The One About…Tips for Designing your Future Life

Helen Slater guest for Smart Divorce

Tamsin speaks to divorce and business coach Helen Slater about how to start thinking about and designing your future life. She talks about some tools for goal setting and thinking about what you want from your life. Tamsin loves Helen’s tip about the stories you are telling yourself.

Tamsin is a Chartered Financial Planer with over 20 years experience. She works with couples and individuals who are at the end of a relationship and want agree how to divide their assets FAIRLY without a fight.

You can contact Tamsin at or arrange a free initial meeting using She is also part of the team running Facebook group Separation, Divorce and Dissolution UK (

Helen is a qualified business, life and relationship coach and a marketing expert with 20 years to show for it! She supports small business owners to build profitable online businesses she also supports those who want to start again in their life or heal after a relationship breakup.

Helen works with clients who are afraid that it is too late for them – those who want to start again, those who are stuck, or lost, those who feel like they are drowning – those who are simply unsure who they are any more and how to begin again.

Using NLP Coaching training and her 20 years of marketing experience, Helen teaches clients how to get to the core of the issue, so they can create an abundant life, move on after a hurtful break-up or build a successful business.

IG @helenslatercoach
FB @helenslatercoach
LinkedIN Helen Slater Coaching
Website –


(The transcript has been created by an AI, apologies for any mistakes)

Tamsin Caine 0:06
Hello, and welcome to the Smart Divorce podcast. I’m Tamsin Caine and I will be your host. In series three, we will be speaking to a number of experts and professionals in the divorce arena, and answering the questions that we get asked most often. If you’ve got a question and you don’t think we’ve answered it yet, please do get in touch, you can email me at Tamsin at smart Now over to our guests. Today, we’re talking designing your future life with divorce and business coach Helen Slater. Really enjoyed talking to Helen about how to work out what your big goals are, how to think back, introspectively, back to your childhood, all about things that bring you joy, so that you can work out what those big things that you might want out of life are. And once you figure out what they are, how to go about getting them, I really liked some of her ideas. And she talks quite a lot about thinking about making a roast dinner, and breaking it down into the steps that you need to take in order to do the big things. So such as they’re putting the meat in the oven. So what’s your equivalent in the big thing that you want to do? is really useful to me to hear her talk about how to reset and refocus these goals if they’re not going quite according to plan. And also that we shouldn’t be afraid of realising that the goal that we had really isn’t the one for us. In any case, I really hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did. Hi, today, I am delighted to be joined by fabulous Helen Slater. Hi, Helen, how you doing today?

Helen Slater 2:09
Hello, I’m good. Thank you. How are you?

Tamsin Caine 2:10
I very much enjoyed having a guided tour of your office earlier today on Instagram.

Helen Slater 2:16
A fabulous, thanks. I love knowing at other people’s houses in particular where people were from, you know, online, you sort of get to see all of the, you know, the scenes, don’t you just from their show rail. So I love seeing all the behind the behind the scenes stuff. I thought why not go offline, sir, where I work,

Tamsin Caine 2:32
Definitely, really loved it, you’ve inspired me, I might have to do something similar later in the week. So today, we’re going to talk about designing your future life and some tips from your experience of working with your clients in this area. So where where should we start?

Helen Slater 2:52
Um, I think it’s, it’s good to I think we talked about this previously haven’t wait about how I think we’re all very, very good at acknowledging What’s wrong, and what we don’t want. And we know that we want something different. We don’t want what we have now. But I think it can be quite difficult to understand. For some people, it’s very easy, but I think for a lot of people understanding what it is that you do one, when you get asked the question is very, very difficult to identify without doing that introspective work first, to really get a clear view on what’s next for you. And sometimes particularly, if you have like big visions, maybe for starting up a business or for moving house or for earning a certain amount of money in your career, it can seem like an absolute mountain. So I think one of the key things is to break everything down into really small bite sized chunks, simplify everything. So

Tamsin Caine 3:54
that’s great.

I don’t know how you feel about this, but I have a bit of a mental block with goal setting. So this is we’ve tipped straight into something I personally find really difficult. So if you’ve, if you’ve got a goal, so you want to earn a certain amount of money in three years time, five years time, how do you go about breaking that down into actual things that you can do to action to make that happen?

Helen Slater 4:30
Okay, so I think it’s like anything when you’ve got to do something in 12 weeks time in two years time in 10 years time, I think is I will say to my clients is like cooking a roast dinner or planning your holiday, thinking about what the end goal is, what the biggest chunk you need, biggest piece you need to do. So it might be the meat going in the oven or booking your flights, or whatever it may be that that’s significant part of their understanding kind of what that big piece is what that’d be. picture is and then working backwards. So say you’ve set yourself a goal that you want to double your salary in three years time, doing a piece of research, you know, understanding what that would look like, what those kind of roles would look like, what you need to do, to put yourself then in that position, so breaking it down maybe into the individual elements of what you need to do to get there in three years time, maybe you need to do some more training, maybe you need to start, you know, networking a bit more, maybe you need to start working on your LinkedIn profile, maybe you need to start speaking to people who maybe work in the industry to understand a little bit more. I think initially, it’s about that foundation setting, understanding what it is that you need to do to take you from where you are now to where you want to be. And then working backwards thinking, you want to do an MBA, and that’s going to take you two years to do that, for example, where do you need to do that? How are you going to get the money together to actually do it? How are you going to fit that time in each day, maybe you know, maybe you’re a single parent, maybe have children, you work full time, it’s figuring out how that all works. And then just working through that process year by year about what you need to do each year, what you’d like to do each year to get slowly towards that end goal. But I think it’s that breaking it down understanding fully what you want to do and committing yourself to it being realistic about what is achievable over that period of time, doing the research, and then breaking it down and putting a plan in place, initially for the first 12 weeks, maybe five or six months to a year, and understand where you need to be at the end of the year to start moving yourself forward.

Tamsin Caine 6:42
That’s, I think,one of the things that a lot of people struggle with when it comes to these sorts of plans and goal setting and having the kind of agree like to do that, but it seems a bit ambitious, then they set lovely goals and targets and they have a plan. And then they’re not where they hoped they will be by a certain point. So rather than just kind of refocusing and re looking at the goal, that they took the baby out with the bathwater, that is a nice 1950s phrase void. Everything goes it’s like oh, scrap it, then what? How do you get around that?

Helen Slater 7:26
I think one of the things I will say to my client is we are going we’re not going to get everything perfect right straight away, there will be we are going to have to probably shift and change it, I think the most important thing is to get going is to actually get into action to get moving is to actually begin, then we can start tweaking and changing as we go. Just because maybe we haven’t got to where we wanted to be at that point, that is not a failure, you’re still moving in the right direction, you’re still aiming towards something. But also maybe during that period of time, maybe you changed your mind maybe what you thought you wanted, you don’t maybe find something else that you’re more interested in. But I think fundamentally is it’s about moving forward and getting into action, no matter how small those steps are just taking that sort of time to think about what you can do each day. And each week to move towards those goals. I think that’s the most important thing, not berating yourself. Not therefore thinking, well, I failed just because of that. No, you haven’t failed. You know, you’re you’re working in the right direction. It’s just sort of saying to So, you know, is this still right for me? What do I need to do to move me even closer to that? Is this still a real priority for me? Where am I kind of like getting in my own way, so to speak, you know, where am I making excuses. And I think it’s also an opportunity to see what our patterns may be forming as well as you’re moving forward. Because I think we can like January, for example, we can all set off and I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that I’m going to be less carbs, I’m going to do this exercise. By the end of the month, both people have forgotten all about it. And I think it’s just being realistic and just, you know, going easy on yourself as well. But also not letting yourself make excuses and bring those old, let those old habits of Oh, I’m just gonna stay and you know, watch TV tonight. I can’t be bothered to do that bit of my course or, you know, this weekend, I’ll you know, I want to do this instead, it’s about like, is this important to me, and if it is, therefore, I need to make sure that this is a bit of a priority, but not to put the pressure on myself. So you get into a state of overwhelm, which is obviously another big concern for a lot of my clients, they find themselves feeling quite overwhelmed when they’re trying to move on towards the next day.

Tamsin Caine 9:35
Yeah, I think what you were saying about prioritising is really important. You know, I know myself because I’m a glutton for January. There’s a list of things that I’ve said to myself, I want to try and do these things every day. And Adam kind of write in my journal when I’ve done them. But then as soon as they get to a point of right I’m feeling overwhelmed because of it, too. Much kind of not beating myself up. If I miss a day just go right. Okay, reset back to it. And the thing, like you say, overwhelm is definitely something that that can hit you quite. And quite suddenly as well, you sort of think, Oh, well, I’m doing all right. And then oh, yeah, we’ll see.

Helen Slater 10:19
And that’s when we need to listen out for things like the shirts, I should be able to do this. I should have done that already. When you start hearing yourself saying the shirts, you know, you need to step back immediately. Because that is your ego kicking in immediately. That is your ego stepping in and telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing. You need to step away from that and think to yourself, right, okay, so why maybe has this not happened, and that’s okay, but it hasn’t happened, that’s absolutely fine. Again, it’s not over facing yourself at the beginning. So maybe there’s 10 things that you’d like to get done, you think you will, every day, I’m going to do this. One thing I was taught and actually one of the women on my podcast, Wilma McDonald, who is a nutritional therapist is talking about. So there are some really simple things. So for one week, make sure you have an extra glass of water every day. And that will stop start bringing that into your into your life, then wait to maybe just go out for an extra five minutes walk a day that you wouldn’t usually do either extend it for five minutes, or just quickly go out for blast around the block for five minutes, start building it, it’s just about sometimes taking really small steps in your life and spreading them out. Rather than doing it all at the same time. You know, bringing them in gently and slowly and going easy on yourself. If you if you fail one day, it doesn’t matter. Tomorrow’s a completely fresh day. Then remember, like glass of water or Remember to go out for that walk or remember you have got that little piece of work that you need to get finished for your coursework. You know, that just again, it’s just about sort of being realistic about your time.

Tamsin Caine 11:46
Yeah, that’s really good advice. And she was fantastic on your podcast, if anybody’s not heard Helens podcast with Wilma very much. Say that it’s well worth the listen. And so if we’re thinking about goals that we want to achieve, we know what we don’t want. And you mentioned where you might want to move to a bigger house, increase your salary, start around business. For a lot of people, after you’ve come out of the other side of divorce, working out what you want is a really difficult thing to do. Where on earth should you start?

Helen Slater 12:25
Okay. So I think I recently had a call actually with a new client. And one of the things she said is, it’s not just one of those new year new me kind of things I want to do, I don’t necessarily want to work for another company, I’m just feeling a bit lost in life. I’m feeling like my children are growing up. I don’t really know what I want to do next. But I know that something needs to change. But she didn’t quite know how to do that introspective piece of work. I think a really great starting point is to initially sort of look backwards. So I set my clients a number of questions. So things like as a child, What did you dream of becoming and doing when you grow up? simple questions like that? What’s your favourite subject in school? And do you still have the same interest? Again, to kind of think about the stuff that brought joy when they were younger? You know, what hobbies they had? You know, like, say the things that school what they just love doing? What made them happy? What thing in things were they really, really interested in? And are they still doing those things? And if not, why not? You know, is that something that they need to bring back into their life, so I get to kind of start thinking about things like that, and then start moving them forward. So you know, I’d say to anyone listening, you know, start to think about what life stories may be from your past that you might retell over and over again, in conversations with others, or those stories, you may in your own thoughts, kind of think about again, and just start to think about those the conversations that you’re having the stories that you’re telling yourself, the conversations you’re having with other people and the stories you’re telling them maybe about your past, things that have happened to you, particularly when you know I’ve been divorced myself, you know, you, you can retell the stories of your divorce or, again and again, the things that went wrong and how it felt and just start to review the things those things you’re talking about. start asking yourself, does this what I’m talking about now, do these stories? are we telling myself? Are they supporting me now? as the person I am standing here today? Or are they keeping me stuck? And why are they keeping me stuck? That’s a really good thing because you start to become a little bit more aware of where your focuses where your thoughts are. And whether or not you’re a spiritual person or whether or not you believe in the universe and any of that sort of stuff. It is a fact that where your attention goes, it grows, what you see grows. So, so you’re thinking about you really want to buy a red car, say a red Mercedes, I know there are other cars available out there. But say you want the representation, start seeing red Mercedes, everywhere you’re thinking about that. So it’s about being very aware of those thought patterns that are happening. And I think once you start becoming aware of those things, you can start feeling like, okay, so I don’t want this story to be my story anymore. I don’t want to feel that way anymore. And I’m realising that I’m really holding on to that, starting to get a little bit curious about why that might be, and the things that you might then need to do to start moving you forward. But I think that’s a really good starting point, as well, and start moving things forward.

Tamsin Caine 15:49
Yeah, that’s a really interesting thought, actually, the whole thing about when it’s in your head, you see it all the time, I know, when I was pregnant, everybody on Altrincham, High Street was pregnant. And when I started running, literally, I’m sure there were running runners coming out from the cracks in the pavement, with a pair in front of me. So I think that’s a really good idea. And working out what story you’re telling yourself is then is really interesting, I might have to work on that one myself and say, Yeah, well, I find out

Helen Slater 16:23
Yeah, and I just say, you know, keep a little diary, you know, keep a diary. And we’ll work through all these questions. So keep a diary and start sort of making a note of recurring themes that are coming up thought patterns, things that you’re saying. And it seems like really simple or some people feel a bit silly doing it to start with. But actually, what it does is gets you to start really, really tapping into how you think and how that makes you them feel. And then is when you have the power, because then you can start shifting and changing that thought pattern and start thinking about, okay, so this is where I am now. So what now next for me. And one of the things that I also get people to do, you know, when they get to this point is to pretend they’re an 18 year old, they’re getting a letter to themselves. And with any support and guidance, where you are right now. So at a two year old, you write into yourself now, if you’re writing in the third person, which makes it so much easier to do, sort of saying, you know, this is my advice to you. This is the support and guidance that I’d give to you right now, these are the things that you love, these are things that you’re brilliant at doing, you know, getting you to kind of like, really start assessing, you know, the positive elements that going on your life now the things that you’re passionate about, but also some of the things you might be worrying about thinking about, you know, who you would be in the future. And that advice you would give to your self as you are now, I think that’s a really lovely thing to do is the next step as well.

Tamsin Caine 17:53
I love the idea that there, there’s some research been done recently about connecting about your future finances being feeling really disconnected. And actually, I can’t remember where the research was, but there’s a I did a post on it a couple of months ago. And there’s there’s some research done on one of the universities that says if you show people their future self, so you know, you do that age aged photo version of You, me show people that then they start saving for their futures, because it becomes realistic, they start seeing what their future self is like, and I guess that’s a non financial sort of benefit of doing the same sort of thing, isn’t it?

Helen Slater 18:38
Yeah, absolutely. And it’s kind of like yeah, getting you to sort of like, and I think, I think the sort of when you get yourself so you know, you get yourself in your con they call it like you know, your inner elder. So you have like, you know, your inner child and your inner elder and then kind of where you are right now. And I think by tapping into that wisdom that you already have in yourself if you if someone said to you What are you brilliant at a lot of people like recoil, they’re very uncomfortable with that. Because we are kind of like especially being British or whatever was told to like, you know, not show off or not behave in a certain way not to sort of like you know, kind of like, you know, ring your own Bell about how brilliant you are anything, I think by like putting yourself in a position of being your kind of your sage, you know, our inner elder, what that does, it’s gets you to sort of in the third person to sort of start looking in on yourself for what you are great at and that could be anything you know, I get my clients you know, when they’re in this place where they’re not quite sure what’s next or what they’re good at. I’m like, right list of all the things you’ve won over the years, the things that people come to you most about the questions you get asked all the time, what have you done at work, you’re really proud of it. It could be anything, I get them to write a list of all that stuff and I and I say to them, it could be making your child your children feel safe and love. It could be making an amazing race dinner at the weekend. It could be being places on time, it could be being reliable, whatever it may be started to think about Are those things that you are really good at, and start creating a list of your strengths. And start creating a list of also your values about what is really, really important to you. And I think when you’ve done that kind of backwards, work about who you were as a child, and what made your heart thing and what brought you loads of joy, you then find yourself where you are. Now you’re starting to think about how you think the words that you’re using on whether or not that is serving you right to yourself, you use all of that inner wisdom. And then you start identifying your strengths, you start identifying the things that you’re great at, start thinking about all those things that you love the things that you value, this then puts you in a really brilliant place to start thinking about, how can I bring this into my life? Whether that be a job, whether that be just finding a new hobby, and connecting with other like minded people, it could be anything but I think by doing that, that those first few pieces of work and really tapping into that, to really start doing that introspective piece of work, then you can start thinking about what you do want. Yeah,

I think that’s really fantastic advice. Helen, thank you so much for joining us. If anybody does want to contact Helen, with a view to potentially working with her and starting to do some of the work that she’s talked about today. If you find that it’s difficult to motivate yourself to do it or you’re struggling to to work through those things yourself. We’ll put her Helens contact details in the show notes for today. So thank you so much for joining me today, Helen, and I’ll see you again soon. Thanks so much for inviting me. I hope you enjoyed today’s podcast. If you did, please do think about writing us a review or giving us a lovely five star rating on iTunes, if that’s where you’re listening. hope you’ll join us again next time.

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