As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Survive And Thrive After A Divorce” I had the pleasure of interviewing Sara Olsher, founder of Mighty + Bright.
Mighty + Bright helps families handle hard things like divorce
and cancer using science-backed magnetic charts. Using the charts and magnets (which are so cute — you can see why kids love them) parents learn to talk their kids through hard stuff in a way that truly helps. Her best seller is a magnetic co-parenting calendar, which helps kids of divorce understand when they’ll see each parent.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank you, Ross! Like many entrepreneurs, I started my company because I created a product that helped me, and I knew it could help other people too. I went through a divorce when my daughter was 18 months old, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that she was having a hard time understanding the changes in our lives. I have a background in psychology, and I knew that kids her age really don’t understand time very well — so it was no wonder she didn’t know when she would see her dad next. I created an illustrated co-parenting calendar with pictures of me, her dad, and school, so she could see what was happening each day. When I launched the product, it became clear that there were a lot of families that needed this. It has been an honor to help people through some of the hardest times in their lives.
The truth is, for most of us time heals our wounds. There’s no speeding up the painful bits, but eventually things will get easier.
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about “divorce”?
I think there’s no greater teacher than experience, to be honest. Going through divorce is rough, and I know that because I’ve been there, and the people I help on a day-to-day basis have been there. There are a lot of emotions involved and people can end up fighting over something as stupid as a lamp. I take that first-hand knowledge, combine it with my experience talking to children, and help parents easily help their kids. We want to know that our kids will be okay, and I am happy to report that divorce doesn’t automatically ruin them for life.
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?
Unfortunately, this has happened to me many times.
- Finally getting a divorce, which is far from the “easy way out,” feels like you’re finally free from something that’s been holding you back. Congratulations! The world is your oyster and you’re excited to get out and experience life with fresh eyes. But after being married, a relationship is probably where you feel most comfortable, and it’s easy to slip back into something serious really quickly. Do what makes you uncomfortable, and learn to be alone for awhile.
- Watch what you say around your kids. They are made of half you and half their other parent; when you talk negatively about their other parent, it is an attack on the children. Don’t do that to them.
- Try to remember that you’re going to come out the other side of this stronger than you were before, with a greater understanding of yourself and what’s important to you.
- Being away from your kids can be really hard at first. Use that time to do something fun that brings you joy.
- Be patient with the process, and trust that things will get easier. Most people “know” they’ll never get along with their ex, ever again. The truth is, for most of us time heals our wounds. There’s no speeding up the painful bits, but eventually things will get easier.
What are the most common mistakes people make after they go through a divorce? What can be done to avoid that?
After you’ve been married, you get used to the comforts of a relationship, and being on your own is sort of weird. A lot of people don’t quite know how to handle that, and their focus becomes “finding love again.” Unfortunately, until we are healed we often date the same type of person over and over again, trying to convince ourselves it’s different this time. Dating is fine, but when you keep thinking you’ve found “the one” over and over, it’s time to find a therapist instead.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources related to this topic that you would recommend to our readers?
I have a whole list of books I love for both parents and adults! If I had to choose one for kids, it would be Fred Stays With Me! This book is great for describing what it’s like to go from home to home, and highlighting that some things are the same no matter what — in this case, the dog (Fred) is a constant. For parents, I really like When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. When you allow yourself to feel your pain, it goes away a lot faster. When you avoid it, the pain goes on forever. This book is a great resource and speaks to the spiritual rebirth that divorce can bring.
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?
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford. I truly live my life focusing on seeing opportunity rather than coming up with reasons why something won’t work, and I think that’s a key reason for my happiness. My partner is amused by all the “little things” I enjoy — whether it’s a blue sky or a beautifully painted dumpster (true story) — but if you don’t focus on the positive, you can drown in the negativity.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I recently developed a magnetic calendar system for parents going through cancer treatment. I know that it works because it worked for me, and I am excited to share it with other people. Going through chemo and cancer treatment is the hardest thing I have ever faced, and it was hard on my daughter as well. The calendar helps parents talk their kids through each week, give them something to look forward to, and remove some of their fear and uncertainty.
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. 🙂
Mighty + Bright helps people through some of the hardest periods of their lives, when their kids are struggling and they’re not sure they’re going to make it out the other side. My goal is to not only encourage people to be open with their kids about what’s going on, but teach them how to talk about feelings and become more emotionally available. If we could raise a generation of resilient people who are comfortable with who they are, we could change the world.
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’m sure everyone says “Oprah,” but I’m going to say it, too. I have always loved her! I would also love to meet Glennon Melton Doyle. I love how real she is.