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 Vikki Louise. Vikki graduated from the London School of Economics and is a Certified Life and Relationship coach, working with successful entrepreneurs around the world. She spent her twenties single or settling, before meeting her fiancé two years ago. Vikki’s style is tough and successful — she is results driven and shows you how to have the relationships you want with others and, most importantly, with yourself. If you want to access 8 Hacks to Happy Relationships, click here: https://vikkilouise.com/
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
While initially I was on a corporate career path, I was always an avid reader of self-help and relationship books, listening to podcasts and educating myself on the human brain. In 2016 I came across the Life Coach School podcast and decided the time was right for me to pursue my calling and get certified as a Life Coach! I focused on relationship coaching as this was the area that was most interesting to me, and where I really saw a huge discrepancy between what we are taught to believe, and the reality.
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about “divorce”?
Divorce is a relationship between two people, and throughout my coaching career I have coached people before, during and after divorce. This includes coaching people that have gone on to not have a divorce. The range of people I have helped — in terms of age, relationship status and geography, has given me a unique and deep understanding of divorce.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
The most interesting thing that has happened as I have pursued this career has honestly been the change in my own relationships. It is a reminder to me every day that when we do the work, change will come. This is what I continue to tell my clients. It is work, it can be uncomfortable, but ultimately it is freeing and anyone is able to have the relationship they want when they are taught the right tools, show up consistently and do the work.
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 was coaching for a year before I was certified, and while it was a wonderful experience and allowed me to commit to the career change, it was definitely a steep learning curve! I was also travelling around the US at the time, and working with clients across the globe. Thanks to daylight savings and changing time zones I accidentally scheduled a call for 3am. That was definitely a lesson!! I always double check time zones, calendars and any changing clocks now!!
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. We can’t control other people
After going through a divorce it is more comfortable to focus on what your ex should be doing, how they should be behaving, it is like our expectation dial turns up to 150%. Not only is it so important to recognize that we can never change what someone else does, says, or thinks, so this is really just a frustrating practice, it is also necessary to realize the only person you can control is you. This is where there is work to be done; this is where you can see results.
This is so important. Learning to forgive your partner for it not working out and for whatever happened is completely freeing. Learning to forgive yourself for your relationship ending in divorce is necessary for moving on. Holding a grudge is like sitting in a bath of negativity and … it is completely optional — the only person you end up hurting is yourself. We are taught that forgiveness is a sign of weakness and it is absolutely not true, in fact, forgiveness is a sign of strength.
3. Allow negative emotions
When we are experiencing negative emotions it is so tempting to avoid them — from Netflix, to food, to drink, to shopping. It has never been easier to avoid our emotions. Avoiding our emotions will never help; it is short term pleasure for long term pain. The pain doesn’t go away by eating, drinking, or watching TV series. Typically, behavior like overeating or overspending will exacerbate the negative emotions and you will end up feeling worse.
4. Understand the human experience
Life is not easy for anyone, despite what you see on Instagram. No one promised us as humans that everything would be “perfect”. As part of the human experience, things happen that were not in our plan — in a great way sometimes as well!! Accept that this is just part of the human experience, and divorce happens.
5. Look forward
Often we look to our past when making decisions about our future. Which is counterintuitive, because what you wanted is not in your past; it is in your future! When divorce happens, we decide to become more protective of ourselves and our emotions. This is because we have evidence now of things not working out. This can really impact future relationships in a negative way — for example, bringing trust issues from past relationships into new relationships. Your past results are no indication of your future relationships! Think about it like this, you have already changed as a human, learned more about relationships and yourself. You can actually go into your future knowing you are smarter, more aware, and have a greater chance of success than ever before.
What are the most common mistakes people make after they go through a divorce? What can be done to avoid that?
The most common mistake comes down to self-trust and what we make it mean about ourselves. When a marriage ends in divorce we can create a whole lot of unnecessary drama in our mind, and a lot of self-judgment.
“How could I have got it wrong?”
“It’s my fault”
“If I didn’t see this coming, how can I trust myself again?”
This is so important to catch and prevent as it really will spiral from not trusting relationship choices, to not trusting all life choices. Self-doubt is a habit, just like smoking, it becomes easier and more natural the more we do it.
A simple tool to prevent this is to build a list of good decisions you have made in your life. Start by adding three things. It can be anything from what you ate, where you went to school, or other positive relationships you have. Every day for two weeks add something new to the list. Some days it will be harder than others — that is OK. You are working to reprogram your mind and keep the belief that you are great at making choices in your life and can trust yourself. This absolutely works and it is never too late to start.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources related to this topic that you would recommend to our readers?
Yes, I will always recommend the Life Coach School podcast!!
Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman.
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
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?
“I never fail. I either win or learn.” Nelson Mandela. This applies to relationships in such a powerful way. Life is about discovering who you are and what you want — and both of these are constantly evolving! We are not moving towards a fixed state. Knowing this allows me to teach my clients to embrace lessons, because these lessons are helping us achieve the relationships we want — with others and, most importantly, with ourselves.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! I am working on a way to digitalize some of my tools and teachings into an app. Contact me for further information!
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. 🙂
Smiling to strangers!! It is such a simple thing that everyone can do. Smiles are contagious and human connection is powerful. With the internet we can be so quick to “like” posts of people far away, but I truly believe change begins at home. Smiling to people will always be more powerful than “liking” a social media post. Try it!!
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 🙂
Yes! Jay Shetty!!!