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Choosing a winning lawyer

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The best legal advise you can get, is to get a good lawyer

There’s a joke in the legal profession that the person who represents himself or herself has a fool for a client. Indeed, the legal field is, to say the least, very complicated to navigate on one’s own. Lawyers have pretty much solidified their place in our lives, despite Shakespeare once prophesying that in order to achieve societal harmony, first we must, “Kill all the lawyers.” Once we have accepted this reality, of the necessity of having doctors of jurisprudence argue our disputes, there is the matter of finding a good lawyer to fight your fight.

Referrals 

For starters, heed this wisdom from experienced litigants, who concur that how you choose your lawyer is often a reliable predictor of your case’s success. The best referral is from a personal or professional acquaintance who has had a winning experience with a lawyer. In order to get a referral, it may be embarrassing to confide in others that you need legal help, but chances are they have been there themselves, and if you’re lucky, they may have someone good to recommend.

Ratings

If no one you know can refer you to an attorney, utilize some of the online sites to locate and check ratings on lawyers, similar to Yelp – which can be a source in itself, though a low-credibility one due to their pay-to-play business model. One of the more popular rating sites is Avvo. While all review sites contain fraudulent reviews, generally they still can provide some insight if read with a discriminating eye. Usually you can spot a fake review by either its effusively enthusiastic narrative with no critical comments, or its overly nasty and negative invective that might have been written by a sore-loser litigant who was actually beaten by the lawyer they are reviewing; so check out the middle-of-the road reviews as well as the top and bottom reviews to get the fairest assessment of the lawyer.

Trust

When it comes to the in-person or phone interview part of the hiring process, it’s important that you have a positive rapport with your would-be attorney. Many attorney’s will offer a free consultation, so take advantage of this meeting to feel out the attorney’s manner and tone.

Trust will be a crucial part of your relationship with your attorney, so you must feel that this is a person you can trust on both a personal and professional level. If an attorney suggests ethically or legally questionable strategies, such as hiding money in a bankruptcy proceeding, then run don’t walk away from that attorney. If a lawyer has a shady modus operandi, you can bet he or she will be shady in business practices, including in client-attorney dealings.

Communication 

One of the biggest complaints clients express regarding attorneys is that attorneys do not return calls in a timely manner and are unresponsive to their emails; so ask an attorney candidate what his or her response time will be when you call or email, i.e. , calls are returned within 24 hours. Make sure your attorney has the bandwidth to give your case proper attention. If it was hard to get an appointment because their office was too busy, chances are they will be too busy to return calls and to give due attention to your matter.

Experience matters

Just as you would with a doctor how many times he or she has performed a procedure you must undergo, ask your attorney what his or her experience is in the pertinent area of law and how many cases they have handled like yours. You would not want a doctor to be doing his first surgery on you, just as you do not want to be an attorney’s first case in a particular area of law.

Make sure they have ample experience and a favorable win record in the proper field. While a family law attorney may have an excellent record in custody matters, they may never have tried a personal injury case, defended an DUI, or filed a bankruptcy, so search for a specialist, such as personal injury attorney tampa, for the best results.

Just because you have a trusted friend or acquaintance who is a lawyer, this does not mean he or she can handle your case.  Even if a lawyer friend offers you services pro bono, if that lawyer is a wrong fit, it is not worth any savings you might realize, if you lose your case because they did not give qualified advice.

Fees 

Often the deciding factor in hiring an attorney is price. Fees will vary widely depending on the experience of the attorney. You can expect to pay anywhere from $250 an hour to $650 an hour, depending on the expertise your case requires. Make sure in your retainer agreement with the attorney that there is an understanding of how they bill, such as in 10- or 20-minute increments. Many attorneys will require an upfront retainer that can be a couple thousand dollars or $20,000, depending on your type of case. If you are not able to reach a settlement, and as trial approaches, an attorney may require a retainer of over $100,000 if they expect your trial to last for several days or longer. Attorneys know that after trial is over, it is very difficult to collect fees – especially if they do not win the case – so that is why they collect payment upfront.

It is hardly ever the case that the hiring a lawyer is not an expensive endeavor. If worse comes to worse, and you have to use legal intervention to settle a dispute, the least you can do is choose your attorney wisely so that you have the best chances at a favorable outcome.

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Education

How to Teach Children Financial Literacy

giving-allowance

Fiscal responsibility is not  taught in schools but essential for children to learn

Nearly one quarter of US states receive a failing grade when it comes to teaching kids personal finance in schools. Twelve states don’t attempt to teach it at all. This could be one of the reasons that only 35% of credit card users don’t carry a balance and pay off their bill every month, and that only 1 in 3 Americans is saving for retirement. We don’t expect kids to learn how to read, write or drive without instruction, but another essential life skill, money management is ignored for the most part.

As children come of age to receive allowance or earn money, parents should take the initiative to supplement their kids lacking personal finance education at school with lessons at home. Use these tips to determine how and where to start.

  1. Check Out Your Schools – Visit your school to see what (if anything) is being taught about personal finance or if personal finance is required to graduate high school. Once you have this information, you can determine your next moves to ensure your kids know how to manage money when the time comes. With a majority of U.S. high school students failing to learn about money, there’s a good chance your children won’t either.

 

  1. Leave Books To The Adults – There are thousands of books available on finance and managing money, but don’t waste your cash buying these for your kids. Kids learn best by doing, so sitting down with a book that explains percentage rates, credit, loans or budgeting won’t leave a long lasting impression. They would learn more from watching movies like “Moneyball” or “The Big Short”.

 

  1. Use Teachable Moments – Each we are faced with numerous financial decisions that you could use as a “teachable moment” for your children. The next time you are grocery shopping, show your child how to compare prices and brands. If you’re paying bills, let your child sit with you and see how you manage money.

 

  1. Look Differently at Chores & Allowance – While a majority of parents agree that kids should be doing chores and receiving an allowance, some parents feel money shouldn’t be the reason kids help around the house. It’s those parents who should look at chores and allowance differently. Think of it as a child’s first job and a parents first chance to teach them everything they need to know (work ethic, direct deposit, budgeting, opening bank account, taxes, etc) before they head off to get a real job someday.

 

  1. Learn As Family – Many parents don’t like to talk to their children about money because they believe they aren’t knowledgable enough. If you are one of these parents, jump in and learn with your children. You’re never too old to learn, erase bad habits or set good examples. Plus doing it with your children could be fun!

 

  1. Practice What You Preach – If you already practice good personal finance habits, congratulations! If not, this is a great time to start. In either case, practice what you preach to your children since the greatest influence on your child is you.

 

  1. Understand, No One Is Perfect! – Let’s face it, if everyone was great at managing money there would be little National Debt, no bankruptcy and everyone would have a savings account. So except these facts and do something to get better at it. I believe we are so afraid of what our children will think about our bad financial status that we forget how the current situation could be a great lesson. Don’t let your pride get in the way of teaching your children how NOT to make the same mistakes.

 

  1. Don’t Quit! – This might be the hardest thing of all. Being good at money management is a never-ending process. However your kids are going to be faced with hundreds of thousands of financial decisions in their lifetime, so you never get to the point where you can stop teaching, supporting or guiding. Quitting now only puts them on a path to be living back with you when they are older, full of student loans and moving from job to job.

 

Gregg Murset is CEO of BusyKid is the first online chore chart where children can earn, save, share, spend and invest real money wisely. Formerly known as My Job Chart, BusyKid is easy to use, revolutionary and allows kids to receive a real allowance from their parents each Friday. No more points or trying to convert imaginary money.

 

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BusinessThought

Three Traits all Successful Entrepreneurs Should Have

entreprenuer

How thought leaders live and work leads to success

 

As an entrepreneur myself and as a consultant to entrepreneurs, I have seen common characteristics in those who have excelled and succeeded in their industry space. No matter if their business is food or fossil fuel, successful founders and leaders all have these same three characteristics that help them to accomplish their goals.

Diversified interests – diversification is a term often heard in the financial world, when it comes to investing in the stock market. It is also a valuable strategy in investing in yourself. The most successful entrepreneurs are not all work and no play, and they are not single-minded. Not just in work, but in their personal lives, these individuals pursue varied interests that expose them to many different people, philosophies, and challenges. Hobbies often highlight analogies that can teach you skill sets and habits that you can apply on the job. For instance, an executive who takes up mountain biking will learn how to look ahead to see obstacles and avoid them and to know the right time to follow or pass those in front of them.

Mind and body wellness – Mindfulness has become the catchword of the psychology community, meaning an awareness of what you are doing and its impact on yourself and those around you; but it is also a philosophy that works in achieving professional objectives. Likewise, a fit and healthy body can enable an entrepreneur to have the stamina needed for the rigors of success, which can be equally physically taxing as mentally demanding. A mindful entrepreneur feels good about their work, without the drain of guilt and negativity; and giving back to others offers a fulfillment that bolsters mental energy. Integrity and honesty is the best policy not just in life but in business, because a clean conscience gives you more mental energy for creativity and free-flowing thought.

While sitting in front of a computer may seem to not take much energy, it can zap a body of valuable strength.  Ergonomists and the medical research community have declared, “Sitting is the new smoking,” with an excessive sedentary lifestyle leading to a host of diseases, from musculoskeletal problems to diabetes and heart disease. Successful entrepreneurs keep physical active and ensure themselves a healthy diet, and they get plenty of exercise and sleep to keep their physical body — the vessel of their creativity and productivity — in top shape.

Communication skills – language and self-expression comprise the building blocks of every entrepreneurial interaction. To express an idea, motivate employees, attract investors, network with other business leaders, or simply organize one’s day, communication skills are required, and the finer and more sophisticated the skills, the more precise and effective the results. The most respected and successful entrepreneurs are practiced communicators, in written and spoken word, and they invest the time to learn the best ways to reach their stakeholders and utilize the many varied channels of communication – including social media — at their disposal.

A polished LinkenIn profile for instance is not just an essential tool for entrepreneurs to offer a quick glimpse of their background and achievements to interested parties but also an illustration of their ability to communicate effectively in the digital world.  A well-managed online presence will pay off in many ways, such as when a potential client or investor conducts  online research as part of their due diligence before doing business with an individual or company.  For instance, when searching for the female entrepreneur trainer Grace Lever one would come upon a Grace Lever review via her online videos and professional profile, offering a curated first impression of the entrepreneur her training program, The Doing Academy.

While success is never guaranteed based on a single idea or company concept, the most successful entrepreneurs possesses the characteristics of diversified interests, a dedication to mind and body wellness, and expertise in communication which give them an edge on the competition and help them to stay strong, optimistic and primed until they in fact achieve the level success they seek.

 

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HealthLifestyleThought

Working out with your mate leads to better body and mind connection

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From Soul Mate to #SWOLEMATE: Benefits of Working out with your Sweetheart

by Denise Locsin

Looking for a way to bond with your sweetheart? Turn your soul mate into your Swolemate! Studies show that couples that workout together enjoy a deeper connection, are more physically attracted to each other, and have improved confidence. The benefits of regular exercise goes well beyond weight loss and a fit body. The greater benefit is a boost in your love life as you experience a richer, more emotional bond with your honey.

I learned this first-hand the year I was married to (my now swolemate) Danny Locsin. Danny and I we weren’t always swolemates. Our exercise routines differed greatly both in style of workout and intensity…but we noticed that when we worked out at the same time and in the same vicinity, our relationship was better. On the flip side, when life got too busy and we didn’t make time for even an evening walk together, our relationship felt fragmented and we were more irritable with each other.

To understand these effects, let’s think physiology. Our bodies have energy, and when you exercise, that energy escalates. If you and your swolemate are both exercising, the high vibrational energy from both of you meet in the middle and naturally become in sync. Your brainwaves, heartbeat and energy become cohesive over time, as long as you both feel safe.

One of the most exciting benefits of exercising with your sweetheart is that they begin to see you with a new lens of attractiveness. When you exercise, the physiological effects mimic the same effects of romantic attraction: sweaty palms, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, and a flood of feel good hormones to the brain.

Here is the secret: the chemical benefits of exercise lasts well beyond the workout. The magic of exercise doesn’t happen during the workout it happens after and has an accumulated effect over time.

How do you get that benefit? Start simple and do something enjoyable like evening walks, 20 minutes together in your home gym, take a dance class, or do a home fitness video together. Most importantly remember to accept each other’s fitness level and ability. Each person must feel safe without judgment or criticism. Your goal is showing up and doing your best. Focus on the benefits of connection and energy and you just may see a wonderful benefit of weight loss and a fit body.

Today, Danny and I have been swolemates for 28 years and counting. We are both fitness trainers and we teach couples as well as families how to enjoy a richer bond with each other through exercise.

ABOUT DANNY & DENISE LOCSIN:
Husband and wife team Danny and Denise Locsin are fitness experts that specialize in relationship and family exercise. They are the creators of the Yokebar, which has been described as the ultimate family exercise program. As a busy mother of four, Denise wanted something that was high intensity, but also safe and easy to set up. Finding a system that could adapt to a variety of fitness needs and ability levels was challenging. The requirements became even broader when Danny injured himself and was forced to give up his usual exercise routine.
After much scientific research and testing, Yokebar was born. Today, Danny and Denise train people in the Yoke Training System and also are the founders of Hi5 Produce, a leading corporate produce delivery service located in the Silicon Valley.
For More Information Visit: http://yokebar.com

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Eat & DrinkLifestyleThought

Sex instead of cardio, and other confessions of LA People

honest survey

Honest Tea puts Angelenos to the test, and what they revealed is (not) so surprising

Have you ever wondered just how honest people in Los Angeles are? What about men vs women in L.A.?

Well, Honest Tea conducted its annual social experiment in LA this week, asking people to share a refreshingly honest truth in exchange for an ice-cold iced tea at a local pop-up. In year’s past, people were asked to pay with cash, on the honor system. This year there was a twist, rather than paying with cash, a refreshingly honest truth served as currency. And people revealed some interesting insights about Angelenos.

Some of the LA confessions including refreshingly honest truths like “I spend extra time in the bathroom so that I can watch all the snapchat stories I’ve missed.” A therapist admitted that he had more issues than his patients. A woman shared that she sabotaged her boyfriend’s diet. Overall, most people consider themselves addicted to Instagram, they work out just so they can eat junk, and prefer their pets over people.

Here are some other topline stats around who paid with honesty and who did not, the difference between men and women, and the types of truths people revealed.

  • When put to the test, 72% of Los Angelenos were honest
  • 70% of men were honest vs 75% of women were honest
  • Los Angelenos are most honest when it comes to their health, followed by relationships and social media.
      • Health – 41%
        • “I have had a gym pass since November and I’ve only gone 10 times”
        • “I eat chips after the gym 90% of the time”
        • “I use sex as my cardio. Thus, I never do cardio”
        • “I make sure I look good when working out in case I meet the love of my life”
        • “I go to the gym in the morning so I don’t feel guilty drinking at night”
      • Social – 25%
        • “I love to Insta-stalk”
        • “I love picking fights with random strangers on Facebook”
        • “I have social media anxiety”
      • Relationships – 32%
        • “I talk to my dog more than my boyfriend”
        • “Me and my partner are close enough to admit when it’s too hot to spoon”
        • “I take long showers to have free time from the kids”
        • “When my mother said I would be just like her, I thought she was lying”
        • “Sometimes I feel like I will end up a cat lady”

Honest Tea conducts this experiment every year with the intention of encouraging a little more light-hearted honesty in our everyday lives. The company plans to release the Most Honest Cities in the U.S. in early August, after popping up in 15 major cities across the country.

 

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Lifestyle

Watch That (Body) Language: The Importance of Nonverbal Cues

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By Brandi Britton, OfficeTeam 

“I speak two languages, Body and English.” — Mae West

Mae West had it spot on. This iconic actress was the queen of sharp one-liners as well as smirks and sideways glances. In fact, body language sometimes speaks louder than words, which is why administrative professionals need to master the nonverbal cues they’re transmitting — both consciously and subconsciously. Equally important is knowing how to read the subtle signals of the people you encounter daily.

Here are some tips for projecting and interpreting various forms of body language.

It’s not just what you say…

The successful administrative worker is a consummate pro. Even when you think the other person is wrong, such as a verbally abusive customer, you should be the adult in the room and respond calmly and professionally. What’s more, when you take the high road, many times your tone causes others to reconsider their words.

As a job seeker, an energetic tone of voice is highly effective for making a positive first impression. Whether on the phone or during in-person interviews, your words and vocal inflections should work together to let hiring managers know you’re enthusiastic about their company and tackling whatever tasks come your way. 

Put on a good face

To rid your face of negative expressions during a job interview, practice having a friend lob you questions and videotaping the session. Does your smile reach your eyes, or is it isolated around your mouth? Are you fidgety and nervous or calm and confident? Is your eye contact confident or self-conscious? The more you practice this scenario, the more you’ll be able to control your facial expressions during the actual event.

At the same time, pay attention to other people’s faces to pick up on important nonverbal cues. Let’s say you’re planning an office event and suggest to your boss that it be held at a nonconventional venue. If they say “okay” but look down or away, it could mean they aren’t totally on board with the idea. This is a sign you should ask a follow-up question or make a different recommendation.

Shakedown

Whether greeting a new acquaintance or a longtime client, one of the most important nonverbal communications is the initial handshake. You want to strike a happy medium between the death grip and limp fish.

Take a stand

Convey a sense of presence and professionalism with your stance. This means no slouching or other ways of making yourself small. Stand or sit up straight, square your shoulders and lift your head. This body language communicates that you consider yourself an equal member of the team.

Dress the part

As part of your interview preparation, research what you should wear. Peruse the organization’s website and check out their social media. Is the prospective employer’s dress code jeans-and-hoodie casual or suit-and-tie formal? If you know former or current employees, ask them for advice.

A good rule of thumb for interviews is to dress one notch above a company’s normal dress code. So, if the tech startup you’d like to work for has a casual work environment, opt for business casual.

Be good with your hands

When talking to upper management or listening during a meeting, what are your hands and arms doing? Biting nails, twirling hair, tapping fingers, cracking knuckles, touching your face, running the back of your hand across your nose — all these gestures are distracting and detract from your professionalism.

Brandi Britton is a district president for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. OfficeTeam has 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at roberthalf.com/officeteam. Connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and the OfficeTeam blog.

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TechThought

Tech over sex and other signs of smartphone addiction

cellphoneaddict

Choosing texting over sex and other shocking revelations about our cell phone behavior in the tech age

Smartphones are so much a part of our lives that we can’t leave home without them, but when has our need to check our phones gone beyond the pale? Tech-buying site Decluttr.com surveyed 1,000 U.S. smartphone owners age 18 and up to find out just how addicted they were to their phones.

Highlights from the survey include the following.

  • Family Focused: Overall, smartphone owners look at their phones more when they’re with friends than during family time, but men do so more during either occasion: 67% during family time and 63% while spending time with friends. Multiple respondents also stated that they make a conscious effort to put their phone aside to focus on quality time with family.
  • Distracted Dating: 67% of males, in comparison to just 13% of females, admitting to checking their devices whilst on a romantic night out.
  • Sobering Sacrifices: Alcohol and video games were the top two things that men and women would give up before handing over their phones, but one of the biggest difference is giving up sex. Though not at the top of the list, twice as many women than men would rather give up sex than give up their phone. Sorry, fellas. Maybe it’s the distracted dating.
  • Serious Streamers: 83% of men (in comparison to just 17% of women) say the worst part about not having their trusted smartphone with them is not being able to watch videos or stream movies and TV shows.
  • Postponed Parting: Even if their phone had a cracked screen, 52% of men would put off getting it fixed because they can’t be without their phones.

Liam Howley, marketing director at Decluttr, comments: “While smartphones can be an extremely useful tool for information and entertainment, they can also lead to users missing out on what’s actually going on around them. Our survey suggests that men may be zoning out important occasions such as weddings in favor of checking their phones or falling short of paying attention to their family members, friends or even their date.”

However, when it comes to taking a break from their phones, 43% of men say a digital detox would be beneficial. The same goes for women, with 56% stating a detox would be good. Several respondents said that they use vacations as the perfect occasion to take a break from their phones. With Summer fast approaching, maybe it’s time for a break during a break.

Decluttr’s tips for weaning yourself off your cell phone:

  • Gradually leave bigger gaps between checking your messages or social media posts. If you normally check every 15 minutes, make it once an hour, if every hour, leave it for 2-3 hours etc. Build up to only checking two or three times a day. You can let friends/work colleagues know in advance that you’re going to be doing this and that if there’s an emergency where they need an urgent response from you, they can call you.
  • If you think you’ll get bored without your phone to turn to, think of ways you can fill your time instead. Read a book or listen to music when you’re travelling on public transport or waiting around. You could also make better use of your time learning a new skill or doing some exercise.
  • In social situations, only use your phone if you’re sharing something with the people you’re with – looking up information or posting a social media post that includes your friends.
  • Don’t check your phone when you’re on a date, or with someone you’re meant to be spending one to one time with. Focus on whoever you are with and give them your full attention.
  • Be fully present and start to appreciate being in the ‘here and now’. Take notice of what’s going on around you, connecting with real people in the real world.

 

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Thought

Three Ways Corporate Leaders Can Inspire Peak Performance In Their Teams

successemployees

Lead  your employees to success by helping them be productive and focused


One of the biggest challenges corporate leaders face every day is balancing what’s good for the team with what works best for individual employees.

After all, not everyone thinks the same way – even top performers. Their motivations differ, as do their work processes. Some are collaborators; others work best alone. Some are procrastinators; others thrive on a deadline. Some love a bustling work environment; others pull on headphones to block out the buzz.

But leaders can make it a goal to help all those diverse personalities find the “highest-performing version” of themselves, says Dr. Greg Wells (www.drgregwells.com), author of “The Ripple Effect: Eat, Sleep, Move and Think Better.”

“There are general changes you can enact in the workplace that can speak to the very specific needs of every member of your team,” says Wells, a scientist who specializes in extreme human physiology and has spent 15 years working with Olympic athletes. He suggests:

• Encourage breaks. This isn’t about running out for a quick cigarette. Quite the opposite. Wells says office breaks can have a healthy bent – anything from providing an hour of tai chi instruction to offering a tranquil garden setting for quiet reflection. “Make sure you take some time to break the stress cycle and allow people to rest, recover and regenerate,” he says. “Doing this not only will help them perform better in the moment, but it also recharges the body and brain to stay healthy over the long-term.” Walking is especially powerful as it has been shown to improve creativity. Exercise in nature, such as going for a walk in the park has been shown to improve problem solving. Creativity and problem solving are essential for success in today’s work environment so moving breaks can be very helpful for you and your teams.

• Remove distractions. Being mindful is key to success in any discipline, be it music, sports, drama, or business. “Yet we live in the age of distraction,” Wells says. Emails, social media, text messages and YouTube compete for our attention, not to mention the job we’re supposed to be doing. “Athletes who are able to stay on task despite pressure and distractions perform to their potential,” he says. “Those who fail to ignore the distractions make mistakes or don’t perform to expectations.” Your team can start by turning off the electronic noise for an hour at a time. Or try “single-tasking”: Ask them to choose their most important task to work on first and to perform that task as exclusively as possible. Wells says he’s a huge fan of Robin Sharma’s 90 : 90: 1 principle – for 90 days, take the first 90 minutes of each day to work on your life’s most important work. Try that tactic out and you’ll be amazed and the exponential gains you make in your life and career, he says.

• Focus on “micro-improvements.” Wells says one of the best approaches he’s seen for turning good into great is focusing on “1 percent gains.” “What sets elite athletes apart from the pack is a commitment to being just a little bit better each day,” he says. “A 1 percent change might not seem like much, but small improvements in the way you live each day will amplify your life.” One percent of your day is 15 minutes, and 15 minutes of exercise can reduce your risk of breast and colon cancer from 24-40 percent. The micro changes add up over time and can have a powerful effect on your health and performance.

Of course, workers are notoriously averse to change – whether they’re in an office, a factory or behind the counter at a fast-food restaurant. But with positivity and patience, Wells’ believes his suggestions should be an easy sell.
“Each employee will benefit in his or her own way,” he says. “But the end result will be a more engaged and more productive group.”

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