Corrie shows people how to utilize their emotions as a guidance system to lead more fulfilling lives. She’s a single mom, and survivor of miscarriage, divorce, abuse & suicide loss. She’s embraced her trauma and emotional suffering as an opportunity for growth and works to inspire others to do the same.
Corrie is an advocate of de-stigmatizing mental health care worldwide, which drives her to provide value and healing to others each and every day. She shares her strategies through her podcast, coaching, speaking engagements, writing, online courses, and her social media platforms.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
You know what’s funny? I had always thought of having a career where I could help and inspire people would be the most fulfilling thing ever. I had watched Tony Robbin’s Netflix special “I Am Not Your Guru” and thought “Wow! How awesome would it be to do something like that?!”, but I never really considered it until it was suggested to me by the most unlikely of people. My therapist!
At the time I had been running my family’s large, regional electronics distribution business for 15 years and through therapy was learning I was unhappy and unfulfilled. I enjoyed the people I was working with, especially my family, but I never really felt like I was making the positive impact on the world I knew I could.
I was working with my therapist for around three years at that point, and she saw first-hand how quickly I was able to overcome such adversity as emotional abuse and divorce. So one evening during one of our sessions when I was attempting to come up with ideas on other career paths, she point-blank asked me if I ever considered life coaching and suggested that I’d be a natural at it.
Jumping immediately from corporate America right into helping individuals build better lives was terrifying for me, so I instead started a business coaching practice on the side while continuing to run my family’s business. I felt sticking with what I had known, business, for the last 15 years would be the best course of action for me.
Not even two weeks after launching my coaching practice, I lost my long-term, post-divorce boyfriend to suicide. Through my healing from this trauma, it became painfully obvious to me that I needed to follow my intuition and do what I actually wanted to do. What I really wanted was to help others navigate their own adversity and healing.
I knew deep down that there was a reason my life had presented me so many life hurdles within such a short period of time, and it was so I’d be prepared to do this task I’ve felt called to do. I’ve been teaching others how to release their fears and emotions and live more fulfilling lives ever since.
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about “divorce”?
While I don’t consider myself a divorce specific coach, I’ve lived through divorce and was determined not to let it stop my life in its tracks. After my own, I was left with literally no money and a 5-month-old son to take care of, so I didn’t have time to wallow in my own pity. As a result, I managed to emotionally heal from a 15-year relationship in around 6 months and save enough money to buy a house within a year.
It took a lot of work and effort on my part, including talk therapy and self-care. However, the work I put in was noticeable to everyone around me. I suddenly had people referring to their newly divorced family and friends to me for support. Not wanting them to suffer the same way I did early on, I’d teach them to navigate their post-divorce life the same way I had, which was changing their mindset regarding the situation and learning to release their emotions and trauma surrounding it. Now I do the same in my professional coaching practice for clients who approach me wanting to heal from their divorces.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
It would have to be a client post-divorce dating story!
This woman was gorgeous, in her mid-thirties, but looked like she was 25. As a result, she’d get a lot of attention on dating apps from men much younger than her because they wouldn’t look at her posted age and just assumed she was the same age as them. This sometimes can be the BEST thing for recently divorced women, since it boosts self-confidence big time!
Despite us having the discussion that she was ready to finally meet someone for a long-term partnership and continuing to date these young men playing the field wasn’t the way to get there, she decided to accept a last minute date with a man 10 years her junior. I don’t blame her, he looked like a mirror image of Channing Tatum. She was so flattered he even wanted to take her out, she didn’t even care if the relationship would be long-term or not.
During our follow up after their date, I couldn’t believe some of the stuff the two of them had discussed! The guy may have been ridiculously good looking, but he talked about how he once found a wad of around $3k in cash in a strippers couch and kept it, and that his dog once ate a sock and pooped it out. Sounded like he was the one who could use a coach, not her!
As a positive, this date was the wake-up call this woman needed to start dating more age appropriate men. The entire situation at least gave us both a good laugh!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I’m a big proponent of women learning to multi-date. While is pretty normal for men to want to date multiple women at a time prior to making a commitment, this concept is still pretty foreign to a lot of women. We’re kind of hard-wired to want that commitment immediately. However I’ve found for those who try it, especially following a divorce, it really helps boost confidence as well as make better decisions about their future partner. This is because you then only really settle for someone when they demonstrate their value and commitment to you. It’s harder to feel obligated to settle when you have two to three other dates on deck eager to take you out.
Well after helping out a woman who was just getting back into the dating scene following her divorce, she meets a guy and they really hit it off. To my surprise, she follows up with me and lets me know they’re now exclusive… after only one date. As a coach, it’s my job to help my clients seek their own path and follow through with it, but in this scenario, I really worried she was making a mistake by settling so quickly. So I spoke up and gave her my opinion on it, which is a big coaching no-no. I did so with good reason. She is a gorgeous, successful doctor with a flourishing practice and was still in the process of finding her self-worth again. Her decision at the time seemed really rushed and I feared she was settling too quickly. I felt I was acting in her best interest.
Long story short, that was three years ago and they are still together. This instance taught me that if I’m doing my job right, I’m teaching my clients to trust their intuition and follow it. So while it was a mistake on my part as her coach to give her my option on the matter, I had at that point taught her enough about trusting herself for her to not let my opinion matter. Her intuition is what mattered, not my own. Because she trusted it, she’s now in a very fulfilling relationship that she didn’t imagine possible immediately following her divorce.
If you had a close friend come to you for advice after a divorce, what are 5 things you would advise in order to survive and thrive after the divorce? Can you please give a story or example for each?
1. Find Meaning in the Lost Relationship
So many people come out of their divorce citing how upset they are to have lost so many years in a relationship that didn’t work out. This is such a negative way to look at things. Even the worst and most toxic relationships have some sort of silver lining you can take away from it.
Did your relationship result in children? Provide support to launch your education or career? Or maybe even introduced you to family or friends you wouldn’t have met otherwise and are now valuable to you?
Every person we meet serves some sort of purpose in our lives. Even when our relationships end, there’s a lesson to be learned. Find what your prior relationship means for you and remember that every time you start to get frustrated or upset about the situation.
Looking back, I see now that the reason I met my ex-husband was so we could bring our son into this world. Our son makes us both so happy, so even considering things didn’t work out between us, we are both still grateful for having him. This mindset helps change a negative experience into a blessing.
2. Talk About Your Divorce
50% of marriages end in divorce. It’s an unfortunate statistic but goes to show you that you are not alone in your pain and grief. We often hold in our pain out of fear that others will not relate or understand what we are going through. The statistics alone with divorce prove this otherwise.
Instead of bottling your pain up inside, which can later lead you to harbor a negative mindset and bitterness, learn to open up and speak about how you are feeling regarding your experience.
Talk to a close friend, family, a therapist or counselor, spiritual leader or even find a support group. You are bound to find someone who shares a similar experience. You may even find you make some new friends!
After my own divorce, I became the unlikely leader of a local single mom’s group in the new community I had just moved to. I commented on a Facebook post for a local parenting group how fun it would be to have one specifically for single mothers, and someone then created one and then appointed me the admin!
I used the group as an opportunity to set up fun outings to get recently divorced and widowed mom’s out of the house and out doing fun activities like family beach outings, and ladies night dinner and dancing events. We were able to share our own experiences with other women who completely understood what we were going through because they were going through the same thing. The connections I made through this group not only helped me heal from my divorce but lead me to some friendships that I still carry with me today.
3. Replace Loneliness with Purposeful Solitude
It’s so easy to feel lonely following the end of a relationship, and we most often try to fill that void through premature dating, food, alcohol, or other coping measures. What I usually recommend all my clients try instead is learning to replace loneliness with purposeful solitude.
What this means is learning to date yourself and be alone on purpose. Make a bucket list of all the things you’ve always wanted to do but never could do while in your relationship, and set an intention to start doing them one by one by yourself.
Not only will this help you experience things you’ve always wanted to do, but it’ll help you start to build confidence. This sort of personal growth comes from learning how to be happy being by yourself, which can be uncomfortable when you first start but becomes easier when doing activities you truly enjoy.
As an added benefit, when you are ready to date again you come into your new relationship with a much healthier, independent mindset. You’ll have hobbies that you enjoy and do on your own which is a pretty sexy trait to most individuals.
Following my own divorce, a few of the things I had on my bucket list were going to the movies by myself and learning to dance salsa. To this day, I now actually prefer going to the movies solo! I still go by myself on a regular basis. It’s so liberating getting to see the movie I want to see and get the snacks I want to get without having to compromise with anyone.
When I started taking salsa lessons, I also learned most partner dance lesson’s don’t actually require you to actually have a partner! As a result, I made a lot of new friends, because most of the people who attended were also single and looking to meet new people. It was a fun activity I looked forward to each week that I did for myself and no one else. Plus when I started dating later on and guys learned I knew how to dance, they found it incredibly sexy which was a boost for my confidence.
4. Embrace The Fresh Start
Divorce in particular compared to other losses can be an incredible gift in that it allows someone to have a second try at creating the life they always wanted to lead. It’s a second start at life. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather start over like I had to in my 30’s while more settled in my career, confident in who I am and what I like, and clear on what I want out of life and my relationships. It allows you to eliminate any of those regrets you have from your younger years.
So many people view divorce as a set back when it can instead be viewed as an opportunity to start over and build the life you’ve always wanted but never had. It’s an opportunity a lot of people don’t get, don’t waste it.
During my marriage, my ex-husband always wanted to live in the city so I compromised despite me always wanting to own a home near where I grew up in the suburbs. Following our divorce, I was finally able to decide for myself where I wanted to live and how I wanted to do it. The home I bought was what I’ve always dreamed of and I couldn’t be happier now.
5. Don’t Carry Baggage into New Relationships
When finally venturing out into the dating world post-divorce, it’s so easy to bring your baggage with your former partner into your new relationships. I’m not talking about baggage about your history and story, I’m talking about assumptions that everyone you meet will be exactly like your old partner.
The more you make this assumption, the more you’ll find you only meet people with the attributes you didn’t care for in your past relationship. As an example, I had a client who’s divorce was a result of infidelity. She went into dating carrying the assumption that every member of the opposite sex is predisposed to cheating. Guess what happened? She kept attracting men who cheated and wouldn’t commit. She also would scare away the quality men that wanted a commitment because she kept judging them based on something that they didn’t even do to her. They were tired of having to constantly reassure her!
It’s instead more productive to remember that your new partner is an individual and NOT your prior partner, and you shouldn’t judge them for things they haven’t demonstrated to you. Appreciate them for who they are and what they are bringing to the relationship in the current moment. Leave your past in the past and stop obsessing about the future, enjoy the experience for what it is. You’ll find your new relationships, even if only temporary, are more fulfilling and grow organically and the way they are meant to.
What are the most common mistakes people make after they go through a divorce? What can be done to avoid that?
Probably the most common one I see is continuing to carry a sense of resentment towards one’s former spouse. The only person this really hurts is yourself because it takes thought and energy away from time that could instead be spent focusing on your future by harboring on past hurt.
When we forgive others, we don’t need to do it for them, we need to do it for ourselves. Once we are able to grant forgiveness, it makes our lives lighter and less stressful not having to carry that negative energy with us everywhere we go.
If we’re leaving our past relationship having children to share and care for, this can also make it a much smoother experience for them as well. If you find it difficult to forgive for yourself, attempt it for your children. Your divorce will be a better experience for everyone involved if you can let go of your past resentment and negativity and look forward to the positive experiences you can all gain now in the present as a result.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources related to this topic that you would recommend to our readers?
I have so many! In the early stages of deciding to get a divorce, “Too Good to Leave, to Bad to Stay: A Step by Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay in Our Get Out of Your Relationship” by Mira Kirshenbaum is a great resource, as well as “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Both can help you decide if the relationship is salvageable and if not provide better clarity on why the relationship didn’t work and what you want in a new relationship moving forward.
Following my own divorce, when I started dating again I found all of the content, podcast episodes, courses, and books offered by dating coaches Matthew Hussey and Evan Marc Katz to be tremendously valuable! I recommend their content to all my female clients.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that helped you in this work? Can you share how that was relevant in your real life?
“The wound is the place where the light enters you” by the Sufi poet Rumi is a favorite of mine.
Divorces are painful. Actually, all adversity is painful. No one ever goes into it willingly or wanting to hurt anyone. It’s just a part of life. I love this quote because it’s a reminder that our greatest opportunity for self-growth lies in the pain we experience, which provides a contrast to our joy. When we successfully overcome our adversity, we emerge a different and improved person for having experienced it, which can lead to experiencing even greater joy moving forward.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Actually, I’m working on a few now that I’m rather excited about. My podcast, The Purpose Podcast is set to launch in early 2019. On the show, I interview individuals who have faced incredible adversity and how they used the challenge to fuel their own personal growth. Several of the interviews feature divorce as their pivotal moment.
I’m also currently in the process of writing a book on how to become more resilient through learning to express and share our experiences. So many of us don’t share our troubles for fear that people wouldn’t understand what they are going through, but the statistics actually prove that more people share the same experiences as you than you may think.
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
My mission right now is to show people that processing and releasing our emotions and life experiences can not only help us heal our own trauma, but help others. Everyone faces adversity, but no one ever talks about it because we assume people won’t understand, and there’s a stigma surrounding it. By teaching people how to not fear vulnerability, I hope to trigger a wave of healing that could be felt worldwide.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I would absolutely love the opportunity to do even just coffee with Gary Vaynerchuck. He’s been an incredibly influential figure for me on so many topics ranging from social media marketing, communication, vulnerability and family business dynamics. Being able to thank him in person for all the knowledge he’s shared would be enough for me, but it also would be nice to have a conversation with an influencer who shares the same mutual passions as me