Do you dare to dream? I do. I always have. I have been thinking a lot about dreams recently. The reason I am asking you is because I’ve been guilty of setting my dreams aside because there was always something else that needed “doing.” I think we all have a tendency to do that. We are so busy, caught up in day to day living: work, taking care of our loved ones, maintaining relationships, being involved in our communities . . . the list goes on.
It is easy to get caught up in the “what is” and lose sight of “what could be,” especially if your dream, or one of your dreams, is to up level your business or shift direction. Or to start a business of your own! There might be a critical voice in your head telling you that it’s not possible. You may fear your friends or loved ones will laugh. It feels too early to talk about it, or you think you need to draw up an elaborate plan before you share it with anyone. There are so many reasons for not giving your dream a voice!
Give your dream a voice
Sharing your dream, giving it a voice, is the first step toward making it happen. I shared this Erma Bombeck quote recently:
It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.
It does take courage. But once you have done it, it is liberating! You’ve voiced what is important to you. You have invited dialogue about your idea. There will be people who don’t understand, like, or appreciate your idea. Others will bring you good suggestions and recommendations about how to move forward. There are all kinds of responses possible, but it’s your dream. It will be up to you to sift through and proceed with those ideas that resonate. Most important, you will have taken the first big step of realizing your dream, just by sharing it with the world.
Use the input
Knowledge is power. Right now, you don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know if it’s a good idea until you gather feedback from others. Once you get it out of your head, you can learn more about the risks, the builds people will share, and the rest will follow. You may want to get a wide variety of opinions, using a survey, to get useful input. A survey, coupled with the input of your closest advisors, can help to inform what the next steps should be.
I encourage you to be courageous and share your biggest dream! You will be surprised how that one step can make all the difference!
During and after a divorce, it can be very difficult to maintain your connections and community.
You may be feeling such a sense of shame, embarrassment and failure that you decide to “go it alone” and don’t reach out to your family, friends or coworkers. It may be that the friends that you and your spouse shared have fallen away or chosen your spouse’s side, so they are no longer friends.
Ending a relationship that you entered in your youth with such hope and excitement is devastating. It is common to feel like you have failed miserably, especially when you are divorcing after a long-term marriage.
Many people are haunted by the questions: What happened? What did I do wrong? Why couldn’t I figure out what was wrong and fix it before it became unfixable? There is still that lingering feeling that you failed.
Please Don’t Sell Yourself Short After a Divorce
Change is difficult. It requires you to abandon the status quo and move out of your comfort zone. Going through a major life change, whether you choose it or it is thrust upon you, is daunting. Don’t try to go it alone! It is scary, even more so when you are over 40, because you may not feel as resilient as you did when you were in your 20s and 30s.
Your self-esteem and self-worth take a beating. You take responsibility for the failure even though there were two of you involved. Those inner voices telling you that you didn’t try hard enough, didn’t do enough (feel free to insert your personal broken record) keep playing over and over again.
A favorite quote from Socrates comes to mind:
“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
How do you get out of your own head, back into the land of the living and feel connected again – whether it be with your old friends or new ones? Here are three tips to start building your new network of connections and community during and after your divorce.
First, join a closed online community where you can share your thoughts and feelings in a safe space. If you are feeling hesitant to get started, a closed community provides a sense of community where you can safely start making connections.
Join one or more Meet Up groups. There are now Meet Up groups for just about every activity you can think of! These groups offer a way to get out, try new things and meet new people. Go online and check it out – you will be amazed at the fun things are going on near you right now!
Get involved in a volunteer activity that has interested you, but you have never taken the time to explore. If you love animals, check out your local animal shelter. How about serving homeless people in a soup kitchen or a food bank? Want to build something? What about Habitat for Humanity?
Volunteering is a great way to meet like-minded friends, and when you’re ready, a great way to meet a potential date. You already have a shared interest!
Excitement for New Opportunities
Stop for a moment and think about what these new opportunities for connection and community mean. Do you feel hopeful and maybe a little excited? You will be creating something new – a whole new blank canvas is just waiting for you… that is very powerful. That is exciting!
At midlife, you are more resilient than you know. In many ways, you have a better sense of yourself now than you did at any other time in your life. Embrace that! If this is the first time you’ve gotten the space to figure yourself out, use that opportunity! It takes courage to move forward and build a future with new people and relationships. It’s going to be okay!
This is going to be one of many articles I will write on the topic of purpose. Perhaps because I feel that as we age our thoughts about life purpose continue to evolve. Today, though, I want to talk about it in the simplest terms.
At the moment, purpose is about what keeps me going each day – my routines, my joys, and what makes me content. I think that upbringing, circumstances, what we do, how we spend our day and with whom, informs our purpose. As those things shift and change over a lifetime, our purpose shifts, evolves and changes as well.
Make Friends With Simplicity
What about embracing simplicity right now? After any major life transition, like divorce, we can struggle to find purpose in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty. That is why I suggest focusing on what is most simple to name and appreciate right now. What keeps you going each day? What is your routine? What are your joys? What makes you content? Focus in on those positives and allow them to pull you forward. Take small steps, take as much time as you need to heal, and go as slowly as possible. Before you know it those steps will get bigger, and you will be back in your stride.
Try to view the simplest, most meaningful parts of your life right now in the context of this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your objectives.”
Ask Yourself These Questions
What about focusing on your purpose from today onward with this quotation as your guide? What would that mean in your life? Do you think your daily routine, your joys, your encounters with others would take on a different level of importance and meaning? Do you think that your level of appreciation for what you do have versus what you no longer have, would change? This is my invitation to you give this act of simplifying a try.
Explore your purpose as you see it, at this moment in time! What do you have to lose? I believe this will change your life. If you would like to talk about it with me and your peers in a private group, join us on Facebook! We would love to hear your plan and know how you are doing.
When you go through a divorce, it is quite possible that you will experience a crisis of confidence. I did. I wondered how I was going to deal with it all: the emotions, the financial realities, the effect that the divorce would have on my children. Was I up to it? Would I be able to do it?
The answer was yes. I was up to it and I could deal with the divorce – with a lot of support. Because it is not something that I recommend trying to go through on your own.
Five common contributors to our lack of confidence during divorce:
1. There is Shame
Something was going wrong. Should we have realized that sooner. There is shame because we couldn’t “fix” things. Couple that with the fear of what lies ahead and not knowing what to do first. We put up a façade and act like nothing is wrong when inside we are reeling, in shock and feeling overwhelmed.
2. We Wonder What Happened to Us
Why we are we so different from who we were all those years ago when we first married? Perhaps due to the unhappiness, we have become more isolated and introverted than we had been before. We feel unsure about where to turn or who to rely on.
3. We Have Internalized Our Feelings
Since we have kept our feelings inside for so long, we aren’t sure what the next steps are and how to move forward; in short, we become paralyzed.
4. Our Marriage Began to Feel Disempowering
Somewhere along the line we felt disempowered. From a practical standpoint, we may feel like we don’t know enough about our finances, especially our debts and our assets. Or, we have very successful careers and the divorce is going to put a big dent in retirement savings, as well as payouts for long term spousal support. You wonder, how did I end up here?
5. The Loss of Support May Be Real
The support we need from family, friends and colleagues may not be there to help us begin a new life at our age. And we are often embarrassed to ask for it. Will we have to “go it alone?”
Does any of this resonate with you?
Wondering what happened to us and how we got to the point of divorcing after a long-term marriage is common. We wonder what signs we missed; how we got here at this point in our lives.
Does this tape run through your head, “I’m so ashamed; I want to get it over with. I don’t want anyone to know what I am going through?”
Stop the tape. It’s confidence eroding. You are where you are. Now the question is how to best navigate the process.
When you have held your emotions in check for so long, you will naturally feel shock as the divorce process starts. Know that you aren’t alone. That is why putting your personal support system in place sooner rather than later makes a big difference. Your team will give you confidence when you don’t have enough on your own.
Dealing with regret over giving up your career and having to figure out how to earn an income is daunting and scary, but your support team can help. Having built a career but now looking at your income in relation to your spouse’s as you negotiate your post-divorce financial position is also daunting – and frustrating. But, you can work through that with confidence and the sound advice of your team.
“Gray Divorce” is Harder
Divorce at any age, but, especially a divorce after 50, shakes your confidence. Feeling unsupported and alone doesn’t help. I have learned that it is never as bad as it seems in those moments of drama. Put a good support system in place and you will be amazed at how quickly the world seems to be filled with possibility and hope. Then you can begin to embrace the new life you have in front of you.
Once you can start to see the future from this perspective, it is amazing how your confidence will begin to flow.
Did you experience a lack of confidence when you went through your divorce? How did you deal with regrets and regain your confidence? Has anyone that you know gone through a divorce after 50? Would you like a safe place to talk about what you’re going through? Click here to join my Private Facebook Group Life Reinvented. I look forward to our conversation!
I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to look back, look ahead and not always focus on “the now”. It is easier to dwell on past accomplishments; equally, it’s fun to dream about what we want to do and where we want to be in the future, instead of concentrating on what is in front of us at this very moment. It is hard to be fully present!
It is particularly difficult to concentrate on the present when we are dealing with a major life transition like a suddenly empty nest, a career change, retirement, starting a new business, relocating and/or downsizing, caring for an elderly loved one, or going through a relationship change, such as divorce.
Being Present in Divorce
When going through divorce, we have a tendency to dwell on the past; we miss what we know, the things that are familiar, and the lifestyle that we can probably no longer afford. Being in the “Now” can be painful. We try to ignore or avoid the pain, rather than focusing on it and working through the underlying issues.
Consider this quote by Marianne Williamson that I recently shared:
“You do not heal the past by dwelling there; you heal the past by living fully in the present.”
A major part of the divorce process is healing. If you are going through a divorce, then something wasn’t working! You need to process that and work through it – I highly recommend seeing a therapist to help you do just that. At the same time, that you are seeing that therapist, what else can you do to help yourself? You need to engage in other forms of self-care. What can you do to relieve some of the stress and angst that you are feeling? Consider exercise, yoga, pilates, massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. Do any of these resonate with you?
Practice Self Care
I have a self care regimen. I have found that I feel most present when I am in tune with my body and I am feeling good. All the things I do (pilates, weight training, massage, chiropractic care) help to center, ground and focus my attention. From that place, I find that I have more clarity about what I want at this moment, and I stay in the present. It is a renewing cycle! I want to stay in this space of feeling good and make the most of it. I feel productive and happier, and I enjoy life in the moment!
These are the things I want for each of you. What are you doing now to help you live fully in the present? What do you need help with? Schedule a complimentary consultation and let’s talk.
For many men and women, midlife brings big changes. Often, one of those changes is divorce. While this can feel overwhelming, it’s something that many go through each year. Explore the divorce rate in America by the numbers and learn how to take control over your own future.
First Marriages Have a 41% Chance of Ending in Divorce
Far too many people view the dissolution of their marriage as a failure. Thinking that way, however, is never a good choice. Divorce happens for many different reasons, and it can often pave the way to new and better life opportunities. In addition, more people get divorced than most realize.
Approximately 41% of all first marriages end in divorce. That number increases to 60% for all second marriages. For third marriages, the likelihood of ending in divorce is over 73%.
Divorce Happens More Often Than You Realize
Divorce is a life-changing process. However, it’s also a very, very common process. On average, a divorce takes place in the United States every 36 seconds. While it can feel hard to find balance at the time, it happens regularly across the country and around the world.
30 is the Average Age For a First Divorce
It’s common to feel frustrated by the prospect of divorce. Some individuals feel that they’re too old to start over. Others feel the opposite and feel too young to already be going through a divorce.
Of course, there’s no magic age to get divorced. People get married and divorced through all stages of life. In America, 30 happens to be the average age for first-time divorces.
Not All Adults are Married
After being married for any amount of time, singledom can feel daunting. However, more than 40% of the adult population in the United States is unmarried. There are likely more single people in your area than you realize.
1/10 of Adults in America are Divorced
Divorce doesn’t have to be alienating. In fact, there are many people who understand what it is like to get divorced. Currently, over 10% of the American adult population is single and has been divorced. While some may remarry, all are experiencing this life change and exploring what that means for them.
What the Divorce Rate in America Might Mean for You
Seeing the divorce rate in America by the numbers, in black and white, reveals the scope of this decision. At SBH Coaching in San Jose, California, you can create a plan to work through a divorce and pursue your new life. Click here to schedule a complimentary assessment session.
It is human nature to want to remain “in control” of our own lives and destinies. We want to hold on to our personal power. Who we interact with, how we interact, and what, how, and when we choose to do and not do what we want, are all functions of choice and free will.
Control is a hot button word – especially during divorce. One party usually has an interest in maintaining control over the other. When someone attempts to control us, we end up feeling helpless and hopeless. But when we are aware of the attempt to control, we have a choice. We don’t have to allow it. We can resist and we can prevail.
Last week I shared this quote from Maya Angelou:
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
Choosing Our Response
Our strength and resilience help us withstand the difficult times, especially those we aren’t responsible for. How we respond to life’s events gives us back our control. We get to choose our response, and doing so with dignity and grace is what defines us.
As you navigate your divorce, choose your responses and maintain your personal control. You don’t have to do it alone. Let’s put support structures in place, and create goals and a plan just for you. I’m ready to help!
By the time we reach midlife, we have spent so many years caring for and doing things for many people. The list seems endless: our spouses, our children, our parents and siblings, our friends, our communities, and our co workers, employees and clients. Women, in particular, tend to do everything for everybody else, and frequently leave little time for ourselves. When and if we do, it is an afterthought. It is squeezed in. It isn’t scheduled. And we feel guilty for taking that time. That was me for many years.
I read an article recently about women entrepreneurs. Many spoke of spending years working in offices, and then making the decision to start a business and work from home. As soon as they started working from home, their spouses and children expected them to be available to do non-business related things because, well, they were at home, weren’t they?
I like this example because it highlights the need to create boundaries, and that isn’t always easy – it means breaking long-established patterns of behavior! But boundaries are the key to beginning to focus more on your own needs, and also the ability to be present and more intentional in your own life. It is like taking back ownership of “you”. It doesn’t mean that you care any less about your loved ones, friends, coworkers or community. It does mean you are actually showing how much you care by being present as your best self. That can only happen when you’ve established appropriate boundaries and enabled your own light to shine through!
I invite you to take a moment to savor the quote that I shared this week from Howard Thurman: Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
I have been through a huge transformation myself, and I know that creating my boundaries was a huge first step. Because I took that step, my life is very different. I always had a sense of purpose – I think we all do whether it is acknowledged or not – but now, more than ever, I feel like my actions and my purpose are more aligned than ever. When we are present, intentional and have this sense of integrity in our lives, we can see possibilities and feel excitement – we feel more alive! I want that for each of you!
I was reminded recently of the importance of letting go. There have been so many things that I have had to let go of in the last several years. Two that really stand out for me:
- My long term marriage
- Several long term friendships that ended or have been put on hold, as the result of the end of the long term marriage
Many of us are fortunate to go through life with a partner with whom we continue to share values, and friends that we made when we were children, teenagers, or college students, who also share our values. Those relationships have stood the test of time.
I recently shared this quote with you from Joseph Campbell:
“We must be willing to let go of the life that we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
Your Life is Waiting
I am lucky to still have many of those friendships, but I have also said goodbye to others. It was painful, but I am OK. It is critical that we live a life that is aligned with our values. Over time, we may find that our values aren’t really in alignment with the people closest to us. That realization requires us to take a step back. It is difficult to live a life of integrity when the values between us are in conflict.
As this realization sinks in and those friendships go away, we must let go of what we know. That letting go can be scary, but it can also be powerful. When we let go, we create the time, space and opportunity for the next chapter of our lives to unfold, with a new perspective and a more integrated approach. As the quote reminds us, if we can’t let go of the people and things that don’t align with our values, then we won’t be able to embrace the life that awaits us.
The idea of a reinvented life is exciting. The prospect of a full, integrated life is thrilling! I invite you to join me for your personal journey of letting go of what’s holding you back. Book your complimentary exploratory session now!
Uncertainty is scary. It is ok to feel scared.
Not everything works out the way that we think that it will, and that becomes more apparent the older we get. We may have gone to the “right schools”, worked our way up at the “right company” and thought that we were set until retirement. Suddenly there is a wave of staff cutbacks and we are let go because our salary is no longer justifiable and there are employees who are younger, less experienced and cheaper who will now be doing our jobs. Or our lives are turned upside down suddenly because of a health scare or the need to care for an aging parent while continuing to raise our children. Or we are suddenly divorcing after a long term marriage.
All of these events could cause feelings of uncertainty, and even fear. We may have healthy savings and retirement accounts that are suddenly depleted due to a job loss, health crisis, the needs of an elderly parent or a college bound child. Now what do we do? Uncertainty and fear set in. Unexpected things do happen. That’s part of life. So it is natural to feel off kilter and feel unsure about what to do next. The question is, what do you think you should do next?
I recently shared an inspirational observation made by Steven Spielberg:
“Your conscience shouts, ‘Here’s what you should do,’ while your intuition whispers,’ Here’s what you could do.’ Listen to that voice that tells you what you could do. Nothing will define your character more than that.”
When we are uncertain and struggling with our next move, we actually have a tremendous opportunity. What should we do? What could we do? Which choice would you make? And most importantly, why?
I invite you to book a complimentary exploratory session with me so we can explore your choices!