The Secrets to Goal Setting and Fulfilling Your Potential During & After Divorce

Going through a divorce is one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through mostly because it caused me to stop running from myself. I completely lost my identity as a wife and mother and where I would fit in. All of my dreams for my future were gone and I had to start from scratch again. At 40! All of a sudden I could see that when I made the decision to quit my goals and my dreams and help him focus on his goals and dreams instead, that not only would the law not protect me financially, but now I was at a huge disadvantage and with small children, my time was so limited and the kinds of jobs I could get because of my schedule weren’t the kinds of jobs I thought I would need to get at my age, and with all of my experience. It was a massive slap in the face for all that I felt I had sacrificed. 
 
I won’t lie here. I won’t tell you that what I did by giving up my career to take care of my kids and champion my husband’s career was the right thing to do because it couldn’t be. I suffered for that decision, so it definitely wasn’t the greatest good for all. And in the spirit of being completely transparent, I walked away from my life because I was tired and I needed to hide. I had been working and hustling since I was 12 years old and when I met my husband to be, I was coming out of a physically abusive relationship and I needed somewhere to hide and recover. In the next five years, I suffered two miscarriages, my mother died, I was in school full time and working full time and the person I was in a relationship with had an emotionally abusive family and my partner could care less about my emotional well being. And then I married him. I mean, when I look back at my choices here, I have to own that I co-created the whole dang thing. Now if you were to look at the entire timeline of your marriage, would you be able to see where you made choices you shouldn’t have? Does it stand out? Write down what you were thinking when you married your ex husband and why you gave up on yourself. I mean, we don’t see it that way because we don’t want to be wrong. And we’re not “wrong” for making those choices, but 20 or so years in, we can see how we should have done things a little differently. If I had a plan for my life, was working toward my goals, it would have eliminated this boy I met and then married, because he couldn’t provide me with the support I needed and instead he needed to make my entire existence about him. And I let him. 
 
I want to talk to you today about goals and goal setting even when we feel bad and don’t want to get out of bed. When I left my ex husband, holy hell it was a mad rollercoaster ride. I was happy and elated one minute, in the fetal position hugging my son’s stuffy and bawling when they left me for the weekend to go with their father. It was rough. I was having so much fun dating, but never felt more alone in the palpable silence of my tiny condo. Up and down, up and down. It was something else, let me tell you. I had to first decide to start taking my future seriously and get to work and with the help of some friends, I was able to pull it together and start putting more time into it. So don’t be afraid to lean on your friends here. You have to. If you’re  going to change your life, like really make a mark, then you need help to do it. It’s going to take doing things differently, so you’re going to have to create a routine and stick to it so don’t make your ability to do that unrealistic. If you need to take night classes, then you’re going to have to suck it up and accept that this is now your new normal, and keep reminding yourself that you’re in control of this ship. You got this. It’s literally how every jilted woman who ended up with a louse for a husband and had to manage to take care of 1+ children ever managed to turn her life around and inspire other women to do the same. And if you really want some motivation, look at the lives of these divorced women: Martha Stewart (as of today’s date she is worth $640 million dollars) because she decided what she wanted and she pursued her goals, Nora Ephron (who wrote Heartburn, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle), was worth $27 million when she died, Cheryl Strayed set off on a 1000 mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail to find herself, wrote a book and then it turned into a movie where the lead was played by Reese Witherspoon. Seriously. How cool is that? Look at Tina Turner, who turned her entire career into an empire after she left her physically and emotionally abusive husband and manager. We can’t forget Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote Eat, Pray Love after ending her marriage and wanting to change her life, figure out who she was. Wendy Davis has a great story: before entering politics, she was waitressing and working at a doctor’s office so she could put herself through school and went on to Harvard Law School. Not even kidding. That’s how hard she worked as a single mom, two jobs and community college.
 
My point in telling you all of this is that we can’t let ONE man, one relationship ruin us. We have to know deep down that there is something more for us out there and we are worth the pursuit. We can’t let the circumstances of our lives: having to start over at any age, be the thing that stops us from pursuing our purpose and living up to our fullest potential. Think about it: why would you do that to yourself? Would you let your daughter do that to herself? So in this case, if you have limited family (like me) or you have no family, you MUST become the advisor and support system that you always needed. You just have to. No time for a pity party: it’s time to get things done.
 
This is what I did to see what I wanted for my life:
  • Make three columns: 1. what am I good at? 2. what have I been paid to do? 3. what are my passions?  Make a list of each thing in each column and don’t censor yourself. Then you literally start picking random things from each of the three columns and start putting them together. There is a dream job in there for you somewhere, so don’t give up on it. Keep going. The more items you have in each list, the more creative you can be. Mine was: 1. I love talking to strangers and solving problems, 2. I have been paid to be an actor, bartender, host, server and admin assistant, coach/consultant for work and 3. acting is my passion. All of this equalled: online talk show host. I love talking to strangers, I am curious beyond belief, I love solving problems with and for people, and I am trained to be in front of the camera. Done and done. And then I looked up people who did this and copied them so that I wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel, paid for some programs with every penny I had, and started to grow my business.
  • I wrote out a plan: I want x, and I will do x to get it. I won’t let anyone stand in my way. Every day I will do x (routine), and I will commit to it by not procrastinating or putting anything ahead of this. I made this promise to myself, I faltered a few times and when I got sick of letting myself down, I committed and it’s been uphill from there. When I met my fiancé, this is something this amazing man absolutely loved about me. My drive. It’s not for nothing.
  • I did the Clifton Strengths Finder Test to see what my strong suits are so that I could develop them further. It also showed me where I’m lacking so that I could work on making those stronger. This is really important to do: too often, we take it for granted who we are as people, thinking others must be the same and that we’re not special, and that’s simply not true. Once you do this test (it costs like $50 or $60 to do), you have it for life and it’s part of your personal development journey. You work on the things that make you special and unique and run with it. 
  • I surrounded myself with people who would push me when I was letting myself down and I eliminated friendships who were jealous, calling me out for being brave, tried to stop me in my tracks or didn’t believe in themselves. This is so important. You must do some house cleaning when you end a marriage. You attracted some of these people into your life the same way you attracted your ex, so when the marriage goes, so do some of the friends you have. If you can’t end relationships with family, you can certainly put some distance between you without being apologetic. If they love you, they’ll understand that you need space to focus and grow. I put blinders up every time I’m working on a project so that I can be my best and just focus and everyone in my life knows I’m like this, they don’t try to take me away from what lights me up, and they accept it. My family comes first, but unless someone is bleeding from the neck up, they can handle it without me while I’m working. I have learned to put myself first when I need to, and put my family first when they need it, but by developing a routine and showing everyone how serious I am about sticking to it, they follow my lead because they trust me. They see that I’m serious and dedicated. Don’t get me wrong: it was a lot of repetition and pulling my hair out at the beginning but it was because they needed to learn how to do this alongside me. It wasn’t just about me. That’s what I want for you - unwavering support from the people around you because you showed them consistency and passion. It starts with saying out loud what you want. 
  • I made a routine for myself that I could stick to, and trust me: procrastination reared its ugly head and so did every self limiting belief I ever had. But through hard work and tears, I pushed myself. When I was a kid in foster care, I overheard someone in the social worker’s office call me a statistic. This literally fuelled my entire life: I was not going to be a statistic by any stretch of the imagination. Nobody is going to look down on me, ever. I want you to adopt this for yourself. It’s fuel for when you are feeling down. I imagine people saying “well, what did you expect? Look at how she decided to live her life?!” I push myself hard because of this. I want to show myself and my kids who I am as a woman and human on this planet, and nobody is going to tell me “no”.
  • I put positive affirmations up all over my apartment. I set reminders on my phone that said “breathe”, “remember how far you’ve come”, “think of all the women who are waiting for you to get it together”, “you haven’t come this far to fall apart now.” I mean, there was no rock left unturned. I have weekly talks with myself in the mirror where I say things like “get out of your way. You do things differently now, so go do this thing that scares the heck out of you. I’m counting on you. So are Molly and Ben (my children)."
In summary, I want you to write out your goals, and get really clear on what you want and how you’re going to go about getting it, lay out the steps and then check off one time at a time: stay in the step you’re in, don’t get overwhelmed by ALL the work you have to do, and remember that it’s just baby steps and a dogged determination. No matter what it is, at the end of the day, your goals matter and so do you. And you have to believe that you’re not going to be done in by some guy who you thought was a good idea to marry and have children with. He’s not going to decide your future, you are. Make the lists I mentioned above, do the work, figure it out and pick one of those amazing ladies to be inspired by. Maybe you have your own woman who you’re inspired by. Mine is Oprah and she has been mine since I was 14 and living on the street. 
 
You got this. Do the work, take the steps and let’s see what you can do. Click the follow button at the top of your screen or write to me at [email protected] with your ideas. I answer every email, and I would love to read them. xoxoxo
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