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Divorce is A Shit Sandwich

(Because it is, right?!)

A Divorce Mission… What?? 🤔

As you work through the sh!t sandwich of divorce, you’ve probably never thought, “Wow, it might be useful to have a mission statement right now.” Am I right? It probably sounds like an unnecessary extra at a time when energy and resources are scarce.

On the other hand, I bet you have asked yourself these questions:

  • How do I make good decisions when I’m so emotional?
  • How can I minimize the impact of this situation on my kids and myself?
  • How do I know what will be best for my future, or what I’ll even want?
  • How can I stay true to my values when I’m so overwhelmed?

You might be surprised that a thoughtful mission statement, created for just this time in your life, can actually help you answer these questions with confidence and clarity. 


Best-selling author, speaker and podcaster Andy Andrews, notes that a personal mission statement  is “A valuable way to set boundaries, provide clarity and direction in all areas of your life, clarify whether the decisions you’re making are in alignment with what you want for life, and help you face every decision and all adversity with calm, resolve and perspective.”

I like to describe it as a sounding board – a totally personalized, authentic, values-based, help-me-make-the-best-decision, please – tool to keep you focused on the big picture and refresh your perspective as needed.

And it isn’t just the final statement that’s so useful. Writing it can also be an important way to process the past and make thoughtful choices about how your future can look different. What will you prioritize? What values do you bring to your decisions? What excites you about the future? In my experience, transformation lives in those places where we’re willing to consider a new perspective. As Leonard Cohen says, “there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” A mission statement might offer just a tiny bit of light now, but as you move forward every day that light will grow, until you’re sitting squarely in sunshine. (And wouldn’t that feel amazing!? ☀️)

Where to start?

There are countless templates online to help you get started. I’ve reviewed several, and my favorite is Andy Andrew’s. It’s a free download that includes a list of questions to ask yourself as you write and common challenges that come up as well (hint: don’t believe it when you hear yourself saying, “I don’t know.”).

Wherever you look for inspiration, most mission statements follow this general structure:

  1. Identify your strengths
  2. Reflect on your values
  3. Evaluate how your skills can solve real-world issues.

I want to (what is important to you)  ___________________ Based on my values of ____________________ and my goals, so that (what is the legacy you want to leave)______________________________ I value (doing x) ________________________because (why it matters) __________________________. To do this, I will __________________________________________________________________

Another helpful starting point is to think about who you are when you are at your best. Ask yourself:

  • I am at my best when?
  • I want to be my best self because?
  • What scares me about being my best self?
  • Values I demonstrate when I’m at my best include?

Now use it!

It’s a brutal irony that during divorce we need to be at our decision-making best despite feeling at our emotional worst. That’s just one of the reasons it’s useful to have tools and resources to count on as you make tough decisions. Think of your mission statement as your operating manual during divorce. 

When you’re facing those tough decisions, look at it again. Chances are it will show you exactly what you need to do if you’re willing to see it. From the seemingly small choices, like how do I respond to this text, to the bigger ones, like should I take a new job, or move, a mission statement reminds you of your larger purpose and who you want to be, and it is uniquely and entirely yours!

I promise you won’t regret time spent creating this valuable resource.

When you’re ready to get started, download my free workbook. It includes my favorite mission statement template, statement examples, and much more.

Please let me know what you create! I’d love to see it and send a high five your way. ❤️

Do you have a tough question? Ask away. I’ll find the right experts to weigh in and make sure you’re getting the input you need.

Q: My spouse asked for this divorce. I was blindsided, I don’t want it, so how do I answer when people ask what happened?

A: First, I am so sorry you are in this situation. Being caught unaware, especially about something as significant as your marriage, will understandably upend your world. Here are some thoughts on how to talk about the situation.

  • First, give yourself time to process this new reality. Don’t wait to engage a support system, including friends and a therapist if you can. A coach might also be a good start and can help you find resources, build your team, and take care of yourself emotionally.
  • You can share as much or as little about your situation as you’d like. You may find it helpful to write down a few short messages to use in response to the inevitable, “What happened?!” so you don’t have to recreate them each time. Here are a couple examples you can use as a starting point:
    • Unfortunately, we’re separating. I’m sure you understand it’s too much for me to discuss the details right now.
    • I appreciate your thoughts and concern. I’m not ready to talk about it yet, but thank you for asking.
  • Be kind to yourself! You’re undoubtedly shocked and overwhelmed, so give yourself time to evaluate decisions. No one is at their best at this moment.
  • Eventually, you’ll transition to being proactive vs. reactive. There’s no “right” time for this to happen so be patient with yourself. Every journey is different!

This is a situation where people often want to tell you what they think you should do. It can be confusing and frustrating to try to respond in a way that is both kind and feels appropriate for your situation.  

For help saying what you need, download my free script template

Here I’ll share some of the books, websites, podcasts and experts to help make your journey a little less shitty!

I am excited to share that I have updated my website, BetterThanBeforeDivorce.com.

There are several free resources:

✅ Scripts to help you share what you need when everyone is telling you how they think you should manage your divorce

✅ A workbook to help you set goals and create messages

✅ A first steps checklist to make sure you don’t miss important steps as you begin the divorce process

✅ Blog posts, articles & all the previous issues of this newsletter

Download everything you need at BetterThanBeforeDivorce.com, and let me know what you think!

I am a corporate communications VP turned Certified Divorce Coach, and I created the Better Than Before Divorce™️  program for those early in the divorce process who want to reduce the impact of divorce on themselves and their children, minimize conflict and come out BETTER on the other side. Throughout my career I have worked to help executives, teams and individuals communicate succinctly, with clarity, intention, and impact, and I love using these skills to provide support and confidence to women and men tangled in the web of divorce.

My Better Than Before Divorce™️ clients benefit from my 25+ years of experience in crisis communications, branding and marketing, as well as my calm strength and commitment to tangible results. I am also a trained mediator, I’ve completed Colorado’s Collaborative Divorce Level I and II trainings, and I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and an M.S. in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania.

I hope you found this information useful. Please share your feedback HERE anytime, and visit the rest my website, betterthanbeforedivorce.com, for more information on private coaching, or the Better Than Before Divorceonline course.