“Random Acts of Kindness.” With Lynn Myrick of Sodoma Law

Even in social settings, it is possible to feel lonely while surrounded by a room full of people. Happiness is not derived from just being in close proximity to others — it is derived from connecting with other people. That could be why Millennials seek out co-working spaces in a growing remote workforce, not because […]

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Even in social settings, it is possible to feel lonely while surrounded by a room full of people. Happiness is not derived from just being in close proximity to others — it is derived from connecting with other people. That could be why Millennials seek out co-working spaces in a growing remote workforce, not because they don’t want to work at home alone, but because at the end of the day, we all need to connect.

As a part of my interview series about the ‘5 Things We Can Each Do To Help Solve The Loneliness Epidemic’ I had the pleasure to interview Lynn Myrick.

Lynn Myrick is the Divorce Concierge for Sodoma Law, based in Charlotte, NC. In that role, Lynn helps clients who have decided to divorce start the next chapter in their story. Her role is a reflection of the firm’s belief in helping the “whole” client. Even when the legal case is over, Sodoma Law recognizes that the individual’s life is not. In fact, more often than not, it is just the beginning.

Lynn is a Certified Professional Coach with a BA in Psychology from UNC-Charlotte. An entrepreneur at heart, she is a business owner twice over and has founded two non-profit organizations. Combined with her training as an Enhanced Skill Practitioner and Executive Coach, her experience and skill set is only enhanced by her unwavering dedication to helping those around her. All of these skills are pieces of the puzzle that come together to ultimately create this passionate, driven, and empathetic advocate.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us? What was it that led you to your eventual career choice?

Helping people discover and become the best version of themselves has always been my forte. Even as a little girl, I took my Girl Scout role to a whole new level by including people in the “leave things better than you found them” mantra. From that young girl, to a young adult who would found two non-profit start-ups, to a woman who would become a business owner and entrepreneur two times over, and who is now a certified professional life and executive coach — throughout my life, my passion for people has always been the underlying driver. The position of Divorce Concierge fit so serendipitously with everything on my life’s resume (including my own divorce in 2005) that I knew the next step for me was helping people navigate divorce in a healthy way. To share my light with others and ensure they could see the light at the end of their own tunnel.

One of my main drivers as a Divorce Concierge in particular is that — I’VE BEEN THERE! In college I met and fell in love with my now ex-husband. I put my last year of college on hold so that he could pursue his dreams. After 8 years and 2 kids, the marriage we built together ended in divorce. So, what did I do? I went back to school as a single mom, finished my degree and reinvented my life. I was overwhelmed and worried about what the future would hold while trying to focus on what had to be done right then. I remember sitting on the floor playing with my children one night, holding back tears and thinking, “Can’t someone just tell me what to do?! Isn’t there a guidebook? A seminar? ANYTHING?” I even considered writing a note to my idol, “Hello Oprah, it’s me Lynn….”

And while I relied heavily on family and friends for help, my attorney for logistics, and my therapist for emotional support, at the end of the day I still felt alone. I knew there had to be a better way. It took 15 years… but I’m here, and my job is to help people find that better way! I have been intensely training for this moment all my life, and I am equipped with the tools and skills to help each person tackle the divorce scene with calm and confidence.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

My very first Divorce Concierge client sought me out for relationship advice. When he first came to me, I was a little puzzled because out of the gate he stated that he didn’t want to pursue a divorce — he was trying to avoid it. Even though this wasn’t my typical client, I still wanted to help.

We had a great conversation where I asked him what meant the most to him in his current relationship. He replied that he enjoyed spending time with his wife.

I dug deeper and asked, “Why is that?” to which he replied, “because it is a way to connect with her away from the kids and the daily chaos of work and life.”

My next question was “Why?”

This particular question gave him pause, and as big tears welled up in his eyes, he said “So that I can hear her heart and what is really important to her in her life, and so that I can share the same.”

That pause is where the magic of coaching truly lies. Inside that pause, we are allowed to tap into the deeper parts of ourselves so that we can live a more conscious life. For this client, what was important was getting in touch with his “WHY.” At the end of our meeting, I said “Well I guess we will be cancelling the consult with an attorney? I think you know what you need to do, and now you have clear ideas on what that path forward looks like.”

At the end of the day, just like for any person I meet, my goal is to help them find their best paths forward.

Can you share a story about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?

Most of my Divorce Concierge clients are referred to me by the attorney or paralegal with whom they are working. In many cases, I may not have seen or met the client in person until our first appointment. This particular client was staying at a hotel downtown, and we’d agreed to meet in the hotel lobby coffee bar for our first meeting.

I arrived early, as I always do, (because if you’re on time, you’re late!) and I grabbed a coffee, got out my laptop, and started to answer a few emails. I was feeling pretty good about using my time so wisely, and when I looked up and saw a gentleman approach, I assumed it was my appointment. I stood up, greeted him, and introduced myself as the Divorce Concierge at Sodoma Law. He politely shook my hand, smiled, and had a seat in the chair across from me. I proceeded to explain my role as a DC, and then asked him what kind of things he thought he might need help with. That was when he looked at me with confusion written all over his face, “Um… Did you say your name was Rebecca?”

At first, I was mortified, but then we both started laughing realizing our mistake. As it turns out, he was upset with his accommodations at the hotel and he thought I was the hotel concierge. While I couldn’t help him with his accommodations, I did point him in the right direction of the concierge desk, and as he was walking away my actual client walked up.

What did I learn? When you are meeting with someone for the first time, especially about something as sensitive as divorce, it is a good idea to know about their background and situation, sure, but also to know what that person looks like. Whether a simple description from their attorney, or connecting with them on LinkedIn, going the extra mile to make people feel comfortable, seen and heard is worth the effort.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am always looking for new and innovative ways to better my process, the people around me, and myself. Yes, there are a few exciting projects in the works. No, I can’t tell you about them … yet. I can tell you the mission though. Ultimately, the more connected I am to my clients the better. If I can help connect them with their inner self, their communities, and their friends? Even better. Everything I work on behind the scenes is done with that same goal in mind — leave people better than you found them. That includes making sure I have the best resources, can offer the best support, and am helping them find their best path forward through whatever means necessary.

Can you share with our readers a bit why you are an authority about the topic of the Loneliness Epidemic?

Some of the loneliest moments in my life were during separation and divorce. No matter the circumstances of your divorce — chances are you have spent many years with this soon to be ex. You have shared special memories, possibly the birth of children, and certainly the same space. Going from having “a person” to not having “a person” is a rough transition. Don’t get me wrong, friends and family are an incredible resource for you while going through divorce, but there is just something about looking in the toothbrush holder and there only being one toothbrush, that just shakes you to the core.

Additionally, I’ve found that in relationships where our full self isn’t being served, it is possible to be lonely even while you are with someone. Loneliness isn’t just about the physical void, it’s just as much an emotional void that needs to be filled.

Not only have I faced and overcome my own loneliness hurdles, I’ve worked side by side with people who are trying to clear those hurdles themselves. As an objective third party, I’ve had the opportunity to learn how loneliness effects everyone around me, the different ways in which we cope with it, and most importantly — that everyone deals with it.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. According to this story in Forbes, loneliness is becoming an increasing health threat not just in the US , but across the world. Can you articulate for our readers 3 reasons why being lonely and isolated can harm one’s health?

For starters, many may not realize that our physical health can be affected by loneliness. According to the Attorney General Vivek Murthy, and many other researchers and thought leaders, loneliness can be deadly. Loneliness has been shown to lead to social isolation, depression, a variety of medical issues, and can cause stress and anxiety which in turn negatively impacts health in a myriad of ways like increasing blood pressure and increased risk of cardiovascular issues.

Scientifically speaking, we also know that human beings need connection (both physical and mental) with other humans to not just survive, but to thrive. Just because we have incredible technology that pseudo connects us in 100 different ways, it doesn’t mean that it satisfies our need for eye contact, physical touch, and the ability to react and respond to body language, which by the way is how we create connection and trust with other human beings.

Secondly, loneliness affects our mental health and there is no shortage of research and studies that show that depression can be a side effect of extended periods of loneliness. Did you know that on average 17.3 million adults have had at least one major depressive episode in their lifetime? This is a serious problem, and if you judge the prevalence by the number of commercials for antidepressants then we better wake up and do something about this epidemic.

Lastly, loneliness can cause us to isolate ourselves from the outside world and social isolation comes with its own set of negative effects. Being alone and isolating ourselves can cause us to overanalyze our experiences and interactions in group settings. It can cause us to compare ourselves to others in an unhealthy manner (especially if we are comparing ourselves to other people online only) and that can further the cycle of choosing to be alone rather than with others

On a broader societal level, in which way is loneliness harming our communities and society?

Loneliness has the tendency to creep up when we aren’t looking, and then stick around. It grows in the dark corners of our minds and our homes. When someone is lonely and is suffering, it doesn’t just affect us — it affects everyone around us. That’s the thing about loneliness … it creeps. And before long, we realize that this creeping loneliness hasn’t just impacted one person in our community, it has impacted everyone in some shape or form. Loneliness is a systemic cultural issue.

I know what you’re thinking, “C’mon Lynn, this isn’t the flu! We are talking about feelings here!” But the truth is, loneliness can be just as detrimental to our health as the flu. And just like the flu, can bring a community to its knees — even today loneliness is wreaking emotional havoc across the nation. Unfortunately, unlike the flu, there is no shot you can take. The vaccine for loneliness is love, care, and compassion for ourselves and for one another.

At the end of the day, when a large percentage of society is lonely, it impacts the health of our communities and our nation as a whole — not just mentally and emotionally, but physically as well.

The irony of having a loneliness epidemic is glaring. We are living in a time where more people are connected to each other than ever before in history. Our technology has the power to connect billions of people in one network, in a way that was never possible. Yet despite this, so many people are lonely. Why is this? Can you share 3 of the main reasons why we are facing a loneliness epidemic today? Please give a story or an example for each.

Simply being connected to people via technology is not the answer, and some even think it can have negative impacts. Even though social media gives us more opportunities to connect with one another, the connections can feel empty. If you’ve isolated yourself and use social media as your main source of connecting, you may be more likely to compare other people’s lives to your own without realizing you are only seeing the “highlight reel” of everyone else’s life online.

Even in social settings, it is possible to feel lonely while surrounded by a room full of people. Happiness is not derived from just being in close proximity to others — it is derived from connecting with other people. That could be why Millennials seek out co-working spaces in a growing remote workforce, not because they don’t want to work at home alone, but because at the end of the day, we all need to connect.

The last factor I believe is exacerbating the loneliness epidemic is a lack of transparency and truthfulness. We all struggle, no one’s life is perfect. But, in the age of social media influencers, celebrities, and technology we’ve forgotten what it means to be truly transparent with one another.

Ok. it is not enough to talk about problems without offering possible solutions. In your experience, what are the 5 things each of us can do to help solve the Loneliness Epidemic. Please give a story or an example for each.

  1. Say HelloSounds simple, right? I’m not just talking about to your friends either. I’m talking about waving hello to the elderly couple next door, or the new family in your cul-de-sac who may feel overwhelmed with all the changes and new scenery. By making a simple human connection with those around us, we can make a difference.
  2. Schedule time to reach out to friends and loved ones. In a world where we always feel connected, without really connecting, make an effort to schedule quality time. It can be as simple as calling someone on the phone.
  3. Take time offline. If you find yourself constantly comparing your life to others, unplug. Even if you don’t, unplug. It is good for our eyes, our brains, and our hearts. Set screen time limits for yourself, not just for your kids. Take a walk, read a book, or do anything that doesn’t involve your phone, computer, or tablet.
  4. Volunteer — — Impact the fight against loneliness by providing social support in your community. Consider volunteering for organizations with missions that focus on fighting the loneliness epidemic; for example, a “good Samaritan” helpline, or intergenerational initiatives that create opportunities for connections between the elderly and young adults or children.
  5. Random Acts of Kindness. Do something small for someone else, and when someone does something kind for you don’t forget to pay it forward.

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. 😊

I would like to inspire a movement of empowerment through authentic connection! Wouldn’t it be amazing to leave a legacy for the next generations that would empower them to put authentic human connection first? The goal being to pass on the lessons we have learned, to leave them better than we found them.

We are blessed that 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 know its cliché to pick Oprah, but the recent launch of the Soul Conversations Podcast has brought her back to the forefront of my favorite and most influential people. She is a woman who has endured, and who more importantly, has helped other people endure. I also consider Marissa Peer a mentor — although she has never met me, her books and YouTube videos have shaped who I am and what I bring to my clients.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Instagram: @charlottedivorceconcierge | @theSodomaWay
Twitter: @SodomaLaw

Facebook: @SodomaLaw

Website. www.sodomalaw.com/divorceconcierge

Thank you so much for these insights. This was so inspiring, and so important!

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