SHE WHO WINS! WITH RENEE BAUER
FULL TRANSCRIPT – DIVORCE ETC…PODCAST S3, EPISODE 38
Jessica: You know we’re all about empowerment here. The whole mission of the Divorce etc… podcast and exEXPERTS is to help you recognize that you can get through hard things and come out better and stronger on the other side. That’s what we’re talking about in today’s Divorce etc… episode, all about she who wins. We are the exEXPERTS, Jessica and T.H., although I’m flying solo today. We focus on helping you navigate your divorce and successfully moving on with your life. Please follow us on all social media at exEXPERTS, and check out www.exexperts.com for tons of free divorce related resources. We’re going to bring in today’s guest, Renee Bauer. We have had her on before. You likely know her. You’ve maybe heard her podcast before, Happy Even After. We are just huge fans of everything that Renee does. She started the She Who Wins brand, and we actually were at her summit about a year ago. She recently did another huge summit in Connecticut—she runs these awesome summits. Now she has a new book out called She Who Wins: Ditch Your Inner Good Girl, Overcome Uncertainty, and Win at Your Life. Seriously, who the hell doesn’t want to do that? Welcome back to the show, Renee!
Renee: Thank you. That was quite an intro. I feel like I can back out now, and we’re good.
Jessica: We have a little bit of a girl crush going on here. We obviously are huge fans, but also love just sort of the mission and meaning behind She Who Wins because we feel it’s so perfectly complements what we are about. I want you to tell me first, how did that all come about for you? You have been a family law attorney for many, many years. You have your own law firm. How did this transition for you really happen?
Renee: I always knew that there was more that I wanted to do than just practice law. When COVID happened and courts were closed, it created an opportunity to say okay, what can I do? Then I realized, like, where could it make the most impact? It was typically women who are going through divorce, who are really struggling with making the decision, whether they should stay or go, or the fear of being alone, the fear of having money issues, or having to pay the bills. I realized also that that even, you could rewind that tape and go further back, and it didn’t start with the marriage or with the marriage started to breakdown. This had something to do with worthiness, not being comfortable having uncomfortable conversations, not looking someone in the eye and saying, “Here’s what my needs or wants are. This is what I need from you as my partner.” And so as I rewound that, I said, “Wow, the work that I really want to do is before we get to that point where someone walks into a divorce lawyer’s office,” is talking about like, where are we playing too small, and maybe divorce is one of the consequences of that. That’s where She Who Win started. It started as a live event because we were coming out of COVID. I thought it would be really cool to bring together my friends who some knew each other—some did not, people I met on the online space like we met, and have a live event. It worked. I realized I’m like, okay, this is just the start of something. From that came the next event and the book.
Jessica: So I feel like people who know you or looking for you through the legal lens, I mean, I’m wondering what the reaction is? Because it sounds like part of what you’re doing now is almost empowerment coaching for women. Do you feel people are like, “But I want you to be my lawyer. You’re the one that I want to represent me because of everything that you, Renee, represent.”?
Renee: I think that I have always—and I don’t do coaching. So I’m not a life coach, I’m not an empowerment coach or anything like that. But I do think that the work that I’ve always done as a divorce lawyer was actually coaching in some respect. I was constantly bringing women through this process, which is actually part of the book that I talked about this framework. I was constantly bringing them through these three steps in order for them to take that action forward or really get confident and comfortable about the thought of being alone. That’s not law. It was really necessary work though in order to help them recognize that they’re going to be okay on the other side. Then once they make that shift, then it becomes easier to accept, talk about negotiating, and talk about what’s on the table, and really come to have peace with what that looks like when the emotion starts to be removed from it just a little bit. You’re still going to have that emotion there, but at least they feel like they have some control back. It’s always been part of how I work with clients.
Jessica: So easy to say, if you could just take that emotion out of it.
Renee: I know. It’s so easy, right? It’s so easy. Listen, I’ve been there, I’ve sat on the bathroom floor sobbing as I went through my own divorce. It’s really hard, but you’ll definitely be able to take the emotion out of it. But at least having the education, information, and having someone say you’re going to be okay, and really giving them a plan on how to make decisions and how to take action and how to drop excuses, so that they can move forward from that place of emotion and stuckness, I mean, then they can start to feel really empowered.
Jessica: Right. I feel like the last time you were on, which I know is a while ago, we were talking about the D course.
Renee: Oh, yeah. Yeah?
Jessica: So tell me what the framework is now for the She Who Wins, and what you’re taking people through. I’m assuming it’s somewhat different than what the course was.
Renee: Yeah, the D course, it’s all about divorce. I mean, that is very specific to divorce in really education, information. This framework is something that anyone could apply at any point in their lives. Usually, it’s if you have a major life decision, you’re at a crossroads. So for purposes of your listeners, we can talk about, like put it under the context of a divorce, if someone’s sitting there saying, “What do I do?” That was where the idea came from is because people would come into my office, and they’d be like, “Well, how do you know?” And so this is where I started to apply this. I realized, oh, this can be applied to everything: about starting the business, leaving the job that sucking your soul, picking up and moving across country, like whatever it is. The concept of it is most people get really stuck in their head, and their head keeps their egos trying to keep them safe. It’s called the Stop, Drop, and Roll Framework. I thought about, okay, back in the 70s, that phrase was coined in order to teach children how to put fires out. I’m like, well, what if we switch that around—
Jessica: We’re aging ourselves with stop, drop, and roll.
Renee: We are. I remember that. Everyone does that though. But what if we use it to light our lives up? And so the concept of it is stop and assess whether you’re being led by your head or your heart, or intuition and our gut instinct. That inner knowing is always the right decision maker. The next step is once you decide what it is that you’re being guided to by your head, not your heart, not out of fear, is to drop your excuses. This is where most people get stuck. Because most people, they’ll say, “I know I want this,” but they’ll have every excuse as to why they can’t do it. They’ll say when the kids are older, when I have more money, when the kids are off to college. There are so many different excuses. That’s the thing that keeps them stuck. When you acknowledge those excuses, you can recognize them for what they are, and realize that you’re going to stay here stuck unless we put them in their proper place, because the next step is to roll into action. That’s not taking necessarily big leaps and bounds. It’s the smallest thing to move you forward to create the momentum. It’s just rolling and letting things continue to progress at the speed and pace that it’s supposed to. When you stop, drop and roll, you’ll always win because no matter what, even if the outcome is different than what you expected, even if you wanted something very different, it’s always going to be movement, and you’re no longer stuck. Sometimes I like to say the universe knows better than we do what is best for us. We think we want something so badly, or we think we don’t want something so badly like a divorce, and you’re forced into the situation, and you may be happier on the other side because you didn’t realize how unhappy you were in that marriage.
Jessica: Yeah, no, I can totally relate and agree with that. But here I have a question. This is maybe personal for me, but getting divorced was not—I hate to say it wasn’t a hard decision, but it really was not a hard decision. I mean, my first divorce, my husband was having an affair. When that really hit home into my face, I was like, I’m out of here. The second one, it was a difficult decision because there wasn’t a specific impetus for it. We did therapy for about a year, and it was a struggle a little bit, but I feel like in my head I really did know. But then I feel after that divorce, I started thinking, well, how did I end up in that marriage to begin with?
Renee: Oh, yeah.
Jessica: And so now I feel my question to you with regard to first you have to figure out if you’re making this decision with your head or with your heart, is how do you even know that? Because I feel like I’m a pretty intuitive person, and literally, it took me a really long time to be able to trust myself after my second divorce because I was like, I made this decision that really was just not the right decision.
Renee: Yeah. I mean, I think we all do that. You said something key here, and it’s about trusting yourself. When I was getting married for the second time too, I had a moment on my wedding day—we eloped—and I had a moment that I thought to myself, “Why are you doing this?” I shoved it down because I’m like, “No, no, no, you’re here. You’re dressed. Your hair’s done. This is going to happen. You just have cold feet.” That initial thought is typically the right one. When we have that thought that pops up for us, that initial like, if you think about anything in your life where you have something and you think of it, and it comes up immediately, and then you start to assess it and scrutinize it and dissect it, that’s our head stepping in. You get really quiet and pay attention to what are you being called to. What’s the thing that’s keeping you up at night? That’s the right decision. There are actually studies on this. The HeartMath Institute has spent 30 years studying the connection between the head and the heart. All of their studies are showing that decisions made by that place of intuition are the wiser decisions. Our head is doing—I’m not a scientist, so I couldn’t possibly be articulate about what the outcome is, but the outcome is that when you tap into that inner knowing, you’re actually making the wiser decision for yourself. I always say it’s about getting really quiet and just slowing the noise down. You go, “What is the thing that you keep going back to?” Throughout that marriage that I was in, that voice was like, “Oh, this isn’t good.” And then my head would be like, “Oh, yeah, but it’s just growing pains.” And then like, “Oh, this isn’t good.” “Well, you can’t tell people you’re twice divorced.” “Oh, this isn’t good.” That voice kept coming up for me over and over, and I just had an answer for it.
Jessica: Right, right. Okay, well, we’re going to dig more into this. But we’re just going to take a quick pause for a moment here. Because we know that it’s hard to get honest and reliable information about divorce, so we’ve done the work for you. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get exEXPERTS in your inbox. You can join our virtual open house events, where you can ask questions to top experts like Renee live, and sign up for private sessions with us so you can move forward and thrive. You can get all of this information at www.exexperts.com. We’ve lived it, so we get it. I’m just going to take you back for a second. You’re saying that when you were getting married the second time, you were questioning whether or not you actually should have been doing it. Then your head was saying, “Oh, but you have to,” because now you’re here and you’re dressed, and your hair and your makeup is done. So you knew that day that it probably wasn’t the right thing. How long did that last?
Renee: The whole marriage from start to finish was a year and a half.
Jessica: Right, okay.
Jessica: Tell us now you’re happily married?
Jessica: What was the process of that decision? I think people who are listening are like, look, a lot of people after getting divorced are in that place where they’re like “I don’t even want to think about a relationship. I’m not ready. Fuck it. That’s not where I am.” Then there comes a time where people are like, “Okay, I want to, but how do I make that choice and that decision?” You’ve now successfully done that.
Renee: You know what’s crazy is I actually—that second marriage was bad. It was bad as bad can be, and I don’t have any regrets. Because in that relationship, I got so clear about what was important to me, what my values were, what my non-negotiables were, what my worth was. That was a tough lesson to have to face that way. But when I came out of that, I said, “Okay, I’d rather be by myself than in something like that. If I get into another relationship, I’m going to be so clear about what I need in a relationship, what I want, what I won’t tolerate, what’s important to me, to make sure we’re aligned.” There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. But there is such thing is an aligned relationship. And so my husband will joke that on one of our first dates, I didn’t pull out a piece of paper, I didn’t go that far, but I literally went through a checklist of asking all of these questions. It was like, 1, 2, 3. I was like rapid fire because—and he was like, “Whoa!” But I’m like, “I’m a mom. I have a business. If I’m going to put my time into this, I need to know.” I don’t need a commitment. I don’t need to know there’s a future. I just need to know that this is a good match, good enough for a second date, and then we’ll take it date by date. But I was not afraid to walk away the minute that something felt off to me. I really trusted what off felt like at that point. I knew that I would not be okay if one of those things that I had on my list came up. I knew that at that point that I wasn’t going to make that mistake again. I mean, let me tell you though, when I told my parents I was getting married a third time, they thought I was crazy. But I’m so grateful for those experiences because I ended up with my best match, my most aligned match. We’re such a team. Had I not walked away that one time, that second time, I would have never ended up there. I think so many people just feel their relationship is good enough and they’ll just stick it out, which is sad to me, because there are real, authentic, beautiful connections out there. So marriage is not the enemy.
Jessica: I could not be more aligned with everything that you’re saying right now. But I feel people listening are going to be like, “Well, what were the things on your list?” You’re talking about how you walked in there and you’re rapid firing questions. What were some of those things? Also, you talk about how understanding your value and your worth and that kind of thing, through a not good relationship is a little bit opposite of where a lot of people are mentally and emotionally when they come out of a relationship that wasn’t great, right? People are feeling beaten down. They’re feeling like they aren’t necessarily worth more. I want to know your things, the five things on your list. But I also want to know how the She Who Wins brand helps people get to that place when they feel they’re coming from the lower place?
Renee: Yeah, so the list, I don’t know if they were five or whatever, but one of the questions I did ask, I kid you not, it was like, “If I open your medicine cabinet, what will I see in there?” I wanted to know are there meds that you’re taking. I mean, there was a lot of history that was a lot of hidden stuff, so I just wanted to know what I was walking into.
Renee: Religion came up because that was something that was part of my first marriage in a way that will cause some tension. And so that was important to me to have that conversation straight out of the gate. Those were the two big things that came up. I know there was a lot of other little smaller stuff too. But to your other question, I was so broken after that second marriage, I did not come out of that saying, “Oh, I’m so confident and worthy.” I was broken. It took time to then build that up and look back and reflect and say, “How did I end up choosing this person and find myself in this situation? What happened here?” It was a lot of reflection on myself in order to build that up. I would not put myself out there again until I knew at least what some of those pieces were. I’m someone who, despite being a divorce attorney, didn’t like conflict for a really long time. I would try to avoid conflict. I realized, well, that’s not great, because what happens is resentment builds. Then you have all of this festering annoyance with the other person. I knew I had to deal with that. I could not go into another relationship with that same mentality. I had to get really comfortable of addressing conflict the minute it came up. And so that was one of the one of the things that I went into this marriage working on, and that’s a continuous. You’re always working on yourself and on the relationship. I didn’t come out of that relationship with my head held high. I felt the complete opposite. But it’s still, even when you feel that way, it’s still knowing, like I knew deep down, I am worthy of a loving relationship with a partner who respects me, cares, shows up in that way that I would want in a relationship. I knew that. That was what I anchored to. That was the through line. If I was going to move on, that was going to be what had to show up in that next relationship.
Jessica: Tell me about what you just said about the conflict thing. Because I don’t really feel like I necessarily shy away from conflict, but I think everybody who’s listening, we’re all going through conflict of some sort, right? Because we are all getting divorced, or have been divorced, or in the process, and the whole idea of not wanting to get into it and just like you said, keeping your mouth shut and letting it fester, that happens no doubt in most divorces to some extent. How were you able to work on being able to have healthy conflict? And how were you able to with your with your now husband, make sure that you have compatible conflict skills?
Renee: Yeah, it’s such a great question. You have to be with someone who’s emotionally aware. That was another big one for me is I needed to make sure my partner would have high emotional intelligence. Because if you have someone like that, someone listening might be like, “Well, my partner is not like that at all. They’ll fight, and they’re high conflict, and they’re toxic, and all that.” Then you may have a battle that you can’t win in that respect of trying to get that person to sit down and engage in a healthy way. Any relationship you’re in, there’s going to be some point where you have a disagreement, and that’s a huge clue on how that gets resolved, and how that’s handled. That’s going to tell you most of what you need to know about how that person handles conflict. It’s can you sit down—so my husband and I now will create a space where it’s like, “Hey, can I get your attention? I need to talk to you about something.” Now we know, all right, phones down, TV off. We’re going to have a conversation. We’ve been together for 10 years now, I know if I bring him something, even if he doesn’t agree with me, he’s going to listen, and he’s not going to get defensive. He’s not going to jump down my throat. But that took practice too, because he had a little bit of conflict avoidance too coming out of a divorce. There were times where I had to pull it out of him. I’m like, “I know something’s bothering you. Tell me what it is.” He’d be like, “It’s fine.” I’m like, “Uh-uh, nope.” It took work of like, all right, let me drag this out of him so we can address it. Now we’ve gotten to a place where it’s really, really easy just to be like, “Hey, what’s up?” We don’t have to like pull it out. So that took practice. That took work of us working together and recognizing we want that relationship where it doesn’t turn into someone screaming at each other. We want to be able to approach each other in a safe space and say things that maybe other person doesn’t want to hear, and know that it’s going to be received in a way. For me, that was a clue that this is an aligned relationship. Because no matter what roadblocks or challenges we had, I know we could approach it in that manner. That’s the stuff that becomes really important, not the superficial stuff.
Jessica: Right. And I think everything that you’re saying goes directly to these are the characteristics of winning in a relationship for sure. Give me, for people listening who are like, “I got to get the book,” what are like the three most important takeaways that people are going to get from that, from the She Who Wins?
Renee: So in the book, I take you through each of the steps of Stop, Drop, and Roll, and we break it down so that you can get really comfortable with each of those steps, that anytime you’re facing a decision, you can be driving, walking, sitting at a kid’s soccer game, and you can in your head just walk yourself through that. But I share it in a way that I put myself on the line. I tell a lot of stories. I’m probably the most vulnerable I’ve ever been in sharing the stories that I talk—there’s some will probably make you laugh because it’s ridiculous, not in a really funny silly way. Others will make you cry. I mean, really you anchor it with storytelling to connect to be like, listen, no one’s perfect. You don’t have to put on a perfect face. We’re meant to be messy, and this is what life is. It’s okay to feel all of those things. I say it’s part hype squad as your cheerleader, part mindset, and part strategy.
Jessica: I love that. And if you aren’t already subscribed to Renee’s newsletter—you definitely should be subscribed to exEXPERTS in your inbox—but if you aren’t subscribed to Renee’s newsletter, she shared a story fairly recently about an English teacher that had made you feel you weren’t doing well in the class, and you couldn’t do anything right when it came to writing a paper. It was like, “Okay, look now. Now I’ve written two books and have all of the success in that area.” I love the whole turning it around, and literally, winning in all of these areas.
Renee: So, Jessica, I low-key hold a grudge, and I might have an anti-dedication line to that teacher in the back of my book, just saying.
Jessica: I love it. That’s even more of a reason to go pick it up and read the anti-dedication line. Well, Renee, thank you as always. Really appreciate you taking the time. We love the messaging. We love the mission for what you’re putting out there. For everyone listening, this is really an empowerment zone. Everything that Renee does is for the benefit and the good of getting you through hard times and coming out stronger on the other side. If you’ve enjoyed this episode of the Divorce etc… podcast with the exEXPERTS today, then please help a girl out. Because when you subscribe, rate, and review, it helps us get the word out more so we can help support more people like you going through divorce and beyond. Be sure to check the show notes for more info on Renee, her books, She Who Wins, as well as all of her divorce resources. And of course, share this with anyone you know who can benefit from listening. Have a great day.