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.

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.


Follow-up to Your Mid-Year Check-in. Time to Reassess Your Goals


Goals. On Track?

Goals. Reassess.

Goals. Progress.

Okay, we did a quick Mid-year check-in at the beginning of July.  Now we are at the end of July and and I thought it would be great to support your progress by checking in again.  Did you get started on those goals yet? Have you followed through on the goals you set for yourself in January? Are you on track with what you wanted to take on this month? Have you made the daily effort to do just one little thing that moves you closer to your dream? If not, why not?

What do you need to do to get on track?  The year is half way over, and you still have time to get started fulfilling that dream you identified in January.  But, you need to get busy–now!

What does it take? Well if you are like me it starts with identifying what gets in the way of my doing what I said I wanted to do.  The reasons are many, and yet most of them, when honestly assessed, are not valid.  For example, often used excuses are family commitments, work, lack of money, lack of time, just to name a few.  But if we are really honest with ourselves, with 24-hours in a day, it is not hard to carve out 1-hour a day to take action on your goal.  Another strategy that helps me is scheduling that hour a day.  Literally putting it on the calender’s from _ to __.  Out pf sight out of mind.  Another helpful tip is to break the tasks into small manageable baby steps.  Believe it or not, everything I have ever accomplished in my life got started with one small step.Whether it’s losing weight, writing a book, learning a new skill,getting a better job, svaing money, managing your debt, all goals start with one small step.

Okay, get busy!


Progress is taking an action–any positive action that moves you in the direction of your goal. So what if you are not where you want to be, just get started. Spending too much time in a regretful mode is not productive. It slows you down and keeps you focused on what isn’t instead of what can be. As an alternate, acknowledge what you have done and reassess your position.

Good News!

The good news is that there is still plenty of time until the end of the year. And now is the time to create a plan for moving forward.  The key is to identify the necessary changes and then be willing to do the work. Maybe you need to do a little more of something, or a little bit less, or revamp the plan altogether.

Remember, it’s an esteemable act to do a periodic check-in regarding your goals no matter the time of year.

I’m Francine Ward, Author, Speaker, Attorney encouraging you to stretch far beyond your comfort zone—just for today!

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 page, Twitter Law Page, or on LinkedIn.




Everything Happens for a Reason


“Why me?”

Forgiveness. Be Grateful.

Be Grateful. Dreams. 

Sometimes when we’re disappointed because we didn’t get an outcome we wanted, it’s hard to understand why it happened. It seems unfair that we try so hard to achieve our goals with little visible success. It’s especially hard if we did our very best. “Why me?” we ask. “Why is this happening to me? What did I do wrong?”

Nothing happens by accident.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in this world by accident, even if in the moment we can’t make sense of the experiences. There are often two levels of reasoning. There is a logical, secular explanation, such as we weren’t prepared in the way we need to be or we could have made some different choices. But there is also a spiritual, metaphysical accounting that suggests that whatever happens was for our highest and best good, regardless of outward appearances to the contrary.

The spiritual reasons could be we weren’t emotionally ready to go to the next level. We had more inner work to do, there were more important things to attend to before our dreams could be realized, it wasn’t the right time, or had we realized our dream, we would have missed another opportunity that we needed to experience.

How do you know whether to let a dream go or keep at it?

And if you let go, how do you know when it’s time to try again? There is no one-size fits-all answer. There are many factors to be considered, including timing. If you’re at this crossroads take into account the following:

  • Are you consumed with making your dream happen?
  • How long have you worked to make it happen? How many attempts have you made?
  • How does your obsession with making it happen affect your loved ones? Sometimes the price we pay is worth it – and sometimes it’s not. Only you can decide.
  • What are the financial implications? Health implications? Are you using your last dime, your family’s savings, or your rent money? Are you getting sick? These are questions to consider.
  • Is it really your dream to make this happen? If so, sometimes it’s worth everything to keep the dream alive.
  • Does your life or livelihood depend on the success of this experience?
  • How do you know when you’re ready to resume the process? The answer varies. However, the amount of time since your last attempt, whether you’ve been able to acknowledge your mistakes, whether you’ve been able to indentify lessons learned, and whether you’ve been able to reach out for help are all factors to be weighed.

Today allow yourself to think through what would happen if you put your dream on hold temporarily. You may not think that you have the time or that you’ve already invested too much money to stop now. But perhaps if you continue as you are, more money and time will go to waste. Sometimes allowing time to come between you and the experience gives you a chance to regroup, reassess your strategy, and become spiritually and emotionally strong again.

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.

Walk Through Fear


Fearless. Courage.

Fear. Courage.I’ve always been fearless, or so I thought. And as long as I had a drink or a drug in my hand, that was true. Chemicals gave me the courage to do the impossible, such a talk to people, feel my feelings, ask for what I needed, take what I wanted, be friendly and sociable, speak up in a group, or simply function in the big scary world.

However, when my chemical support was removed, my courage disappeared. I felt helpless, unprotected, and unable to cope. It’s amazing how easy it is to be strong when you’ve got drugs in your system. At other times, it was the power of a group that made me able to do the seemingly impossible. Sadly, I also did things in groups that I would never have done alone.

Courage is a powerful state of being, and when used for good, it is an empowering consciousness to behold. I used to think courage was an absence of fear. I held my chest out pompously and claimed to be afraid of nothing. Today I know courage is a willingness to admit I’m afraid and then take the action to get through the fear, without the aid of chemicals and without purposefully hurting anyone along the way.

Why is fear so powerful?

Because we deny its existence. We pretend we’re not afraid, even when we are. It’s the only emotion that convinces us that we don’t have the emotion. So the more we deny it, the more powerful it becomes.

Fear shows up in many ways.

In Alcoholics Anonymous, the Big Book, we read that fear reveals itself in one hundred different self-centered forms. So how do we recognize it? Here’s a short list of phrases we use at substations for the word fear:

  • I’m nervous.
  • I’m embarrassed.
  • I can’t do it.
  • It’s too hard.
  • I really didn’t want to do it anyway.
  • I was told I did not have to do it.

Regardless of what we call it, fear, by any other name, is still fear. So how do we walk through fear?

  • Acknowledge the fear.
  • Break the task into small pieces.
  • Feel the fear and do something away.
  • Use your faith. If you don’t have faith, find a friend who will encourage you to take action.

Today I invite you to walk through something you’re afraid to do.

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.

Failure is a Part of Life


Failure. Making Mistakes.   

I have failed at many things in my life – driver’s tests, school exams, relationships, but nothing compared to failing the New York State Bar Exam. It was significant because this was the first time I had really worked so hard to accomplish a goal, the first time I put my all into something. Everything I had went into passing, and from this experience I heard firsthand how it felt to fail – and I failed miserably. I failed the New York Bar not once but twice, before passing and going on to become a licensed attorney in the State of New York.

 Reach a Goal.

Have you ever worked really hard to reach a goal, only to fail? Have you ever done your very best and it just wasn’t good enough? Have you ever sacrificed everything for a dream and it did not turn out the way you wanted it to? If you answered yes to any of these, allow me to congratulate you for having the courage to try something new and risk failure! But why are so many of us afraid to risk failure?

Many of us grow up believing that failing and making mistakes are the worst things that can happen to us. As children, we’re discouraged from making mistakes, so we never have to learn from them. If it  appears we’re about to make a mistake, our parents from teachers quickly either stop the process. If they can’t, they try to take away the pain rather than allowing us to experience it in the moment, then showing us how to get up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again.

We’re taught that if we fail, life is over, or that we won’t succeed, or that people won’t like us, or that people will look down on us, or that making a mistake is a sign of weakness. So we hold on to our unconscious fear of failure, thus giving it power to direct our thoughts and energy.

Create a New Picture of Ourselves.

What we need to create is a new picture of ourselves, a new belief that we are successes, not failures. The worse thing in life is never to try. Further, we must imagine ourselves living the life we want, rather than consciously or unconsciously attracting the experience of failure. What do you believe about your ability to succeed?

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.