An Interview With Lisa Perry . . . . .
To answer this question, it probably would be best answered by describing a defining moment in my life:
I didn’t get married at 19 - actually, I waited until I was 30! - because I was waiting for the right one and was only going to do this just once (my parents divorced when I was 19)! And yet, two years later I found myself separated and in the middle of a divorce. And while that was a story in itself and a character-defining event for me, this is not THE moment. While I did go through a lot during that process . . . I had sought out help and redefined myself, and what I wanted in a relationship (not what others said I should want). By the time I was 35, I met and married the man of my dreams - my husband Tom, who happened also to be divorced but had two daughters from his previous marriage (I didn’t have any children from my first marriage).
Now I LOVE kids and my attitude at that time was “How fun! I’m not trying to replace their mother, I just want to be like a really cool aunt!” After all, I had first-hand experience with that. My dad re-married when I was 21 so I understood the emotions that go along with dad re-marrying. I thought that we could have fun going shopping, getting our nails done, and have fun vacations. This is what we did while we were dating so that should continue, right?!? I didn’t need to officially parent them – this is what “the experts” advised anyway. They already had two parents!
So in the beginning that was my approach, but after a while, the reality of what happens in blended families started to take its toll on my relationship with my husband as well as the relationship I had with the girls and my husband and wife-in-law (Tom’s ex-wife and her husband). Over time, Tom and I had so many “discussions” (a.k.a. fights!) - usually over differences of opinion over parenting, time for ourselves and, how we should act around the kids, whatever was going on at the other house - you name it!
Soon I started feeling like one of his kids – – – he started feeling exhausted and like a referee – – – and the kids were having situational and emotional problems and struggling in school. Life was messy!
So here is THE DEFINING MOMENT: One night I was trying to sleep on the sofa - because I was so mad at him about something (you know how that goes - I don’t remember what!) but this night was different because I was pregnant with OUR child! My eyes were practically closed shut from crying and it wasn’t because of the “it” we were arguing about . It was because I was having THE thoughts “ I can’t believe I might be divorced - again! How did this happen? What was I thinking doing this? Everyone was right - I shouldn’t have done this!” We were struggling so much trying to make it work - and while we were both good people, I was asking myself that night “Is it worth it?”
Something inside of me snapped that night and I made a decision – “YES! It was!” and I was going to figure it out. From that point forward, I made it my mission to figure out what it would take and make it work because I wasn’t going to do that to myself again - let alone my family!
I poured over books and well . . . not much! There really wasn’t too much out there that I felt was helpful! Oh, I tried to implement what advice was out there but things weren't getting better. I made it my mission to get my family on track and in 2003 I quit corporate to pursue a career in coaching. I utilized all of my coaching education along with what I had learned through my mentors because after all, I did want the fairytale. Eventually I created for my family what became known as "The House Rules". In my coaching practice, I began attracting that type of client – because I had the answers - and finally I decided to dedicate my coaching practice to specifically meet the needs of blended families (divorced parents are still part of a blended family!!) and founded The Well Blended Family.
Who are your clients exactly?
This is a great question because most people think that the entire family needs to be present in order to for things to change. However, I only need one member of the family to decide that enough is enough, be ready to improve the quality of their family life and have a desire to be a member of the minority of second marriages, not the majority (nearly 70% of second marriages end in divorce – only about 30% survive!)
So my clients tend to be, but not exclusively, women (maybe this is because moms are the CEO of the family) – moms and step-moms, divorced engaged and re-married. They are family-oriented and aspire to have a loving and stable family environment but have struggled to figure out how to make that work. They consist of:
- Divorced parents who are exhausted or fearful,
- Step-parents who are struggling to get along with their step children or an ex
- Parents who were dealing with feeling “in the middle” and don’t know what to do
- Have children that are struggling with the divorce and may be acting out or shutting down
What type of personality do you work best with?
I don’t know if it is really personality as much as it is ATTITUDE. We are all wired a little differently and need to receive information in different fashions. I take that into consideration while coaching with my clients. I am optimistic and KNOW that things will get better with guidance and a few “ah-ha’s”! SO – I work best with people that are willing to disclose the good, the bad and the ugly and are willing to take a look at what they may or may not have done to create the situations they are in (I promise, no judgment – only gentle nudging!)
What happens if you haven’t worked with someone in my exact situation?
Everyone has a unique story and situation. I have worked with families dealing with a wide range of issues including (but not exclusive to) affairs, abuse, traumatic divorce cases, single parents dealing with death, children abusing alcohol and drugs – this list goes on. I personally have had first-hand experience with a few of these issues and I KNOW things can get better!
While the details may be unique to you, the top 5 most common mistakes I see in divorced and blended families are:
- Parents are either over- or under-functioning - often 1 parent does most of the “heavy lifting” while the other takes more of a “hands-off” approach
- Discount the “Step” role – this is usually the area I part ways with most advice out there. I believe this creates a big portion of second divorces out there!
- Discount your own power and ability in making things happen, no matter who is cooperative – or not!
- Miss-placed frustration/anger/resentment – Often one family member may have ill feelings toward another family member that really may have nothing to do with the issue at hand.
- Over-indulge children/discount their impact on the adult relationships (I call this “The Tail Wagging The Dog” Syndrome!)
How are you different from other coaches and professionals?
What makes me different from most other coaches and professionals is:
1. I am a blended family and a product of one! I know firsthand what people go through and the unique issues that only divorced and blended families deal with. I am part of a successfully blended family with strong loving relationships with all of my children - even my wife-in-law and I get along! I truly understand the intricacies of what it takes to make it work.
2. I have made it my specialty to work specifically with divorced and blended families. Applying a unique brand of coaching expertise and my own experience, I have developed “House Rules” that I teach and customize for each family’s unique situation.
3. I don’t just tell people WHAT to do (although I DO have a strong opinion on what works best) - we talk about the “WHY” - making sure it is in alignment with your ideal vision for your family and “HOW” to create that in your own family system. As a result, I developed House Rules for a Well Blended Family, specifically designed to create a family dynamics that supports stability for the children involved, teaches skillful communication and significantly reduces the chance of divorce!
How exactly does the coaching process work with you?
Because every family situation is unique, I have several options in which we can work together. While ideally, working with the entire family system gets the quickest results, most of my clients are one parent. It only takes one variable in any equation to change in order for the outcome to be entirely different!
Once you determine which program works best for you, and you complete a Client Questionnaire, we will begin work right away through first, clearly defining what specifically you want for yourself and your family, then uncovering the obstacles that are preventing you from having that today.
We will then work together to create and implement your own set of "House Rules".
Also, with technology today, it is not necessary for in-office visits! Coaching can be conducted over the phone or via the Internet so location is not an issue.
What is expected of me during the process?
1. You will be expected to be honest about where you are and what is going on – without that, the process will be less than it could be and you won’t get your desired results.
2. You will also be expected to keep your time commitments and do any assignments given to you. Otherwise it isn’t fair to you or your family and you will feel it is a waste of time.
These two expectations do go hand-in-hand! If you are honest about where you are then any assignments will be appropriate to what your situation calls for and you will feel COMPELLED to complete them!
Who might not want to work with you?
Please know that I am selective in who I work with. I cherry-pick my clients based on the above criteria, choosing to “gently” turn away people who are not suited for my program (it wouldn’t be fair to them).
One of my core missions is to empower families to redefine how they want their family to be. As a result, I do not work with people who are seeking to lay the blame on others or use what they’ve learned to move others into submission.
Coaching with me may not be suited for someone overwhelmed by anger, depression or anxiety. If this describes you, please consider working with a professional who specializes in these areas. I am fully qualified to help with the emotions that surface as these are often roadblocks to success and loaded with information about HOW to make things better. However, my focus will always be on building your DREAM family! Please know that I would love to work with you when you are feeling ready to take action! (I will be here when you need me)
What results can I expect working with you?
The results you can expect fall under three main categories:
- Find peace and resolution regarding past marriage
- Take control of the chaos of dealing with two households
- Stop “doing for everyone else” and create more time for yourself!
- Take control of your finances
- Develop a trust with yourself to know what to pay attention to and what to “let go”
Your children/step-children will:
- Feel more connected to you
- Improve the quality of their friendships
- Resolve MUCH of the internal conflict that goes along with divorced parents
- Have a supportive environment in which they feel comfortable to “talk” about important issues
Your relationship(s) will improve by:
- Implementing specific House Rules that establish healthy boundaries regarding children, the ex and current/future spouse
- Developing a working communication line with “the other house”
- Removing “baggage” from the previous marriage(s) so the new one can flourish
- Creating your new/future relationship as the “core” of the family
How quickly can I expect results?
Most of my clients see results immediately or within the first few weeks! Because sometimes there can be a LOT to implement, I request my clients to sign up for 3 months. During this time there will be SIGNIFICANT changes and you will be amazed at how much relief you can gain in a short amount of time.
Will I recover the investment that I make coaching with you?
Many of my clients recover the investment they NEVER spent – like going back to court and incurring those costs, or “guilt money” to an ex or the kids.
Many of my clients through this process, make life changes that lead to better salaries, less dependency on an ex and greater financial responsibility.
But let me ask you a question: What is it costing you to stay the same?? Are you on the verge of another divorce? Are the stress levels so high you might be experiencing health problems? Are the children involved developing a sense of distrust with peers, adults and/or authority?
Lisa, based on everything I’ve read and heard about you, I know you’re the one I want to learn from. What are my options for getting started with you?
Congratulations! You are obviously a leader in the world and understand the value of seeking help when needed. I am honored to be the person to help you change the future of your family! First, you will need to contact me to complete a Client Questionnaire and set up a “Let’s Get Acquainted” Session to determine the best fit for your situation. You may do that by e-mailing me at Lisa@wellnesslifeskills.com.
If I’m not sure I’m ready to get started, how can I sample your work to see if it’s the right solution for me?
One way to get to know me further, and what I have to offer is to visit www.TheWellBlendedFamily.com and sign up for my weekly e-zine that is filled with tips on how to create a well-blended family. Once you sign up, you will be informed of any special events around town or via web or tele-seminar. You will also be informed of any special offers, products or services offered. You will become one of my valued subscribers. I do have advertising partners and will not spam!
Okay I’m ready to do this for myself, and my family, I have a couple of additional questions. Can I call you?
Of course you may call! It is important to feel confident in the decision you are making. You may e-mail me at Lisa@wellnesslifeskills.com or call me at 817/410-4706 to set up a time to chat. I can’t wait to see you and your family succeed – let’s get going!
Wishing you and your family peace and happiness in 2011!
The Well Blended Family
611 S. Main St, Suite 441
Grapevine, TX 76051