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Giving Up Good for Great: Why I Pivoted Out of Divorce Coaching When I Was at the Top of My Game

back to work change Aug 21, 2022

In early 2020, I was going through a divorce. By late that summer, I was a divorce coach.

I'd never given divorce coaching a thought but it seemed like a natural fit since my second divorce was so much easier than the first one due to the "not my first rodeo" factor. I had a background in training and development as well as finance so becoming a divorce coach and divorce financial analyst seemed like an easy next step. 

It was. It was easy to find clients. I did not niche down too much (a classic coaching mistake) nor did I waste my time on free Discovery calls or webinars (another classic error: Hermès does not give out mini Birkin bags to give you a taste.) I focused on writing a book (it took me a couple of months) and writing articles and providing quotes for the press. I dug into Know-Like-Trust and quickly resonated with women facing high net worth divorce since I knew a lot about executive compensation from my first divorce. 

I was good at it but it was not good for me. 

My most recent divorce felt like such a gift that it was hard to resonate with the divorce grief dialogue. I needed to figure out why I'd got married in the first place, and that took me down a very different path that spoke to patriarchal wounding, unhelpful money stories, playing small, and operating from a place of fear. I realized that it was my stepping out of the workforce in 2003 and a confidence-lowering career onboarding program in 2010, and moving to a community that does not align with my values contributed more to my feelings of vulnerability than divorce. 

I realized that instead of getting married, I should have got a job. And when the job market was not what I wanted it to be, I should have created a business. Luckily, it's never too late to create the life you want and I'm joyfully on that track now. 

And I'm helping other midlife women do it too. 

Even though I knew I was on the right path, turning down divorce work felt like a risk. It always feels uncomfortable to pass up good for great. It activates that whole "who am I to turn this down" part of our psyches. Who am I to turn down lucrative work? Who am I to think I can make money in an area where I have a natural strength? Who am I to turn down a functioning coaching practice when so many businesses fail. I wanted the market to tell me to quit and I kept raising my rates, but people seemed even more interested. The universe was crystal clear that the decision to stop would have to be mine. 

Ironically, the week decided to take on no new clients in the early spring was the week I was named a Top Divorce Coach, something I had not solicited but that was very flattering none the less. I wavered for a moment ("who am I...") but then I walked my talk. 

Last week, I said goodbye to my final divorce coaching client, with joy and love.

What divorce coaching did teach me is that I can build a business quickly. It taught me about entrepreneurship and the importance of scalability. It taught me that when people are going through something hard, having an unbiased support network can be a game changer. It taught me that I'm passionate about helping get more money into the hands of women because they spend it in a different way when they believe it's their own (witnessing that was the most fun part of the work!) 

So I pivoted to helping women rewrite their stories about work and money and business, and find something they love to do in the midlife season. 

You can make this pivot too. You can stop asking yourself "who am I to follow my dreams" and start following them. You can give up good in favor of great. 

  • You can give up a good on paper but bad for the soul relationship in favor of a great single season.
  • You can give up an OK job for a shot at entrepreneurship
  • You can move away from your decent enough suburb to pursue your rural or city dream
  • You can dial back your hours at your good enough consulting business to pursue your PhD

Midlife is the perfect time to pivot towards what you want. You tend to have some extra bandwidth and some money. Your kids, if you have them, don't need you 24/7. You have enough experience in some area that you can always return to it if you don't like your next move. 

Giving up good for great is not comfortable. In business, there is a concept known as an s curve to describe products and companies.

In the beginning of you life, you are a happy camper. Middle school and the teen years is a dip for many (Never have I Ever shows the awkwardness of this time) but the 20s and 30s are generally pretty happy times as you build your life.

Midlife is often a plateau. Career growth stalls. Marriages get stale. Kids move out. You have a choice. If you don't do anything, you will likely stay at this plateau level forever. Or you can make a leap to a new s-curve. It's scary and feels harder at first (it's kind of like middle school again.) But then, you are on the ascent. 

The choice is yours. 

I've launched two coaching containers to help Gen X women find a new vocation. I also have a community coaching membership. The good news is, you no longer have to be divorcing to work with me. (I assume people will stop being scared to be seen having lunch with me around town. 🤣)

You can check out the programs at the link