There was a day, when I was 6 months pregnant, with 13-month-old twins when my 10-day estranged first ex-husband finally came home from a “business trip”, only to tell me, now mom at home, that he did not love me anymore and needed to leave “to figure out why”. Ten minutes later, he packed up a bag and slipped into the night. I could not speak or breathe after that sucker punch for what felt like hours.

That was the beginning of a very long, lonely and stressful period of my life that would continue to evolve with the complicated and overall, messiness, of divorce.

It was also the starting point of my true-life lessons. The painful “growth opportunities” I would continue to learn over the next two decades. And with that, comes an opportunity to share.

I do a lot of research and rock turning always looking for an answer when in doubt, or to grow in learning ways to live life to its fullest. So, while much of this content I am about to share may not be new to some of you, I have carefully handpicked from my own experience, what I feel is the most valuable, “spark notes” version of highly thought of outlooks and perspectives from many of today’s most inspirational Thought and Spiritual Leaders.

Despite this opening, this article is relevant to men and women and intended to act as a reference in summarizing the top 10 (there is more), if I had to leave at 10, hard lessons I have learned in my own journey through life.

As a two-time divorce survivor, single parent and soul provider of 4 lives, I am here to provide you with my personal experiences in a pragmatic way.

As a Certified Divorce, Holistic Health and Life Coach and Certified Parenting Instructor, I’m able to also speak to my own professional experience helping others in the process of a major change and transition in their life. What their biggest hurdles were (often mindset) and what they found most valuable in our sessions together:

1) You really are responsible for your own happiness and ultimately, your outcome in life.

The safety net (some of you may have been lucky to have) you had in your parents or other family member/friend will disappear at some point and you better be self-reliant, established and resilient.

The love you have with your partner today, I get it- is strong, true and everlasting. But what if it’s not? Who will you be without that partner is something should go wrong? Have a life outside of this relationship. Build your own safety net. This includes financial security!
Countless women, and men, who have made the choice to hang up their career to stay at home in the early years with their children, often become paralyzed in fear at the thought of a divorce. Even one that is not repairable. They stay in it, miserable, modeling for their children a dysfunctional marriage for fear losing their financial security. Returning to the work force can be daunting when many years have been spent away from a career.

2) Find solace and peace with being alone before you add what should be an extra bonus- your mate.

Sometimes, okay often, love is not forever or even enough. Not trying to be a buzz kill here, but this article is about facing and embracing reality. Have a life! Surround yourself with good, healthy friends, hobbies that give you joy and keep your life well balanced always. Not only does it make you more interesting, you become interested. And we should always be interested, in our lives.

3) Your first marriage will be your BEST shot at getting it right!

Do not ignore ANY red flags- there are plenty of fish- really. Don’t rely on a clock, a grey hair or negativity and “settle”.

I have been there twice, divorced a second time. I have credibility here. There is something to be said about the bond of having children with a partner, creating history together, weathering the many storms in life and financial security that you just don’t find very often the next time around. Something I will never really know now. I saw red flags… both times did not feel entirely “right”. I stayed very busy thinking I just had commitment issues and cold feet. No. My intuition was screaming at me but I wanted, what I wanted at the time.

Please, get it right, the FIRST time. Your children will thank you too. They don’t get to choose the longevity of your marriage and their nuclear situation. Choose well, for you but especially, for them!

You have heard many times “never, never go into a relationship, thinking you can change a person”. You CAN’T, WON’T and if you think you have been successful at it, you’re about to be sadly mistaken soon enough! I cannot stress this enough.

4) Give your self-time to heal after a loss be it death, divorce, a break up, diagnosis, before you jump into the arms of your next love.

It’s not only fair for you, but for the one who trusts your heart- or thinks they do despite the raw leftovers they may get because of your pain and loss. Until you heal properly and go through the five stages of grief, you will only carry in the “stuff” you were responsible for in the loss you had in your past relationship and this one too, shall pass. Get healthy first. Take at minimum, seriously at minimum, one year off from any dating or consideration of it. Much longer if you were in a long- term relationship.

5) Understand that your thoughts control your entire world and the way in which it appears through your eyes.
You attract what you think about. This has been my own witness, “The Secret” of all our upcoming spiritual teachers and honestly, the actual “keys” to living your best life!

Ever stumble out of bed after over sleeping only to stub your toe which then sets the mood for the entire day? You wince in pain, as you change clothes for work. You go the the coffee maker and say "hit me up" as it was also, another late night out with too many hits to the “snooze button” only 6 hours later.

That tone, that negativity sets the stage for the lenses through which you will perceive the day looking only for the rogue, dislikes, disharmony…crap. Don’t let one negative and unpredictable event stage your entire day. Change your lenses- choose the rosy ones. I bet you there are people on their death bed wishing they had the 12 daylight hours you have in front of you.

The most successful leaders and public figures in the world today, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Lindsey Vonn (some of my favorites) use meditation, visualization and other mind programming techniques that have attributed to their success. Learn to release any negative interaction, event or information in your life by first acknowledging the agony and frustration you feel as simply thoughts and feeling. Don’t give them a label nor judge them, just let them pass right on by like watching a cloud. Do that with every negative encounter. Then, go kick some ass in the work place today because your rolling in half ass and that’s not going to get a hall pass or the big new promotion you now know to visualize happening in your head!

6) Be 100 percent sure you AND your partner have a burning desire to bring kids into this world before you take on that very big, important responsibility.

I did but based on my own childhood experience coupled with my husbands at the time “going along with it”, found I was unprepared for what lay ahead and regret that the “Breakthrough Parenting Instructor” certification I now hold, was obtained almost 21 after giving birth for the first time. And 20 years after that husband left me 6 months pregnant, with 13-year-old twins. My 3rd is 19, and the youngest 12 (marriage #2). I am in the process of redeeming myself to at least my youngest now that I know how to parent, and kind of late but never too late, to help my older kids with obstacles they will continue to face as they navigate life.

Take a parenting course while pregnant or even before! Find a certified Breakthrough Parenting © Instructor or another accredited program. It will come in handier then learning to breathe through temporary pain at Lamaze classes if your time only permits for one or the other. Think 18 years of pain!

7) Fear is the biggest killer of all dreams and hear this: EVERYTHING we want in life, is on the other side of it.

FEAR= false evidence appearing real

I am a serial entrepreneur. It started in Elementary school where I would water down my mother’s Chanel No. 5 with a few drops of water and baby oil, and package in cute little vials with small bows on them. Even then, I had the ambition of an entrepreneur but the benefit of age related naivety. I had not learned or experienced failure, financial struggle, the value of self-reliance and had yet to develop the resilience necessary when life happens and rejection and criticism replace the rainbows and lollipop dreams of a once 12 year old girl.

My small set-up put about $5-10 a week in my pocket and was growing when the school principle made me “close my doors”. Apparently, many parents were complaining about spills, missing pocket change and using “makeup so young”.

Since then, I have started multiple businesses that showed promise. I remember the promise in the moment but the fear of success or failure by giving it 100% of my effort with people watching me. Fear of going broke. Fear of getting rich. Fear of commitment. Fear of responsibility. Fear of my vulnerability in giving what my 100% looked like to me and may appear to someone else. What if it’s not enough? And then the world will see… Fear sucks, if we let it overcome us and dictate our lives.

This BIGGEST mistake we can make in life is not failure, it’s not even making the effort! (I hate the word “try”- in my house you either do or you don’t!). Self-doubt holds us hostage, robs of us of our hopes, dreams and destiny for greatness. It singles us out and diverts us from the life we desire for not only ourselves, our families. We are all pre-dispositioned for greatness. It’s just the meaning of that, and our pursuit of it, or lack of, that differs among us.

Pick a way to earn income that lights you up inside, put away some reserves and then give it your absolute 100% for 90 days! Zero excuses, 100% heart and soul, take 90 days and then, take MASSIVE action! At some point, if you really are doing this- and for some of us, it may take several attempts, you WILL hit it!

8) Be yourself, 100% authentic in every way you show up in your life. To your place of work, your relationships, your every interaction.

How many of you (be honest) have tried to portray yourself in a way in you wish you thought you might want to be received? Only to find that, that charade can only last so long and now it is affecting your relationships? You’re no longer the cool, relaxed meat lover who loves baseball games and fantasy football parties. That’s disappointing!

We’ve all been strung along by this façade only to feel real let down, and wasted time invested in a relationship that started off so “great”.
You owe it to yourself and your partner to be 100% authentic from the starting gate. Not only will you find your best match, you will be comfortable in that space. And it will last.

If there are personality traits you wish you exuded or things you feel are not complimentary to yourself, then work on those things. Surround yourself with people you respect and aspire to want to be more like. Work on being your best, healthiest self and you will find the right connections, sustainable connections!

9) Show gratitude every day for everything, big or small, going well in your world and give back.

Appreciate this life you were given. Build self-confidence, practice self-love, find compassion for others and look for the gift left after every disappointment, hurt or regret. There is beauty, hope and happiness all around when we look for it. What you choose to see, is truly what you get. Take time daily to just be present, in the moment. It is okay to look forward to things…the new car, a raise, a gift, retirement but this is the proven formula based on research I have done: live 10% in the past 80% in the present and only 10% in the future. You’ll have” looked forward”, right past life, otherwise.

And very important, remember to show gratitude for all the good and beauty you see and feel. Keep a journal and write down 5-10 things you are grateful for every day- even when you may have to look harder on some days. This exercise is very powerful.

Give back! Researchers found statistically significant, positive relationships between volunteering and lower levels of depression. When you volunteer your time, you have to pull yourself together, get off of the couch and leave the house. You are held accountable and that responsibility allows for growth and the gratification felt by making even a small impact on another.

10) Take care of your mental and physical health.
One body- that’s all we get.

Feed your mind and body with a healthy, clean diet at least 80% of the time. If you don’t currently get any exercise, I don’t need to tell you that you need to change that. But I am going to. Change that! We have evolved from our earlier primitive lifestyle, to sedentary, isolating, toxic social and environmentally challenging times. Ward off as much of what we cannot control, by nurturing your body, health and mind with the necessary fuel to power through life and remain healthy and enjoy it in the process. Eat well, free your mind of negative self-talk and develop a strong, fit body that can fully handle the weight of your greatness!

11) I must add a # 11! Reading the first 10 recommendations will do NOTHING to change you, by…

Simply reading them! As nice as that would be, until you implement the suggestions into your daily life and make them happen consistently, you may go down some very unnecessary paths creating personal distress and, possibly cause distress to those you love and cherish.

There are certain “walks” we must make alone to learn and grow into our best self. Often this means brushing off advice and doing what we ultimately, want to do. Our self-perceived “mistakes” (please re-frame this to “growth opportunities”) should though, not be repeated.

Learn from them, learn from those that have walked your walk and trust your gut where your intuition lies, struggling to be heard.

Author's Bio: 

Dominique is a Divorce Coach trained through CDC (Certified Divorce Coach), a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach, HHC, through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, IIN, a Life Coach and a Breakthrough Parenting© Instructor, CBPI.

From personal experience, Dominique found there was a great need to fill the gap in the limitations between what a therapist and an attorney can offer. She began coaching and offering divorce concierge services in 2011 after a second divorce and once again, having to go through the many processes divorce entails. Drawing from the experience of her first divorce, which was very high conflict, Dominique was able to utilize her personal experience to help create a non-contested, amicable split the second time around. Her experience led her to her want to help others prepare for and walk through the process themselves with the same success, he ultimate goal of assisting in the most amicable split, possible and preserving the well being of the adults as well as any children involved.

Proper education, training and coaching skills are imperative and not to be undervalued in such a life changing event. You need someone who has walked the path you are about to or are embarking on , and has been successful in creating a rewarding new life!

Dominique is a two time divorce survivor and mother of 4 children ages, 20, 20, 19 and 12. She knows first hand the road you walk and has not only textbook knowledge, but the necessary skills that come from personal experience to help you charter your path. Dominique was six months pregnant with 13 month old twin babies when she found her self suddenly a single parent. With little resources, she was able to re-enter the work force , support her children and eventually fall into a profession she is passionate about!