Episode 67: Meet Sharon Pope

by | Last updated: Mar 26, 2024 | Podcast

Who am I, and why should you listen to me?

The work of relationship coaching is personal, and today I want to share more about who I am, personally and professionally – so you can see behind-the-scenes of my life and work.

In this episode, I share my personal story of a first marriage that ended in divorce, how I’ve been on all sides of affairs, and why my second marriage is thriving. You’ll also hear about what led me to relationship coaching, the work I did previously, and how I finally discovered peace and happiness – using my own life coaching tools!

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You’ll Learn In This Episode:

1:58 – The simple reason I married my first husband
6:51 – I thought the answer was to find the right person…
8:20 – Why my second marriage is thriving 10 years later!
11:46 – This is what I did for work, prior to relationship coaching
16:09 – The first time I felt my heart leap out of my chest
21:08 – Who are my people? What matters to me? Where am I from? What do I believe in?
29:27 – How I finally discovered peace

Featured On Meet Sharon Pope

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If you have a suggestion for a future episode or a question you’d like me to answer on the show, email us.

Struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you’re serious about finding that answer?

Book a Truth & Clarity Session with a member of my team. We’ll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there’s a fit for you and I to work together so you can make - and execute - the RIGHT decision for YOU and your marriage.

Welcome to the Loving Truth Podcast, where it's all about finding clarity, confidence, and peace in the face of marriage challenges. And now your host relationship expert and certified master life coach, Sharon Pope. Hello, loves. This is Sharon Pope and this is the Loving Truth. Today, I want to share a little bit of myself with you. I wanna tell you a little bit about who I am and why you should listen to me.

Because I think when it comes to the stay or go decision, this is such a personal topic and it's such a personal decision, I think it's important that someone understands where you're at and what you're walking through. So they've gone through it themselves, but also I think it's important that their story doesn't have to translate to your story. So I'm gonna share with you what my story is today.

And while a lot of times when I tell my story, people identify with it and it helps them to feel less alone. And for that, I'm always grateful. But that doesn't mean that because my first marriage ended as an example, that your first marriage should also end and that your story will map out the same way mine has. Everyone's story is theirs.

So I wanna share with you my experience and give you a little sense for who I am, but I don't want you to take that as that. That should also be your answer or assume that that's the way I'm going to help lead you as a client to take the same direction that I did, because I think it's the right direction. Look what's right for me and what's right for you could be two very,

very, very different things. All right? So I wanna give you a sense for who I am so you know a little bit about me and why you should even listen to me. So let's start where everyone wants me to start, which is around my personal story. So I married a really good, kind-hearted human being. I'm married him for safety.

I knew he wouldn't hurt me. I remember that. I remember where I was even I was driving, I was getting on the freeway, and I remember thinking to myself, this guy's a good guy and I'm gonna make this work. But after a year of us being together, and he still hadn't told me that he loved me yet, I should have taken that as some really important information.

Instead, because of who I was at that time, I was probably 26 years old, I was pretty controlling. And so what any good controlling woman does is give her man an ultimatum, which is what I did. And I said, you either love me and we should start building a life together, or you don't, and then we should really consider ending this.

And he fell in line and said, yep, I love you. And then we started building a house and we got engaged and the rest became history. So we were about, I'm gonna say somewhere around 10 years into our marriage and I started to notice other couples. I started to notice a very relaxed sense of affection. And you could sense this real feeling of connection between two people who were really present for each other.

I remember I would watch other couples, we'd be out to dinner or we'd be at a comedy club or something like that, and I would watch how other couples interacted. And I wonder why my husband and I didn't have that. And so I started to ask for that. I started to ask for affection and more connection, but he didn't come from a family that was super affectionate and neither did I.

And that's how we ended up together really. And it worked for a long time until I changed what I wanted. You know, to be honest, when I look back on that, I can see how I used that. I finding someone who wasn't comfortable with affection as a way for me to ever, to avoid ever diving into why I didn't pursue affection and why I was so uncomfortable with it.

So he didn't really know how to give it. I didn't really know how to receive it. After a while, it just became awkward. And so I stopped asking, you know, I just, I remember during those days that, that I just sort of gave up on the marriage ever changing. And I just tried to talk myself into, you know,

there's enough other good qualities here in our marriage and about this person that I just need to suck it up buttercup and make it work. But that longing for that connection and that affection and any kind of real passion inside of our relationship, it never went away. You know, I was able to sort of stuff it down for a little while, but it never fully went away.

And it was around year 11 inside of our marriage. Here's what I'll tell you. Anything that you are longing for inside your marriage that you don't have, that you really, really want to have an experience and to feel someone else is gonna come along and show you that. And that was the case in my situation. And my husband and I quickly separated and six months later we were divorced.

It was a pretty peaceful process. Neither of us are fighters and didn't have children together. And you know, we both had good jobs and so we were able to end it really cleanly. Now, he moved on very quickly. He met someone who I can only imagine, thinks he's the greatest guy on planet earth. And I love that for him because he genuinely deserves that.

He deserves to be loved like that. And he deserves to be in a relationship with someone who sees him like that. And so I love that for him. I took a little longer, you know, I was single probably two years and dating before I met Derrick, who is now my husband. During that time of dating and trying to find my way through opening my heart again to love.

And you know, I was like so many people because I wasn't a coach at the time, and I'll get to that, I'll get to my coaching journey too. I wanna share that with you. But I was like so many people where I thought the answer was to find the right person. It was all about finding the right person. So I kept looking and looking and sorting and sifting and trying to get the person I was with to be who I wanted them to be.

It wasn't working, you know? And I will tell you, because I think that it's important for lots of people who are in this situation to hear this. While I am not proud of it, I have been on all sides of affairs. I've been the one that has been cheated on. I've been the one who has cheated, I have been the other woman.

It's all destructive, it's all painful. And it all comes from a place of real disconnection. I was kind of lost for a couple years after my divorce until I finally just got sick of all of it. And I said, you know what? And I don't know how I had the presence of mine to know this or to do this, but somehow I did.

And I was like, you know what? I need to become the person who can create and sustain the kind of relationship that I want. I need to stop looking for other people to be who I want. I need to become the person that I want to be. And I had to work on myself, and I had to be with myself. I had to become my own best friend.

And that's not an overnight thing, right? So that was, that was sort of a long process in there. And some of that overlapped with when I had met Derek. Now, I'll tell you, when I met Derek there, there were probably many times that I almost screwed that up because I still wasn't yet that person. I was trying to become that person.

But I still had a lot of old wounds that were playing out in my current relationship, because that's the way of it. What you don't heal is going to show up in your most intimate relationship. And it's the same for everybody. So your partner brings all of their wounds and all of their unhealed stuff to the relationship as well. It's the nature of intimate relationships that you're gonna see all of each other,

the good, bad, and the ugly. So there were probably several times that I almost screwed that up and I couldn't really receive the love that he was offering. And this is really why self-awareness is so important. And learning how to love yourself is so important, right? If you are not your favorite person to hang out with, why should you be anyone else's?

Right? And if you don't know yourself, or there are pieces and parts of you that you won't expose, 'cause you, if you can't accept them, if you can't see them, accept those parts and love those parts of yourself. You will never show them to someone else. But the problem is, once you get into an intimate relationship, at least where you're committed,

eventually the song and dance ends and they have to see the real you. And you don't want it to be 3, 4, 10 years in when now they're finally seeing the real you. So part of that loving yourself is being able to accept the whole of yourself so that you can bring the whole of yourself to the relationship from a very accepting and loving place. So now Derrick and I,

we just celebrated our 10 year anniversary, our marriage anniversary. So we've been together probably 12 years and and married 10. And I think he is a, the thing I love about him most is he's just a great human being. I, he's many, many things. I call him my champion because he really, he is in my corner and I feel that every day I could go on and on about Derrick,

but I won't make it about that. So yes, it's finding the right person, like there's an element of that, but man, it's so much more about becoming the person, becoming the person who can create and sustain the kind of relationship that you want. And so we're going to always attract at our own level of emotional health. So when we are healthy,

we're going to attract other healthy people. When we are unhealthy emotionally, mentally, we're going to attract other people who are unhealthy emotionally and mentally. And it will fit together and it will feel like home. It'll feel like the puzzle pieces coming together and they fit perfectly. And sometimes that's a beautiful thing. And sometimes it's just a toxic thing or a codependent thing.

So that's why your own personal growth work is so, so important to your relationships. It's actually the greatest investment you can ever make in your relationships is to get to know thyself, know, accept and love thyself. And that's a journey. Okay? So professionally, before I ever became a coach, I was in marketing for almost 20 years. When I was going through my divorce,

I was working in the marketing department for a bank. I was a vice president of marketing there. And I was so grateful for that job because as I was going through the divorce, like that was a very tumultuous time for me. You know, I told you about when I was dating and I was really struggling through all of that, just kind of lost and kind of going about it through trial and error and making more errors than successes.

So I was grateful for that job because I had done it for so long that I was able to sort of do it with my eyes closed. So there were days that I probably shouldn't have been making million dollar decisions because I wasn't always mentally my sharpest. But I was so grateful to be able to, to, to have something that, that I could do even on my worst days.

And I felt good about that. But eventually, when I came through that storm, I was ready for what was next for me, which was, at that time it was to become a chief marketing officer. So I went to work for a small payments company and became their chief marketing officer and head of sales. And that was super interesting. And it was a new challenge and something new for me to sink my teeth into.

And it was about two years into that, that the company was sold to a group of investors. And so it is not uncommon that when investors buy your company, they wanna bring in their leadership team, right? 'cause there's a lot of money now riding on it. And so they want their people coming into it. So they first got rid of the president and then I think I was second or third or something like that.

But I call it when I was freed, some people might say fired. I like to say freed because I had gotten to a point of where I was not loving what I was doing. I was really struggling, loving marketing and leading teams and all of that. Like I would just, it, it was a hard, that, that was a hard time for me professionally,

where personally I had sort of gotten it together a little bit more. But now came the professional challenges. So when I was freed, I didn't know what I was gonna do next. What I can tell you is that every time I would be updating my resume or talking to recruiters or you know, doing phone interviews or something like that, I would get physically sick to my stomach.

And I didn't really know what that was, but I knew that whatever was next that it would be presented to me. I just had trust or faith that whatever was next for me was would be there. And that my whole job was just to pay attention to when these things showed up. And so through a whole, I'm not gonna make it a long-winded story,

I won't tell you all the details even though it's kind of funny. But there was one night, it was 10 30 at night, I was in the middle of writing a book and I knew I was too tired to write, but I knew I should be working because I, that's something about me that I learned in marketing is like, you gotta work and you gotta work hard.

Like, so I have a very strong work ethic. So I was working, I was in bed with my laptop and I remember that the thought came to mind to research how to get my book published. 'cause I didn't know anything about publishing at the time. This was my very first book. Now I've written nine. And so, so I started researching that.

And in that search I also had the thought about coaching. What is this coaching thing? And so it came up in the search and I start, I went down a little bit of a rabbit hole and it was one of those like three little bears things where the first one I looked at, it was very professional and it was very, it was like a training,

like this was coach training. It was very, it was for business, right? It was like business to business stuff. And I was like, oh, well maybe like I could, I, I've had professional coaches before, executive coaches as part of my job, I didn't really know what life coaching was. And then I found one and it was super cheesy and I was like,

ick. I just got off the page. And then I saw Martha Beck's program. And all I can tell you is that it's the first time I felt like my heart sort of leap out of my chest. And I was like, oh, well that's interesting. I gotta do this, I gotta do this. I remember I ran into the other room,

Derek was practicing the piano. I ran into the other room and I was like, babe, Martha Beck has a life coaching program and I'm gonna do it. And, and I was all excited. So again, 10 30 at night, I had no job. I had no income. And I didn't know what a life coach was. It wasn't like I was going to be a life coach.

And I'm researching all the different people who offer training. I just was familiar with Martha Beck's work and thought, whatever is next for me, this is gonna help me. That's what I thought. And so that night I signed up and it was several thousand dollars. So it wasn't like most people would've taken a breath and thought about it and intellectualized it and made a pros and cons list and all that kind of stuff.

I just followed that heart impulse of, yeah, that that's, there's something there for me. And so as I got into the training, I started to see how my writing that I had been doing and coaching and at the time I wanted to do public speaking, how all of those platforms could come together. And so I started to build a business and then I went through master coach training.

And you know, everyone told me when it came to coaching, they're like, you should be an executive coach. 'cause that's the world that I used to live in. So it was very familiar to me. But every time I would talk to someone about, you know, the challenges at work and they were, were talking about how their boss wouldn't listen to 'em or their peers weren't respecting them or whatever,

I just like, I just couldn't, I couldn't get excited about it. I couldn't get interested in it. And so I had a coach at the time and she asked me, what do you wanna talk about all day long? I told her, all I wanna talk about is relationships and why they're not working and how to think about 'em differently and all of those things.

And she said, well, great, that's where we're gonna focus. And to be honest, like I started with coaching people who wanted to find love maybe after divorce or later in life. And that was kind of fun. But it didn't provide the big transformations because that is a, that's a slow walk, right? Opening your heart to love and finding the right partner and all of that.

So it wasn't giving like those big transformations, which I liked to see. And so then I sort of transitioned into helping people move through heartbreak. And so that could be divorce or just a breakup or a relationship ending. And that gave the big transformations after working with me. People would have these huge transformations, but it was also very heavy work because as you can imagine,

that's a really sad and grieving time for a lot of people. So I did that for about a year or so. And then I sort of tiptoed into this idea of how do you decide whether you stay in a marriage or you end it? And literally, once I went there, I have never looked back. That became the place where I was able to help people experience massive transformation,

where their whole lives are opened up in a new way at the end of working with me. And it also was, there was enough there, right? There's, there's enough there to talk about. There's enough there for me to be interested in. There's always something new to learn. There's no end to learning how to do relationships better. And it's something that is so,

so important to our lives. And our happiness is the quality and health of our relationships. So all of those things just really clicked for me. And it was something I loved doing. It was something that was very needed. And so now I help people who are stuck in a lonely and disconnected marriage get the clarity that they need to know whether they can fix the struggles in their marriage or if their answer is to move forward and end the relationship.

And if it is, how to do that in the most loving and peaceful way possible. And what I can tell you is now 11 years later of doing that work, I am just so grateful that I get to do this work every day. And I'm grateful for the trust that people place in me. And I'm grateful that I'm always able to learn and grow.

And I get to apply everything I learn in my own life and in my own relationship. And it's one of the reasons why my relationship feels so good. And I could sit here and go on and on about my relationship with deep. So let me give you a little bit else about me. What else about me? I'm a dog person. I have two dogs,

Leo and Luna. They are nine. They are mini golden doodles. It's the first time I've ever had a little dog. It's the first time I've ever had a boy dog. It's the first time I've ever had two dogs. I probably will not do that again. I think I had this idea of what two dogs would be like. And it's not really that,

but I love those babies. I'm a grandma. I have two grandsons through my husband's first marriage. 'cause I didn't have children myself. And then I have three great nieces that I treat like grand babies because my niece is my brother's daughter. And she is, and always has been the closest thing I've ever had to a daughter. I remember she was like nine years old and we were walking and I think we were holding hands or something,

but she looked at me and she said, aunt Sharon, you can't ever have children. And I said, oh yeah, why is that? And she said, 'cause then you wouldn't love me as much. And I thought, oh my gosh, this child is wise. 'cause it's probably true, right? I wouldn't, if I had several of my own kids,

I probably wouldn't be at every single one of her basketball games. I probably wouldn't be there to make sure, you know, to take her to the park and push her on the swing every single weekend. All that kind of stuff that I was able to do. So now she has her own children, three darling little girls that it is my job in this life to spoil rotten.

So that's what I do. I am, I grew up Catholic. I came from a very long line of Catholics. Sometimes I joke now that I'm a recovering Catholic, but I don't mean any disrespect by that. It's just, you know, growing up in a very strict and conservative sort of religious space comes with some of its stuff that sometimes you have to unpack.

So in my adult life, I've had to unpack a lot of that. And so today what I would say is I am not, I don't have like religion. I'm incredibly spiritual, but I don't have any use for like organized religion. That's what I would say about that. My sweet mama, let's talk about my sweet mama. So she had Alzheimer's for,

she had early onset Alzheimer's, and so she had that for probably 10 years, maybe a little less, maybe eight or nine. And obviously the last years were the most difficult, the last five or six years were the most difficult. And she passed away last year. And while I miss her greatly, I think one of the things that I am so grateful for is that I was able to be there with her when she passed.

And I think that in some way, and I don't know what way that is, but in some way I probably helped her to pass very peacefully. And I was glad to be able to be there for that. I have sort of a complicated relationship with my father and some of the members of the rest of my family. You know, it's the,

it's the divergence of, they have a more conservative mindset. And you know, to be honest, like look at what I do for a living. Like I help people who are considering divorce and we don't take that option off the table. And so, yes, sometimes people, you know, evolve their marriage to a place that feels great for them,

but sometimes they don't and sometimes they end it. And I think both are equally as valid and equally as beautiful because the answer for you doesn't always fit into someone else's picture. And so I think sometimes that might make 'em uncomfortable, but I don't really know. It just feels like relationships where I have to have some pretty strong boundaries in place for myself to keep myself healthy and safe.

I lived in Ohio for 35 years, so I understand the cold weather, I do understand it. But when my husband retired from being a firefighter paramedic, one of the first things we said is, oh my gosh, that means we don't have to stay in Ohio. Now, granted, we had family and friends in Ohio, so that was a little bit tricky.

But the way it happened was so serendipitous that this is how I know for sure when you have a desire and you line up with that desire and you just release it, everything just happens. It just falls into place. So we were going to snowbird, you know, just go down south for three months at a time. Every year we would pick a new place and eventually we'd find what we would consider our place because we didn't know where we wanted to move.

But I always wanted to live by the beach. That's what I used to say. Like, someday I'm gonna live by the beach. Well, as soon as we did that, we snowbird into northern Florida and our house was on VRBO or something like that. And someone said, Hey, can I come look at your house? They came and looked at it.

I arranged for that. And she came through and she said, I definitely wanna rent it. I'm pretty sure I wanna buy it. And I'm a cash buyer. Oh, and I want every single thing in it. So I guess we were moving because what she offered us and like everything in it, I didn't have to move it. I didn't have to try to fit all my stuff from my Ohio home into my Florida condo.

So anyway, we moved, and I, I think I was a 47-year-old woman at that time who didn't own any silverware. So I had to buy everything new. So between navigate, like going through a divorce where you lose a lot of your stuff, and then selling a house where you lose a lot of your stuff, I am someone now who just is not really attached to stuff at all.

Like, it could happen again where I just get rid of all my stuff and I get something new and it's all fine. So I don't get real sentimental about stuff anymore. And that's just from all these experiences that I've had. So I guess it was about six or seven years ago that we moved to Florida, and we've been in St. Pete ever since.

And I always say it's the second best decision I've ever made. The first was marrying Derek. The second is moving to Florida. You know, I, the, the thing ab I loved Ohio except for the weather and the gray clouds. And so here it's just sunny and I feel better and I'm near the beach, and a couple times a week I'll go watch the beach as long as it's decent weather.

So yep, you deal with hurricanes and you know, Florida people are a little bit different. But I love St. Pete. In the area that I'm in, I have a very close circle of friends. It's a pretty tight circle. There's probably three people, three women who are my closest and dearest and what I refer to as my chosen family.

Especially when you have a, a challenging relationship with your, with your family, it's helpful to find people that you can really think of as family, even if you're not blood related. And so that's what those ladies are for me, and I adore them. I love to travel. My favorite places, my favorite place on the planet is Italy. And don't ask me where in Italy,

probably Tuscany. Yeah, probably Tuscany. But I have been to northern Italy and it's gorgeous. I've been to the southern tip along the Amalfi coast, and there's, that's just incomparable. So I love Italy, I love France. That's probably my second favorite place. I've only been to Paris several times, and most recently the champagne region. And that was gorgeous.

I have to make it to the south of France. I have not done that, at least not yet. And maybe my third favorite place would be Hawaii or something like that. Somewhere with a beach probably. I think the last thing I would tell you about me, and that also might be helpful to you, is that the reason that I have the peace I have in my life and the reason that I can love myself and the reason that I can show up for my marriage,

this marriage in a very different way than I did my first marriage. The reason that my life is the way that it is, is because I use my own tools. I call it eating my own dog food, right? You, you cannot teach what I teach and that, but not apply it or practice it yourself. You can't tell people to do something that you're not willing to do and you can't share from a place of experience unless you actually have that experience.

So all the tools that I teach my clients are things that I apply in my own life day in and day out. And so I live from that place. And I think that if we bring it back to where we started, I think that when you want someone to help you navigate a situation, don't you want to go to someone who has already been through that,

who has already, you know, gone through those waters and has learned those lessons and you can benefit from their experience. And I think that when you think about having a life and relationships that you really, really desire, that feel really good to your soul, don't you also want someone who is living from that place who is practicing that in their own lives?

Who knows the path to that place and how to exist within that place. And it doesn't mean that you exist there a hundred percent of the time. It's not like I sit on a cloud and my life is full of rainbows and unicorns. You know, I shared with you the experience of my mother passing, but I know how to navigate those things.

I know how to manage my emotional wellbeing and I take total responsibility for my life and how I feel. And so my happiness is not dependent upon anybody else, including my spouse. It's a hundred percent on me. And so that when I live from that place, I'm able to show other people the way through it, into it. All right? I hope that that lets you into me and my life.

A little bit lets you know a little bit about who I am and how I got here, and why the heck you're even engaging with my work. All right? Until next time, take really good care. If you're listening to this podcast because you're struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you're serious about finding that answer, it's time to book a Truth and Clarity session with a member of my team.

On the call, we'll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there's a fit for you and I to work together so you can make and execute the right decision for you and your marriage. Go to clarity for my marriage.com to fill out an application now that's clarity for my marriage.com.

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