Divorce is emotional, confusing, time-consuming, expensive, and above all else — stressful. While no one can wave a magic wand and make divorce easy, we can (and should!) be cost sensitive and efficient — harnessing technology and modern techniques to save our clients money and time. This interview is part of Divorceify’s Innovator Interviews, a series sharing the stories behind today’s most cutting edge tools and approaches to divorce.
Gabrielle Hartley, is an experienced divorce attorney, mediator, coach and author based in Northampton, Massachusetts. In addition to being the owner of Better Apart Coaching and Mediation, Gabrielle literally wrote the book on turning divorce into a positive experience; Gabrielle’s book “Better Apart: The Radically Positive Way to Separate” has been dubbed the conscious uncoupling how-to by People magazine.
What does your company do?
Better Apart Coaching and Mediation offers a groundbreaking uplifted process for individuals, couples, and groups, navigating the perils of breakups. I offer webinars, one-to-one coaching, specialized group workshops all designed to radically reframe the divorce narrative. Better Apart also offer mediation for couples looking to split in a respectful manner on-line or in person.
What is innovative about what you do?
My goal in creating Better Apart Coaching and Mediation is to meaningfully reframe divorce as an opportunity to transform the rest of your beautiful life.
I offer web based coaching programs for individuals who want to feel better through and beyond the divorce and mediation both online and in person.
I also offer coaching to divorce coaches so that they can deepen their understanding of the divorce process so they can take their practice to the next level.
How does your innovation help divorce clients or divorce professionals?
It helps clients re-frame their experience of divorce and it supports divorce coaches to deepen their understanding of the divorce process.
The Better Apart Master Class is accessible, digestible (and affordable!) for all looking for an extra boost beyond the therapist’s couch or lawyers office. Now, you can get a taste of this process right in your own living room via an online platform this same uplifted process is available no matter where you live.
I offer coaching for coaches looking to have a deeper understanding of the process from a thought leader in the divorce arena from the perspective a veteran mediator.
I offer coaching for divorce lawyers looking to dramatically change their practice by taking it from adversarial to cooperative and from one causing harm to one causing peace, and bringing elegance and ease into the divorce process
Can you walk us through a typical day? (If there is such a thing!)
Oh my goodness. So busy. I wake up. Get the three boys out the door to school. Run to my office, meet clients, negotiate with lawyers, tape webinars, schedule meetings, grab a coffee or a honey lemon ginger tea, talk to coaching clients, tape more content, talk to my team, calendar, prepare, breathe, meet with more clients, field calls, think about delegating, post, tape, breathe. And then, pick up my kids from school. After (and while) running them to all their activities I tend to many emails and take care of organizational things that I cannot get to during my work day. I try to fit a walk or yoga class in for about an hour most days.
Why did you start your company?
I started thinking about it probably in about 2012, but I did not really begin until 2015.
What made you want to do things differently?
The divorce system is so broken and I have always felt responsible to be part of the fix. I knew it was time for a change after I went to my millionth updates in family law seminar and sat next to another attorney who was just filled with negativity about fathers in divorce. I went home and started really working on my book and my program.
How did you bring your idea to life?
How long did it take you to bring your idea to life? Was there ever a time when you wanted to give up? What made you keep going?
I decided I was doing this probably three years before I really started bringing things into focus. It’s a lot of thinking before the doing. I keep going because there is SO much more work to be done. So many changes need to happen. So many stories need to be re-written. The shame and stigma need to be smashed. I am just getting started.
What challenges have you faced along the way?
Believing that I can make a difference and sticking with my plan to create Better Apart without worrying about what the other divorce professionals will think about stepping outside the box. Also, quieting the doubts in my own mind has been a challenge. But, I have reframed my thoughts and it has been so powerful.
What has been rewarding about bringing your idea to life?
Emails from readers and clients thanking me is so rewarding.
Do you have any advice for others that have an idea for an innovative product or approach, but don’t know where to start?
Just begin from wherever you are. Know you can do it. Keep your big goals and/or mission clear and don’t worry about exactly what it’s going to look like as it unfolds. Remember you can only do one thing at a time. That’s the hardest part.
Who is your role model or inspiration?
I don’t really have one role model or inspiration. I had a father who always told me I could do anything I set my mind to, and a deep belief in my own competence. I guess the biggest inspiration from something external was when a few powerful people in my life encouraged me to write my book. And, that’s where it all really got going.
How do you bring joy into your work day?
I love what I do so much. It no longer feels like I am “working”.
If you could reinvent your career and do something totally different, what would it be?
I am doing that right now. I would inspire EVERY SINGLE DIVORCE PROFESSIONAL to treat the families that they work with to treat one another with respect and dignity. Divorce is so hard but it does not need to be adversarial and toxic as it is all too often. The only thing I would have done differently is to start writing books sooner.
Do you have a mantra or piece of advice you have received that helps you get through difficult times?
Yes! Slowest is fastest. Counteracts my extreme impatience.
I LOVE self help books. Brene Brown, Amy Cuddy, Gretchen Rubin, Susan Cain.
I also love a great fun light fiction. Liane Moriarity is a fav.
PLUS Eloise (children’s book). Loved as a kid. Still love.
Favorite TV shows?
Legally Blonde (movie) and Clueless are two all time fav movies.
I don’t watch much tv.
Who are your biggest supporters?
My besties from law school and Cornell, Atara and Dana and my family (my husband, my boys, my parents and my brother). I am SO lucky to have so much love to support me, that is for sure.