as I need someone to help me organise X because of a new contract and it may assist her as well.’ This does happen I can guarantee you.

But because I don’t know what it is you may have planned I am unlikely to just jump in and say ‘Wow Julie, have I got a job for you!’  It is going to be more like ‘What are you up to? What are you going to do? After all you could be packing the bags and heading interstate or running off with the toy boy or whatever, Just joking!

Now, here it is. If your response is full of negative stuff, full of personal anguish, the ‘nobody loves me’ kicking the stones approach then the message to me is that Julie is not ready for work. At best I say ‘good luck, hope it all works out for you’ and a possible job walks away with me and you don’t even know about it. Worse, I walk down the road and run into someone else who knows you and who says, ‘How is Julie going?’ And I say ‘god don’t go there as you will get an earful.’

So, you have to see yourself as a blip on everyone’s radar screen and how can you keep that blip alive. Sure, you may be wrenching inside but if you are going to kick the cat, kick it at home, not outside.

Now our scenario again. “Julie, I hear that you are on your own these days, what are you up to? What are you going to do?”

Here is the tip. Kick the question back at me “Jenny, that is a pretty interesting question. One thing I am not going to do is fall in a heap. I am moving on and part of that is to get into the workforce, so I would be very interested in hearing what you think I could do? What happens in your business or industry? I need information on what is going on out there to help me get direction? Would you help me?”

By kicking the question back you allow me to come into your world. ‘Well, have you ever thought of… Would you consider…..Yes, why don’t we have a chat about that?’

You need to get the eyes and ears of people you know working for you. I can guarantee you that good employers are looking for good reliable people all the time. In my years in my business I have never advertised for anyone. I have had people come to me or I have put the word out and sooner rather than later the right person appears.

Also, people who know you often will have an opinion of you that you cannot see or are not aware of. ‘Boy that Julie, she had such a great personality. I could really use someone like that in my sales area. Someone who my customers can relate to. I wonder if she would consider working for me?’

The BLIP I mentioned is that even if I do not have a job on my mind I may be talking to a business colleague who says that he needs someone in the sales area who has a vibrant personality and how hard it is to get good staff. What I am going to do is indicate that I know someone and maybe he should have a discussion with you. Believe me ladies, when I say that this is exactly what happens in business, as a discussion with you could save thousands of dollars in advertising and interviewing time lost.

Okay, I hear you say, that is all very well but you don’t know what your skills are or what you can sell and maybe you have not done a Resume for a thousand years etc. Well, this is very normal I have to tell you. Nothing strange about it.

Most people have more skills that they are aware of. You drive a car – that is a skill and it can be somewhere to start. Look around your local library or bookshop there are hundreds of books about examining your skills and competencies and I am not talking about tests either.

Go back to the tips in Part 1 about tapping into your natural god given abilities that you take for granted too.

Share your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions – we are here to help you.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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OH SHIT! DIVORCED AND NEED A JOB?

‘My Exciting Career’

Something for you ladies to begin to think about if you find yourself suddenly single, no income to call your own, and no job, another slap in the face as you face life after divorce as a single woman.

Thoughts racing through your mind, overwhelmed with thoughts of not being able to financially support yourself and your kids if you have them.

Questions that all start with WHAT!   What am I going to do? What job? What direction?

Don’t be dismayed if you don’t have the immediate answer to these questions.  Most people have no idea what they will do job wise, next. Indeed, most people have no idea how they got to where they are in the first place let alone what to do next.

Instead of what will I do, begin to think and make a list of what it is that you will not do. “I would not want to work in the waste paper industry.” I could not see myself working in retail or sales.” I definitely don’t want to work in a processing line.” Be as realistic as possible, but be clear about what will not be on your radar screen. There is nothing worse than asking a person what do they want to do and they answer ‘I will do anything!.’ Give me a break!

Make a list and whatever is not on the list within reason, becomes your oyster!

How do you research?  What industries are out there?

Well, the good old yellow pages is a place to start plus some simple googling on the net.

Who do you know that works in a job or industry that you would love? Make a list even if it is a bit utopian!

Understand that the job market is made up of two components, the visible market (that which is advertised) and the hidden market (that which is below the surface).

The first accounts for some 30% of the market the second about 70%. It is a fact that the majority of people especially those in the more mature end of job seekers or those who may have been out of the workforce for many years, will have the greatest success in the hidden market.

Prove it to yourself, ask people you know how they got their job. You may be surprised at their response.

A quick word on age. If you tell yourself you are too old for something then that is exactly how you will begin to act or come across. Easy for me to say but if you did not know how old you are then, how old would you be? Likewise formal qualifications certifying you to be intelligent! If you are 55 now and got your degree 35 years ago, do you really think that has relevance now?

Well it might if you still want to be a pilot or engineer or doctor but otherwise it will be maturity, experience, tenacity and a host of other things that employers are looking for.

My business is built on it! Ask the school and university leavers why they do not have a job and I can guarantee you that you will hear it often said it is because they do not have experience.

Most, if not all of you who may read this will in fact have more skills than you give yourself credit for, the problem for you is that you are so close to yourself that you cannot see those skills and what will make you saleable.

We are going to explore that in a future post.

We also explore the answer to the question that everyone you know is asking you and which must already be driving you crazy when you wake up at two in the morning with an attack of the horrors as I call it, “What are you going to do now ?” How do you respond to that in a constructive way?

A simple strategy for the question will come soon and  which can begin your new Exciting Career!

Stay tuned for the next post on this topic and in the meantime spend some time thinking about the things that you naturally already do really well. The things that other people comment on.

I have always been the person that younger women called on to tell me their troubles, to get advice, to share very personal, intimate details about their lives and just hang out with. When I decided to explore the field of coaching and eventually turned these skills into creating a business it felt like I had come home.  So look at your own qualities, whether it be a love of cooking, making cupcakes, putting on events at school, jumping out of plane, travel, whatever floats your boat and explore some opportunities that might exist for you in these domains.

Share your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions – we are here to help you.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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