Every second you spend thinking about what somebody else has is taking away from time that you could create something for yourself.

Gary Vaynerchuck
“In the long run, what you become while you are trying to get the victory is more important than the victory itself. It’s just unfortunate that sometimes you can’t recognize that while you are immersed in the struggle.”
@damon_moore
3/22/2017

Don’t Just Send A Dozen Roses

Be a little creative next time you want to give your guy or girl a dozen roses. Make sure that one of the roses is a different color from the rest. Then attach a note that says something along these lines: “You’re the one who stands out from the rest.”

Be sure to post a comment and let me know what response you received.

The Three People You Have to Forgive to Make 2017 Your Best Year

When I talk to my friends, relatives, clients, and prospective employees about their lives, they often recount the ways that they have been wronged by someone at some point in life. It happens so often that I am convinced that everyone has been wronged at some point, in some way, by someone.

It is rare to find someone who has made it through childhood without being mistreated by another child or relative. It is more rare to find someone who has made it through his or her 20s or 30s without encountering bad relationships or employers who alter his or her philosophy of life. People get knocked down. People encounter adversity. It is an unfortunate part of living that is certain to occur over and over and over again. But life’s challenges do not have to break your spirit. There is something you can do in 2017 to change the course of your life.

Forgive and Be Free

The first step to freeing yourself is to free others through the act of forgiveness. For some, forgiving others is a hard thing to do. Some have difficulty forgiving others because they use the anger and resentment they feel as motivation. For others, forgiveness is a challenge because it is easier to blame others than to forgive others and accept personal responsibility for their positions in life.   No matter the reason for refusing to forgive, the effects of holding negative energy cannot outweigh the benefits of complete forgiveness.

I advocate forgiving everyone who either has or is causing you to have negative feelings about yourself or others. However, there are three types of people that I will discuss in the paragraphs that follow.

These are three types of people that you need to forgive.

Parents

You have to forgive your parents. I am sure you know that your parents made mistakes when they raised you. But you should keep a few things in mind. First, except for those rare parents who had everything figured out before their children were born, parents are just ordinary people trying to figure out who they are while also raising their kids. Parents are flawed. And their children tend to place unrealistic expectations on them all the time. Second, in my experience most parents sincerely want their children to thrive in life but do not know how to make that happen. Third, to the extent that we are unwilling to forgive our parents for their past actions, we hamper the potential of our future relationships with our parents. It is hard to really value a parent (or anyone) when you openly or secretly resent the person for not meeting a standard that you set for the person.

Romantic Partners

The second type of person you have to forgive is what I call romantic partners: boyfriends, girlfriends, ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, husbands, and wives. Many people endure tremendous emotional pain and suffering in their relationships and marriages. Even in “good” relationships, you may find yourself doing things (moving, having or not having children, accepting or quitting a job, etc.) you did not want to do, because you thought it was good for the relationship. If the relationship fails, then you carry that experience into future relationships. And your future romantic partner(s) will suffer from your efforts to make sure that you do not make the same mistakes that you made in your previous relationship.

Learning from mistakes is a sign of personal growth. Staying guarded in relationships because of past pain may keep you safe, but it will also keep you from getting the best out of life.

I once heard someone use an analogy to boats that seems appropriate here. The person said you can tie a boat to the dock and keep it safe, but boats are designed to sail, not sit in docks. And so it is with your own life. By forgiving your romantic partner(s), you untie yourself. You free yourself to do what you were designed to do.

Yourself

Finally, you must forgive yourself. You have probably done some things that hurt yourself and others at various points in your life. I suspect that you did some of those things on purpose and some of those things by accident. To the extent that you are punishing yourself for the things that you did, you are hampering your ability to grow. If you truly regret the things that you did, then it is unlikely that you will repeat the behavior. So let go and grow.

Conclusion

Let me know what you think about what I am saying. Feel free to use the comment section. If you want to be among the first to know when I provide any additional information, then please subscribe or sign up to receive my future messages.

I recently watched an interesting speech that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg delivered for TED Talks.  Sandberg provides the following advice for those women who are interested in having children and staying in the workforce: (1) sit at the table; (2) make your partner a real partner; and (3) don’t leave before you leave.

This would be a great speech to watch with your team, take notes, and then discuss.

What You Need to Know about Judges to Win Your Custody Case – If You Are a Man

The other day, someone asked me whether I have ever seen a man win custody of his children in court.  Yes, I have.  It does not happen often; however, it happens more often than men think it happens.  If you are a man and would like to win your custody case, then keep reading.

This is my theory on the way judges make decisions in child custody cases.    Judges want to make sure that they make the right ruling.  Or to say it the way a former judge told me a couple of years ago: “I want to make sure I get it right.”  Part of getting it right involves applying the law of the state to the facts of the case.  Judges use their own life experiences to determine how the law applies to the facts.  Judges also bring certain biases – and prejudices — to the bench with them.  One of those biases is that a child belongs with his or her mother – particularly in the child’s early years of life.

Although judges have that bias, they do not like to consider themselves biased.   So they look for opportunities to award custody to the father, because doing so allows them to say to themselves:  “I am not biased against fathers.  Just the other day I gave a father custody of the children.”

Now, a judge is not going to make a ruling against his or her bias for just any case.  It has to be a special case.  It has to be the kind of case in which the facts cause a reasonable person to say: “What kind of mother is that?”

No, it is not enough for the man to be a great father (unless the man is a great father whose teenaged children tell the judge they want to live with him).  Great fathers – with nothing else  – typically  get standard possession and child support.  If you want to be the parent that determines where the children reside, you have to show the judge two things: (1) you are a great father and (2) she is not a great mother.  As a tie goes to the house in a game of black jack, so too a tie goes to the mother in a custody battle.

So how do you show a judge you are a great father and she is not a great mother?  Well, to show that you are a great father, you must do the things they great fathers do. Let’s start with a checklist. You need to be able to articulate the role that you play in providing for each child’s hygiene, meals and food, sleep schedule, education, emotional nurturing, healthcare, entertainment, playtime activity, and miscellaneous needs.  You also need to be able to discuss the future that you envision for your child and the steps that you will take to bring that vision to reality.  You will see why in a moment.

In most states, judges are directed to determine child custody by considering a number of factors. For example, in Texas, judges make child custody decisions by determining what they believe is in the best interest of the child. Judges are supposed to consider several factors when determining what is in the best interest of the child.  My non-exhaustive list of factors includes the following: (1) the desires of the child; (2) the emotional and physical needs of the childnow and in the future; (3) the emotional and physical danger to the child now and in the future; (4) the parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody; (5) the plans for the child by these individuals; (6) the stability of the home; (7) the acts or omissions of the parent that may indicate that the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one; and (8) any other factor that is important to the judge.  (Note: If you are a reader who has a custody case in a state other than Texas, then you should do a search query using phrases such as, “child custody factors in [insert state]” to figure out what standard and factors your judge will apply to your case.)

By creating the checklist and writing down the role you’ve played in raising each child – and the role you intend to play — you position yourself to be able to address the factors that the judge will consider.

While you are busy gathering proof of your greatness as a father, do not forget to gather information that focuses on the mother’s faults. As I suggested above, if you are going to win your custody case, you are going to have to present information about the mother in a way that convinces the judge that she is not a great mother.  Winning does not require a complete assassination of her character; however, you will have to show her parenting abilities in a negative light.

While gathering your evidence, you should keep in mind that her “issues” will only be relevant to the extent that they impact the child. To use a somewhat extreme example, evidence that the mother of your school-aged child works as a stripper from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. is not as helpful as evidence that the mother strips from 4:00 p.m. – midnight would be.  Can you see how one could have a greater impact on the mother’s ability to parent?

Here are some other questions that you might want to ask yourself about the mother of your child. Would your child rather live with you than with his or her mother? Does your work schedule provide more opportunity for you to spend time with the children?  Has she failed to give your children their medications? Has she ever struck your child so hard that she left marks?  Does she mentally or physically abuse your child?  Are your children scared of her current boyfriend or girlfriend? Has she ever failed to supervise your child?  Does she leave your child with inappropriate sitters? Is she late picking up your child from school or activities? Is she late delivering your child to school or activities? Does she miss important events in your child’s life? Does she fail to use car seats for children who are supposed to be placed in them?  Does she have a valid driver’s license? Does she have any pending cases that involve alcohol and/or drugs?  Does she use alcohol or drugs around the children?  Has she ever disobeyed a court order? The more of these questions you can answer with a “yes,” the better position you will be in during a trial.

Once you present overwhelming evidence that you have provided for the child’s emotional needs and will do so in the future, and you present evidence that the mother is not a great mother to the child, you will be the right man to benefit from the judge’s desire to prove something to himself.  Good luck.  And feel free to comment below if you need me to clarify anything for you.