2014 Changemaker: Barb Greenberg

In 1998, as their daughter lay in what would be a 10-day coma in an Australian hospital, fighting (successfully) for her life after a car accident, Barb Greenberg began to notice that the man she had been married to for decades was not the man she had hoped he could be.

Greenberg realized her own identity had been eroded under an ongoing life of trying to please someone who was difficult to please – her self-esteem had largely disappeared. Years later, she felt empathy for the woman she had become, who in her 40s couldn’t even respond to a simple question about her favorite color without worrying that she’d offer the wrong answer.

After her daughter recovered, Greenberg set about fighting for her own life – reclaiming her identity. She asked for a divorce. It was a difficult, messy, emotionally unstable time. She worried about her future. But when her daughter asked if the accident had ruined her parents’ marriage, Greenberg said no, it had saved her mother’s life.

She is in the second year of helping other women rediscover themselves during and after divorce. Her venture, Rediscover U, offers weekly supportive conversations, expert speakers, articles, social events, and carefully selected resources designed to help women reclaim themselves.

“It’s a good thing I had a really difficult divorce,” she says with a laugh. “At the time, I felt like I was drowning. Once I got on dry land, I wanted to turn back and help pull other women onto a more solid foundation as well.”

Practical decisions about mortgages, investments, health insurance and other important life details are difficult to make in a time of emotional struggle. Had she had the kind of resources and experts she offers at Rediscovering U, Greenberg says, it would have helped her make wiser decisions.

Her overarching goal is to help women learn how to trust themselves. “It is empowering when you find your courage again,” she says. “You don’t need a prince to rescue you – you’ve rescued yourself.

“That’s not his job,” Greenberg adds.

Whether in relationships or in work environments, women can wither when “you’re overlooked or disregarded.” In the Rediscovering U group settings, Greenberg feels inspired every week by the strength and courage of the women who are “finding their way back.”

When women begin to holistically heal from belittling messages, Greenberg believes, families will heal, communities will heal, and the possibilities for strength will be everywhere.

She knew she was heading in the right direction with Rediscovering U when people started lining up, unasked, to help her journey. “You know you must be going the right way when opportunities start opening up.”

With a team around her, Greenberg’s business is finding a structure that she intends to eventually replicate for women outside of the Twin Cities.

A diminutive woman with a nurturing presence, Greenberg pointed her fingers in toward the center of her chest. “We need to reclaim our power here, inside,” she says, “instead of pointing our power out that way. Once we move in to our core, people respond to you differently. Things begin to shift.”

FFI: For more information about participating, sharing with friends who might need the service or sponsorship, go to RediscoveringU.com
Meet-up group: www.meetup.com/Minneapolis-Women-Divorce-Group
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rediscoveringu
Social gatherings: rediscoveringu.com/ girls-night-out