Here is my latest post for HopeAfterDivorce.com (April 20, 2013) …
Moving forward is often easier said than done! Finding forgiveness is often easier said than done! Focusing on the future is often easier said than done!
And, all three are imperative if you are going to get out from behind the wall of emotions that divorce brings, and move on towards whatever awaits you in your life story!
I found when I was going through my own divorce I started using the F-word. A lot. That wasn’t my natural style. But, the range of negative emotions that I found myself sorting through left me with a mouth. I was angry, hurt, sad, and back to angry again. The F-word seemed fitting.
However, I soon discovered lots of other really good F-words that were a whole lot more productive. I stopped dropping the F-bomb, and began focusing on new F-words like forgiveness and future.
I think I innately knew that getting stuck in that world of negativity and F-bombs was only hurting me, and while I fully believe in dealing with those emotions head on, I also knew that there was a time to move forward. I had a few people in my life who had gotten stuck, and decades later, it seemed as if they were still treading in that tailspin of anger and hurt. I wondered what made the difference between those who got out of the muck, and those who got stuck in it.
When I was stuck in my negativity, I had two different friends send me cards in the same week. In both cards, each friend referenced the Bible verse from Jeremiah 29:11. I wasn’t familiar with the verse, but found it resonated with me tremendously. It has become my go-to verse and says, ““For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I realized that God did indeed have a plan for me – for my future – and that my getting stuck in my present tense of negativity and swirl was going to prevent that plan from unfolding. I needed to turn my eyes to the future to embrace whatever plan lay ahead of me, and stop looking backwards. That was pivotal for me.
The other thing I realized was that finding forgiveness was absolutely necessary to moving forward and focusing on the future. Finding forgiveness was the key to getting rid of the anger and the resentment that kept me treading in one place, and allowed me to look forward and move forward with positive momentum. Forgiveness is an amazing thing. Tyler Perry said, “It’s simple: when you haven’t forgiven those who’ve hurt you, you turn your back against your future. When you do forgive, you start walking forward.” Those are some powerful words, and so incredibly true!
If you find yourself in a situation where you are dropping the F-bomb, where you are stuck in a swirl of negativity, and where you are looking backwards more than you are focusing forward, I encourage you to find new F-words. Start to move forward, find forgiveness in your heart, and focus on the plans for your future. Trust me, it’s a whole lot more invigorating to do all of that than to continue to drop the F-bombs of negativity. Who knows what your future will bring you? It could be a plan much better than one you could ever think of on your own!
Here’s my latest blog post for HopeAfterDivorce.com … I’m Sorry
Here’s my question: Why is it so difficult to say something, anything, even just an, “I’m sorry” not when we personally did anything wrong to someone else, but when that someone else is going through something difficult?
Why do some people hear of someone else going through a rough patch and decide to disappear for a while. Suddenly, they are too busy for a phone call, too busy to stop by, too busy to write a quick email!What’s going on here?
Does this look familiar? My friend, Lisa, was recently told by her company that her job was being eliminated. She has four weeks to wrap-up what she is working and transition out of her role. She understands. She’s not bitter. In fact, she has an incredibly positive attitude about the whole thing.What she is devastated by, however, are the number of “friends” she has at work who have stopped communicating with her.People whom she used to speak with daily (in person, via phone, or email) have suddenly disappeared. She hasn’t heard from them … at all. She asked me why I thought this was. All I could come up with is a comparison to my own experience when I was going through my divorce.
I found when word got out that I was going through my divorce that some people rallied around me in full force, while other friends seemed to pull back. I don’t think that old adage of “ you find out who your friends are” holds true necessarily.I don’t think that some people intentionally decide, “You don’t have a job (or a husband) anymore, and I’m not going to be your friend.” Rather, I think that some people have what I’ll call “survivor guilt.” Perhaps they wonder why you lost your job, or lost your marriage, and not them. They feel guilty talking with you and worry about complaining about how much work they have to do, or how frustrated they became with their husband last night.This seems cruel, they think, when you don’t even have a job or a husband.
I also think this group lacks a certain amount of social etiquette or emotional intelligence.They can’t quite comprehend that “ignoring” a situation doesn’t make it go away.In the case of my divorce, it wasn’t going to go away no matter how many friends chose to ignore it or ignore me. Furthermore, ignoring me in my time of “need” doesn’t make me feel any better. “Bad” things happen to people every day. We can’t ignore them and pretend they don’t exist.
I have heard people rationalize their behavior by saying, “I know I wouldn’t want to talk about it over and over again, so I’m not going to bring it up … at all!”I’ll concede that is a valid point … except there is a difference between bringing it up, acknowledging it, and moving the conversation forward to a different place, and bringing it up, belaboring it, and leading the person to a place of negativity.
What’s a person to do? What’s the right answer? Here’s my advice. When you have a friend going through a tough time, address it head-on, let them know you are here for them, then move on. Be mindful to the clues the person gives off. Do they want to talk about it, or would they rather not, and be open to either.
If a friend or co-worker has a parent who passes away, just say, “I’m sorry to hear about your mom,” and move on. If a friend or co-worker loses her job, just say, “I’m sorry to hear about your job … and I’m happy to refer you to a recruiter I know if you want an introduction,” and move on. If a friend or co-worker is going through a divorce, just say, “I’m sorry you are going through that. Please let me know if I can help you with your schedule (or something like that),” and move on.
The point is this: address it; don’t ignore it. As human beings, we want to feel connected to others. We want to feel recognized and understood. For our friends or colleagues to suddenly ignore us because of what we are going through becomes the tremendous “elephant in the room.”The consequences persist.It can become difficult to re-establish a friendship and the former level of communication without an obvious awkwardness over the gap that existed.
I think Mahatma Gandhi had some incredible things to say. This is one of them: “A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.” Don’t be a coward. Be brave. Just say those two little words, “I’m sorry,” and be a good friend, colleague and co-worker. Be capable of showing love. Let people know you are aware of what they are going through. Acknowledge it. Support them through their valley. Letting them know you are thinking of them is so much more powerful than ignoring them and the situation at hand.
What do you think? What is your experience with saying, “I’m sorry” when you have done nothing wrong?
Here is my latest article written for Womenetics.com.
Many years ago, I was climbing the corporate ladder – rapidly! I loved my role, loved supporting my client organization, loved the people with whom I worked. I had great responsibilities and teams relying on me to get things done. A normal day at the office was challenging, hectic and invigorating. Then, all hell broke loose at home when I got the news that my dad had cancer and only a few months to live.
Several years ago, I was in the midst of executing on a strategic plan to grow my business. I had just brought on two business partners. We were poised for growth, then we started to feel the rumblings of the economic downturn. We turned up the heat. We maintained our focus on generating new clients and expanding our service offerings with current clients. Then the rumblings turned into a full-scale economic downturn. Still, we pressed on. Then, all hell broke loose at home when my husband announced he was leaving me.
As women, we are used to multi-tasking, taking care of everyone else and keeping it all together professionally. But what happens when all hell is breaking loose at home? What happens in our professional world when our personal world begins to unravel?
It is so easy to lose your footing in that moment of personal crisis. Suddenly, the path on which you felt so firmly and deeply rooted becomes completely unstable. I know I felt as if I was hanging on for dear life to a rope ladder perched between two sides of a raging river. Every cliché seemed to fit. I felt as if the rug had been pulled completely from under me personally, and I felt as if all the balls I was balancing in the air in my professional world were about to come clattering to the ground.
It’s virtually impossible to separate the personal from the professional. And, as women, I think we naturally tend to carry the stress with us. It tends to consume us 24/7 as we figure out how we are going to solve the problem.
The downside is that carrying those emotions to work can interfere with our ability to execute successfully on our professional responsibilities. This can damage what may have taken us years to create. I worked for years to build my reputation and brand inside corporate America. I worked for years to build a successful and growing company. The question becomes, “What can we do to minimize the impact of all hell breaking loose at home when we are at work?”
I found I needed help with my children. When friends would say, “Let me know what I can do to help,” I would say, “It would be great if you could watch my kids for two hours while I get some errands done (or went for a run – see #1 above!). They were only too happy to be able to do something to help!
From personal experience, I can tell you that having a professional outlet can be a saving grace when all hell is breaking loose at home. It gave me something to focus on and become immersed in besides the personal problems at hand. I have witnessed other women, who don’t have this outlet, become all consumed by their chaos at home.
There is something to be said for having a professional life to add balance, add contrast and add perspective. At the end of the day, it’s all about keeping your head in the game and being where you are needed, when you are needed! Isn’t that what we do best – prioritize and juggle our competing priorities?
More from Monique Honaman:
Find out what drives Honaman, what differentiates her company from other leadership consulting firms and the best piece of advice she’s ever been given.
Is no marriage entirely “divorce-proof”? Though she’s happily remarried, Honaman offers her perspective on taking the high road during the trying process of separating from a spouse.
Honaman and her partners are redefining what “coaching” means. With their GUIDE appraoch, they give business leaders the tools to help their employees grow.
Monique Honaman is the founder of ISHR Group which provides leadership assessment, development, and coaching services to Fortune 500 clients globally. This article is based upon the book, Guide Coaching: Building Alignment and Engagement in the Workplace written by Honaman, and her two business partners, Stacy Sollenberger and Ellen Dotts. The book is schedule to be published later this year.
I am absolutely thrilled to have a guest post this week from my new friend Laura Campbell. Laura and I “met” a few months ago when we discovered we both have a passion for helping women survive, and thrive, after divorce. Laura is the founder of a really cool organization called ‘the d spot, llc’ where she consults as a divorce and life reinvention expert with a tagline of “helping women regroup, renew and reinvent themselves before, during and after divorce.” How cool is that? Check out Laura’s website at www.discoverthedspot.com and her blog at www.discoverthedspot.com/blog. Like me, Laura is also a contributor for The Huffington Post, and the author of “The Ultimate Divorce Organizer: The Complete, Interactive Guide to Achieving the Best Legal, Financial, and Personal Divorce.”
Love this post that Laura wrote for High Road Less Traffic!
Bringing Sexy Back After Divorce
Do you know where your D Spot is? Better yet, do you even know what the D Spot is?
When I first began my business, I defined the D Spot as the point at which your divorce ends and your destiny begins.
Awesome, right? I love this definition and all of the principles I speak, teach and write about as well as coach clients with are built on its foundation.
However, I have recently begun to add-on to this definition as I don’t feel that it speaks strongly enough to the beauty, excitement and seduction of the journey during and after divorce.
As I move along my own journey through and after divorce, I am reminded all the time that the D Spot is far more than that. The D Spot is really about creating a sexy, juicy life as you move forward after divorce.
It is the spot within you that may have lay dormant during your marriage and even immediately following, and is now ready to reclaim its position in your life.
The D Spot is the place within you that you sometimes pretend isn’t there. That piece of you that wants to do, be and experience things that you tell yourself you don’t deserve, and can’t have. It is also the piece of you that knows what you really want…and that you CAN have it all.
As you move through and after divorce, you will find yourself on a journey to discover your D Spot. The authenticity of who you are…the reality of what you want. This is at the core of what your new life will look like and will become the foundation on which it is built. It is the force within you that wants to play, touch, feel and experience uninhibited joy, desire and fulfillment.
It is possible that along this journey you will feel the greatest discomfort. However, with this discomfort will come your greatest growth.
The key is to focus your attention and energy on what will be instead of what was. Take a few minutes to reflect on who you really are at your core…who you know you are meant to be! To all of the things that make you feel good, that make you giggle, that make you feel sexy, silly and strong.
You are meant to and CAN live a happy, healthy, juicy, sexy, vibrant, exciting, passionate, meaningful, curious and colorful life!
So, let me ask again…do you know where your D Spot is? What would it mean if you found it?!
Laura Campbell, CEO and founder of The D Spot, LLC, www.discoverthedspot.com, is dedicated to helping women regroup, renew and reinvent themselves before, during and after divorce. She is a Divorce Expert and Life Reinvention Consultant, and the author of The Ultimate Divorce Organizer: The Complete, Interactive Guide to Achieving the Best Legal, Financial, and Personal Divorce. Laura helps women in transition manage their emotions, face their financial situation, and create balance in their life to maintain a healthy mind, body and soul. Through her support and guidance, women maintain the highest level of performance in both their personal and professional lives. Laura believes every woman deserves to be the champion of her own destiny and live an extraordinary life.
Please join me this Friday, January 21! Ellen Love and I will be co-facilitating “Relationship Roadmaps: honest advice on the path through love and divorce” at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta from 9:30AM – 2:30PM. The registration fee includes all workshop materials, Ellen’s book, my book, and lunch.
To register, simply visit:
We are both so excited to lead this session and have some great, intense, eye-opening, and hopefully life-changing dialogue about relationships, forgiveness, and finding happiness and intention in our lives …whether in a relationship that’s hitting some bumps, divorcing, divorced, or who knows what else! I’ve attached the link to the flyer above.
As posted in The Huffington Post on December 23, 2010:
Last year was the first time I woke up on Christmas morning and didn’t have my kids with me. It sucked. Nothing else I can say about it. That pretty much sums it up. When I became a parent, I certainly didn’t intend to spend any Christmas morning away from my kids … not for years and years … perhaps not until they were on their own, married, and balancing that careful dance of compromise of where to spend the holidays. But life happens, and as it happened, I found myself ‘kidless’ last Christmas morning.
I distinctly recall waking up and thinking how quiet it was. The kids hadn’t barged into my room at 5:30 a.m. asking if it was too early to get up and race downstairs to see if Santa had arrived. I missed that. I got a little sad. I got a little angry.
And then I thought to myself, “You can choose to be sad and angry and have a bad day, or you can accept the hand you’ve been dealt and carry on.” I think Groucho Marx said it better when he said, “I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
I decided I was going to take my Christmas Day and be happy in it. I could have grumbled and moaned all day about the unfairness of not having my kids on Christmas Day, and when I’m honest, I do still think it’s unfair, but I also know that life doesn’t always appear to be fair. I’m blessed and fortunate. I have been able to spend every single Christmas Day of my entire life with my mom. That’s over 40 Christmas Days if you’re counting! My daughter will never be able to say the same thing. Through circumstances beyond her control, she stopped spending every single Christmas Day with her mom at age 10.
And so it goes. No, it’s not fair for my kids to be punished and not be able to spend Christmas Day with both of their parents. It’s not fair for their father not to be able to spend every Christmas Day with them. Frankly, my mother doesn’t think it’s fair either. Since her grandkids have been born, she has spent every Christmas with “us.” Now, through no fault of her own, every other year, that “us” doesn’t include her grandchildren. No, life isn’t always fair. But, we have to learn to roll with the punches and make the most of each day and just “be happy in it.”
This Christmas morning, I will be awakened by my kids (hopefully not at 5:30 a.m.) wondering if Santa has arrived. They actually don’t believe in Santa anymore, but still, it’s all part of the tradition. And, while some traditions have had to change since our divorce, others still remain the same. For example, my mom will be here; we’ll start with the stockings; we’ll take a breakfast break half-way through openings the gifts; and Santa always brings underwear!
The positive attitude side of me relishes knowing that we are also creating new traditions to be cherished. The realistic side of me realizes that those traditions will remain intact only until such time that life evolves and those traditions so too come to an end. And so the cycle continues!
As posted in The Huffington Blog on December 2, 2010:
What do Benjamin Franklin, Mahatma Gandhi, and Tyler Perry all have in common? Does this sound like the start of a bad joke? It’s not. All three of these iconic personalities who transcend historical boundaries of time, culture, and heritage have commented on the importance of one item.
Those are pretty powerful words for a powerful force.
I’m fairly confident that I wouldn’t have gotten through my divorce positively without being able to forgive my ex. Prior to forgiving him, I was angry, bitter, resentful, and full of revenge. Sound familiar? I realized one day that this was no way to live. I don’t want to make this sound like all sunshine and roses, but I was tired of my mental reel playing out my little revenge scenario. It was only hurting me, and my outlook on life, which certainly impacted my kids. When I decided to forgive him, life changed immediately. My whole outlook changed. I felt it. People noticed it.
If someone has ‘crossed’ you, and you have yet to forgive, I would dare to say that you are still angry. You are still mad. You think about it constantly. It keeps you up at night. You can’t seem to let it go. You brood about it. You may turn to vices to help you get through it. You remember every detail of the ‘infraction’ and you relive it and rehash it over and over. All this serves to do is create stress and strife in your life. It affects your health. It affects your emotions. Is it worth it?
Enter the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a selfish act. Think about it. When you choose to forgive someone, it’s a decision that you make, and then you feel better. The other person doesn’t have to give you permission to forgive. The other person doesn’t have to accept your forgiveness. You alone are in control of having the power to decide to forgive. How awesome is that?
People say to me, “I’m not ready to forgive yet because I don’t want that person to get away with it (whatever ‘it’ might be).” There is a popular misconception that if you forgive someone that it means he isn’t going to be held accountable for his actions. That is actually irrelevant. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you aren’t going to hold that person accountable. It doesn’t mean that you are going to let that person walk all over you. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be consequences for his actions. It does mean that you are choosing to not dwell on it every day and let anger consume your every thought.
I am repeatedly asked, “Please teach me how to forgive.” I don’t know how to do that. I wish I did. I want everyone to feel the liberation and peace that comes with forgiveness. Some people like to “own” their anger. They make it a part of their life story and frankly enjoy carrying the burden. I think that’s a crazy load to carry. I tell people that forgiveness will happen if they are open to dropping some of the anger and looking forward to the future, instead of dwelling on the past.
The power of forgiveness allows you to feel peace. It doesn’t mean you aren’t still going to face noise, trouble or hard work. It does mean you can be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.
Arguably the best-known scholar on forgiveness is Lewis Smedes (1921-2002). Smedes was a professor of Theology and a renowned Christian author who wrote the incredibly popular book, “Forgive and Forget.” He said, “Forgiving is love’s toughest work, and love’s biggest risk. If you twist it into something it was never meant to be, it can make you a doormat or an insufferable manipulator. Forgiving seems almost unnatural. Our sense of fairness tells us people should pay for the wrong they do. But forgiving is love’s power to break nature’s rule.”
I challenge you to focus on forgiveness and do all you can to ‘break nature’s rule!’
I’ve been a reader of Enterprising Women Magazine for several years now, and also sit on the Advisory Board for the magazine. It’s a fantastic group of women, with a fabulous mission to educate women business leaders. While I’ve written a few articles over the years for the magazine, this most recent article was extra-special to write. My articles in the past have focused on leadership issues in general. This article focused on leadership and tied it to the concept of taking the high road … in business AND in life … frankly in leadership across all aspects of your life. Thanks to Monica and the team at Enterprising Women for the opportunity to write!
Here’s an excerpt:Sadly, there are too many instances today where we people are failing to take the high road. We only need a quick scan of the news events of the past 12months to see example after example of people who fail to take the high road in their business dealings or personal relationships. This led me to coin a phrase, “The High Road Has Less Traffic.” Picture it! Envision a high road … sure it may be a little bumpy, and it’s not always easy to traverse, but it surely does have less traffic because, unfortunately, fewer people are choosing it. No one said taking the high road would be the easier or the most popular road. You may have seen my articles in Enterprising Women Magazine in the past. I founded a consulting firm that focuses on leadership assessment, development and coaching nearly 10 years ago, and I’ve written several articles focused on leadership trends and competencies. Over the course of the past decade, it’s been a privilege to take an inside seat to observing some great (and some not-so-great!) leaders in action. One thing has remained absolute, and that is the requirement, commitment, dedication, and focus of all great leaders to lead with integrity. Said a bit differently, great leaders take the high road. It’s when a leader begins to cross her own personal ‘guardrail’ and starts to cut corners, or make poor decisions, or lose values, that we see examples of leadership implosions. We see the impact in our business world. There is also a huge “high road” impact in our personal lives, and I think every one of us would agree that our business and our personal lives blur together greatly.
Enjoy the article and let me know what you think!
One of the chapters in my book which I receive a tremendous amount of positive feedback on is chapter 7 – “Putting Your Plan Together: Things to Think About.” In that chapter, I stress the importance of understanding your personal finances and insurance needs before you find yourself trying to understand them while also dealing with the stress and emotional toll of dealing with divorce. It just makes sense to understand where things stand. People, mostly women, tell me, “but I don’t plan to ever get divorced, and my husband handles it all, so I don’t need to worry about that stuff.” To which I respond, “I never planned to get a divorce either… who does? And, what if your husband dropped dead of a heart attack tomorrow? You will still be lost without having at least a solid high-level understanding of your financial picture.”
The link below is to an article that does a really great job of taking this dialogue several steps deeper and goes into great detail on things to think about to protect your financial assets (to protect you and your children!).
What do you think?
In a recent post, I discussed Divorce Care 4 Kids (www.DC4K.org) as a really great resource (support group) for helping my kids navigate through divorce. This time I want to focus on the partner organization that you can turn to for your support and resources.
The group is simply called Divorce Care (www.divorcecare.org). DivorceCare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. DivorceCare seminars and support groups are led by people who understand what you are going through and want to help. You’ll gain access to valuable DivorceCare resources to help you deal with the pain of the past and look forward to rebuilding your life. There are thousands of DivorceCare divorce recovery support groups meeting throughout the US, Canada and in other countries around the world.
I started attending DivorceCare when I enrolled my kids in DC4K. I strongly believe that parents need to be the role models. I believed I needed to show them that I was attending a similar program. In reality, I wasn’t sure I needed DivorceCare. After all, I had a great group of family and friends that was helping me throught this, many of whom had gone through their own divorce. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I gained so much from attending DivorceCare and surrounding myself with a small group of men and women who were going through the exact same things as me … at the exact same time! Our program facilitators, Bill and BettyAnn were an absolute blessing and truly supportive, and caring and empathetic. The program was the perfect length — we met once a week for 13 weeks.
No matter where you are in the divorce process, I strongly encourage you to take a look at the DivorceCare program to see if it’s right for you. You may surprise yourself (I was!).
Has anyone else had any experiences with DivorceCare?
What do you think?