Episode #85: How to Create the Happiness You Deserve

Create the Happiness You Deserve

You’re listening to The Confident Careerist Podcast providing inspiration and guidance for career-minded professionals who want to break free from their limitations and step into a life of more personal power, positivity, and prosperity.

Did you know that an employee divorce costs a company $86,000 in lost productivity alone for a year?

And a divorce goes on for several years. And that’s just productivity, it doesn’t include the effect on your boss and your colleagues. It’s really devastating to a career. It’s the second most devastating event in a person’s life!

Today, my special featured guest is Sonia Frontera a divorce lawyer, empowerment trainer, and author. She is most passionate about empowering people to turn their adversity into fuel for personal growth. My kind of gal!

In this episode she gives practical advice and hope to people whose lives have been upended by marital, work, career, or life troubles, teaching you how to dissolve obstacles to happiness and create a fulfilling life.

Teena Evert 0:05

You're listening to The Confident Careerist Podcast providing inspiration and guidance for career minded professionals who want to break free from their limitations and step into a life of more personal power, positivity and prosperity.

Sonia Frontera 0:27

Did you know that an employee divorce costs a company $86,000 in lost productivity alone for a year? And a divorce goes on for several years. And that's just productivity. It doesn't include your boss like the effect on your boss and your your colleagues. I mean, it's really devastating to a career. It's the second most devastating event in a person's life!

Teena Evert 1:04

This episode of The Confident Careerist Podcast is sponsored by Claim the Lead, a career development company that works with students and professionals at all levels and stages of their careers. What makes this company unique is that they approach career development holistically. Claim the Lead provides a transformational process, relevant strategies and a game plan to ensure that you have what you need to be confident in your future. Get the professional help you need to build a career and create a life that you love by visiting Teenaevert.com.

Teena Evert 1:38

Welcome back to The Confident Careerist Podcast. Today, my special featured guest is Sonia Frontera. She is a family lawyer practicing divorce and immigration law. She is also an empowerment trainer and best-selling author. She is most passionate about empowering people to turn their adversity into fuel for personal growth. My kind of gal. Now there's a lot more I want to share about Sonia.

Teena Evert 2:04

Growing up, she always wanted to have a sister. She discovered later in life that the best way to have a sister is to be one. So through her book series, The Sister's Guides to Empowered Living, Sonia vows to inspire and empower readers around the world. Sonia is a divorce lawyer, empowerment trainer and author. As I mentioned earlier, she is the owner of Frontera Law in Lambertville, New Jersey.

Teena Evert 2:36

She offers forward thinking legal solutions to help individuals end their marriages amicably and navigate the immigration maze powerful. She is the author of Relationship Solutions: Effective Strategies to Heal Your Heart and Create the Happiness You Deserve. I think we all need that, Sonia. She also offers practical advice and hope to people whose lives have been upended by marital troubles, teaching them how to dissolve their obstacles to happiness and create fulfilling lives. She is the survivor of a toxic marriage, who has been happily remarried now for 14 years and through the years she has supported domestic violence survivors as an advocate, speaker and empowerment trainer. She's a certified Canfield Success Principles Trainer and offers inspirational workshops and retreats. She is so busy. She's a compulsive knitter. I love this. She was happiest hanging out at her New Jersey country home with her husband and their three street dogs turned princesses.

Teena Evert 3:48

Welcome, Sonia to The Confident Careerist Podcast. I'm so happy to have you here.

Sonia Frontera 3:54

Thanks, Teena. I'm delighted to be here. Thanks for having me.

Teena Evert 3:58

You're welcome. Now I read your long bio, because you have so much. You're very interesting. And we can take this in a lot of different angles. Some things that I know we have in common is around the relationship arena, because of my background as a marriage and family therapist and a relationship coach and also going through some pretty toxic relationships myself, and then also just having a bit of a topsy turvy or maybe a not so linear career path. So I would love to perhaps just start out by learning a little bit more about your story and when I say that that can open up to anything you feel is alive for you to share in this moment.

Sonia Frontera 4:49

Actually, in terms of my story, all that you've read is only the most recent years of my story. I started out as an accountant. I have been an HR Professional and a court interpreter before becoming a lawyer, and I am finally living my true passion, which is to be a writer.

Teena Evert 5:11

How did you discover your passion as a writer?

Sonia Frontera 5:16

I always wanted to be a writer. In fact, when I was a teenager, when I was in high school, I decided I wanted to be a journalist and I wanted to write, and my dad said, I'm not sending you to college, I'm not paying for college for a nonsense profession. So I negotiated with him and I agreed to be a dual major. So I also majored in Finance and when I graduated from college, I got a really good offer from General Electric in their Financial Management Program and I couldn't resist the offer. So I instead pursued a corporate career, but I kind of felt like I had betrayed myself in some way. And for many, many years, I resented that I had never been published. So as fate would have it, eight years ago, I became ill with a migraine disability. And I had to quit my litigation practice and decided to go solo and open my family law practice. And that's when my life became more flexible. And I became inspired to write a book and help people or going through divorce, which was one of the most difficult stages in my life.

Teena Evert 6:31

And many people's lives. So having resources available to help navigate that in an empowering way is very valuable.

Sonia Frontera 6:40

Indeed, this is what I wish had existed when I was going through divorce, because there, there wasn't that much at the time, especially for someone in my situation, a toxic relationship being Catholic, it was it was very hard. And the psychology books tended to have a different approach. And I wanted to bring something that was more warm, more practical and more supportive, so that people who are suffering can feel like they have a sister who cares for them, and is giving them sound advice.

Teena Evert 7:10

And you are a natural at that, for the short time that I've known you, you've really stepped up and offered your support. So thank you.

Sonia Frontera 7:17

Thank you for that, for those kind words.

Teena Evert 7:20

Yeah, you're welcome. Now I'm going to come back to what you're passionate about, which is obvious. But I'm going to say that it's empowering people to turn their adversity into fuel for personal growth. Who, who hasn't dealt with adversity? And learning how to navigate adversity to use it for fuel for personal growth, I think it's a life skill, it's essential for our ability to, as you say, be happy, be successful, whatever that that means to you. So I'd love to explore that a little further with you.

Sonia Frontera 7:53

Yes, at first that he has been a constant in my life and throughout my career. And every single time I go through an adverse situation, it is very hard. But at the end, I come out more resilient. And in a way, I kind of feed on the challenge of of going through adversity. And I can talk about adversity in my career. In fact, I had a pretty sheltered childhood. My life until I was 21 until I graduated from college was really sheltered. And then the moment I entered the real world, all hell broke loose. In fact, my first day in the real world at GE, I arrived at my job and my boss says to me, we are closing this operation, and we don't know what we're doing with you.

Teena Evert 8:43

Oh, my goodness, that's empowering, huh?

Sonia Frontera 8:45

Oh, God, it was like, it was devastating. I'm like, Oh, my God, now what, you know, and I got through it, and I got another job. And it was the job from hell. And it's like, oh, my God, now what do I do and and then I got another job. And that job ended with layoffs as well. And, you know, in career, it has just taken me in so many twists and turns. And in my personal life, as well, let's just, you know, having entered a toxic marriage when I was only 24 years old, but then when my mom became very ill, and we thought she was dying, and she was very ill for nine years. So all these experiences have just forced me to toughen up, and and bring out the resilience that I didn't know that was in me when I was a young person living a sheltered life. And that's why I really want to get out there and let people know that, hey, you're going through a tough time, but this too shall pass. And when it does, you will realize what you're made of, and what you can bring to the world and you will grow so exponentially that you will feel so much better about yourself, that you will turn that adversity into something that will be good for others.

Teena Evert 10:05

Not everybody is able to rise up, right? I mean, I think most people are to some degree, I think everybody has resources, meaning everyone has things they can turn to for nourishment and strength. Some of those things, though, are, are self destructive, like let's say drugs and alcohol, or doing anything excessively that is suboptimal. I'm wondering for you, what are some things that really got you through during the adversity, during the challenging times, that you may or may not have felt prepared for coming from a sheltered upbringing.

Sonia Frontera 10:46

I think we all have what we need to thrive in life. And it's just a matter of tapping into that inner source of strength. For me was my faith. I am, I am Catholic, I am deeply religious. And I turn to my faith for comfort. And it sustain me through all these difficult times. And once you go through a difficult time you build that foundation that sustains you for other difficult times.

Teena Evert 11:19

How was it for you being Catholic, to have realized that a divorce was potentially going to save your life?

Sonia Frontera 11:28

it was difficult, I, I never intended to get divorced. I was raised to get married and stayed married. So when I discovered that my relationship was toxic, and was not sustainable, it was really difficult then. And also I feared, you know, the rejection from the Catholic Church is not very welcoming to Catholic divorcee. So it kept me in a relationship for longer than it should have. And it also exposed me to spiritual abuse, because my ex husband know how religious I was. And he knew how the Catholic Church felt about divorce. So he used that against me. It's like, you can't divorce me, you're Catholic. So it was it was a very difficult time. But I have to say, my clergy stood up for me at these at these difficult times, and helped me end a relationship that was really not salvageable.

Teena Evert 12:28

That is good to hear. What are some other strategies or ways that you moved through that difficult time and were able to start healing?

Sonia Frontera 12:39

To me the keys to empowerment are self awareness, self-expression and self care. I think it's really important for anyone who was going through any marital hardship or any hardship in life, to step back and try to understand how they ended up in that situation. What are the traps that keep them in that situation, and from that perspective of clarity, use that use that knowledge to start building a new life and and overcome all the challenges. And by that, I mean, having a lot of reflection, understanding, then social norms, cultural patterns, the messages that we tell ourselves and those that we have picked up from our family and authority figures like your, your, your church, your school, your teachers, the media, and and come come to a point where you have that that discernment, that you can make decisions with clarity and tap into your inner wisdom, because we all have it and learn to tap into it. And also, the other pillar of empowerment is self-expression. Self-expression, try to discover what is your true purpose in life. And, and it takes steps, even baby steps to understand what is my mission? What are my talents? What are my gifts to the world? And how can I bring them out? And finally, self love, you really need to love yourself and care for yourself because if you don't, nobody will. So I advocate all different strategies for self care to overcome all the difficulties that you will encounter because that's life. Life is about ups and downs. It's a roller coaster.

Teena Evert 14:31

Absolutely. And I don't think you can go wrong by continuing to work on self awareness. Maybe not work on it, but just have that be a beacon of light, you know, being more aware of your desires and how you feel and what you need and what you require to be happy in life. And really knowing your why, your purpose. Another beacon of light to be able to be fully expressed, and to be able to flourish. And then self love and self care, it is so true. If you don't take care of yourself, like no one else will like you, that is our responsibility, 100%. I think of relationships, I'm thinking, intimate partner relationships, and also the important relationships that we're in, in the workplace, that, whether we like the people we work with or not, we do need to work on having amicable relationships, collaborative relationships. You don't necessarily have to like your co-workers, but you do need to be able to work together. And how do you get your needs met, right, in a situation where maybe it's not maybe toxic, is it's not, it's not so strong. But if you dislike it, those things you just talked about those pillars can really help one. Be discerning, like you said, and be able to make empowered decisions about how they want to show up and how they want to live their life.

Sonia Frontera 16:06

Exactly, I think it these pillars of empowerment apply to absolutely every area of your life. And when it comes to career, like you mentioned, you need to get along with people in the workplace. You don't necessarily have to like each other but understand that it's not personal, it's not necessarily about you, when other people engage in certain behaviors. You can choose how to respond instead of reacting to them, and show up as your higher self in any situation.

Teena Evert 16:35

And that requires the ability to be self aware, to be connected to what you need and how you feel. Otherwise, how many women and or men lose themselves in their work or in their intimate partner relationships are all of a sudden they don't know who they are, or what they want or how they feel. Any other effective strategies that you want to share? I'm looking at the title of your book, it's Effective Strategies to Heal Your Heart, I think it's like oh, who hasn't had a broken heart, or felt perhaps disconnected from their purpose, and unhappy and maybe not feeling valued, or that their efforts are worthy or deserving?

Sonia Frontera 17:25

In terms of self awareness, which is really the basis for all empowerment, and, and actual quality living, I give some exercises on how to strengthen your awareness muscle and understand moment to moment where you are and come to the present. And especially defeat, negative self talk, or mindless thinking that is really at the root of many of the problems that you have. So I provide a couple of awareness exercises to build the awareness muscle. And then from there, we go into different prompts, where I guide the reader to through some different questions, different queries to get a better sense for what are those, what are the messages that they received in their life? What is their self self talk? What are how are these messages affecting you and playing out in your relationship? So that is the awareness part. And it helps you understand if you are having problems in your relationship, and you don't know whether or not to stay married or get a divorce, it gives you the clarity. And these are queries that you can work on a journal. Or you can work with your spouse, if you are still trying to work through the relationship. And it helps you get a sense for how you ended up in in the difficulties in the marriage. So that you can learn your lessons, extract them, and release them so you can create make better decisions and create better relationships in the future.

Teena Evert 19:12


Sonia Frontera 19:13

Yeah. So I have a series of different strategies, including you know, how to take care of yourself, how to develop rituals that are nurturing, and taking care of your mind, body and spirit. So it's it's very intensive, it's got a lot of different strategies. We could spend hours just going over them.

Teena Evert 19:31

They're all such rich and important, I would say life skills, that I was just having a conversation earlier today about this and my own journey that the critical life skills that I learned through adversity, were a prerequisite for me to actually be able to develop career skills to advance and accelerate in my career. Because until I was able to be aware and to really love myself and take care of myself on a pretty deep level, I wasn't able to show up as authentically or as confidently as I could, let's say in an interview, or learning how to public speak and not freak out, or negotiate, or to really just get out of my comfort zone, right and grow. And when we're in any kind of relationship, I believe it's an opportunity to, to grow, and to not fall into that place of victim. But when we have that awareness, being able to discern what is within my control to change, and what is outside of my control, and what can I let go of so we're not caught in that place that a lot of people get into where they're trying to change their environment, change the people that they don't like, rather than looking inward and finding what are the things that are within my power to change.

Sonia Frontera 21:06

Correct. And you you have the power within, and you have the power to choose how you are going to respond to how other people act around you. So you have to discern what you can and cannot control as you said, and make make smart decisions make make aware decisions. And that's really the key to any any kind of quality living

Teena Evert 21:30

Any kind of quality living and skillful living. Now, I think this is exciting, because as a as a lawyer. Now, this is probably, you know, coming from my perspective, not being a lawyer and the little experience that I've had with lawyers, but they tend to be very a matter of fact, not a lot of emotion involved. And if I feel like you would bring such a holistic approach, so much empathy, to help guide someone through such a difficult time.

Sonia Frontera 22:01

Yeah, I agree. I think that for lawyers, especially matrimonial lawyers is kind of hard to understand what their clients are going through, if they haven't experienced it themselves, because it is a crazy time. And it's crazy emotions, you're not your real self. In fact, one of the judges used to say that criminal court was bad people at their best behavior. And Family Court was good people at their worst behavior. Wow. And and it is true, because we don't show up the way we normally are when we're going through so much difficulty and turmoil in our inner lives. And for an attorney who has an experience that is very difficult, and like you said, they tend to be cerebral, they tend to be matter of fact. And it could be difficult for for someone who's going through a divorce to, to try to get the the emotional support, you really should not expect to get it from an attorney. But if you get an attorney that is empathic, and you have good rapport with, you are more likely to to go through the divorce more smoothly.

Teena Evert 23:11

I agree, your attorney should not be your counselor, right and provide emotional support. But just by being a good listener, and not dismissing the emotion i think is empowering. I can say from being a woman, whether I was working with a male or a female, a male or a female attorney, just feeling when I left the office that the emotional piece wasn't dismissed, would be empowering.

Sonia Frontera 23:39

I agree. I agree. And I think lawyers need to be more mindful of that.

Teena Evert 23:45

Yeah, so I bet you are busy.

Sonia Frontera 23:48

Always busy. People sometimes wait till things are irretrievably broken. And that's why I think it's important to seek assistance, get some resources and start working on your relationship sooner rather than later. And gain that understanding of what went wrong and gain that understanding. Feel comfortable in your heart, that you did what you could. But the relationship is not meant to it's not valuable. It's not meant to continue. And that given that fact, accept it, and release it, learn your lessons and let it go without having to hurt your partner. Because you really don't gain anything by harming your partner, you are better served by moving forward with grace and poise and looking forward to the future that you can create, instead of what you're leaving behind.

Teena Evert 24:42

Beautifully said, thank you for that. Now I want to ask you some career confidence round questions that I asked all of my guests. And I want you to just share the first thing that comes to mind. So the first question is imagine Sonia that you were your younger self and if you could have received one piece of critical advice or inspiration, when you were just starting your education or career journey, what would it be?

Sonia Frontera 25:11

Be bold and be fearless.

Teena Evert 25:13

How do you do that?

Sonia Frontera 25:15

I think it's a mindset, I think you need to just go forward instead of thinking about what could go wrong. Or what's wrong with me or why I don't measure up or why things couldn't possibly work out. Just focus on, this is what I want, and I'm going to get it. And I'm determined to do what it takes to get what I want.

Teena Evert 25:38

Well, I'm sure that served you well, with all that you have accomplished in your life so far.

Sonia Frontera 25:44

I didn't always feel that way in the sense that, like I said before, I felt like I had betrayed myself by by not pursuing my dream of being a writer, I think that ultimately, life unfolds in perfection. And I think I am where I'm supposed to be right now and where I have been meant to be all along. But I wish I had been more fearless and bold and follow my passion, just without any reservations.

Teena Evert 26:13

Hmm. Well, I'm really glad that you're doing that now. I also have a passion for writing, perhaps it's a way to be more fully expressed. And I would love to perhaps step into being more bold and fearless and making that happen. So thank you for that inspiration.

Sonia Frontera 26:36

Go for it.

Teena Evert 26:37

Yeah. All right. So the next question you may have answered, but it's in order to gain confidence and build a meaningful career, what would be the one thing that you would recommend our listeners to do?

Sonia Frontera 26:49

I think the most important thing, what served me the best was always looking to enhance your skill set. And I, I absolutely congratulate myself on having done that intuitively, because nobody really told me to do that. I don't think it's the kind of thing that they teach you in school. But I always tried to learn more. I, I went to other managers, for instance, when I was in GE late and my job was in jeopardy, I went around the office asking other managers, how can I help you and volunteer for project, start to learn more and make myself useful, and that is invaluable. You build allowances um alliances and, and building networks and creating skills that are useful in other arenas and give you a broader resume. So when you are looking for other opportunities, you have more to show for yourself, plus the fact that you're a versatile employee.

Teena Evert 27:50

Yeah, it sounds like you are naturally engaged and proactive. You are you are seeking and open and ready for opportunities.

Sonia Frontera 28:01

That's the way I was raised. I am from Puerto Rico. And our moms always, you know, said whenever you go to a house or whenever you show up somewhere, is there anything I can do to help? And that is my mindset. And it has been ingrained? And it has served me well, in many, many ways.

Teena Evert 28:17

Absolutely. I feel like that is a very natural part of just how you are, how you move through life. And it is a strength for sure. And it's it's empowering to others just in our conversation, it's coming through. There's this the positive outlook that you have, maybe that's connected to your faith, and that's just pulled you through the adversity that you've had and also has allowed you to guide and empower others. And now you're doing it through your writing as well. So that's wonderful.

Sonia Frontera 28:55

I'm happy, this is you know, my whole career journey has been no, not linear. But it has brought me to a full circle. And I'm delighted at you know, the stage in my life. I feel like I'm a late bloomer, but I'm blooming,

Teena Evert 29:10

You are blooming and it's never too late to bloom.

Sonia Frontera 29:12


Teena Evert 29:13

Never. The last question is in order to help people who feel stuck, stuck in their career, stuck in their job or maybe even a job search process. What would be the one tip or strategy for them to get unstuck today?

Sonia Frontera 29:31

I like going to people who know more than I do. People who are successful. And you can do that through mentorships or joining an association where you can network and my favorite and this is something that I do constantly just try to get inspiration from people who are gifted at sharing their knowledge, their expertise and raising your spirits. I, I'm a junkie, a self help junkie, I'm always listening to teachers on YouTube, you know, from people in the 50s, like Earl Nightingale and and Think and Grow Rich Napoleon Hill and Tony Robbins. And my favorite is Jack Canfield. So I'm always listening to that positive stuff because it keeps you in the zone. You know, instead of leaving you stuck feeling, sorry for yourself or thinking there's no options, you have access to that wisdom that keeps you up when when life situations are actually bringing you down.

Teena Evert 30:42

I feel like when I ask my guests this question, what is a common theme is to connect, connect with other people, connect to something that inspires you. And when you're stuck, and you don't feel like you have choice? You're really stuck. So looking for what you always have choice? What are the options? And how do you connect? that you shared a bit about that just naturally in your response just now.

Sonia Frontera 31:13

Yeah, and I have to tell you, whenever I'm feeling down, I just reached to Jack Canfield. And listening to to his success principles, trainings, they're just like, so empowering. And you just feel so light and like you can do anything. And you need to have that go to resource that is available for you at any time. I think it's, it's priceless. Because you know that you may have dark nights of the soul, but there's that little ray of sunshine that is going to come through and pull you out of that, you know, rut, get you out of your stuck situation, or mindset. It's a mindset, you know, it's not really a situation, sometimes we get stuck, because we need that. We need that adversity to be able to grow because otherwise we get complacent. You know, sometimes when we have that jump that situation that's too comfortable, too familiar? Or too easy. We don't have any need to expand. And then you stop growing. And that's not good.

Teena Evert 32:25

Yeah, that's another another way we can feel stuck or bored, disconnected. So always finding the what is it for you that's going to uplift you and inspire you.

Teena Evert 32:36

Sonia, what is a good way or the best way for our listeners to learn more about you and to connect with you?

Sonia Frontera 32:45

The best way to connect with me is through my website, www.soniafrontera.com and there you can find links to all my social media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. And you can learn more about my books and my projects and inspirational materials.

Teena Evert 33:05

Well, wonderful. I'll be sure to put that link in the show notes. And also, I'll probably put a link to your author page on Amazon which beautifully displays all of your writings. Love your published books. Is there perhaps one more golden nugget of wisdom you'd like to share with our listeners?

Sonia Frontera 33:28

Whatever you do, persevere, the most important thing is to stick it out no matter what adversity or obstacles you might find your way. Just keep going. Don't quit. Don't never give up on your dreams.

Teena Evert 33:41

Never give up on your dreams. Thank you, Sonia. It's been such a pleasure to have you on The Confident Careerist Podcast.

Sonia Frontera 33:49

Thank you so much for having me, Teena, I really enjoyed it.

Teena Evert 34:01

Seeking work and building a career that excites you, gives you energy each day and makes a positive impact in the world takes time. But the effort is worth it. Get the professional help you need to build a career and create a life that you love by visiting Teenaevert.com.

Sonia Frontera 34:23

Be kind to yourself if you're not kind to yourself who will be?

Teena Evert 34:27

True. That's so true.

Teena Evert 34:32

This episode of The Confident Careerist Podcast has ended, but be sure to share, subscribe, rate and review so that we can continue to bring you the best content and head over to Teenaevert.com for additional information and resources.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

You need to be kind to yourself if you’re not kind to yourself who will be?

– Sonia Frontera

Meet Sonia Frontera, she is a family lawyer practicing divorce and immigration law, empowerment trainer, and bestselling authorRelationship Solutions: Effective Strategies to Heal Your Heart and Create the Happiness You Deserve. She is passionate about empowering people to turn their adversity into fuel for personal growth.