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Disrupting Divorce: Conversations for Women

Nov 15, 2019

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Rhonda: Welcome to this episode of Divorce Conversations for Women. I'm your host, Rhonda Noordyk. There's one common thread facing everyone that's contemplating divorce or even in the midst of divorce, and that is, you don't know what you don't know, right? So I want to make sure to ask the tough questions so that you can get the answers that you need.

In today's episode, we're going to dive into the topic of negotiation for women. This episode is sponsored by Courageous Contemplation, our online course. So, if you're contemplating divorce, I want you to check out

I am so excited today. I am joined with Nicole Martin and John Tinghitella. To learn more about Nicole and John, we've linked their website and additional information in the show notes. You can also check out their website at I want to get started here today. I am so excited that you guys are here because I feel like this is a topic that definitely deserves to have its own podcast episode. So, I'm a woman facing divorce, right? What's the one thing that we want the women that are listening to know about negotiating?

Nicole: It's so interesting, Rhonda, because I think that if you think of it with that directness of the question, the one thing I would say to a woman that's really thinking about negotiation is first the fact that it's a two-way discussion or conversation or exchange, and that they are worthy no matter what they are feeling or how they're feeling as they approach that table, that they are worthy equal in that conversation. And the question is, do they feel equal, first of all? Are they prepared in that conversation when they come forth? And are they also ready to listen? Because like I said, it's a two-way exchange. That's probably the first thing I would say. I don't know, John, what would you say?

John: I think that's a really good starting point. I think the power to listen is crucial to any successful negotiation. But to back up even another step, negotiation is just another word for managing relationships. Negotiation tends to have a negative connotation in a lot of people's minds, which creates resistance, which creates people not wanting to do it, which usually means they end up with a bad result because they kind of faded out when they should have leaned in. But that said, the ability to listen upfront is absolutely crucial. There's also a realistic connotation to negotiation that needs to be addressed and managed. It's the fact that negotiations, by their nature, are highly competitive, and we have to be careful in a negotiation to realize there's a clear winner and loser. This is not a ballgame with a time clock and a score at the end. This is people managing their lives going forward, and everyone has to leave, not so much with a victory, but everyone has to leave with what matters to them. And Rhonda, in your discipline of managing women through the extremely difficult dynamic of divorce, they tend to be highly competitive, highly adversarial, and a lot of times there are winners and losers, and that's just not healthy. It's a horrible outcome and our goal is to have positive outcomes.

Rhonda: And so I agree, and I love the perspective of it being built on relationships. I've got a client right now who is ... her attorney is a guy, then there's her husband and his attorney is a guy. And she's at the table feeling like nobody's listening to her. And so, the preparation part, I think, is super important, number one. And so I've been working behind the scenes with her to help prepare her to have some of those conversations. I think, Nicole, you mentioned the worthiness. Man, that is probably one of the most challenging pieces as women are going through divorce, their confidence has been shattered. Can we talk about the worthy piece? Do you have any suggestions or tips as they're going into this? And I don't like the whole fake it ‘til you make it thing, but I think ... Are there some specific things that women could be doing to build up, like, I'm worthy to have this conversation, and what I have to say is important?

Nicole: Well, and we actually kind of put forth three letters with what we do with our process within negotiation specifically, No Fear Negotiation. And the first letter is M, and M really stands for changing your mindset. And I think for women, especially going through relationships, I can recall a particular instance for myself personally where almost every relationship that I'd had where it had come to an end and I was leaving, my counterpart in that relationship had actually driven me to a place of guilt where you're feeling like you weren't working hard enough or you didn't do enough or you need ... this is your fault that you're letting go and you're the quitter or something to that effect. And I would say that the strength that you derive as a woman through that exchange knowing that you're not to be made to feel less than and that you have tried, and feeling justified in the fact that maybe you've tried and you've come to this decision, because surely for a woman, by the time she's had that conversation, she's thought about it probably for months, if not years prior. So, she's already separated herself from it, but she can be drawn back in or even worse, just emotionally brought down.

Nicole:  And I would say for a woman that's coming into that exchange, it's really important from a worthiness perspective to honor your internal voice and what you know is right for you. And knowing and having faith that you're a child of God and that that other individual is special and a child of God as are you, and it's your responsibility to speak truth, and it's your responsibility to walk in your truth. And when you're walking in your truth and you speak from a place of love, not anger, not rage, but love, where probably ... and hopefully something started, you can still love somebody and not be in love with them. And if you can bring yourself back to that place of love for that other person, then you can hopefully look in the mirror and say, but more importantly, I love me and I know this is important for me, and for what reasons. And find a mantra that reinvests that voice in yourself so that you stay strong. Whether that'd be for you, if you can't do it for yourself, do it for children if you have children in your relationship. Do it for something outside of you that makes you strong. But you must get to the place where it comes from within.

Nicole: And sometimes, if you've been deceived or betrayed or you feel wronged, it's really important to talk to somebody else. And I think therapy is a great thing. I think getting a resource, somebody to talk out loud to help you reinforce you until you can reinforce yourself is, I think, critically important.

Rhonda: Huge. That's huge. That is really huge. And I think spot-on, right, to all of the things that you're saying, because I do think that most of the challenge when it comes to having these types of conversations and negotiating is a lot of that is our self-talk, right, and how we're showing up for the meetings. As I've been working with women, there was one girl in particular that comes to mind. I mean, she has just been full of guilt and feels super bad about her situation. And I mean pretty much couldn't talk about it without, I mean, doing the ugly cry. And we finally got her to a point where she could show up for the meetings, and still, there's some emotion, but it wasn't like that level of not being able to really clearly think through certain aspects of it. And she's a smart woman who has a lot to offer, but she needed to be able to show up in those meetings in that way. And I know that for her, that was a really big win. I felt like I could contribute.

Rhonda: Now, the challenge with that is when the other person or people in the meetings aren't used to that particular individual having a voice. There now becomes a level of ... a little bit of a ... it seems to be a little bit of a power struggle in those situations because they're used to being able to just dominate the conversation, and now she wants to be part of the conversation. She's got some good points to bring up, and so it's a whole new level of listening and hearing that is required on the other side as well.

Nicole: Right. We have to remember we can only control ourselves. And so, I see, more a woman who is at that table and she's maybe finding her voice and her inner strength. It's important to come, like I said, from a place of love because not everybody grows at the same pace. And so sometimes if you have a man across the table from you who you at some point in time loved and hopefully can still love, then you're coming to a place of maybe adding some extra words, some extra things that you prepare yourself to say to affirm that you respect the other individual. I think if you're coming at a place of disrespect, then yeah, you're going to trigger another individual. And so, one tip I can say just from working with human beings, in general, is to say the word “you”, actually, you should never say the word “you” in any negotiation or collaborative context, unless it's a compliment. You come to the place of I. And a woman can own her I voice all day long just as a man can.

Nicole: And as long as the woman is actually coming from a place of I, I feel, I expect, I would like, I have left with this feeling, I own, I all day long, and avoid the word “you” unless you're giving a compliment. And find other ways to wrap the conversation so you're not triggering an event of diagnosing somebody when you're not a doctor in a negotiation situation. What do you have to say about that, John?

John: And Rhonda, thinking rather than Nicole, what's important to keep in mind here too is the power of the letter M, as in mindset. Hopefully, mindsets have been changed before a divorce situation occurs, but if not, it's part of a lifelong evolution. And the thing about negotiation in our book, we call it a simple repeatable process to improve your life. And M is the first letter. It's changing of the mindset. And that's an easy thing to say and a really hard thing to do. There's been a 100,000 years of social programming where men have had the power differential in the world. We get that, we totally get that. To just ask a woman to snap her fingers and change her mindset overnight is highly unreasonable.

Nicole: Good luck, right?

Rhonda: It's not happening.

John: It's a possibility. And the idea of the mindset is you don't change it just to get through this divorce situation. You change it for the rest of your life and everything else that you do. Stop managing relationships. There's nothing about using negotiation tools to manage the relationship. And the idea here is we're pursuing great outcomes and we're preserving relationships. That's what we're trying to accomplish. And that's why M is so powerful as the starting point. As we go forward, there are two more letters. I'll let Nicole kick off the second letter here in just a second, but we have to start with the adjustment and evolution of a new mindset.

Rhonda: Well, and can I get one thing here quick?

Nicole: Yeah. Go, Rhonda.

Rhonda: I was looking at some of the great materials that you guys put together, and one of the things that I noticed that kind of resonated with me was the fact that 70% of people prefer to avoid negotiation. And if I could do a show of hands 5, 10 years ago, that was me, like, oh my gosh, just the thought of having to negotiate created anxiety for me because I didn't have the right mindset around that particular situation. But now that I have learned how to do that and I'm continuing to learn how to do that, it takes a little bit of the pressure off when we say, “Hey, listen. Let's look at this on how can we create win-win outcomes? How can we preserve relationships? How can we respect the”... I mean that's essentially what everybody wants. In an ideal world, we want to preserve relationships; we want to be heard; we want to respect other people; we want to be respected in return. Like, oh, that's the gold standard, right?

Rhonda: And yet, because we, particularly as women, don't know how, and probably many of the women that are listening to the podcast, right, you might not know how, but if you knew how you could do it, right? And so, I love the fact that it starts with the mindset piece, knowing that only 30% of the people really kind of embrace that, we have a lot of work to do.

Nicole: Yeah. And I think there's something that John and I really talked at length about, which is really this concept of the tension of opposites. And I think John could probably speak to it the best, but that we have to honor the fact that yeah, there is a tension of opposites, and I think ... John, you want to speak to that really quickly?

John: Absolutely. And I think we chose the phrase tension of opposites because we're actually quoting it out of a famous book, Tuesdays with Morrie, written by Mitch Albom. And in it, Morrie said, essentially, we all live in the middle. And life is like a set of rubber bands that we're pulling. But we essentially live in the middle. We're relatively normal people doing normal things. Unfortunately, we have a present-day media that is barking at us from the edges, but the whole world basically lives a relatively middle existence. And that tension of opposites speaks to how we need to approach people. We need to understand that everyone has a need and the power of listening. And this is more, I think quite frankly more of a guy evolution. But the power of listening creates the opportunity to find both of us in that middle. Once we find that common ground, we can negotiate effectively, because again, the whole objective here is that we get great outcomes and we preserve the relationship, which means we both have to, I won't use the word win, but we both have to flourish in this experience.

Rhonda: Yeah. Absolutely. So we've talked about the M, the mindset. What's the next one, Nicole?

Nicole: The next letter that we have is P, it's preparation. And I think we emphasized, John and I, the importance of preparation. And many people walk into situations daily not fully prepared and it only resorts to them being reactive, rather than proactive in what the outcome is going to be quite honest. And so, preparation is something where we say that we like to start with data. So how many women are actually coming to the table with data versus just their emotions? And we're not talking about data that's going to trigger emotion, that's going to put the other counterpart down. It's going to actually say, well, you didn't give me this and you didn't do that, because remember we said we're not going to use the word you. So we have to come back and say, okay, how do we start with data by saying I?

Nicole: And then confronting those emotions that you're bringing emotionally to the negotiation table, especially in a personal situation such as divorce. You must confront your emotions and you must try to get to the place where you're coming to the table unemotional and with love. And that may take a lot of preparation. That may take role-playing that may, that may take a lot of investment in time getting ready for that day, whatever that day might be, and become the other side. You must become the other side. You must think about where the other person's coming from. You must think about how they're feeling. You must actually reside in their shoes for a moment mentally to say, “what is this person trying to do out of this exchange? What do they need to walk away from?” And I think for women and men, it's really unique. We always say that men are motivated by results and that women are motivated by effort. And when you think of that, and we're coming to the conversation at the table, women can do the work if they have this process. We call it the PST: the process, the sequence, and the tools.

Nicole: So when you have the preparation of our PST, as we call it, process, sequence, and tools, right, so ladies, get your PST on, right, if you have that, then ultimately you're going to be able to come to the table without those emotions. You'll have some data, some facts. Hopefully, you'll be coming from both sides. You'll have a little information about what you hope or presume or think the other person wants and how you've taken that into consideration, and you're going to invent some options prepared in your mind, know what you're willing to accept, your thresholds, your tolerances, etc., and you're going to have bracketized offers, as we call it, meaning you've worked and done all the thinking to the point that you've come to the table unemotionally with actual options that are truly representative of both sides so you can kind of start to talk of a new alternative for you both of shared creation. That is really important. And I think ... John, why don't you talk about the key thing, which is most important, the final tip to our PST, as we call it, on preparation. I'd love for you to talk about just agenda.

John: Well, it's interesting. One of the great things about P being the second letter in our sequence is a data point of one I observed in my life certainly with the wonderful women in my life. They're amazing life preparers, and I never ... I mean guys sometimes marvel. They may not admit it, but they marvel at the ability to multitask and manage through a myriad of issues on a daily basis, and it takes enormous preparation to accomplish that. So I think preparation comes naturally to certainly most women that I know. And the great thing about doing the preparation in the sequence that Nicole laid out, in the book we use an arrow. It's a six-step process. The great thing about it is it creates muscle memory. And once you've done it once, it gets easier the second, third, fourth time. I'm someone who had to embrace negotiation early on. I was one of the 70%. I didn't want to do it. But as I did it, the muscle memory kicked in and it became rote for me to a point where I now embraced it.

John: And what Nicole was referring to with the last step of preparation, and this is, believe it or not, it's painfully simple. It's the formation of an agenda. I own a business now, but most of my career came from the sales or customer-facing end of the world, and I've made over 5,000 sales calls in my life. And virtually every time I did that, I had a piece of paper in my hand or something that laid out a few bullet points or a larger discussion of how we were going to frame this meeting. And in almost every single case, the other side would say, “Oh, thanks for bringing that. I'm glad you did that. Let's use that.” You have now subtly taken control of the meeting, not in a bad way, but you frame the discussion to where you believe it really needs to go. It is a simple and constantly overlooked tool that every time we bring it up we get people's eyebrows to raise because when it happens, it almost always creates an opportunity in an environment for great outcomes.

Rhonda: Right. No. This is fantastic. In preparation with data, this is something that very much resonates with me, and I want to encourage the women that are listening to really grab ahold of this, because I always say, listen, I don't want us to assume. I don't want us to assume that the other person isn't being honest. I don't want to assume that we don't have all the information, but I do want to encourage women. I want to encourage you to gather the facts, get the data, gather the statements, organize the information, ask questions. One of the tools that we use is a financial private investigator. If there are concerns from a local or national level that there is information that's missing, let's go run the report. Let's find the information. If it comes back and there isn't anything there, then we know. If there is, then we'll deal with that information as it becomes available.

Rhonda: But it becomes this ... The entire divorce process, I think if women can look at it as a fact-finding mission to say, “Hmm, isn't that interesting? Okay. Let's ask some more questions. Let's gather information.” I think they will really feel empowered as they're going through the process, because there's really four kinds of big rocks with that, finding the data, determining how to actually file for divorce. The next one is gathering all the financial documents, getting all the passwords, organizing all of that information. Then it's filling out the financial disclosure statements and all the paperwork associated with that, and doing a comparison between what their husband brings to the table and what they're bringing to the table as far as what they're disclosing. And then it's, okay, well, now we've got that information, we're going to put it into a property division worksheet and we're going to analyze that data, and then we're going to have some negotiation about what's in whose column. And then the last piece is the marital settlement agreement, that final divorce decree that we're going to again, analyze the data, review the facts, right?

Rhonda: So I want to encourage everybody that's listening to say, Hmm, isn't that interesting? This step, the mindset piece, huge, right? The data piece, super important to this process. Of all of the things, this could be related to the divorce process, one of the most important. And it's getting the data as early on as possible in the process because once you start to kind of go down that divorce path is when things start to sometimes move or shift around. So, the sooner you can get your hands on the data, the more prepared you're going to be as you go through the process. The average divorce process is 52 weeks. That's an entire year that women have to set and reframe their mindset, continue to gather data, right, which is an important piece of this whole process. I love that part, such an important piece.

Nicole: Well, and I think a lot of that was about the preparation, but as you're saying, we agree, preparation is probably the biggest weight emotionally or otherwise that you bring to any negotiation table. But really the fireworks can start to fly, I think, in any negotiation, especially in the context of a relationship, like divorce, when you're starting to ask for something. Nothing really is going to happen or hit the fan until that, right, John?

John: Absolutely.

Nicole: And we have a path to ask, and it's again, another one of our arrows in our process in our book, but it starts with that aspect of listening that comes to really getting to the other side. But I'm somebody that’s been ... I've been in relationships. I've never been divorced. But I can tell you even in the relationships that I had prior to the marriage that I have, it felt probably similar to what I imagined divorce to feel like because I'd lived with those people for years. And I think that John has a personal experience, and having him on this call is really important because he's a divorce survivor. And I think that someone who's been through this, been there, done that, can speak to it and maybe offer a unique lens to the women on the call because we really believe that the path to ask as we call it, which is where you listen, you precap, you think about all those options again and you start to build and make your case for what it is you're asking for.

Nicole: You have to be able to bring things to the table to help substantiate what you're asking for and why and recalibrate that potentially based on the give and take of the conversation in exchange. But then you're ultimately hoping to ask and receive. Stay in the bracket that you've designed in terms of your acceptance, what you can live with, and then ultimately the accountability of what we call the 24-hour rule. So John, I'm going to let you really walk through a story maybe that you can speak to on the path to ask and help the women as they might embark on their journey.

John: Absolutely. I'll use an example if you don't mind. It's non-divorce related. It's a business-related experience, but it's extremely relevant because the path to ask is really parallel in everything you do in life. And I'll make it relatively quick. I managed a wonderful young lady who became a sales manager for me a little over 25 years ago, and we had a very important customer in our world, who was extremely big and extremely difficult. And they prided themselves on being extremely hard. It was a high testosterone environment, extremely hard on anyone who walked in the door who was attempting to sell or supply them with products, which we were trying to do. In fact, they went so far and they were so bold and brazen about it they put a big sign over their door called Club Brutal, and the whole idea where you needed to know you were walking into a pretty nasty place.

John: But what made it even more insidious, Rhonda, is that it was guys roughing up guys. But on those rare occasions when a female sales manager would walk in the door, they prided themselves, and this is really, really, really terrible, it was institutional bullying. They prided themselves on getting the woman to cry. And so, this young woman, who's now working for me, I had been through the Club Brutal a few times and I had my scars, but I did all right, and I needed to work with her to prepare her for this experience. And she had certainly heard all the rumors throughout the market in the industry. And I asked her if she needed some assistance up there and she said, “No, no, I'll handle it. I got this.” But she wanted a lot of preparation, and we dove in for two solid weeks and we prepared. And we pushed every button there was to be pushed, and we did role-playing. We looked at every possible scenario, and she had more data than they could possibly imagine.

John: She went up there. She did her job, she got what she asked for, she nailed it, and she didn't cry. And from that day forward, we came up with the title for the book and that's why it's called, No Fear. That's the idea. It's a little anecdotal, but the idea of no fear is that we don't go in in a fearless, crazy way. We go in a no-fear environment where we have more preparation on our path to ask. So, when we get to the point of asking, it works. The third letter in our three-letter sequence is the A. The hardest part of negotiation is the ask. All of what we've done here, every bit of mindset change, preparation, walking the path to get there, is meaningless unless at that point in time someone asks for something.

Rhonda: Absolutely. Well, I am so excited to be able to dive into that a little bit deeper. We're just going to take a quick break and we'll come back and talk about, in detail, how do we ask, right, and how do we prepare for that ask. So, I know that both of you, John and Nicole, have shared some really great tips around negotiating and I want to explore that further in just a second.


But first, a reminder that today's show is sponsored by Courageous Contemplations. It is a great place for you to start if you are contemplating divorce. And as Nicole said, you can stay in that spot for months, sometimes even years, and this is going to give you a clear pathway to know what you need to know before you make that final decision on whether you're going to stay or whether you're going to go. So, with that, you can check out that Courageous Contemplation course,


So back to the show. So let's go ahead and dive a little bit deeper into the third key pillar that you talk about, which is ask. Give us some tips around how to do that.

Nicole: I think that when you think of the path to ask, and obviously John gave a great example of how it works in the context of a business scenario, which everybody can relate to, and I think what happens is in a business scenario, sometimes women can come into that logically and unemotionally. But when you come into your personal relationships, just like men, we are all extremely emotional. I think it's fair to say that we really need to think about what we're experiencing, which is in some cases it can be traumatic, it can be sudden, it can be grief-stricken. And I think most of us if you're not the one that's initiating the divorce, you could be stuck in some of the stages of grief. And the first stage of grief, which I'm sure many have heard of is denial. And you certainly don't want to come to a negotiation table when you're stuck in denial, and you certainly don't want to go into a negotiation table when you're in the second stage of grief, which is anger. You really want to get through those first stages of grief. However, you need to work through those stages of grief, before you approach the bargaining table.

Nicole: But I think once you reach the third stage of grief where you're bargaining, a woman has already worked through, as far as I'm concerned, this is hard to say, but women go through hurt. You might cry when you realize something's not changing. Something's not changing and then you have to come through the hope. I think all women work through the hope that “Oh, this can change.” And then they ride that wave for a while. And then there's this sad day when you ... and that's denial for me. And then you get to this stage someday where you realize, “Oh okay, this isn't going to change.” And then you might get angry, and you get angry at the other person. You guys might fight and battle, and that could have led to months or years in a relationship, right, Rhonda? So, it's like you’ve got years of this, and that could be that second stage where you're working through just being angry with someone because they're not working with you. And how could they be doing this to you? And again, it's that you statement. How could you do this to me?

Nicole: And instead of coming back to the place of power and self advocacy and control, which women are not necessarily good at, and that's something we say is critical to the path to ask, as a woman to come to this place of bargaining and not a place of not complacency or not caring, sometimes women go straight from denial and anger to, I don't care, which is a defense mechanism. And so, you need to come back from that to a place of no, self-advocacy. I care enough to care enough about me and you so that we can move through this. And that bargaining approach, coming to that table at that stage, that's when you're ready to start with the path to ask.

Rhonda: Well, and I have ... The place of complacency, I want to address that for just a minute, because how I see that manifest with the women that are in the early stages of divorce is, “Oh, everything's going to be amicable. He said he's going to give me this. He said he's going to do this.” So they kind of check out, right? It's from a place of really believing that the other person has their best interest in mind, but I think women are doing a disservice to themselves if they stay in that spot, because I will say all day long, “Hey, if this thing ends up being amicable and you guys are in a spot where it really does go smoothly, I will be the first person to celebrate with you. However, my experience tells me that that isn't always the case. And so, we're going to plan as if…” Right? I want them to be involved. I don't want them to be complacent. I want them asking those questions. I want them to have the right mindset. I want them to be prepared, and they're going to be in a better spot to have those conversations.

Nicole: Absolutely. And I think people ... Part of the preparation process that we're talking about, especially something specific with divorce is preparing yourself that you're going to have feelings even when you get to the bargaining table, even if you've thought you've worked through this already. And so, I want John to be able to speak to that a little bit, which is you're still working through stages of grief. I mean be prepared for the fact that you're going to feel something, and you may still feel like a great loss and a great sadness. And John, can you speak to that a little bit in terms of the path to ask and stages of grief?

John: Absolutely. I think it's crucial when you're at this stage going through the various stages of grief, you're in this theoretical bargaining phase. And one thing that is so crucial, I believe, for women to be conscious of is this is a highly emotional life-changing, sea changing experience you're going through right now. It is crucial you stay in the process, stay in the process. We're talking about MPA here. We've asked you to adjust your mindset. We've asked you to do a deep dive of preparation, which you're probably exceedingly good at. So, you've got a lot going on. You are ready; you are on the path to ask; and, you're at that point where things are now going back and forth and there's give and there's take, and it's easy to jump out of the process because you just want it to be over. The hard part of the final part of the path to ask is staying in your bracket. We call it that because as Nicole mentioned earlier, in preparation, we create these bracketized offers and we use the phrase bracketized to emphasize that you're not going to drift out of your bracket. You've created what makes sense. I have a great offer; I have a realistic offer; I have a fallback offer, but I'm not leaving that bracket. I'm not saying okay at the final minute just because I want to go home and make this stop.

John: Same thing is true in a business negotiation except multiplied by 1,000 here because of the extreme emotional environment that we're dealing with. It's the same basic desire to just get over it because I don't want to do this in the first place. It's crucial to stay in that process because if you changed your mindset, if you fortified yourself with great preparation. You are ready and you are okay. You're ready to have a great outcome and manage this relationship forward. At that point, the asking becomes much, much easier. But the key recommendation for me is number one, staying in the process, and number two, this is a criticism, sometimes women are guilty of, don't overthink it.

John: Now, we know that there's a lot going on here. There's a lot of missiles flying through the air. If you can stay in your process and don't overthink what the downstream implications can be, even though some of that is absolutely crucial, I think I've observed certainly with women in my life, the overthinking, or the ability to overthink themselves out of what's right, and then a disagreement with themselves down the road. “Why didn't I do that?” I see it all the time with women in business, who overthink the desire to increase their compensation in their particular job. They've overthought it so much, they've talked themselves in and out of it to a point where they won't get to the point of asking. So many times women are guilty of that. Again, my two, stay in the process, don't overthink.

Rhonda: One of the things ... and I love that. One of the things I wrote down, John, was to set realistic expectations for the people that they're working with. And what I mean by that is I think a lot of times through the divorce process, women are expecting their attorneys, in particular, to do the negotiating for them. And I don't know that that's a realistic expectation. There may be times when the attorney will negotiate, but the women are really the ones who need to do all of the things that we talked about and come to the table prepared. And a lot of times I'm working with them behind the scenes to help prepare them to come to the table and have those conversations. So, I wouldn't say that they have to do it on their own, but I would say, setting those realistic expectations for the attorney that they're working with, for their financial expert, even with their therapist. Those are the three core professions that I feel like should come and surround you if you're going through divorce, right, at minimum, because you need this team of people. But you've got to set realistic expectations for them as well and know that the bulk of the responsibility will fall on you because you're the one who needs to really come to the table prepared.

John: Exactly, Rhonda. And I would summarize that. I think you said it very, very well. I'd summarize that by saying don't outsource the expectations. The attorney, he or she is the go-between. They may be the mouthpiece. They may be the hired gun, so to speak, but they don't decide. You decide, and you utilize their strengths in the back and forth. And sometimes it can get a little rough but don't outsize your own expectations. You own that.

Rhonda: That is a tweetable quote right there, John. Yes. Don't outsource the expectations. Absolutely. And I think it comes with being able to communicate those expectations, which is having those assertive conversations that Nicole, you were alluding to those I statements, right, and just making sure that you can ... I always say divorce is two things. It's managing risk and managing expectations. And if you can do those two things, you are going to be able to navigate through a really challenging and difficult process as unscathed as possible.

John: Absolutely.

Rhonda: Oh my gosh, this has been so awesome. And I have to say that I think I'm going to have to go get your book because I'm looking forward to just really diving even a little bit deeper in some of these conversations.

Nicole: Well, you’ll like that it's practical, Rhonda. It's a short read. We made it that way on purpose. And the reason we did that, John and I are coming from a collaboration from a male/female perspective obviously, our partnership in writing this book together and setting it forth. But I think that we made it practical and referenceable, so you'll pick it up again and again and kind of plug yourself into the arrows and the process, as we call it. And the reason is because we hope that you create a habit of negotiation and we actually hope that you take this forth as a new tool, and it's something we intentionally avoided, Rhonda, telling you, do it this way, go about it this way, do this. It's much more about giving you the process, the sequence, and the tool so you can plug yourself into it and bring the magnificence of you. Like John said, don't outsource that, own it. Bring you, based and grounded in humility and confidence and self-advocacy and self-love on to that place of healing, and plug yourself into a proven process that's simple and repeatable and hit the bargaining table ready. I mean the book is meant to be used - not theory. It's practical. So we love hearing that you're going to pick it up. We hope it empowers you and takes you forward.

Rhonda: Yeah. Absolutely. Oh my goodness, this is so great. I think it's, again, it's such a great topic. But as we kind of, as I say, land the plane, right, during our time together, I first want to just say thank you so much for sharing your brilliance, your expertise, your passion, your candidness, your vulnerability with my audience. Any final thoughts, closing remarks, as we kind of wrap up our time together?

John: I'd just like to say one quick thing and then I'll hand it off to my partner here. I think part of this experience too, we end the book at a place where we realize women are tremendous life coaches to people in their life, both young and old, but for the young people coming up, particularly women mentoring boys, emphasize how important it is for them to evolve to a point where they eventually in their life, they need to respect girls and absolutely come from a place of decency and respect and build your life, your business life, your personal life with that in mind. I think we can do better there as a society, and it is getting better. I observe it all the time, but we can continue to do better.

Nicole: I love how ... and John has been saying that since the beginning, Rhonda. I'm a mother of boys and I love knowing that we can have that invitation and receive it and see it forth, as well, as women. As somebody who has been through trauma and somebody who has survived trauma and been through loss and come out on the other side through positive healing, even exited people from the workplace, right, Rhonda, and I have some of those people I have fired become Facebook friends. How do you move forth from things whole? And so I'm going to give you my favorite quote, which I live by and I'm going to hope that it helps every woman that you're working with come to this place, which is, “Presence is more important than just being present. And I think that if a woman thinks of her presence, the power of her presence, the brightness of her presence, the vision and the dream of what she sets forth, how does she project love and light, and how can she move forth whole? What does she need to do to replenish her presence?”

Nicole: And if she can do that, if she can find the ways, whatever it takes to fill her soul cup and replenish her presence, she shall be whole. And she shall go forth and she shall help another soul. And I think that every woman, no matter how much she's hurting right now, she just regards her presence, honors her presence, and I believe good God bless Louise Hay, what you feel you can heal. Feel it. Honor your feelings. Even if you're speaking to someone your truth, like I said in a negotiation and you happen to cry, you know what, God bless it. Let somebody see how you feel, but make sure it's coming from love, not anger, and honor your presence and move forward. And I would leave a woman with that.

Rhonda: I love that. I would like to give a huge thank you to Nicole and John for being our guests today. If you'd like to get in touch with them, feel free to check out their website, We've also linked their bios and some additional resources and information in the show notes, so be sure to check that out. Today's episode has been sponsored by Courageous Contemplation, our online course. So if you find yourself contemplating divorce, I want you to check out

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of divorce conversations for women. I'd love to have you as part of the conversation. Simply comment on this episode. Drop us a review on iTunes or get involved anytime at I'm Rhonda Noordyk and I help you know what you don't know about divorce.


Contact Information and Other Resources

Our guests today were Nicole Martin and John Tinghitella

No Fear Negotiations for Women

Nicole Martin is Chief Empowerment Officer and Founder of HRBoost, LLC, an HR Shared Services consulting firm based in Chicago, Illinois. Her business has been honored by multiple organizations including most recently as a 2017 Annual Awardee for Business Excellence by the Daily Herald Business Ledger, and a 2016 Enterprising Women of the Year Champion by Enterprising Women Magazine. A sought-after expert, her knowledge and advice have been featured in newspapers and magazines throughout the country. Recent publications in which she has been seen include, the Daily Herald Business Ledger, and Fast Company. Nicole has authored, PWN International Literary Award and #1 Amazon Best Seller, The Talent Emergency, the accompanying Talent Emergency Guidebook, The Human Side of Profitability, and The Power of Joy & Purpose.

Nicole serves on Advisory Boards dedicated to Best & Brightest® Companies to Work For, Social Service in the community and Women in Business. To learn more about Nicole, go to or | (847) 736-5085 x 103


John's career has taken him from the trenches of sales management, to the corner office, to owning his own business so he can realize his vision for success. A self-described "sales guy," he combines a strong sense for the creative solution with a keen focus on building relationships. Collaborative negotiation is his lifelong passion. He's observed first-hand the unfairness of how much women contribute versus the rewards…which typically go to men. His negotiation message is the culmination of a career spent learning, applying, adapting, and giving back. | (845) 313-7747


Our host of Divorce Conversations for Women Podcast is Rhonda Noordyk, CFEI

Rhonda Noordyk's relentless pursuit of financial justice for women going through divorce drove her to leave the financial industry in 2014 to open The Women's Financial Wellness Center. She was in search of a better way. She used her knowledge, passion, and experience to build a leading-edge business model. The intention was to create a business that provided a safe place for women - especially those in a vulnerable position - to find their paths, find their voices and find the financial confidence they need to lift themselves out of seemingly hopeless situations. Since starting the Women’s Financial Wellness Center, after a 10+ year career in the financial industry, she has helped alleviate financial vulnerability for thousands of women.

In addition to being the Founder & CEO of The Women’s Financial Wellness Center, Rhonda is also a professional speaker. While her platform is women’s money wellness, it is not just about money. Her topics include: assertive communication, boundaries, leadership and overcoming financial myths. Her speaking experience includes: GE Healthcare, UWM Women’s Leadership Conference and Marquette Law School. In addition, she has appeared on Fox6 News, Real Milwaukee, and Morning Blend. Her dynamic and inspirational style leaves women with a sense of empowerment.

Rhonda Noordyk, CFEI 

CEO | The Women's Financial Wellness Center | (262) 522-1502

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Sponsored by: Courageous Contemplation (online course)


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