Beatrice will most likely challenge your definition of success in life and relationships. Having experienced divorce twice, she now sees this more of an opportunity to grow and learn more about your own personal identity. Unfortunately relationships, more often than not, do end (if we are lucky to live long enough only 17% of us are still married in old age), whether that be through separation, divorce or the death of our partner.
Beatrice separated from her second husband at the age of 36, where the life she had envisaged, was no longer a certainty. The end of every relationship sets of a grieving process, no matter what the circumstance is, even if it is grieving the life you had envisaged and not the loss of a loved one.
Having now come through the experience of divorce, Beatrice sees this as a positive step forward in her life and challenges the traditional view that divorce is somehow a failing. Isn’t it more of a success to say you are now living a better life?
Beatrice has built a successful career as a senior test consultant. With extensive experience in managing large and complex programs of work, Beatrice ensures successful implementation through quality test processes and strong vendor management.
Beatrice is also the promotion whisperer and has assisted countless people to gain promotion, get a job (or a pay rise) in a number of areas, including technology, operations and management roles. Beatrice is putting the finishing touches on her first book, where she will share the models and ideas, to practically help and support women in advancing their careers.
What was the biggest impact of your divorce?
I separated from my second husband when I was 36, until this point I had mapped out where I saw our lives going. Getting to the point of separation, meant that the life I had planned was not going to happen. I had to rethink who I was, what my identity was, I think up until that point I had relied on my relationship to define a major part of who I was.
I also had to go through a process of grieving for the life, that until that point I was confident I would be living, this was no longer the case. I needed to accept that and move forward.
Perhaps we need to rethink our mindset which is based on a time that has now passed, the one where we grew up with Mum at home and potentially based on her having given up on major parts of our life. We don’t want to perpetuate that life, which came from a time, when women were not encouraged to work (or not allowed).
This is not to suggest that marriage should not be worked on, but if you are not happy and have exhausted all avenues to fix it, then isn’t it better to move forward? I don’t think we should hold onto something that’s not working, if it is negative and not allowing you to grow. We should celebrate people who have made these hard decisions and not see it as a failing. Staying in a relationship and not having a happy life is not success.
Is there anything you would do differently?
This is really hard to say, I wouldn’t be where I am today, if I hadn’t have gone through the experiences I had. One thing I would do differently is to ask for help to understand the financial impact that my second divorce would have and work through a plan.
When you are going through a separation and divorce, you are too stressed to think clearly and the financial repercussions may not be seen for 3 or 4 years, by which time it is too late to change.
Somehow you have managed to continue to build a successful career, while you obviously had a lot going on in your personal life, how did you do this and not get overwhelmed by what was happening at home?
It is even more important when you have a lot going on, to keep putting one foot in front of the other and to remember that your job is important. You don’t want divorce to destroy everything and you need to make sure you stay focussed, maintain and grow your career.
You are driven by a passion for helping others in their career progression, is this something you always had?
For a long time I have been a boss or a coach, so I have always been supportive of others. I have a real passion for supporting women in this area and making them feel good about themselves, I also love to provide really practical ways they can take responsibility for their career and navigate better ways in their organisation.
You now have a website and you are writing your first book, what was the inspiration behind that?
The experiences I have had helping women, especially when they are ready to leave an organisation and I can turn that around. I recently coached a client, that had one foot out the door, she was incredibly frustrated and that was getting to the point of damaging her reputation. In a very short space of time, not only did she deal with her frustration, but she secured the promotion, that she did not think was possible. This got me to the point where I really want to help as many people as I can, I also love my current career, so to get the best of both worlds, my website and book can help reach those that I don’t have the personal time to.
I want to continue to support women in my current organisation and externally, finishing my book will help me achieve that. The next step is to find a publisher.
Who has been your biggest support?
When it comes down to it, that has been me, I have had to rely on my own strength. That is not to say that I haven’t had support, when I needed it, there were some very strong women and men, who seemed to appear at just the right time.
It is really important to surround yourself with strong and supportive people. We tend to be so critical of each other and that is not what you need when you are going through relationship breakdown. My current organisation is also very supportive of me and that is not always the case.
What advice would you give to other women facing major life events or choices?
Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and if you need to rest, then rest. Make sure you pay attention to your job and your friends, you don’t want to wake up and realise that your divorce has destroyed that as well.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I had a lot of interests at university that I walked away from and if I had my time again I wouldn’t have done that. You need to pursue the thing you are really passionate about, it probably takes until you are in your 30s to work out what you really want to do. And go and find people that give you confidence, life’s too short to not have that!
Empowering women to achieve financial independence! Do you want to gain confidence and create a step by step plan to live the life you choose?