Pre-Judging. Friendship. Open-Minded.

Friendship. Don't Judge a book by it's cover.

Friendship. Don’t Judge a book by it’s cover.

A while back, I was on a flight to Hawaii where I sat next to a man wearing a knit skullcap, sweat suit, sneakers, and dark glasses. As I do whenever someone sits next to me, I said hello. But then, I immediately thought that he must be one of those hip-hoppers. And because if my innate belief about hip-hoppers, I formed an opinion that was negative. I assumed he wasn’t smart, was into drugs, and was denigrating toward women. So, while I was initially courteous, I had nothing more to say.

There was silence between us, except when I expressed the obligatory ‘excuse me’ when I passed him to go to the lavatory. Then ninety minutes into the flight the attendant offered dessert and an after dinner drink. He surveyed his choices: hot fudge, sundae, cheese cake, or amaretto. Laughingly he said, ‘I’ll pass, thanks, I’m on my way to work.’ On his way to work from San Francisco to Hawaii, and no cheesecake or sundae? What could he be doing? Curious as to what he meant, I asked him what he did for a living?

He replied that he was a mariner.

‘What’s that?’ I asked.

For the next thirty minutes I listened to his stories of living at sea for four months at a time. And I actually learned some new things!  As I listened, in the back of my mind I was embarrassed at how I had prejudged him. I thought to myself ‘how often I do that?’ How often do I make assumptions about people based on the way they look, on how they dress, the car they drive, where they live, who they love, where they went to school, their skin color, their familial associations, or their religious beliefs?

As I thought about it, I realized that I do it way too often. Why is it so easy to constantly judge others? Because there is a payoff, and to many people, it is worth it. When you are judging other people, it feeds into an existing belief that you are either better or worse than they are.  Either way, you are the loser.

There is always a price to pay for pre-judging people. Your pool of available friendships is limited. Your client base and your team of business associates are narrowed. Your knowledge is inadequate because your source of information is restricted to only those who think like you. Finally, judgment makes you angry, and anger is unattractive because it eats away at your spirit.

So be honest with yourself.  How often do you rush to judgment? Your intentions may be good and you may sincerely believe that you are open-minded and judge everyone equally. But I invite you to go beyond your defensiveness and rationalizations, and really examine your beliefs, assumptions, and behaviors about people you perceive as being different.

In the next twenty-four hours, I invite you to be aware of how many times you prejudge people you come into contact with. Just pay attention to how often you look at someone and then form a negative opinion about him or her without having all the facts. If you are honest with yourself, the results may be quite shocking.

Now what can you do to be less judgmental? For one thing, you’ll be less likely to rush to judgment if can try to see something in everyone that you can personally relate to. For at least a moment, put yourself in his or her shoes.  That would be a good start.

Don’t forget it’s an esteemable act to not judge a book by its cover.

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Self-Esteem Comes From Learning From Your Mistakes


There are days when all of our plans go smoothly; we feel in sync with life, everything goes our way. Then there are days when it all falls apart and the best we can do is to ride it out, knowing this too shall pass. We make plans, and our plans take a detour in another direction.

be Silly. Be playful. Enjoy life today.Life’s setbacks are numerous, including dealing with the computer virus or other technology problems, the break up of a relationship, an eviction notice, being late for an important appointment, or an unexpected bill. If you’re having one of those days, here are some suggestions to help you get through the other side:

  • Feel your feelings, every single one of them. Having the courage to own your feelings in the moment helps you to get through to the other side a lot quicker.
  • Journal about your feelings. There’s something magical about putting pen to paper right from your feeling place. Don’t edit your words; no one will see this except you.
  • Pray. Ask for God’s guidance. The idea here is to connect with that still, small voice within you, whatever you call it.  There are no rules as to how you connect. What I’ve found to be useful is to find a quiet space. When there is a lot of noise around you, it’s hard to tap into your intuitive voice, the one that steers you in the direction that’s appropriate for you.
  • If prayer doesn’t work for you, read something positive. This allows you to create a space within yourself so that the solution can enter. What usually works for me is reading Step 10 followed by Step 6 in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, or if the book is not close at hand, I generally listen to inspirational tapes.
  • Call a friend who will allow you to vent. Left to your own thoughts, you can get more toxic. It’s hard to solve the problem with the consciousness that helped to create the problem. The idea of having someone shed light in the form of a solution or a suggestion can be helpful.  Sharing in a non-judgmental environment allows you to hear yourself, which ultimately helps you to get on with the business of living.
  • When all else fails, take a nap or watch a mindless television program purely for its entertainment value. Clear your mind long enough for sanity to return.
  • Have the courage to ask the tough questions. One day, after my entire computer was destroyed because of a virus, I ranted about people who have nothing better to do then create viruses. I then needed to ask myself the following; could I have done something differently? Yes, all of my files should have been backed up. Were there red flags I didn’t pay attention to or chose not to see? Yes. My computer has been acting strange for a while. At the very least, I should have backed everything up when I first noticed there was a problem.
  • Get into the solution. With a writing deadline and two client engagements scheduled within a week of the occurrence, I couldn’t afford to pitty myself for a long. What could I do? I told my clients what happened and asked that they resend their documents. I re-created presentation materials as best I could. I checked my laptop to see whether I had duplicate documents, and in some cases, I did. I ordered a new computer and saved everything on my laptop to a storage drive. I learned from my mistake.

This week, you have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes too. What went wrong today or this week? Write about it and allow yourself to feel whatever feelings come up. Then see what can you do to get into the solution, what action can you take to minimize the damage done? What can you do to prevent this from happening again?

Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on FacebookTwitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groupsGoogle+ Circles. Feel free to subscribe to my newsletter.

Daily Meditation. Daily Devotional. Daily Reflections.


Daily Meditation. Daily Devotional. Daily Reflections.

Daily Meditation. Daily Devotional.

Daily Meditation. Daily Devotional.

We’ve all heard the popular quote “stop and smell the roses.”  Well this also applies to things like your daily meditation, daily devotional readings, daily reflections.  It is one thing to do these things and just go through the motions. But what do you really get from your daily meditation? How much do you really take in and absorb, when reading your daily devotional? When reading your Daily Reflections, how much do you really get out of it?

For years, I faithfully read several daily meditation books.  Reading a daily devotional became a part of my ongoing spiritual practice.  It was as much a part of my routine as brushing my teeth and taking a shower.  After my morning readings, I would sit quietly and digest the material, allowing what I read to sink into my consciousness. This was a great way to start my day and proceed with a clear mind on what I wanted out of life. Reading my daily meditation and working out was a great way to start every day.


I Got Careless …

Over the years, I somehow began to get careless. I rushed through my readings and daily mediation without really absorbing them, without fully taking in the meanings and lessons they offered. As a result, I missed the essence of what keeps me grounded.

Do you read, meditate or perhaps do yoga? If you do, are you just going through the motions and thinking about what you have to do next, or are you there in the moment learning and benefiting as much as you can? So many of us have such hectic lives that we don’t even know how to relax anymore. We don’t allow ourselves to chill out for even a short period of time and quiet ourselves – we don’t take time to see the roses, much less smell them!

The Power is Getting Grounded.

There is great power in allowing yourself to get grounded through reading daily inspirational material.  The reading of daily mediation and daily devotional material offers a power that can change your day.  That simple act of daily morning connectedness offers a power that can make sense of what is currently happening in your life.  However, if we simply go through the motions and never really process what we read, how can it really help us?

So please remember that you will get out of your inspirational readings and meditations exactly what you put into them. The more you practice absorbing the material and quieting your mind, the easier it will become, and the greater the benefits will be.

Feel free to join my conversation on FacebookFacebook Esteemableacts Fan Page, or my Facebook Law Page, you can also interact with me on my Twitter Esteemable Acts pageTwitter Law Page, or on LinkedIn.


Self-esteem. Wendy Williams Show. Terry O’Quinn. I love you.


Wendy Williams Show. Terry O’Quinn. I Love You.

I love you.

I love you.

In a recent interview on the Wendy Williams Show, Terry O’Quinn of Lost and 666 Park Avenue fame (and an upcoming new show Gang Related) made a statement that compelled me to write this post. He said,

“At least once a day, we should have someone say to us, I love you.” He continued,

“We should never go a day without hearing the words, I love you.”

Self-esteem comes from doing Esteemable Acts, and it’s an Esteemable Act to tell someone you love them.

I love You. Self esteem.

I thought to myself, OMG, how awesome. How sweet it would be to have someone say genuinely that they love me every single day. Then in my next breathe I thought, but I do. Richard tells me every day how much he loves me. And, since I believe love is really an action word, not a static noun, I also know that Mango and Kiwi show me every day how much they care. Sleeping with me, letting me pet them, rubbing their bodies against my face, letting me take pictures of them, keeping me company when I feel sad, looking me in the face with a sweet meow, and purring whenever I touch them. Those are just little ways they say to me, “Mom, I love you.”

Esteemable Acts.

Because of Terry O’Quinn’s statement, I took my thinking one step further and asked myself, who did I say I loved today? So after I post this blog entry, I will let 10 people that I truly love know that I truly love them. What about you? Have you heard I love you today? Did it come from their heart? Have you told someone that you love them, and been truthful about it?

Who can you say I love you to today and really mean it? I invite you to call email, text, or communicate in any way you desire how much you love someone. I challenge you to find 5 people and do it.

Let me hear your thoughts? Share them on my Esteemable Acts Facebook Page, my Esteemable acts Twitter Page or in one of my LinkedIn Groups. For now, I am Francine Ward doing my part to create a better world—just for today.


Self esteem. Motivational Quote. Balance. a Balanced Life.


Personal Growth is a Healthy Choice.

Balance. a Balanced Life. Self esteem.

Balance. a Balanced Life. Self esteem.

On almost any given day, you will hear throngs of women crying that they want balance, a balanced life.  The collective roar is deafening and almost always, “I don’t have enough ‘Me’ time”,  “People expect so much of me”,  “I am there for everyone, but no one is there for me”, “I’m so tired”, or any number of other phrases that suggest that we make time for everyone but ourselves.

Balance—like anything worth having—requires work!

It requires effort, courage, and a conscious intent to make it happen.  It also requires sacrifice. If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you will keep getting what you’ve been getting.  At some point, if we really want balance, we need to be willing to set boundaries and stick to them. How often, as women, do we expect others to do for us (protect our boundaries), when we are unwilling to do that for ourselves? Way too often!

Whenever women talk about balance (or the lack thereof), almost always the fact that we don’t have it is someone else’s fault—so we choose to think.

For years, I fell into that victim category. Then one day I got sick and tired, of being sick and tired, and a courageous friend of mine who was tired of hearing me complain endlessly (without doing any footwork) said, “Francine if you are not at fault, nothing will change. If you are at fault, there’s HOPE!”  What a silly and ridiculous thing to say, I thought to myself.  But as the years passed and I matured emotionally, I discovered no truer a statement. That is a motivational quote that has stuck with me.

So long as I blame someone else for my condition—regardless of what that condition was—I would have no peace and no recovery.  I’d forever be a slave waiting for someone to save me from myself.  I would forever stay stuck in the mire waiting for someone else to change and fix the situation.  But if I acknowledge that I play a part in what happens to me, then I also have the power to change the conditions I don’t like.

I have made some tough choices in my life, because I truly want balance.  I stopped  doing certain things, stopped allowing others to create urgencies in my life, I plan, give myself time to do things that need to be done, create playtime with  friends, and said NO to many things others’ felt compelled to agree to.

I don’t believe we can have it all, and if you try, you will end up sacrificing something.  Buying into the notion that you can have it all is a set up for failure, disappointment, regret, and guilt.  Life is always about choices, and at some point we need to grow up and make some tough choices—that’s IF, we really want a balanced life.

I’m Francine Ward, attorney, author, speaker, and a woman who knows she cannot have it all, and, grateful for it.  Join the conversation on my Esteemable Acts Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, or in one of my LinkedIn Groups.