Practical Wisdom for Navigating Change with Jenny Stevens

Are You Ready for Divorce?

TAKE THIS QUIZ and Find Out. 

Minute Read

Episode Description

How do you stay standing when life throws its toughest punches? Divorce coach and therapist Jenny Stevens has been through it all ... and mostly all at once! 

In this powerful episode, Jenny recounts how she survived divorce, cancer, the death of her mother, and then the death of her ex-husband, all within a few years. Jenny's life experiences sparked a profound realization - we cannot control what life brings, but we can control how we respond. 

With candor and practicality, Jenny outlines the habits and mindset shifts that empowered her to navigate this perfect storm with grace. You'll learn how to identify and reframe negative self-talk, design a morning routine that primes you for a positive day, and intentionally cultivate moments of joy amidst struggle.

Whether grappling with a difficult life transition or simply seeking to live with more purpose, Jenny's hard-won insights will inspire you.  Her contagious perspective reminds us that our circumstances don't define us - our decisions do. 

Show Notes

About Jenny

Jenny is a licensed clinical counselor turned personal, professional, and divorce coach. Jenny specializes in helping people move through change positively.  Jenny is honest and approachable.  Her training as a professional counselor will challenge you to find purpose, take action, and keep your commitments - first and foremost to yourself! - in order to make positive changes in your life.

Jenny also supports adolescents going through the major change of becoming adults. She helps people - adults and adolescents alike - to face their fears,  create a plan, and then embrace life's changes with grace. In the process, Jenny also provides her clients with the support they need to make that change positively.

If you are seeking an energetic expert to manage change with positivity and personal experience, Jenny is your gal!

Connect with Jenny

You can connect with Jenny on LinkedIn at Jenny Stevens or on Facebook at Jenny Stevens Coach.   To find out how to work with Jenny visit her website at Jenny Stevens Coach and follow Jenny on Instagram at Jenny Stevens_Coach.

Key Takeaways From This Episode with Jenny

  • Jenny decided that her divorce would not be the worst thing to happen to her and her daughters. She focused on co-parenting well and creating a new normal for herself.
  • She recommends being mindful of your thoughts and challenging negative, fearful thoughts with positive reframes. Your dominant thoughts create your reality.
  • She focused on co-parenting well, being present for her kids, and creating a new normal for herself
  • Having a morning routine that nourishes you (exercise, meditation, planning) sets you up for a better day.
  • Practicing gratitude and journaling in the evening helps process the day.
  • Don't wait for a life crisis to pursue what you want - life is short.
  • When faced with adversity (divorce, death, cancer diagnosis), focus on what needs to get done each day versus worrying about the "how."
  • Ask for help from others when needed - you don't have to do everything alone.
  • Create joy by doing things you love, being present with people, putting your phone down, have family dinners, schedule friends, listen to music.
  • For divorce, dedicate set times to deal with it, don't let it consume you. Use tools to communicate neutrally.
  • Use tools like tone analyzers to keep co-parenting communications neutral and constructive.

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Practical Wisdom for Navigating Change with Jenny Stevens


 mindset, abundance, change, routines


Karen Covy, Jenny Stevens

Karen Covy Host01:02

Hello and welcome to Off the Fence, a podcast where we deconstruct difficult decision-making so we can discover what keeps us stuck and, more importantly, how we can get unstuck and start making even tough decisions with confidence. Can get unstuck and start making even tough decisions with confidence. I'm your host, Karen Covey, a former divorce lawyer, mediator and arbitrator, turned coach, author and entrepreneur. And now, without further ado, let's get on with the show.

With me today. I am delighted to have Jenny Stevens and Jenny is a licensed clinical counselor turned personal professional divorce coach, specializing in helping people move through change positively. Jenny has personally gone through more than her share of difficult life changes, including attending nine schools in 12 years while having just a few learning disabilities, changing careers in her 20s, going through a divorce, losing a parent at a young age and surviving cancer. All of those experiences have given Jenny tremendous insight into how change affects your life and how to keep moving forward in spite of what life throws at you. She now helps other people fully realize and design a life they love despite life's many challenges. Jenny, welcome to the show.

Jenny Stevens Guest02:28

Wow, what an introduction, Thank you, thanks for having me.

Karen Covy Host02:32

I am thrilled to have you. I know this has been in the works for a very long time. We've been trying to coordinate and make it happen. I am so looking forward to our conversation and I'd like to start because you are an inspiration, I think and it can't just be to me, it's got to be to other people too All of the things that you have gone through in your life and you've come out and you're happy and healthy and beautiful and living the life at this point that you've always wanted to live, and so I'd like to, before we dive into how you did that and how you help other people do that, I'd like to, you know, dive into your backstory and figure out why, what, what brought you to coaching, how did you get to where you are now? Start wherever you want to start.

Jenny Stevens Guest03:21

Okay, how much time do we have? I'm just kidding, just kidding. You know in 2018 I went through a divorce.


I was married for almost 11 years and had two daughters, and when I went through my divorce, I was one of the first people of my friends or my family to ever go through one, and I decided right then and there that I promised myself and my daughters that this would not be the worst thing that ever happened to them.


Because I chose that and I decided that story would be my truth.


I had met other people who had been divorced and they had sounded like it was going to be this terrible, awful thing and looked at me as if somebody had died when I said I was going through a divorce, and so I decided that I wouldn't keep that reality alive, and so I did everything in my power to focus on a good co-parenting relationship, making sure my kids felt love unconditionally, faking it during, despite many moments and hours and evenings when I had no idea what I was doing, and those of you who are either thinking about divorce or have been divorced or going through a divorce it's really scary, and every day and every week feels completely tumultuous and unknown, and so I learned really quickly to think on my feet, but to also dedicate certain time to my divorce, but also making sure that my divorce wasn't the thing that defined me. And so I decided that when I was going through my divorce and I also decided post-divorce to really focus on co-parenting and what my kids needed and then creating a new normal for myself.

Karen Covy Host04:57

I'm fascinated by this because it sounds like the whole time you were making decisions. But the difference between what you were doing versus what I see so many other people do is you made the decisions consciously. Like you said, I decided this ugliness was not going to be my reality. How did you do that?

Jenny Stevens Guest05:21

Well, Karen, everything we do and every action we take and every decision we make. Every morning, when we wake up and get out of bed, we can decide either to seize the day in an opportunity or look at it as you know either abundant or in fear, and I think you know there's. You know, a picture is only as dark as you paint it. And again, I had two daughters to raise. They were young, I had a full-time career, I was navigating being a single mom and didn't see another way. You know what's the alternative.


The alternative is to think that you know life is going to suck or I'm not going to thrive, or I'm not going to be a good enough parent, and trust me, I'm not going to thrive, or I'm not going to be a good enough parent, and, trust me, I'm not saying that it was perfect every day, but I chose every day to survive and thrive and see what each day brought. And I looked around at my daughters and I looked around at my career and I looked around and made decisions that were healthy. I think self-care is a huge moment in each of our days and weeks that we can say what do I need to feel good about myself and feel good about my decisions, and I think making choices around self-care which we can talk about at some other point in this morning, is just like putting yourself, and putting your needs first is really paramount, and if you can't put the oxygen mask on yourself, how on earth are you going to do it for your daughters or the kids that you have, or the people that you take care of?

Karen Covy Host06:47

What you're saying is it makes all this sense in the world, but so many people have a hard time doing it, especially parents. Most of the time is oh no, let me do everything for my kids, let me make sure that my kids are going to be okay at the expense of making sure that they're okay. So how can you shift that focus?

Jenny Stevens Guest07:14

Yeah, I mean that's a great question. I mean, we all know out there who are. You cannot. You cannot drink from an empty cup. And so the question of why? Why do I want to fill my cup up? Why do I want to take care of myself? You have to ask yourself that important question. Why do I want to do it? Do you want to feel calm? Do you want to feel healthy? Do you want to set an example for your kids? You want to feel good about your decision. You want to feel good about your day.


Every thought that we have that is fear or lack. The opposite of that thought is just as true. People often believe our thoughts are true, like our thoughts are reality. And the opposite of every fearful thought or lack of abundant thought is just as true. So just the thought of how am I going to? I'm not going to be able to survive my divorce. I also my ex-husband died and I have cancer.


And I could say to myself I'm not going to be able. Say to myself I'm not going to be able to survive cancer, I'm not going to be able to survive a loss. The opposite of that is I am okay, I have what it takes to survive. It might not be easy, but I have the skills and I can trust myself enough to survive. That thought is true. So you have to have conversations with your thoughts and tell some of your thoughts. They're just not true. But people often think the fearful bless you the fearful thought and we let those thoughts run out of control and we start believing these untrue thoughts. So you actually have to be aware of those thoughts and have conversations with those thoughts and tell them to. You know, go to H-E-L-L or tell them to shut up or put them away.

Karen Covy Host08:52

So I have a question. Like you said, you tell these you have a conversation with your thoughts. Is that like do you do it in your head? Would you do it in your like out loud? How does this go?

Jenny Stevens Guest09:05

Well, you have to understand that we have, you know, thousands of thoughts running through our mind at all time, and we create from our most dominant thought. So I ask myself and my clients all the time what is the most dominant thought going through your head at any given moment? And usually clients tell me it's I'm not good enough, I'm not lovable enough, I can't create my own podcast, I can't really be an author. Someone's going to really hire me? Or can I really be a single parent? The answer is heck, yeah. And if you don't believe, if you're not the first person to believe in yourself, then who on earth is going to believe in you? No one needs to give yourself permission to be successful, to feel good, and if you can't decide that you're able and capable of doing it, then who is? So, yes, you can tell, I do a whole reframe. So acknowledge that thought and then tell yourself the opposite of that thought. It can be as simple, karen, as I am enough. I absolutely have this. I can do this. I can do hard things.

Karen Covy Host10:12

I really like that, because so many people, when they're going through a divorce, they feel disempowered and what you're saying is the opposite of that. But how do you like? So you're a person, you're facing divorce or cancer or death or loss or whatever, and you have these negative thoughts. What do you just like? How do you say, oh, that's not true, that's not like. How, what's the difference between denial and pushing something away and choosing to think something positive?

Jenny Stevens Guest10:46

I mean, that's an important distinction. So losing somebody, having somebody die, that is an absolute truth. And feeling sad and angry and in disbelief and in shock and at some point, acceptance of losing that person is the truth. Feelings I don't want you to change your feelings. You can honor your feelings. You can feel your feelings. That's one thing. It's different than our thoughts. Our thoughts are like static on a radio. If you were dating myself or you know, it's like you know the weather. The thoughts come and go through your mind at all times. To be mindful of those thoughts but to distill the most dominant thought and if your most dominant thoughts are, I can't do this. I'm not lovable enough, no one will ever love me. I will always be alone. I'm not a good enough mom. If those, if your most dominant thoughts, are a fear and lack, we need to talk and you should talk to your thoughts and tell your thoughts. Just simply not true.

Karen Covy Host11:44

Okay, but what about the person who thinks like okay, people are going to think I'm crazy. I'm sitting there having a conversation with my thoughts, Like who does that?

Jenny Stevens Guest11:52

Well, you can talk to yourself all day long who cares what people think you know? Take a journal out and write them down. Or schedule a meeting. You can talk about it with your coach or a therapist or even a friend. But even writing down your thoughts, if we were to exercise, do a minute exercise and say write down all your thoughts right now about an upcoming event, an upcoming challenge, an upcoming event in your life, I bet a lot of us out there would have fearful thoughts of lack and insecurity. So I want you to distill the most dominant one or two or three thoughts and then reframe those thoughts to the opposite of that or, frankly, what you really want, understanding what you want and visualizing and coming up with either an outcome or a feeling Most. I was with a client yesterday and the person said I just want to feel calm and I want to feel grounded after work. When I pick up the kids, it's chaos in the car. We get home I tell them don't eat a snack, don't get on your iPad, and I said well, they've been gone for eight and a half hours or nine hours. Just give them either 15 minutes of iPad so you can go do your kitchen, and you can. You know you can take a few minutes and just giving, and her outcome and her desire was to feel calm and grounded and less chaos.


So you have to ask yourself what is it that you want to accomplish? What kind of home do you want to have? What kind of feeling do you want to have throughout your day? What kind of example do you want? To ask yourself what is it that you want to accomplish? What kind of home do you want to have? What kind of feeling do you want to have throughout your day? What kind of example do you want to set for your kids, and what kind of mindset do you want? Everything is about the mindset. If you can change the narrative in your story, you can accomplish anything. The most important thing I think about one of the things we're talking about is your most dominant thought creates a reality. So careful what your dominant thought is and careful what your dominant thoughts are so pick those wisely..

Karen Covy Host13:51

But how do you know what's your dominant thought If, like just taking what you said, there are thousands of thoughts in our head, how do we know what's dominant?

Jenny Stevens Guest13:57

Well, what's your dominant, most dominant thought right now, Karen?

Karen Covy Host14:05

Um, actually, my most dominant thought right now is I'm recording a podcast and I can hear sirens outside and it's distracting and should I, you know, should we stop? Should we pause? That was my most dominant thought.

Jenny Stevens Guest14:15

But aside from that, is there a dominant thought that you've thought this morning as you prepare for your day, or as you're thinking about your day or week?

Karen Covy Host14:23

That's a really good question. I think that all right. A dominant thought would be. I hope the podcast you know that our recording goes well, because I know how amazing you are and I want to have a good conversation, so that's a dominant thought. It's like how can I make this conversation helpful to the most number of you know, the biggest number of people?

Jenny Stevens Guest14:47

That's a good example of acknowledging what the thought is, but to also a reframe could be like it's going to be a great podcast, no matter what I will make. It will be a, you know, an interesting conversation. It doesn't seem like that's like your most, you know, that's your most dominant thought lately, you know, as of today. But what I was pushing you or ask your listeners to think about is if you start writing down your thoughts each morning or each evening, you will come up with a theme, and if the theme is lack and insecurity or fear, then I would ask everybody to challenge that thought and ask what the opposite thought would be. Or if I'm not good enough or am I going to really succeed tomorrow. The opposite of that is I am enough and I will succeed.

Karen Covy Host15:35

So it sounds like the way to get to your dominant thought, or at least one of the ways that you're suggesting, is like, every morning and every evening, to write down. What are you writing down? Whatever you're thinking? Are you writing down what you thought about, like this evening, during the past day? How do you do this?

Jenny Stevens Guest15:55

you can just simply write, like when you're thinking about a difficult or challenging event, whether it could be a divorce. It could be that you're experiencing loss. It could be a change in career. It could be an empty nester. It could be somebody who is just stepping into being a single parent. Maybe you're blending families. You have an upcoming blending families thing. Maybe it's you're introducing your kids to your significant other. Maybe it's going on a date for the first time post-divorce.


There's so many things that people who go through a divorce and who are divorced think about and it'd be hard for us to say that we didn't all have an insecurity or a fearful thought about an upcoming situation. So it's really just looking at that thought and changing the story around it, and it could be just as simple as writing down like I'm scared about going to my first date, or can I really? Will my kids hate the person who I am in a really serious relationship with? Or, oh my gosh, like my. I'm got engaged for a few months ago and I've been with my partner for over two and a half years and we've been really thoughtful about when he and his kids would move in, and I was telling Karen earlier, before we jumped on how nervous and how ridiculously fearful and how my thoughts were of insecurity and fear and lack for like three months before he moved in, and all of it was not true and I wasn't practicing what I was preaching to my clients. And what I found quite interesting is they moved in two weeks ago and all of my catastrophic thinking and all of my thoughts around it's going to be so bad.


And what if my kids don't like it? What if I don't like it? What am I going to do? We're only fears and if we believe our fear and worry and overwhelm, we certainly can predict that that's going to happen. But most of the time, 90% of our fear and overwhelm and worry do not happen. And if I could push everybody to think about the fear and overwhelm is something that is there. Like I said earlier, they're just thoughts over here. It is not really who you are. They're thoughts and we can compartmentalize them and know that they are not really who we are, but sometimes we believe these thoughts is our reality. So that's why I push everybody to say interrogate those thoughts and tell them they're not true and give them another thought to hang on to.

Karen Covy Host18:27

Well, how, what do you say to the person who says, okay, yeah, I, you know, I was afraid that you know, fill in the blank that something bad was going to happen? And so by just telling myself, oh, it won't happen, like you know, everything is going to be fine, the date's going to go well, the lending of the families, everything's going to be perfect, everything's going to be perfect, that it's just positive thinking and that you're actually lying to yourself and it doesn't feel authentic? What would you say to somebody who's like yeah, I tell myself that stuff, but I don't believe it, it doesn't feel right, yeah, I tell myself that stuff but I don't believe it.

Jenny Stevens Guest19:04

It doesn't feel right. Well, it has to be an aligned thought with your ultimate goal or purpose or vision. So I'm not this overly optimistic person. I would say it's something along the lines of we can do hard things. I will get through this with an ultimate feeling of calm and groundedness. I will be able to handle whatever comes my way.


So I'm a big proponent of not handing over our power or peace to a situation and I'm a big proponent of having a really good morning routine and, like I said earlier, in a self-care routine, because if you can feel like you've given yourself what you need to tackle or step into your day, we can handle something of a storm or a challenge or the traffic jam or the kid that gets sick unexpectedly or your flight gets canceled. So I never want people to hand over their peace to a person, a situation, an incident, because it really can just think about that for a second. We're just going to give our peace away to an incident or a situation or a person, away to an incident or a situation or a person. We have to remember when people behave or act a certain way, it has to do with them. It's not about us. We take things so personally and we need to remember that the way somebody is treating you or the way someone's responding has all to do with them.

Karen Covy Host20:41

Yeah, that's gold. I mean, that is definitely if people can take nothing else from this interview, if they can take that away, I think that's huge. Because you know people get into a fight with their spouse or you know they're in the middle of a divorce and they're having trouble with their lawyers, they're having trouble with the judge, they're having trouble with their kids, with the blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and it all gets internalized, making the situation a thousand times harder. So you know, sometimes if you can just stop and say, no, this isn't about me like my spouse yelling at me right now, that has nothing to do with me. It's whatever triggered them to have the have the reaction that they're having. I think that's huge.

Jenny Stevens Guest21:27

Again, we don't need to hand our power, or we don't have to hand our peace over to somebody else, cause if we do, then we are going to feel dysregulated and chaotic all the time. So it's important, especially when we're going through a divorce, Karen, or a really difficult thing and a significant change in our life, to really get, I guess, secure and comfortable with what you need and how you want to feel. You have to ask yourself how you want to feel. Do you want to feel calm? Do you want to feel less overwhelmed? Do you want to feel happy? So many of us don't do things that make us happy, and then we don't schedule fun. We don't schedule things that could provide laughter or spontaneity. We don't do that.

Karen Covy Host22:18

But let me play devil's advocate a little bit with you, because I hear this from so many people who say you know, I can't help it. How am I supposed to be happy? I'm going through a divorce, I'm facing cancer, I'm, you know, I've got a loss, I've got all these problems in my life. I can't help how I feel. What would you say to that?

Jenny Stevens Guest22:38

Well, again, feelings are important. We I think we can help the way we feel. I think somebody who feels I mean depression is a, you know, a real thing. I'm, I'm very familiar with, you know, depression and anxiety. Many of my clients have had it. I've dealt with it on and off my entire life.


There are things that can help us when we're feeling, whether it's, you know, depression, or whether it's anger or disbelief depression, or whether it's anger or disbelief, or shock or real sadness, right. And there are things that we can do that are protective factors, and those can be as simple, as simple and or as complicated as getting adequate sleep and eating, healthy watching and choosing the people we hang around or the combination of the five people that we see the most. So choose those five friends wisely and then I throw in choose your three thoughts wisely. Choose those and then choose how you watch your social media. What do you want to stop doing? If we all stopped for 10 seconds and said what are the three things that if I stopped doing, I will feel differently? Well, I'll tell you one thing I promise most of us out there are saying I'm going to stop scrolling. What if you stop complaining? What if you actually stop complaining about your ex or the person who you disappointed you.

Karen Covy Host24:01

Yeah, I think you make such a good point and we don't think about that. We blame other people for how we feel, without taking ownership of the fact that we could focus on something else. You know we don't have to. You know our feelings aren't necessarily caused by them. Them they're. You know they may be. We may take what they're doing and say I don't like that, but then we get all up in our head about what we think that means and we take it personally.

Jenny Stevens Guest24:32

Well, and the thing is like when I wake up in the morning, I mean half the time I don't want to go to the gym, I don't want to wake up and you know, I want to stay in bed a little longer. I don't want to do the things that don't feel great, but I decided to do them because I like how I feel afterwards. I like how I feel after I eat a healthy breakfast or after I go to a spin class. I feel good after I see a girlfriend or have friends over. I feel good after I connect with my kids and I like how it's It's extremely important to ask yourself how do you want to feel? And you make decisions each day and each week that support the way you want to feel. And again, I'm not saying don't be sad, don't feel angry, don't feel shocked. All that stuff happens, but when you have the attitude or the belief system that you can move through them, it will pass. Change is the only thing that actually will be our constant. Change will always happen, but if we are careful about not giving over our peace and happiness or joy to each circumstance that doesn't feel great, that's where your power lies. That's really where your power lies that's where your power lies.

Karen Covy Host25:46

That's really where your power lies, you know. I want to go back and pick up on something you mentioned a little bit ago about a morning routine that empowers you, that sets you up to have a good experience during the day. What do you mean by that? What kind of morning routine do you have, or would you advocate other people to have?

Jenny Stevens Guest26:04

Well, I love this and if there's one takeaway, this is a really, I think, a great. So here's what I recommend Waking up and having asking yourself before asking yourself what your non-negotiables are, to put you in the best space to have a good day. I know for myself it is getting eight hours of sleep. It's moving my body, whether it's taking a class or going for a 20-minute walk. Sometimes it can be longer, sometimes it can be shorter. It's meditating and is planning my day out and maybe I. So I allocate 30 minutes, you know, between 20 and 40 minutes each morning, most mornings, to prime myself to have a good day. And I know the mornings I don't do it I feel a little wonky, but I know that when I do give back to myself and fill my cup up and just having some of the time to, you know I mean physical activity is huge and we don't do enough of it.


You know we sit behind the zoom, we sit behind our desk, and just getting up and walking outside for 15 minutes and getting that fresh air is really important. So, like I said, it's having some physical activity, having some meditation time to yourself, looking at your day and writing down three things that you must get done or that you really want to get done. I have lists that go on to 10 and 15 and 20 things and I say to myself here are the top three things I need to get done today, and if I get more done, that's fantastic. But don't set yourself up for success. And you know, we make appointments with our clients all day long. We make appointments for our kids, we make appointments for our house, our lawn, our car and everyone out there should start putting themselves as an appointment. So my kids know, my fiance knows, that I have a date with myself at 6.30 or 7. Sometimes it can't be until 8 am, but I do that and I don't let most things get in the way of that.

Karen Covy Host28:03

That's amazing. What would you say? All right, so that's your morning routine. Do you also have a similar evening routine? That kind of brings you back grounds, you gets you ready for away from today's podcast thinking oh, I have so much to do.

Jenny Stevens Guest28:17

Jenny, Steven said you have to do this and this, this. I'm not saying that. I'm saying let's simplify our lives and dedicate. Make an appointment with yourself each morning and it could be between 6 am and maybe it's 11 am At night. The only thing I do is I do a gratitude journal. I like to do a dump my day and some of it can be what happened, this happened, and then I dump it because I want the journal to keep it. I don't want it to sit in my head all night. And then I write at least three to 10 things that I'm grateful for, and gratitude is something that people talk about a lot.


It's catchy, but I know for a fact that the more we look at gratitude, the more things that we are grateful for even hard things, even me getting breast cancer two years ago, a week after my ex-husband died and three months before my mom went into hospice and died. I am grateful that I had breast cancer, that I went through two failed lumpectomies, a double mastectomy, because it took me to have cancer and losing two loved ones in a six-month period to realize that life is not waiting for me. If I don't jump into the things that I want to do, accomplish the things I want to do, write my book, start my own business, there's no other time to do it. It took me 48 years to figure this out and I'm asking everyone out there not to wait for a divorce, not wait for somebody dying.

Karen Covy Host29:47

Don't wait for it.

Jenny Stevens Guest29:48

Don't wait for a cancer diagnosis to do the stuff you want to do. Life is really, really, really short. And if you wake up and say, like write a bad book. You know, have a bad workout, just have a bad morning routine, just prioritize yourself in some way. And we are a combination of our daily habits and patterns, thoughts or the combination of it. So you know again, design your life, design your day the way you want it and it doesn't have to be complicated.

Karen Covy Host30:19

You know, I'm not.

Jenny Stevens Guest30:20

We're talking a lot about different things and mindset and morning routine and how we approach different situations.

Karen Covy Host30:29

It's beautiful to see where you are and, after everything that you've been through, that you could get yourself into such a positive place, such an empowered place. But if you could take yourself back to that time period, I mean that sounds pretty horrific. I mean losing your ex-husband, your mother and getting cancer all within a six month period. How did you deal with that then?

Jenny Stevens Guest30:57

Yeah, I mean, it's a. It's even hard for me to think about and when you say those things outside of me, listening to it, it's like you know I tear up because I don't actually know how I did it. But something in me, Karen, the day I learned that my ex-husband died and the day I learned that my of my cancer diagnosis, I didn't have time to think about if I was going to survive this or how I was going to do it. I had to think about what I needed to get done that day and how I can be there for my kids. I knew that I didn't want to feel. I didn't want them to see me. I didn't want to fall Like here's the thing. I didn't want to collapse and feel like completely helpless and not be there for them. So I think having my kids really kept me focused, because you know, 10 and 11 year olds don't want their day and their week disrupted because of their mom's diagnosis.


And I just chose, right then and there, that I will get through this. I can do hard things and we as a family will survive losing their dad and having their mom survive and go through breast cancer. And my attitude was everything and the way I looked the way, my viewpoint and the outcome that I wanted. I visualized kicking cancer's ass. I knew that I would survive, but it wasn't easy. I'm not. I'm not telling you to tell yourself to be happy and to say it's easy, but I did get, survive it. It wasn't easy. I'm not telling you to tell yourself to be happy and to say it's easy, but I did get through it.


I wanted to get through it successfully. I wanted to get through it without my kids feeling a ton of disruption and pain, and I wanted to be mindful of their loss and them losing their dad. And you have to be available. You have to be emotionally available to help your kids when they're going through a loss, of whether it's losing somebody close to them, like their father suddenly, and whether they're you know. So you have to be mindful about what's in front of you.


But it goes back here until I decided that I wasn't going to have it wreck me and my narrative around it was we are going to get through this. I can't tell you exactly how I'm going to do this every day, Karen, but I promise you, at the end of the day, I wanted them to feel loved. I wanted to feel like I could give myself and I leaned on people. I think I told you when we met a couple of years ago from our mutual friend Beth I had to ask people for help and I was never good at asking for people for help.


I was a fiercely independent, strong woman that moved around a ton, went through a lot in my life, even growing up and losing my dad when I was 18. And just always thinking I had to do it myself and not really trusting other people to do it right. I'm sure some of you might know that hint hint anybody out there and I said to myself I mean I had no choice but to have people help me with food and carpools and appointments because their dad was gone and I was the only one doing it, so you just have to like.


I guess surrender again an overused term, but so true. I just surrendered to the how.

Karen Covy Host34:06

Yeah, that's beautiful and amazing, right, and I think that if people could understand that, I think we all get twisted in our head about well, how is this going to work? What do I have to do first? What do I have to do second? How do I do this? How do I do that I don't know how to do all this stuff and that it keeps us in the struggle?

Jenny Stevens Guest34:27

Well. So you bring up a really good point Whenever you think about how am I going to do this, what's it going to look like, how am I going to get through the middle, how am I going to start dating and how am I going to make my podcast successful. The minute you say how am I going to, that is equivalent to your ego and fear mind. It is not living in the now, it is not mindful, it is not in the flow. That is our intellect, over-intellectualizing our thoughts. That is the first thing to know when you are in the how mode is to stop to put some music on. Go, walk outside, call a friend, you know, make a smoothie, I don't know. Go um, do walk your dog, do something, because you have to get out of that hole. Like I have to figure it out.


Another great saying is if you're trying to figure something out, you know that you just connected from your. You know your heart or your intuition or your gut. You can't figure it all out. There's no way in heck I would have ever been able to figure out. If someone said to me you, you, you were going to survive it by doing those 55 things. I wouldn't have believed. It would have been overwhelmed, you know. But you have to let go of these attachment to our thoughts of the. I have to have a formula, everybody wants a formula.

Karen Covy Host35:41

Yeah, the seven steps to surviving cancer and dealing with divorce.

Jenny Stevens Guest35:45

Yeah, the seven steps to surviving cancer and dealing with divorce, and I'd say there aren't seven steps. The seven steps are take really good care of yourself, be as mindful as possible.

Karen Covy Host36:04

Stop doing the things that are that don't make you feel good and create a joy list and lean into the things that you love to do. What was that last part?

Jenny Stevens Guest36:08

Create a joy list. Lean into the things that you love to do. What was that last part? Create a joy list.  So like happy, you know happy is again a little, you know, I think it's a little, you know, sunshiny for me. I like to do things that make me feel joy, because feeling joy is the opposite of so I don't think. I think, you know, up until a little bit ago I didn't feel enough joy or do enough things that created joy or fun in my life, because of the struggle, because of the cancer, because of the deaths in my family, and so to make those things sweeter, I have now really prioritized, and a lot of it's like, you know, for me it's like playing music, you know, it's like putting music on loud in the house and having just it in the background. It could be putting my phone down and asking my kids what they want to do, and half the time.

Karen Covy Host36:56

I don't really want to do it.

Jenny Stevens Guest36:57

But I do it because they want to show me something and I've let my ego go and I'm, you know, focus on what they want. So many times we are with people but we're really not with people. Our heads are somewhere else. We're looking at our phones. We're like looking at the clock. It's time for dinner. Do we do the laundry? Did I call my friend back? Did I take the dog out?


And what if you said to yourself, like I'm a big proponent of family dinners, big proponent of family dinners, put the phones away and I say it's 15 minutes of your life and just give me 15 minutes of your day. And having, you know, just having nothing planned. So you know, some of the things that bring me joy are the. You know, for me it's that morning routine is having music on a lot. I love fresh flowers, I love having my friends over when I can. So I make sure that I schedule something at least once a week or every 10 days, whether it's socializing or girls night or having friends over, and it's connecting with my kids and my partner. And so I do that by having a family dinner or putting the music on, and I ask them what they want to do and I do it even if I don't like to do it, you have to do it.

Karen Covy Host38:07

Yeah, I can so relate to that and I am totally on the same page with you. When my kids were younger, I mean we had family dinner every single night and sometimes, you know, because I was working, my husband was working. We come home like family dinner might've been at nine o'clock at night but we had family dinner. Right, you know you can have snacks before dinner. I don't care if you eat two bites, if you're not even hungry. But that wasn't the point of the exercise, right?

Jenny Stevens Guest38:34

And you wanted that. You wanted to have a family dinner and a connection. So you know that was a priority of yours and you made that happen at Keller High Water.

Karen Covy Host38:42

Yep, absolutely, and so I think what you're illustrating I mean not just by what we're talking about here, but by what you've lived for and what people can take from this is that to follow your joy, to decide what kind of life do you want to have. You don't have to have, how are you going to create it? All figured out right before you even start. But to have that vision, I mean I think we've come full circle to when you said I decided that this was not my divorce, was not going to define me, that this wasn't going to be horrible, and it seems like you kind of done that all the way along.

Jenny Stevens Guest39:28

Yes, yes, and the divorce coaching thing when I did the collaborative law process felt like you know, my best friend said to me, Jenny, you were meant to be divorced, and I said I know I was. I was like I didn't like that statement for about 45 seconds and then, like a couple minutes went by and I was like, oh, I was, because I can help couples and our individuals navigate divorce in a different way. And you know this, Karen, also as a divorce coach, is that you know it's a really wonky, fearful, scary road and you have to have people that have gone through it or know enough about it to guide you, because 90% of divorce is emotion. And if we know and can accept that 90% of divorce is emotion, then we better know how to make decisions or help distill the emotions, while we use 10% of our head to make the decisions in a rational, non-emotional way.

Karen Covy Host40:47

Yep, 100%. I always tell people it's like you've got to. Step number one is dealing with how you feel, because until you get those emotions in their proper place not that you're not going to have them, not that you're not going to feel them, but until you deal with them so that your brain is free to think logically you're not going to be able to. And it's not that you're bad or wrong. You're a human being and you've got to get your brain online because as you go through the process, you're going to be making so many major life decisions. You don't want to make them when you're an emotional wreck.

Jenny Stevens Guest41:24

That's right and I think I always tell anybody I've worked with who's going through a divorce dedicate certain times and certain days to meet with your attorney or meet with your coach. I don't want somebody to think about their divorce and that process every day, all day. Some people, I know Fridays, people don't like to do it, people do not like it Monday morning. So, whatever I say, pick the three or the two days, for you know it could be nine to 12 on Tuesdays and Thursdays and that's it.


If you're divorced and you're co-parenting, only read those messages. You know, maybe I know you have to read them within every two days. You could, you know you could read them Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays and you have the boundaries around when you can either stomach or when you can provide. You know, write the messages back from your better self, not from here's. You know when we are mad and our amygdala is hijacked and all we can think about is you know how mad I am and oh my gosh, you know that's when you don't read the message or at least don't write a message back. That's why studying certain days and times is really important.

Karen Covy Host42:33

Yeah, and these days too, I think people can take advantage of this. May sound like a crazy idea, but take advantage of AI. For example, in the Our Family Wizard, which is a co-parenting app, they have a tonometer right and it will help you. If you write a text or an email to your spouse and it's a little bit strong, shall we say that the tonometer will say oh, this is a little angry sounding, you could rephrase or blah, blah, blah. Even without the app, you could throw into chat GPT. What's the emotion that you get from this paragraph or sentence or whatever you were going to write, and how can I write it in a more neutral tone?

Jenny Stevens Guest43:22

Yeah, and then we go back to what Bill Eddie taught us about the BIF Keep it brief, informative, friendly and firm. Yep, just a few sentences.

Karen Covy Host43:33

Yeah, but, Jenny, this has been an amazing conversation. We have gone all over the boards here and I kind of had a feeling we would, but this has been so helpful. If people are interested, if they want to work with you, where can they find you?

Jenny Stevens Guest43:47

Absolutely Well, um so, or my Instagram is Jenny Stevens Coach.

Karen Covy Host43:57

Okay, so I will link to all of that in the show notes so people can find you. If you know they find this podcast, if they find the video they'll, they'll be able to find you wherever you are. You can't hide.

Jenny Stevens Guest44:10

Well, Karen, thank you so much. It's been awesome getting to know you these last few years and I love your podcast. I love what you do and it's an honor to be here.

Karen Covy Host44:18

I am thrilled to have you, and so, for those of you listening, if you like today's episode, if you like what you heard, if you liked what you see, give this a thumbs up, like, subscribe, and I look forward to seeing you again next time.

Head shot of Karen Covy in an Orange jacket smiling at the camera with her hand on her chin.

Karen Covy is a Divorce Coach, Lawyer, Mediator, Author, and Speaker. She coaches high net worth professionals and successful business owners to make hard decisions about their marriage with confidence, and to navigate divorce with dignity.  She speaks and writes about decision-making, divorce, and living life on your terms. To connect with Karen and discover how she can help you, CLICK HERE.


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