Trying to Keep It All Together
The idea of The FIIRM Approach was started in 2014, and legally born in 2016, because I wanted to help female breadwinners take control of their financial future.
In the fall of 2018, after attending a business conference, I had the courage to change the course of The FIIRM Approach a bit. I still wanted my company to continue to focus on women who were struggling to keep it all together and needed help with their finances. However, I wanted to pivot to female breadwinners that were preparing for divorce and were worried about their financial security. I had had enough conversations with friends and prospective clients to know that this was a real issue.
I felt compelled to make The FIIRM a company helping to reframe the divorce experience to reduce the stigma, fear, and trauma surrounding it, while providing the tools for women to regain their confidence about their new financial life.
I understand that one of the worst feelings a woman can have is being uncertain if she will be able to take care of herself and her children. I also understand what it feels like to have your life turned upside down, whether by choice or by force. We’ve all experienced things that knock us off our feet.
One of my favorite people in my entire life, my aunt Tawnya, passed in 2016.
A few months later my stepfather passed away.
In 2017 my biological father passed away.
During each event, it meant putting The FIIRM toward the bottom of the long list of things to do. I always knew “I could get back on my grind” eventually, it just couldn’t be the first priority at that time. I only had so much mental, physical and emotional bandwidth. Around this time, I made the decision to deepen my bench and re-enlist the help of a therapist (best decision I ever made!)
As I mentioned earlier, in late 2018 I was focused on re-branding, reconfiguring and finishing up my certification as a divorce financial analyst, until my family got a very shocking phone call in the middle of the night about my mother-in-law.
In a deeply unfortunate twist, while recovering from a major procedure, she passed in November 2018. She was the rock and matriarch of our family, and her passing left an unfillable hole.
Then 10 months later, in 2019, the shock of my life hit me, my son, and the rest of our family when my husband passed away.
To say it was a “WTF moment” would be an understatement at this point!
I know that death is absolutely a part of life and often we don’t know what the future holds, but I damn sure didn’t think that each year while in business I would experience the death of someone extremely close to me.
Honestly, each death knocked some wind out of me, and before that wind could fully be recovered, my family would be hit with another tragedy.
They seemed to be, literally and figuratively, getting closer & closer to “home”, thus taking more out of my soul and my psyche.
Family always comes first for me. Each time, I was grateful that I was able to choose to help my family pick up the pieces of their lives as much possible, while trying to keep my own together.
So trust me, I know something about the feelings you have as your emotional and/or financial support system goes away and it really doesn’t matter if it’s by choice or force. The loss of love and loved ones who you have spent a lifetime with is absolutely devastating.
I understand things not going as “planned” or working out the way you thought they would. I understand never feeling fully prepared, no matter the circumstances.
I also know that things will be thrown your way to make you question if the decisions you’re making are right… if you will survive the next big thing.
I was amazed, and continue to be, by my son’s resilience and determination to stay on the right path. He’s been laser focused and fueled to push for the things he wants to accomplish. In the span of a few years, he has experienced more significant losses than others experience in a lifetime. He was keeping it together and I was in awe.
He inspired me to work on keeping it all together.
Despite and because of everything, the mission of the FIIRM seemed more clear than ever.
I felt confident in the things that I needed to do to keep my family afloat.
But I also know that there aren’t enough women in the world that have the same confidence when it comes to “restarting life” and feeling secure in their financial future.
During this period, equally important was my own health and wellbeing, and I knew I couldn’t help any more clients until I had put my little humpty-dumpty self back together again. Not an easy task, I know…but self-care (therapy sessions, monthly massages, facials, pilates, and being ok with doing-absolutely-nothing) remain at the top of my list.
It took a while to share this part of my life in this way because I’m a strong believer in sharing scars, not wounds (shout out to Nikki Elledge Brown and my therapist). I needed time to reflect…heal, not fully, but as much as possible, to move forward with my life’s intentions.
I also believe in balancing how I share personal details versus private details. As much as I want to be open and support other women, it can be unfair to myself and my family to share e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. It merely comes down to balance. Or as Terrie Chantel calls it, selective authenticity.
It’s early 2020…
Present day, I’m sitting on a Southwest plane en route to San Diego (my first visit to this city), with my noise canceling headphones on, drowning out a couple of loud talkers, and the words you just read were divinely downloaded to me.
I’m still trying to keep it all together while balancing truly living in the present.
Escaping for a 1-day trip to San Diego seems asinine to some considering 8 of the hours are spent traveling, but to me it’s indicative of a healthy choice to find the good in life despite the chaos. To continue to try new things and tend to my self-care in whatever manner I see fit while drinking oat milk lattes is currently working for me! Once it stops working, I have the power to find something new.
The women I want to help face insane overwhelm, pressure, and fear while life keeps moving ahead. They are looking to find the light when they feel surrounded by darkness.
While we all may not be able to hop on a plane for a cross-country 1-day get-away to decompress, finding the reasonable equivalent is often essential to surviving.
As female breadwinners, we bring home the bacon, cook it, and wash the freaking pan! I understand this, and live this, now more than ever.
The problem with being used to doing-all-the-things & carrying ALL of this weight is that very often we don’t know how to put it down when needed.
We don’t always know how to ask someone else to carry the bags for a while. We are unsure of how to deepen our bench.
Despite all the trials, triumphs, and tribulations over the last 4 years, my personal values and my focus remained the same – they are just clearer.
So I’ll take this time to briefly reintroduce myself, my company, and my intention.
As a sandwich generation Gen-Xer (just barely made the cut), sole breadwinner, mother, and ambitious woman (career & business) trying to keep it all together, I’m still here.
Still here to serve, educate, and connect with you.
I am still the Managing Director, the architect, of The FIIRM Approach. I still want to use my years of education, training & career in finance and experience with clients to help you.
I am still the INTJ personality that believes with effort, intelligence, and consideration nothing is impossible.
I still despise small talk!
The FIIRM Approach is not just a company name it’s also a verb – it’s our methodology and it remains the same: AFFIRM, CONFIRM, and REAFFIRM what you want!
The value statement of The FIIRM Approach remains the same: All women deserve to feel secure in their ability to provide for themselves and their families. (Granted, the idea of security is relative.)
The FIIRM Approach is still the resource company it started out to be. We’ve gone deeper, not wider, and are a bit more compassionate, yet still intentional.
We are ready to help you prepare for your financial journey of separation or divorce, understand the most helpful players to have on your team during a divorce, fight the myths and mistakes women often believe or make, and of course give helpful strategies, resources, and services provided by us and others.
Flexible, Fixed, and Freedom Funds still apply to how we teach you about managing your money!
We still want to help you pay off your debt, retire comfortably, save for emergencies, and minimize the disruption to you and your kids’ lifestyle so that you can still have fun and be present with them.
We still want to show you ways to bid A.D.O. > Automate, Delegate, & Outsource during and after your divorce. (This is a big part of my self care too.)
Most importantly, we really want to uncomplicate this particular matter of the heart as much as possible, and reframe the negative perception and shame of divorce.
We want to help you protect your energy by taking practical and measurable steps versus acting on emotion or being paralyzed by overwhelm.
Why am I telling you this? Well it’s definitely a good way to be held accountable. 🙂
But also because we have big goals and all the while life is still a lot to hold it all together. I won’t be perfect, and hope that you accept that you won’t be, either.
Hopefully we will see each other around here or on social media, communicate via email or text message, and maybe even get a chance to meet at an event.
For now, I want to meet you where you are and help you get where you need to be, while I do the same.
Until then… Patience and progress… as always!
Founder & Managing Director
Nikki is a 16-year financial services professional, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst ®, and the primary divorce financial strategist for The FIIRM Approach. She helps female breadwinners prepare for divorce to avoid common financial mistakes and confidently maintain their financial security. She uses proven strategies within the FIIRM Approach methodology so her clients can manage their money, debt, and credit in their new financial life. TAKE ACTION & LEARN about the tools that can help make your new money life easier. Grab your FREE Ultimate Resource Guide HERE.