It can feel like the hardest thing in the world to begin dating again after having your heart broken. Whether you are recently single, separated or divorced, it can take practice and courage to believe that fun and romance are possible for you. I am grateful to interview Tara Bradford who is a Certified Life Coach specializing in supporting women bounce back after break-ups and divorce. Tara is highly empathetic, wise, empowering and inspiring. She also understands trauma and grief. Tara has spent nearly a decade as a critical care nurse helping individuals and families heal from the worst tragedies.
If you have had some oops moments in dating and are resisting taking new risks romantically, this blog is for you!
Tell us about yourself! Who do you work with? What is your professional background?
I became a life coach by accident. I started my professional career as a registered nurse and when I went into nursing all I knew was that I wanted to help people. I hadn’t really defined what it meant to help people. Over the last 9 years I have helped individuals and families work through tragedies as a critical care nurse and that work has been so meaningful to me. The definition of helping during that time has been literally saving people’s lives. The more I spent time with people who were suffering and families who were grieving the more I realized that most people live life with regrets. It broke my heart to realize that the help I could provide was not the help that people wanted. Helping them at this point felt very reactionary and what they really wanted was to turn back time and make different decisions. It wasn’t until I drastically changed my own life by packing up a couple of suitcases and accepting a temporary travel nurse position in New York City that I realized how I could help people live life with no regrets when they are thriving.
A few months after moving some friends reached out to me to ask me to tell them how I found the courage to do something as brave as moving to a huge city alone where I didn’t have any family and only knew a couple of people. I began helping friends find the strength and confidence do the things they were most afraid of so that they could change their lives for the better too! It wasn’t long before they were telling me that I had to help more people because I had the tools to be able to help other people like them live more fulfilling lives. It was then that I decided to get certified as a high-performance coach and start my coaching practice.
What is your specialty in your coaching practice?
I help women who have gone through a break-up or divorce bounce back from the emotional toll it takes on their lives and careers so that they can feel whole again and get back out into the dating scene with confidence. As a divorcee, I initially isolated myself and was ashamed that my marriage had failed. It wasn’t until I started telling people what had happened that I developed a support system of other people who had been through the same thing. They were able to help me get my immediate needs met like finding a lawyer, moving to a new place, and feeling a little less hopeless. What I really needed help with was building myself back up.
The process of bouncing back would take me 6 years and 2 more relationships where I saw the same patterns that caused my marriage to fail repeat themselves. It wasn’t until I started authentically putting myself out there again that I started meeting the kinds of men that were honest, kind, and not cheating on me or making me feel small and insignificant. I realized how much the emotional trauma from those breakups was holding me back from reaching my full potential and once I figured out how to overcome it myself I knew I needed to help other women do the same (and in much less than the 6 years of trial and error, therapy, and coaching that I went through).
On Instagram we are launching #OoopsInOctober, how to bounce back from making mistakes. In my practice I work with a lot people who come to me during a major transition such as career change or a break-up. Do you have any confidence building tips for people after experiencing a failure?
I help women find themselves again after a major transition in their lives like a break-up or divorce that leaves them wondering how on Earth they will ever be able to trust someone or date again after being out of the dating scene for so long. You’re absolutely right, a lot of it comes down to confidence. A lot of these women are successful in their careers, but this transition has that little voice in their heads telling them that they are not good enough. They find themselves sitting across from men on dates and wondering “Does he like me?” I help them quiet that voice in their heads so instead they can answer the question, “Do I like him?” Being likeable doesn’t come from impressing someone or being everything he is looking for. You are not a mind reader and it would be impossible to know what he is looking for on a first date or even a third date sometimes. People like you when you are easy to be around and when they feel comfortable around you or they feel that you like them. Think about someone you feel really comfortable around and ask yourself why you like spending time with them. What do they do that makes you feel so at ease? It’s likely that they listen, smile, and act genuinely interested in what you have to say by asking thoughtful questions. When we are nervous we tend to start talking about ourselves and instead of listening our minds wander to the next thing we are going to say so there is no awkward silence. Even though it is not our intention it can distract from people really getting to know us and having the chance to connect with us.
What is your favorite part of the work you do?
I love everything about what I do. If I had to describe what it is like to be a coach I would have to say it’s like teaching someone to ride a bike for the first time without training wheels. You are right there with them, maybe even holding the back of the bike to steady it while they get on. Then at a certain point you take the training wheels off and they are soaring. Before they have a chance to be afraid of falling they realize they are doing it and you aren’t helping them anymore. The joy on someone’s face when they hit that turning point where they start believing in themselves is priceless.
What piece of advice or coaching tip do you find yourself sharing most with your clients?
I think the most important lesson any of us can learn is that we are enough and we deserve to have everything we want in this life. No more settling.
Share a success story.
One of my clients came to me when she was feeling really overwhelmed and hopeless. She told me about all of the things she thought she should be doing. She described where she thought she should be in her career and was frustrated as to why she wasn’t there yet. She was also struggling with a manipulative and controlling relationship where she was trying to set boundaries. The person she was trying to distance herself from knew her so well that they also knew exactly what to say to her to knock the wind out of her sails. She felt really vulnerable and as a result had her guard up all the time and found it difficult to trust people again. Through our work together she was able to get her spark back and find those things that really made her tick. Now she feels brave, inspired, and excited for what the future holds for her. She has been promoted within her company, leads a team of others, and has cut ties with the person who was manipulating her so she can feel safe while making room for more meaningful relationships in her life.
Who should contact you? How can they reach out?
I love working with professional women who are tired of going on a ton of first dates that never amount to anything or trying to reinvent themselves after a break-up or divorce. For more information you can reach me at tararaebradford.com/contact
Tara is a certified life coach and the Nursing Quality Specialist for Stroke at NYU Langone Health. She specializes in coaching women who have just gone through a major life transition such as a breakup or a divorce to take control of their lives again. Prior to working at NYU and moving to NYC she spent 8 years as a critical care nurse working with trauma patients. She is passionate about female empowerment and a self love advocate. She lives in Hell’s Kitchen. Visit Tara at www.tararaebradford.com and @tararaebradford (IG) or @tararaebradford.co (FB).