Making the right choice

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We all want to make the right choice. But perhaps the most difficult aspect of making right choices is recognizing that you have the right to choose. It’s often easier for us to see ourselves as victims than empowered men and women who have been given the gift of choice.

Gift of choice.

Portrait of confused and uncertain hispanic woman biting nail on white background and looking at camera

Recently I attended a client-sponsored roundtable discussion where the topic was “how to improve the company’s morale.” In discussing what causes low morale one person after another cited management as the culprit. In an effort to stimulate a different line of thinking, I asked “Are employees ever responsible for their actions, or is it always management’s fault?” Then I said, “It appears that gossip by employees contributes to low morale.” As you can imagine I kindled strong responses in some people. One man spoke up and said, “I don’t want to talk about the individual, I want to talk about management because if they treat us better, we’d act better and we’d enjoy your jobs more.”

Certainly many organizations need improvement. There are countless books on how organizations can improve their cultures and there are consultants who specifically deal with those issues. But be that as it may, we too, play a part in the outcomes we experience. If we use the fact that management doesn’t treat us kindly as an excuse to treat other people unkindly, then we are no better than our managers. Recognizing we have a choice is a key to making right and different choices.

Difficulty making decisions?

If you are having difficulty making a decision, be specific in identifying what gets in your way and be as honest as you can in identifying the barriers between you and making the right choices.

The best way to do that is to ask questions, which will often help you in understand what your choices are. It also puts some time between you and your need to make a decision immediately. But those who ask questions are often perceived as troublemakers. “Why can’t you just leave things alone?” Why do you have to ask so many questions?” Or my might be perceived as stupid, unprepared, or not having it all together. Yet asking questions for clarification is a surefire way to avoid the misunderstanding that come from making assumptions. Have the courage to walk through the fear of what others will think of you.

What can you do today to move you closer to making better choices?

Perhaps it’s to talk to a buddy, or go into meditation so you can listen to your inner voice. Maybe it’s writing out your feelings about a situation, or asking some questions for clarification. Whatever you do, it’s important that you do something.

Choices. Right and Wrong.

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Choices.  Right and Wrong Choices.

Choices. Right and Wrong.

Choices. Right and Wrong.

On any given day we make decisions about everything from what time we wake up in the morning to what time we go to bed at night; from who we will spend our time with, to what we will spend our time doing; from how we will be treated, to what we won’t tolerate. Yes, every day we are faced with a myriad of choices and each choice, regardless of the outcome, moves us closer to or farther away from real and lasting self-esteem. There is always a right and wrong choice, regardless of whether we choose to acknowledge that.

Sometimes the outcome of a decision we make is exactly what we want, but we still don’t feel good about ourselves. Why not? Because some of our choices aren’t the right choices for us in the first place. On the other hand, sometimes the outcome we get is not what we want, but ultimately it was the right decision for us. Right and wrong. Who determines what is right and wrong for us, and what is a right choice?

What’s a right choice?

What’s a right choice and how do you know if you’re making one? A right choice is a decision you make because your intuition tells you it’s the right option for you, regardless of what other people say, or regardless of what your Other Voice tells you.

Your Other Voice is the voice that doesn’t always have your best interest at heart. That voice is more interested in having fun than in doing what’s right for you. It just wants to play, be entertained, and do what’s easy. Your Other Voice is sometimes out to get you, and when given half the chance it convinces you that a right choice is a wrong choice or that a wrong choice is perfectly okay.

Has your Other Voice reared its head today? How has it overpowered your intuitive voice? What questions are you battling to which you know the right answer to but are being pulled in another direction? Take a moment today and think about the answers to these questions.

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.

Unfit Parents. The Good Wife. Iyanla’s Fix My Life. Drug Abuse. Drugs & Children.

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Just because you can have kids, does not mean you should.

Unfit parent. Drugs.

Unfit parents. Drugs.

Often I get complaints about my statement that not all women are fit to be mothers. Some folks seem to believe just because a woman can have children, she should, and just because a man has sperm, he should share it with every woman he desires. Sadly, from a legal perspective, I get to see what happens to the kids. This week I took notice of two outrageous examples that bolster my opinion on this subject.

Unfit Parents. Drug Addict. Effects of Drugs.

The other day there was a news story ,  yet one more example of why I feel that way. A Delaware mother is under arrest after she sent her 4-year old to daycare with a backpack filled with 249 bags of heroin. Innocently, the child promptly began giving out the dangerous drug to her classmates. Whether the mother accidentally gave the kid the backpack or intentionally gave it to her to share with friends in attempt to get the kids hooked, this woman should be in jail forever and she should lose custody of her children, forever!

Not only has this woman endangered her own child, the potential harm she has caused other children is shameful. I am sure there are some will call me harsh, or that she simply made a mistake. Perhaps it was a mistake. However, that doesn’t explain what the woman was doing with 249 bags of heroin in the first place. Was it her intent to sell the drugs? Even if she was simply a user and not a dealer, she is still a danger to her children. This kind of irresponsible behavior can ruin lives regardless of how or why the drugs wound up in her daughter’s backpack.

The Good Wife. Drug Dealers.

It’s no secret that I put pedophiles and drug dealers in the same category. And it’s too bad more of us don’t share this opinion, including people in the entertainment industry. For example, I am very disappointed at the direction one my favorite TV shows has taken in this regard. The Good Wife started as out a great program, but I now find the plot twisting into darkness by glorifying and legitimizing drug lord, Lemond Bishop, played by Mike Colter. We will never get rid of addiction and all the destruction it causes by glamorizing drug dealers. What would happen if one of one of Alicia Florrick’s children wound up hooked on drugs, maybe even drugs supplied by her client? While the portraying the Alicia Florrick character as being a good mom, she is selling out her values for dirty money. And the Good Wife is only one of MANY shows that glamorizes, and thus desensitizes us to crime, drug trafficking, pornography, pimps, pedophilia, explicit sex, and violence.  These shows encourage you to feel sympathy for the “poor dope dealer” who sells drugs to everyone’s kids except yours, or the pimp who looks like the kid next door, or the hooker who is just paying her way through school.  Shows like Breaking Bad, the Sopranos, Sons of Anarchy, Boardwalk Empire, White Collar, Weeds, the Good Wife, and so many more.

Iyanla’s Fix My Life.

Another one from the “just because you can have kids does not mean you should” file.

This week on OWN’s Iyanla’s Fix My Life show there was a segment about a man who had sired 34 children with 17 different women. Maybe one can understand if a person has one child that they cannot care for, or have no intention of caring for, but 34! He should be in jail for committing such a heinous act against God and human kind. Many of his kids have gone on to behave in the same way. Even if he stops his outrageous and irresponsible behavior and gets an overdue vasectomy, the destruction he has caused in so many lives is as sad as it is tragic. Some folks may say that everyone deserves a second chance. Yes, but he had 34 second chances and still has not made it right. He says, “I never considered getting a vasectomy, nor will I, because simply, I don’t want one … I don’t have a problem with what I created.”

Then there’s the matter of the women who gave birth to his 34 children. No doubt, some will feel sorry for them and see them as victims. I say that it’s the kids who are the real victims! The women chose to have unprotected sex with a man who they knew was a bum. Perhaps they thought that this time he would be different, that he would change. It’s hard to believe that they didn’t know who they were dealing with. How is it possible to hide 34 kids from smart women? At what point do these women take responsibility for their actions and lack of judgment?

Supportive Family.

Even with an intact and supportive family, it can still be hard growing up with all the challenges and temptations children face on a daily basis. Then think about the odds of growing up to be a happy and productive adult when born to people who really had no business having children.

Until next time, I’m Francine Wardattorney, coach, author, and speaker.  I invite you to join my conversation on my Esteemable Acts Fan pageEsteemable Acts Twitter feed, or in one of my LinkedIn Groups.

 

Personal Responsibility. Oscar Pistorius. Jason Bohn. Law and Order SVU.

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Personal Responsibility. Jason Bohn.

Personal Responsibility. Oscar Pistorius. Jason Bohn

Personal Responsibility. Oscar Pistorius. Jason Bohn

We just don’t want to take personal responsibility for our actions. And why should we?  As long as we can blame someone else for the choices we make, AND get away with it, why not keep up the good work.

The story of Jason Bohn is one such story.  To be clear, this is NOT the golfer Jason Bohn.

Once upon a time there was a wealthy lawyer, with an Ivy League background, who had it all.  Or at least at first glance, he appeared to have it all.  But we know that things are not always as they appear, and even if they are, there is someone to blame when things don’t turn out like you plan. His story is very similar to that of Oscar Pistorius , Jared Remy, Jovan Belcher, and countless other men who killed their girlfriends and wives. What is up with this–everyday in the news there is another account.  But the story of Bohn stands out because of his defense, “My mommie made me do it.”

Bohn graduated from Columbia University, and his mom, Maureen O’Connell, is the chief financial officer for Scholastic Publishing.  She earns over 1 million dollars annually.  But delve a little deeper into this fairytale picture and a much darker side is revealed.

Jason Bohn is currently on trial for the murder of his girlfriend. In June of 2012, Danielle Thomas, 27, an executive with Weight Watchers was found in the bathtub of the Queens apartment she shared with Jason Bohn. The young woman was strangled and beaten to death. Prosecutors claim that Bohn then fled the scene and was eventually captured in White Plains, a suburb of New York City.

According to the prosecution, Bohn and Thomas had a tumultuous relationship filled with fights that were often triggered by Bohn’s jealousy. One of the key pieces of evidence against Mr. Bohn is an alleged recording from a phone that accidentally went to a friend’s voicemail from the night of the murder. In the recording, a man who prosecutors claim to be Bohn is heard threatening Ms. Thomas and interrogating her about a phone-number she was being accused of calling. At one point in the recording a male voice is heard saying “’you have five seconds and then, and then I’m going to kill you.”

In a tragic twist to her senseless death, Ms. Thomas was offered a place to stay on the night of her murder but went back to the apartment because she feared for the safety of her dog, who Mr. Bohn had allegedly threatened to kill on numerous occasions.

After the murder, Bohn allegedly used his girlfriend’s cell phone to leave text messages to her parents saying that all was well. He also allegedly called an ex-girlfriend and confessed to getting drunk and striking Ms. Thomas up against a wall. The message also asked the former girlfriend not to speak to law enforcement until his attorneys had a chance to contact her.

Mommie Made Me Do It.  Law and Order SVU.

Mr. Bohn’s defense will attempt to show that he is suffering from mental illness and did not understand what he was doing when he killed Ms. Thomas. They will attempt to show that Mr. Bohn suffered an abusive childhood and that he was abandoned by his mother at age 10 so that she could go chase after her corporate career. Adding intrigue to this case is the much anticipated appearance of Alexander Sasha Bardey, a renowned forensic psychiatrist from Los Angeles, who is slated to testify for the defense. Dr. Bardey is a consultant for the hit television show ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.’  Essentially, Bardey and Bohn’s defense team will help him prove that his mommie made him do it.

This case shines light on several important issues that we face as a society:

  1. Domestic violence (as we see from the Pistorius murder trial);
  2. The responsibility of one to address these issues before a fatal incident occurs;
  3. Can an adult blame his or her violent behavior on their childhood? Should they?  If so, to what extent? Is it ever their fault?
  4. Can a woman who chooses her career over motherhood be held responsible for the behavior of her grown children?
  5. Is there a role society plays? If so, what? If not, why not?

I’m Attorney, Speaker, Author Francine Ward.   Feel free to join the conversation on my Esteemable Acts Facebook Page, my Esteemable Acts Twitter Page, or in one of my LinkedIn Groups.

 

 

 

Happily ever after. Love Messages. Titanic facts. Titanic movie.

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Titanic Movie.

One of my favorite movies of all times is Titanic. First, because I love history, and have always been fascinated by the plight of the Titanic. As a kid, I read tons of books on the topic and when the Titanic movie came out, it added flesh to an incredible story.  I couldn’t get enough of the Titanic facts. But I also love the movie, because it’s a great love story. Poor boy meets rich girl; steals her from her rich fiancée, and but for the sinking of the Titanic, would have lived happily ever after—or not.

Happily ever after. Love Messages.

Happily ever after. Love Messages.

Love Messages.

The first time I saw the movie, I was just taken away by the monumental beauty of the love story. Every time thereafter, a piece of reality sunk in.  First, the fact that Rose was so unhappy with her life that she was willing to run off with the first guy who promised her nothing—that’s right, absolutely nothing.  How could he promise her anything when he had nothing to give?  He didn’t even own the jacket on his back.  Second, how Rose was willing to, not only give up everything, but was willing to sacrifice her life (sink with the ship), while trying to save a guy she met just days before.  Some see that as romantic.  I think it a bit crazy.

Happily Ever After, or Not!

What I realized today, as I watched the movie for the 7th time, was that girls eat this up—and we are socialized to do so.  We are taught not only to believe in the fairy tale, but to seek it out, to expect it, and to even be willing to die for it.  The fairy tale being: boy (or girl) meets rich girl (or boy) and lives happily ever after.  No wonder we don’t see the rest of the story.  If we did, no one would ever go to the movies, get married, or have kids.

Hollywood loves happy endings.  And lucky for us they do.  If there were no happy endings, there would be no need to dream or believe in Hope.   But sometimes it’s important to also see the truth behind the façade.  How else could we be expected to make informed decisions?

Here is another possible Titanic ending:  Rose, a rich well-bred girl marries Jack, a boy who has nothing, wants nothing, and likely will be nothing.  Blinded by love, she gets pregnant, once, twice, four times, six times, and, they cannot afford to pay the bills.  He drinks to take away the pain, and has a mistress because Rose doesn’t understand him and all that he’s trying to do.  Rose cannot understand what happened, since she gave up everything for Jack.  Depressed, she starts overeating and taking Zoloft or some other prescription drug. They live happily ever after?

I’m not suggesting that money brings happiness, and if you are poor you have nothing to live for.  Neither am I saying that if you start in steerage you cannot wind up in first class.  In America, anything is possible—and love is a beautiful thing.  What I am saying is that oftentimes it takes more than just “being in love” to create a wonderful life.  Love doesn’t pay the bills.  Loving your partner doesn’t make them faithful.  I’m suggesting that whatever you decide to do—in the name of love—let it be based on careful thought.

I’m Francine Ward stirring the pot and I welcome your comments, thoughts, and opinions.  Join my conversation on my Esteemable Acts Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, or in one of my LinkedIn Groups.