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Disrupting Divorce: Conversations for Women

Oct 18, 2019

In today's episode, we discuss:

  1. Get out of the muck with a plan. I use a formula that I call 15-30-90-18.
  2. Confidence is not a trait; it's a skill. We get out of difficult situations by having the confidence that we can. Confidence is triggered by taking a step, then another, then another. Progress creates confidence. Just. Take. One. Step.
  3. Look for happiness in the simple things of everyday life while dealing with the challenges of divorce, single motherhood, dealing with the comparison trap.

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Confidence is a Skill, Not a Trait


Rhonda: Welcome to this episode of Divorce Conversations for Women. I'm your host, Rhonda Noordyk. There is one common thread facing every woman that is going through or contemplating divorce. You don't know what you don't know, right. So I want to make sure that we are asking the tough questions to get you the answers that you need. In today's episode, we are going to dive into the topic of confidence. This episode is sponsored by the Women's Financial Wellness Center online course. Be sure to check out our website under the events tab. I'm joined today by my friend Aleta Norris. She is not only the co-founder of Living as a Leader, but she's also the founder of a new women's community called Women Who Spark to learn more about Aleta. We have linked her website and LinkedIn bio in the show notes, so be sure to check those out. So, Aleta, I want to thank you for joining us today.

Aleta: Well thanks for having me, Rhonda.

Rhonda: So I want to start by saying and essentially asking a question. So for the women that are listening that are facing a divorce, certainly confidence is a big part of the journey. So what is one thing that you would want them to know about confidence?

Aleta: Well, so first of all, you're right, Rhonda. Confidence is a really significant element in a divorce experience. And I've scarcely met a woman, myself included, who has navigated divorce, who hasn't taken a hit to her confidence. And it's a good time to remind women that confidence is not something that you either have or don't have. It's not a trait. Confidence is, in fact, a skill and it's something that we can develop over time. We can build strength in our confidence just as we can build strength in our body by waking up every day and moving our body and exercising our body.

Aleta: Confidence is very similar. If we wake up every day and we take some kind of step or some kind of action and then the next day we take another step and the next day we take another step. What we'll find is that progress that we're making will help us begin to either strengthen or regain some of the confidence that we're certainly predictably going to lose when we go through a life experience as traumatic as a divorce.

Rhonda: Yeah, for sure. Absolutely. Well, and I think there are so many great opportunities for us in our lives where we can look back and say, "Oh my gosh, wow, how did I get to this point?" Right.

Aleta: Right.

Rhonda: It isn't something that happens overnight. And I remember a couple of years ago I ran across a formula that was talking about confidence and it said, "Knowledge + Experience = Confidence. Knowledge plus experience equals confidence." And to your point it's like, Hey, you know what? There is certainly the knowledge piece or the theory behind certain things and then there's actually putting it into practice. And the confidence is certainly no different, especially for women that either hasn't gone through a divorce before or this divorce that they're facing is different than any of the previous ones. It's certainly important.

Rhonda: So one of the things that you and I have talked about is just your own journey in going through this process. And I just think of you as a very confident person and to your point, it's not something we wake up and say, "Hey, I'm confident." It's a learned skill. And so thinking back to your situation and your divorce experience, share with us a little bit about what role confidence played in that for you?

Aleta: Well, so first of all, it's really interesting, Rhonda, what you said is that you've always viewed me as a confident person, and we've known each other in the business community for a very long time. And one of the things that I'm becoming more and more aware of is just how many confident-looking women we interact with on a regular basis who are in fact are struggling with their confidence. And we struggle with confidence in a variety of ways. One might be that simply, innately who we are as a person, we're more of a timid, tentative woman than others might be. Right. And then some of us, our confidence takes a hit when we experience something like divorce and I know a lot of women as well. And, and I think this probably pertains to all of us where we have confidence in some areas of our life, every single day.

Rhonda: Mm-hmm

Aleta: In other areas of our lives where we struggle with confidence because to your point, maybe we don't have as much knowledge in that particular area or as much experience. When I went through my two divorces, not just one. I've gone through two divorces, both of them very unfortunate and certainly not ever expected. What became really evident to me is that while I remained confident as a businesswoman, I really struggled with confidence as a woman, as a mother, as head of my household. And it's very easy to get caught up in kind of a rabbit hole of negativity or insecurity where we wake up every day and suddenly everybody all around us is a happy, intact family.

Aleta: And it took me a long time to work my way to a place of confidence as a family, you know, as the leader of my family, where I was able to step away from some of the comparison trap and I was able to step away from every day waking up, feeling disappointed in myself. And afraid of the future. And certainly financial fear was a really big part of my lack of confidence. So that confidence in one part of my life and my business co-existed every day with my kind of flailing confidence on the personal side of my life. And fortunately, it didn't last forever, but wow. That divorce season that is really a tough one to get through.

Rhonda: Mm-hmm. Well, I like what you mentioned because I think a lot of times we like to lump it together to say, well, I'm not confident in this area. So, therefore, I'm not confident. But that's not necessarily true. As you experienced man, you're over on the business side confident. Why? Because you know, you've got the experience, you're in your wheelhouse, you've got people that believe in. And then you're on this uncharted territory where you're feeling unsettled and whatever. Right? And so if you're listening to the podcast on confidence, I want to give you permission to say, first of all, it's normal to have things that are going to challenge your confidence along the way, number one. Number two, it doesn't mean that you're not a confident person. It just may mean that for the season you have some challenges.

Rhonda: And also, let's draw on the strength of those areas where we say, "Hey, I'm confident in this area. Man, are there things that I'm doing in my business, personal, professional life, whatever it is that I can draw on to pull into these other areas." Because I mean, as you mentioned, confidence is a skill, right? So it doesn't mean that we have to leave those skills at the door. Just because now we walked through the door at home. Right?

Aleta: Right. Oh yeah, absolutely.

Rhonda: Yeah. So I think that's really powerful and the confidence piece being, a skilled trade I think is super important. I think the other component of that, which really ties nicely into the community and the tribe that you're building, which is women who spark. It's okay, well where can you surround yourself with people that are going to believe in you that are going to be positive, that are going to love on you in the midst of a really challenging time and making those choices to be around the people that can help you.

Aleta: Right? Absolutely. And every day at least one or two women in the Women Who Spark Facebook community and if anybody's interested, Women Who Spark Tribe is a Facebook community where women can come and join together to be mutually supportive, encouraging, positive, inspiring, and on almost a daily basis someone in the community says, "I feel so much better since I've been a part of this community." Because every day when somebody is vulnerable enough to share in one of their comments, or even in a unique post. To share that they're struggling with something or they're afraid of something.

Aleta: Boy, I'll tell you these other women in the tribe, they just come out like mama bears. And embrace this woman who's needing encouragement. And I would reinforce to anybody who's perhaps going through a season that has affected their level of confidence that you are not alone. Every single one of us, we're struggling with something. We have fear of something. It's different for each one of us, but we're not alone. And that's what's so wonderful about kind of forming together who your people are going to be. Who are you going to turn to, to be your support team when you're crossing your desert. When it's your turn right to do the desert crossing. And we need people who believe in us.

Rhonda: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and I think the one thing that always makes me really sad is for the women that feel like they have to do life alone or they have to walk through a divorce alone. And it's just, they don't have to, you can dial in the level of support that you need. I mean, I have seen and believe that every woman should have a core team of people. It should be the family law attorney, the financial expert and a therapist. And then you'll have a lot of other great resources and people outside of that. But that's kind of that core nucleus of people. And that becomes three of the five probably people that you spend the most time with as you're going through a divorce, right? Because it is the season and so often I will say, well, if you want to decide that you want to travel this journey alone and that's your prerogative, just know that I'm here if and when you decide that you want help.

Rhonda: When you know what's ahead and you know the pain that's ahead and you know the challenges and you know the questions and all that stuff, it's kind of like parenting, right? It's really hard to let them go knowing what's ahead for them. But then also, knowing, Hey, I'm here when you decide if and when you want help. So I think women a lot of times feel like they have to do stuff on their own, even though they have friends and they reach out. I still feel like there's this aspect of like, well I'll just figure it out. Which there's power in that, right? Yeah, we can figure it out. But what about the things that you don't even know that you should be asking? Right. That's where the real challenges lie.

Aleta: Oh absolutely. And thank heavens you are here providing the service that you are because I don't care if a woman is in a marriage or not in a marriage or midlife or late life. One of the most common challenging areas of life that I continue to hear about from women is related to their finances. And so many women do not know some of the simplest ... We might even call them hacks, right? Or tricks or micro habits that they can weave into their life plan to be able to be on a, on a solid footing. And, and we need experts like you not only who know what you're doing, but who bring a demeanor to the situation that is a blend of empathy with pragmatic ideas and strategies to make progress in that area.

Aleta: And when I was ... One of the things I recall going through my second divorce. I was 40 years old, I was in a very difficult financial situation because of, just a host of circumstances. And I went to meet with a financial planner. He happened to be a very wealthy, kind of midlife man. And here he was talking to me. I was a disaster and he reprimanded me for my recklessness and I'm already kind of out and down. The last thing I needed a professional kind of letting me have it for my lack of savvy at that stage of my life.

Aleta: So I'm grateful. I'm grateful for all of these women that they have you with your professionalism and your demeanor to be able to help them navigate an area of their lives that they're probably not expert in.

Rhonda: Yeah, I mean for sure. And to your point, it's like my goodness. I mean I think women are usually hard enough on themselves already with certain situations that yeah, that only makes it more difficult. Right. So, but I mean I think it's focusing on the knowledge because women make really good decisions when they have all of the information. And it's awesome to see as they kind of get through that and get their footing. And I always tell people it's like, yeah, one of the most important things, as you're going through a divorce, is a budget. And it's never sexy or glamorous because I mean it's not fun, but it helps answer all the what-if questions and helps you navigate through what's next. And so, I'm glad that you are certainly on the other side of that and can attest to. Yeah, there, there certainly will be some challenges along the way.

Rhonda: So one of the things that I want to do is I know that you had mentioned that you have a formula for helping people and I want to just take a quick break and then we're going to come back and we're going to talk about your for real that you use called the 15, 30, 40, 18. And I can't wait to hear what that's all about. So stay tuned.

Rhonda: So, but first before we hear from Aleta, I just want to take a moment and remind you that today's show is sponsored by Courageous Contemplation. If you're listening to this podcast and you are, gosh considering divorce but haven't maybe told anybody and you are just looking for some guidance and direction, be sure to check out That course is designed to provide you with eight modules to help you navigate through all the questions you need. Should you stay or should you go?

Rhonda: So back to the show. So Aleta, goodness, share with us this formula. I can't wait to hear what this is all about.

Formula 15, 30, 90, 18

Aleta: So, this formula is going to sound like a lot of numbers because that's what it is, 15, 30, 90, 18. And let's work backward. So I love 18-month timeframes. I share it with anybody who's struggling with something. Or we might even look at a woman who wants to up-level an area of her life. And, and the first thing I like to start with is to look, 18 months from now, and put that date on your calendar, write it on stick notes. Keep it visible in front of you. So for example, right now, today is October 14th, 18 months from now is April 14th, 2021 and I call that the magical date because 18 months is a very comfortable amount of time to really turn things around.

Aleta: So if you're in a bad season right now, and we're talking about divorce, 18 months from now you're going to be in a much better place as long as you are ready to start doing some work. So then the next number working backward is 90 and so 90 days is a really good framework for putting together a plan. So 90-day plans. So in the course of 18 months, we can run six 90 day plans. And I like to work with quarters, right? So we're right now we're in the fourth quarter of 2019. So what would be a really wonderful thing is if everybody had a plan for the fourth quarter of 2019. Here's what I want to accomplish during this 90-day stretch. And if I continue to build a 90-day plan and I do it over and over and over again, six times. Again, 18 months from now, I'm going to be on that magical, Oh my gosh, things really are better kind of a date.

Aleta: So running a 90-day plan. Now, 90 days is a long time to monitor goal accomplishments. So again, working backward, our next number is 30. And so 30 days is what I like to look at relative to tracking goals. So financially we might say, well, each quarter what I'd like to be able to achieve financially is to pay down this much debt and put away this much more in my investments in. And so now when I look 30 days, I can determine and I, in fact, achieving my goals in monthly increments. Did I pay off all my credit cards? Did I stay within my means? Did I stick to my monthly budget? Did I just push the envelope a bit on what I could put into my savings? And was this a successful month?

Aleta: So the 30 days is goal tracking. The 90 days is the planning and the 18 is the magical month or the magical date. So then coming all the way back to our first number, which is 15, 15 is that daily planning. And so the habit of planning either the beginning of your day, maybe during your morning routine or at the end of your day. Let's call that during your evening routine, can you get out your to-do list or get out your journal or chuck your paperwork or look at your calendar and make sure that you are following the goals that you have set for yourself. And because Rhonda you help women with the financial aspect of their life. Every single day we can sit down and say, "Okay, what do I need to remind myself of for today? I'm going to take a lunch to work. I'm not going to go out for lunch as much as I want to walk by a store and wander in to buy something, I'm not going to let myself because I've got goals to meet for the month so that I can meet my 90-day plan. So that 18 months from now I'm not feeling the same stress and anxiety or dissatisfaction that I'm feeling right now."

Aleta: So in a nutshell, that's the plan and that's what I did. And every 18 months, every year and a half to two years, I was making really nice progress. But I needed to do that when I was in the worst of my financial challenges. Following two back to back divorces. I even said no on a regular basis. I said no to my kids. They said, "Mom, can we swing through McDonald's and just get a burger and fries?" And I said, "No we can't." Because if I do that then it's going to knock me off-plan. We've got less expensive things to eat at home, in the cupboard. So that's what we're going to do.

Rhonda: Yeah.

Aleta: The plan helps you say no to things.

Rhonda: Well and I love this because here's the thing, if we take a look at this related to the divorce process, we know that the national average of how long it takes to go through the divorce process is 12 months. Now certainly, there are going to be some that are more than that. There are going to be some that are less than that. But on average it's about a year. And I think that it's hard to put ... I mean, a year seems like a long time when you're in that spot. As those 18 months. However, if we looked at it saying, okay, 18 months from now, theoretically I should be done with this process.

Rhonda: So what do I want to do in my next six 90 day cycles? I love that because I think that ... Because even when you said 18 right, we started with the 18 months. I felt this sense of heaviness. Like, okay. And I think people have a hard time staying focused for that long. I mean, you know, and so to break it down into these 90-day cycles and then break it down and break it down from there just seems a lot more doable. And I think it'll help them to see the progress in the 90 days, celebrate it, tweak, adjust, and then move on. Yeah, energetically that just feels so much better.

Aleta: Well, and to your point, Rhonda, I know that some people are not wired for a process-oriented approach to navigating their way out of a difficult situation. But I'll tell you, I've not seen a situation, I'm 56 years old. I've had many friends go through a divorce. I have not seen a situation where friends of mine have painted a bright future for themselves by just waking up every day and getting through another day.

Rhonda: Mm-mm

Aleta: There has to be a plan. We as women, we have to step up and take control of our lives so that eventually 5 or 10 years in the future, we can look back and say, "Holy smokes, that was a tough time. But I did the work. I got myself back on track and look at me now, look at what a great place I'm in." And that does not happen by accident.

Rhonda: Mm-mm. No, it doesn't. And kind of like to, you know, to the Mel Robbins, right philosophy of like, five, four, three, two, one. Get up and do it and take action because the action is what's going to help build momentum. It's going to create those new habits. And honestly, if women are really honest with themselves, this probably is going to be an opportunity for them to do a lot of things that they have always wanted to do. But they were either too afraid or didn't have the platform or felt bad about doing it or whatever. And this is going to give them an opportunity to say, "Okay, well, while vision boards are valuable and I think they're important. I think also having the tactical aspects of it is important as well." So this really gives the women that are listening, a really great formula for helping them navigate through.

Rhonda: And I just look forward to seeing and hearing some of the stories of women that utilize this approach and where they're at 18 months from now. On the other set of divorce. Hopefully having some clarity, feeling focused. Oh that would make my day.

Aleta: Yes, yeah. And you just mentioned a vision board, well 18 months that in this whole formula, that's simply the concept. That's the concept of I'm going to be in a better place as long as I do the work. I think it would be fantastic for women to build an 18 month vision board.

Rhonda: Yep.

Aleta: Relative to their life on the other side of divorce. What does it look like? And hopefully it has a lot of joy represented on the board.

Rhonda: Yeah, absolutely. Oh my goodness, this is so awesome. Well, as we wrap up our time together today, Aleta. I always like to end with two things. One is a client success story and then lastly is your favorite quote. So share with us a brief client success story that would really resonate with the women that are listening.

Client Success Story

Aleta: Well, one that I really am grateful about...for my client. Now I'm not a money expert like you are Rhonda, but I'm a money geek. I love, I just, I love accumulating money. I love not spending money. And I had a customer who in the midst of a number of things that she was struggling with, was really putting her head in the sand about her financial situation. And she had balances on about 10 credit cards and she was very stressed about it and also wasn't saving money as consistently as she needed to be. She was buying, you know, she was trying to buy some happiness and contentment. And so I said, "Okay, here's what we're going to do. We're going to spend as much time as we need to go through every single one of your credit cards. We're going to log your balances, your interest rates, the terms, and we're going to put together a plan."

Aleta: And I spent about 90 minutes with her. I built her a spreadsheet and by the end of that call we had come up with the order in which those credit cards needed to be paid off. She needed to transfer some balances to some 0% cards and believe it or not. The 18 month timeframe is what she needed based on her income to be able to pay off every single credit card.

Aleta: I'll tell you, her confidence skyrocketed from the beginning of that 90-minute phone call till the end and when she got on the call she may as well have been Eeyore. She was just so despondent about it and so ... And she was embarrassed and probably felt some shame for getting to where she was. At the end of the phone call. She was like a different person.

Rhonda: That's awesome.

Aleta: She was so excited. She had a plan and that was about four months ago and she is ahead of plan and you would know this as well as anyone. That one practice of getting a handle on what your financial situation actually specifically is. That helped her to add more joy to every other aspect of her life and everything got better because of one 90 minute planning session.

Rhonda: Yeah, that's awesome. Well and again, like I said, earlier in the podcast, right? I mean women when they have the right information and support make really good decisions. And I love that you were able to help her navigate through some of that. And again, she saw, Hey, I've got the knowledge now of what to do. I have some experience in doing it, knowing that I also have somebody who's walking along with me and wow, look at it now. My confidence is soaring. So that's awesome.

Rhonda: Well, I would like to thank you, Aleta, for being our guests today. If you'd like to touch base with her, check out her website and again, LinkedIn profile is going to be in the show notes. I know that she's got a lot of exciting things on her website as well. You can check out the Women Who Spark Facebook group if you haven't had a chance to do that yet, and she's also got a course that is launching as well.

Rhonda: So today's show has been sponsored by Courageous Contemplation, our online course. So if you're contemplating divorce, please go ahead and check out the website at I want to thank you for listening to this episode of Divorce Conversations for Women. I trust that you found our time together, inspirational, and you also left with a couple of really great practical things that you can apply immediately.

Rhonda: I'd love to have you be part of the conversation. Simply comment on this episode. Drop us a review on iTunes or get involved with us anytime at my website at I'm Rhonda Noordyk, and I hope you know what you don't know about divorce.


Contact Information

About our Guest . . . 

Aleta Norris

Co-Founder of Living As A Leader

Founder of Women Who Spark

(414) 708-1472 

Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter

Aleta Norris is the co-Founder of Living As A Leader, a national leadership training and coaching organization and the Founder of Women Who Spark, an organization dedicated to positivity and productivity of women. She has five adult children, a husband, and a Goldendoodle. Aleta connects with women, not because she has lived a model life, but because she has crossed a few deserts and waded through the muck. She is twice divorced and raised her kids for almost twenty years as a single mom. She is committed to helping women be the best they can be regardless of their life circumstances.


About our Host . . .

Rhonda Noordyk, CFEI


The Women's Financial Wellness Center

(262) 522-1502

Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter

Schedule a FREE 30-Minute Phone Call


Sponsored by: Courageous Contemplation (online course)


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