When you’re a secret crossdresser who’s had a secret affair with another married man whose untimely death left you grieving in secret, it’s got you wondering if you should bury your secret things before you die and your wife discovers what you’ve been hiding from her for all these years? We’ll try to find an answer to this and more here on Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- Good news! Skeptical Sundays with David C. Smalley will be back in 2023!
- Should you bury evidence of your crossdressing life and an affair you had with a man before your wife discovers it upon your death?
- Your parents want to give you and your siblings an inheritance, but how do they compassionately explain excluding your brother who’s living as a monk and would have to donate his share to the Church? [Thanks to cult expert Dr. Steven Hassan and Patrick Hicks, General Counsel at Trust & Will, for helping us with this one!]
- You envy your siblings whose lives have worked out better than yours to the point where you don’t feel empathy for them when they endure terrible things — like having their houses washed out to sea in a hurricane. How can you cultivate a better attitude toward them?
- You’ve been appointed as class prefect in your high school, but your less ambitious classmates have chosen to bully you instead of following your efforts at leadership. What can you do when your peers don’t respect your authority and the administration refuses to help?
- Should you remain as a partner at the large law firm where you’ve been for the past six years when your higher-ups treat you like a doormat, or should you pursue getting a fresh start somewhere new?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at email@example.com!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
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This Episode Is Sponsored By:
- Peloton: Learn more at onepeloton.com
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Miss our two-parter with professional pickpocket Bob Arno? Start catching up with episode 530: Bob Arno | Schooled by the Professor of Pickpocketry Part One here!
Resources from This Episode:
- General Robert Spalding | China’s Playbook for Global Domination | Jordan Harbinger
- Angela Duckworth | How to Grow Your Grit | Jordan Harbinger
- Skeptical Sunday Archives | Jordan Harbinger
- The Silence of the Lambs | Prime Video
- Living with Crossdressing | The New Normal
- r/crossdressing | Reddit
- Guilt Complicates Grief After a Fatal Overdose | WSKG
- Women’s Clothing, Suits, Dresses, Cashmere, Sweaters | Ann Taylor
- Adore Me | Jordan Harbinger
- Steven Hassan | Combating Cult Mind Control Part One | Jordan Harbinger
- Steven Hassan | Combating Cult Mind Control Part Two | Jordan Harbinger
- Influence Continuum | Freedom of Mind Resource Center
- Steven Hassan’s BITE Model of Authoritarian Control | Freedom of Mind Resource Center
- Create an Online Will and Trust | Trust & Will
- Patrick Hicks | LinkedIn
- Hurricane Ian May Have Been Florida’s Costliest Storm | Axios
- Want to Overcome Envy? Make It Your Teacher | Jordan Harbinger
- Election | Prime Video
753: A Clandestine Crossdresser’s Conundrum | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by Peloton. This year, Peloton is gifting you their best offer of the season. Get up to $300 off accessories when you purchase a Peloton Bike, Bike+, or Tread. Shop from a variety of accessories such as cycling shoes, a heart rate monitor, and more. If you've been waiting for a sign to join Peloton, this offer provides you with everything you need to get started. You're more likely to stick to a fitness routine if it's something you enjoy, which is why Peloton instructors make every workout feel like hanging out with friends. And the music? It's iconic. Whether it's a classic rock or R & B class, you'll find the perfect soundtrack for your workout on a Peloton Bike or Tread. And whether you have 10 minutes to spare for a strength class or 30 minutes for a running or cycling class, there's a workout for you. So don't miss out on Peloton's best offer of the season. Visit onepeloton.com to learn more. All-access membership separate offer starts November 14th and ends November 28th, cannot be combined with other offers. See additional terms at onepeloton.com.
[00:00:55] Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, the cough syrup to my hard candy in the sizzurp of life advice, Gabriel Mizrahi. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave. And our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker so you can get a much deeper understanding of how the world works and make sense of what's really happening even inside your own mind.
[00:01:31] If you're new to the show, on Fridays, we give advice to you. We answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of really amazing folks, from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers. This week, we had General Robert Spalding on how China, the Chinese Communist Party, in any case, is low key at war with the United States/the West. No crazy hype here, just an outline of the very public game plan on stealing technology and capturing international institutions to fight Western values. We also had Angela Duckworth from the vault on grit and resilience. This one, we did this one a ways back, but it was one of the most popular episodes at the time. It's an irresistible subject matter that you can put into practice right away. So make sure you've had a listen to everything that we created for you here this week.
[00:02:17] Quick announcement before we dive in, Skeptical Sunday is coming back next year. Not sure exactly what time or date, but David C. Smalley and I have recorded a bunch of them. They should be out on a fairly regular basis, so if you're a fan of Skeptical Sunday and/or one of the gazillion people who have asked me when those are coming back. The answer is 2023. And I know I'm also really excited about that as well. These are super fun to record. I'm going to try and fit them into the schedule where they belong. And I think they're just going to be even better than the ones we've already aired.
[00:02:48] All right. We've got some fun questions. We've got some doozies. Let's do it, Gabe. What's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:02:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, I'm 75 years old and I've been crossdressing for over 60 years.
[00:02:59] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:03:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Accumulating a wardrobe of very sexy lingerie dresses and cosmetics. My wife forbids my crossdressing, so all of my feminine attire is well hidden. She's caught me a few times, and each time I promise to never wear these clothes again. I then regretfully purge my things only to slowly succumb to my desires and rebuild my wardrobe bra by bra. After 47 years of faithful marriage, I had a one-year affair with a married guy my age, the only other person who has seen me dressed in a dress, bra and nightie pink with blue lace, if you want to know.
[00:03:33] Jordan Harbinger: You know? I was just about to ask. I did want to know. Thank you. Continue.
[00:03:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: We need the details. I need the visual.
[00:03:40] The experience with him was thrilling for both of us. The affair stopped when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and shortly afterward, he died from COVID. I couldn't acknowledge his death to anyone but grieved and got through my loss. On top of that, when our oldest son was around 10, he walked in on me and saw that I was dressed in a pink bra and panties. I quickly hid, and neither of us ever mentioned the incident again. Several years ago, he died from an overdose and we discovered his own stash of lingerie. And that he had been photographing himself, crossdressing.
[00:04:13] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh.
[00:04:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: A couple of weeks before he died, my wife and I could tell that he was high on drugs. Since we're baby boomers, we're ambivalent about drug use and we just let it go. His death, which was quite graphic and shocking, severely traumatized my wife and she refuses to talk about it. We were unrelenting and blaming ourselves for his death. We didn't blame each other. We may have felt it, but we never said it. We also had a disastrous encounter with therapy for one of our other sons that permanently drove her away from ever seeking help. Otherwise, we're pretty happy with our life as it is. I'm now at an age where I might die suddenly, and my stash of lingerie and an encrypted flash drive of love letters and photos would be discovered by my wife or son. I'm not sure whether to leave some kind of note with my clothes or preemptively get rid of them and never replace them, which is unlikely due to my compulsion. I really love crossdressing and don't want to give it up, but I also don't want my wife to have a mental breakdown due to my betrayal. Another option is to get rid of everything and then secretly wear her things, but they're so boring and plain, and she'd probably realize if her things were being worn. The idea of coming out is a total non-starter. Should I bury my secret things before they bury me? By the way, I'm all dolled up as I write this. Signed, Loving This Wardrobe, But Hating the Closet.
[00:05:37] Jordan Harbinger: Holy smokes. What a story.
[00:05:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:05:40] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Okay. First of all, heartbreaking in so many ways.
[00:05:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:05:44] Jordan Harbinger: Let's acknowledge that. But also this guy is funny.
[00:05:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: He is.
[00:05:47] Jordan Harbinger: Also, I think this is a first for Feedback Friday. I'm happy to finally have some cross-dressing subgenres in the mix here.
[00:05:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, that's a first.
[00:05:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You know what this sort of reminds me of, Gabriel?
[00:05:59] The Silence of the Lambs - Buffalo Bill: Now it place the lotion in the basket. [Soundbite]
[00:06:03] Jordan Harbinger: Now, I know that that's not entirely fair.
[00:06:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:06:07] Jordan Harbinger: But that is what pops into my head.
[00:06:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's fair enough. Yeah.
[00:06:11] Jordan Harbinger: It's really unfortunate. That's more of a Jordan problem than a cross-dressing problem, though.
[00:06:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:06:15] Jordan Harbinger: I want people to know I am not shaming you. Actually, it's me who should be ashamed that that's the only thing that pops into my head when I'm thinking about somebody who's doing that.
[00:06:23] Perfectly harmless hobby most of the time, I suppose but in all seriousness, I find this letter fascinating, Gabe.
[00:06:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:06:29] Jordan Harbinger: This guy shares all this incredibly painful and complicated stuff — crossdressing, having his son catch him crossdressing as a child, being in the closet, having an affair with another guy at 70-something years old, losing that guy going, through cancer, then losing his son to an overdose, and then something, something, another intense drama with my other son. But then his question is, "Should I donate my Victoria's Secret collection to Goodwill before I die so I don't get caught?" Like what?
[00:06:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: What?
[00:07:00] Jordan Harbinger: He took a huge detour through six massive topics. I just don't even know what to talk about here.
[00:07:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, maybe we should just start with that, that this guy has clearly been through a lot in his life, maybe even more than he fully appreciates, and he seemed to really want us to know that.
[00:07:16] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So obviously, this is a guy with a huge secret, the crossdressing, but it's not the only secret in his life.
[00:07:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:07:24] Jordan Harbinger: There's his orientation, there's the affair, there's the loss of the guy he was seeing, which he just grieved in private. When he and his wife noticed their son was on drugs, they just let it go because they were ambivalent about drug uses in their words. So I'm sure that is an incredibly painful thing to live with.
[00:07:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:07:43] Jordan Harbinger: But I wonder if they were avoiding a difficult conversation there and they just let it go, thinking like, "Ah, we're old hippies." Is that the case?
[00:07:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm, it could be.
[00:07:51] Jordan Harbinger: They felt guilty about his death and then they blamed themselves in each other, but they never said any of that to anyone or each other.
[00:07:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:07:59] Jordan Harbinger: And his wife refuses to go to therapy. And the idea of him coming out, to use his words, is a total non-starter. I mean, this is just secrets on secrets, man.
[00:08:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, yeah. I see where you're going with this. So this is a guy who might prefer living with those secrets.
[00:08:12] Jordan Harbinger: It does seem that way. Or at least this is a guy who's comfortable with things being left unsaid, which—
[00:08:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:08:19] Jordan Harbinger: —kind of lets him off the hook for having to acknowledge a ton of unpleasant stuff and then just work it out, especially with his wife.
[00:08:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally. There's a lot going on in this marriage that is not being addressed. The crossdressing is the most obvious, but that seems honestly like the tip of the iceberg.
[00:08:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, but you know, Gabe, other than the multiple traumas and earth-shattering secrets they've been sitting on, yeah, they're pretty happy with their life as it is. I mean, are you — how can that be the case? They say that—
[00:08:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:08:45] Jordan Harbinger: They wrapped their letter with like, "Ah, but we're pretty happy." I'm thinking, really?
[00:08:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: "But we're pretty happy. We're good." Yeah, that was an interesting comment. Well, look, maybe they are.
[00:08:53] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Sure.
[00:08:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't want to take that away from him, but that does seem just, I don't know, a little simplistic.
[00:08:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I'm not trying to say you shouldn't be happy, but maybe this guy is really resilient and optimistic. That's possible too.
[00:09:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: But the overarching theme here, to your point, is secrecy. You know, whether to throw away his clothes. We can get to that, but that is far down my list of sh*t we need to talk about here.
[00:09:16] Jordan Harbinger: Totally agree. Yeah, I'm just, I'm not exactly sure how to help.
[00:09:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:09:20] Jordan Harbinger: What I want to say is, you are a locked box and you don't have to be.
[00:09:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:24] Jordan Harbinger: Look what that's doing to your life. It must be exhausting.
[00:09:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:09:28] Jordan Harbinger: But he seems pretty committed to being a locked box.
[00:09:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. He must be because that would be a huge step for him. He's hidden away parts of himself, it sounds like, to protect his wife.
[00:09:38] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: You know, he's afraid of giving her a mental breakdown. I'm getting the sense that she is pretty fragile. I don't know if in general or just these days, but that means that he can't fully be who he is and yeah, that is exhausting.
[00:09:49] Jordan Harbinger: Right. But I'm wondering, is that a deal he can accept?
[00:09:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: He would probably say yes, but the whole coming out as a non-starter comment. I'm a little confused by that because, well, we don't know if he meant coming out of the closet potentially as a gay man or as a bi-man, or if he meant coming out of the closet as a crossdresser. Maybe he means all of it. But in a way, he already is out of the closet. I mean, he might not be out to the world, but his wife caught him a few times. She knows his secret. She's just pretending it doesn't exist, or she's hoping he's going to get over it which, let's be honest, that ain't going to happen.
[00:10:24] Jordan Harbinger: That's what makes me sad, right? This double life that he's living, he's stuck in the cycle of dressing up, getting caught, throwing away the clothes that he loves, and the makeup, missing them buying new ones, keeping the secret again. And I think that speaks to the fact that this is just a part of who he is.
[00:10:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: I agree.
[00:10:41] Jordan Harbinger: He can't hide it.
[00:10:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: He can't hide it, well, right. Okay. But then there's this other thing about his son, the one who died. He walked in on his dad dressed up, and then later he starts crossdressing. We have to talk about that, right?
[00:10:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, we have to. I don't know what to make of that. I think Freud would have a field day with this, as would maybe any other psychologist. It just does make you wonder if an interest like this is contagious somehow. That's not really the right word. I don't mean to pathologize crossdressing. I know it's not always a fetish or dysfunctional thing. It can be an identity thing or it can be both. It might even be that for him, but something different in his son, like a shame thing.
[00:11:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:11:18] Jordan Harbinger: Because he probably caught him and was like, "Never say anything." And the kid was like, "Now, I'm so curious about this thing that I'm not supposed to deal with."
[00:11:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:11:24] Jordan Harbinger: So it might have been a thing that dad was into for other reasons and then the kid got into it for these different reasons. I don't know. I really don't see anything wrong if this guy wants to dress up like Nicki Minaj when his wife is at the supermarket or whatever, but he must have implanted the idea in his son's mind somehow, right?
[00:11:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: He must have. He must have. Otherwise, that would be a hell of a coincidence.
[00:11:43] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly.
[00:11:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. I don't think that happened. Right.
[00:11:45] Jordan Harbinger: I just don't know how that fits with the rest of his story or if it's just a random detail.
[00:11:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, I wonder if he told us about that because he thinks there's some connection between that and his drug use if maybe—
[00:11:57] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Maybe that's part of what is so complicated about the crossdressing.
[00:12:00] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe, but I'm pretty sure his son didn't start using because he saw his dad dolled up one day as a kid.
[00:12:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:12:07] Jordan Harbinger: A severe drug addiction that has much more complex causes. There's got to be more to that.
[00:12:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I agree with that. Look, I hesitate to say this because I really don't mean to make the guy writing and feel worse. He's been through so much here. I know this is really hard to live with, but my hunch is that growing up in a family with this many secrets, you know, a family where maybe you don't acknowledge when there's a problem, or you don't ask for help when you're in trouble, or you just kind of absorb the message that you're supposed to shoulder your problems alone. I would think that that has more to do with developing an addiction than, you know, seeing your dad in a teddy one time, as shocking as that might have been.
[00:12:46] Jordan Harbinger: Man, that's a good point. But look, probably a lot of different things contributed to his son's addiction, and we're not trying to pin the blame on anybody. There could have been a genetic component.
[00:12:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:12:55] Jordan Harbinger: He could have had his own mental health problems. He could have taken a prescription and gotten hooked. Who knows? I don't want to be like, "It's all you and your wife's fault with your secrets."
[00:13:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:13:04] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Because his son was responsible for his life too. And there's an element of—
[00:13:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Of course.
[00:13:07] Jordan Harbinger: —of just bad luck, you know, getting hooked on back pain pills or something. Like, we just don't know.
[00:13:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally. Not my intention to pin it all on him, but that's got to have played a role that you can't really talk about certain things. Yeah.
[00:13:18] Jordan Harbinger: I do think you're onto something. How avoidance can take a toll on everyone in a family?
[00:13:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:13:23] Jordan Harbinger: And maybe that's why he included that detail in his letter because again, he knows on some level that a lot has gone unsaid. So look, I don't want to sound like a broken record, but this is complicated stuff. You're dealing with a lot of huge questions and experiences and this is exactly the kind of work you can really only do over a decent period of time in therapy. You have had 75 years of truly intense stuff to work through. I want so badly for you to unburden yourself. I don't know if that's going to happen, but that is the best advice that I can offer because there's decades of stuff that goes into each one of these. We are not going to solve this problem.
[00:14:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: In 10, 12 minutes, yeah, I agree. Totally. Yeah. The loss of your son, the affair, your orientation, your dynamic with your wife, of course, the crossdressing — those would be high on my list of things to talk about, but I mean, dude, look, you're dolled up as you wrote us this letter. Your only other solution is to wear your wife's things while she's out. Except you guys have totally different styles.
[00:14:23] Jordan Harbinger: I got a good hearty laugh at that, by the way, just a funny comment for one, but also I kind of get it. Hey, if you're going to get dolled up, you want to go all out. You don't want to half-ass it, you don't want the basics.
[00:14:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, I get it. He's Fashion Nova and she's Ann Taylor. It's just not his aesthetic.
[00:14:39] Jordan Harbinger: So is she Ann Taylor or is she Ann Taylor Loft?
[00:14:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think Ann Taylor Loft is like the cooler, younger Ann Taylor.
[00:14:45] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. I knew there was something like that. Okay, so she's probably Ann Taylor. That's the problem we're dealing with.
[00:14:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ann Taylor. Yeah. I don't know why I know that, but—
[00:14:52] Jordan Harbinger: Well, maybe you got a little extracurricular activity you want to tell us about, Gabe?
[00:14:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, pink with the blue lace if you want to know.
[00:14:58] Jordan Harbinger: Fair enough. You do you, bro. Wear those bras, bro.
[00:15:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: So, look, in a way you might be asking the wrong question. I don't know if the question is, "Should I bury my secret things before they bury me?" I think the better question might be, "Why is this secret going to bury me and should I be working so hard to keep it a secret at all?"
[00:15:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, well put, and his answer to that would probably be, "No way I'm coming. No way I'm putting my wife through that. I'm 75. I don't have a ton of time left, so I'm just going to carry the secret to my grave." And you know what? That's his choice.
[00:15:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: It absolutely is his choice, but then he needs to accept the price that he's going to pay and has been paying for living this way, which sounds like tremendous shame, sadness, loneliness—
[00:15:45] Jordan Harbinger: Stress, man.
[00:15:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Stress, yeah.
[00:15:47] Jordan Harbinger: I am terrible with stuff like this. On top of the grief and the emotional distance he feels I would feel so just knotted up with anxiety all the time.
[00:15:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: "Are they going to find it? Is my wife going to look at my stash? Is my other son going to find my flash drive?" Yeah. It's a lot to deal with and I just don't know if those experiences are worse than deciding, "You know what? I am 75. I've been through a lot in my life, so this is who I am now. Sorry."
[00:16:13] Jordan Harbinger: Right. I guess it ultimately comes down to which pain he wants to live with.
[00:16:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:16:19] Jordan Harbinger: So I would very much encourage you to dig into all of this. Your wife might not want to talk to anyone again, and hey, that's fine, but you can. And I do think that's extremely important after everything you've been through. So thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself with us and your collection over there. I hope you get to delve into all of these experiences more. We're wishing you the best.
[00:16:41] And hey, if you decide to keep building your wardrobe, check out our sponsor Adore Me, the new face of lingerie, superb quality, great fit. We actually have a code that can give you up to 50 percent off your first purchase. We'll drop that in the show notes for you. Just do not tell your wife that we are supporting your little hobby, or we're going to get an angry email on the Feedback Friday inbox.
[00:17:00] You know who else is all dolled up for you right now? The amazing sponsors who support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:17:08] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help. Life throws curve balls left and right. Wouldn't it be great if life came with a user manual on how to handle all the difficult situations that came our way? Better Help online therapy is the next best thing. It'll help troubleshoot your way through life's ups and downs. Better Help's licensed professional therapists are trained to help you figure out the cause of challenging emotions and learn productive coping skills, which makes therapy the closest thing to a guided tour of the complex engine called you. Better Help has connected over three million people with licensed therapists. That is a ton. That is a lot of value there. It's convenient, it's secure, it's accessible anywhere. It's a hundred percent online. Jen's even done her weekly therapy sessions while running some errands. I do them on walks occasionally here and there. Sometimes just lying on the couch. It's easy to get started. Just fill out a brief questionnaire. They'll match you with a therapist that fits your needs. Jen got matched in I think under 15 minutes. If you don't click with a therapist, switch any time. No waiting rooms, no traffic, no parking, no endless searching for the right therapist.
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[00:18:12] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Progressive insurance. Most of you listening right now are probably multitasking. So yeah, while you're listening to me talk, you're probably also driving, cleaning, exercising, maybe even grocery shopping. But if you're not in some kind of moving vehicle, there's something else you could be doing right now, getting an auto quote from Progressive insurance. It's easy and you can save money by doing it right from your phone. Drivers who save by switching to Progressive save over $700 on average and auto customers qualify for an average of seven discounts — discounts for having multiple vehicles on your policy, being a homeowner, and more. So just like your favorite podcast, Progressive will be with you 24/7, 365 days a year. So you're protected no matter what. Multitask right now. Quote your car insurance at progressive.com to join the over 27 million drivers who trust Progressive.
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[00:19:10] Jordan Harbinger: Thank you so much for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our sponsors and advertisers keeps us going. To learn more and get links to all of the discounts and the codes and the URLs, they're all in one page. jordanharbinger.com/deals is where you can find them. You can also search for the sponsors using the search box on the website as well, so please consider supporting those who support us.
[00:19:30] All right, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:19:34] All right, next up.
[00:19:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, my mother and stepfather want to give an inheritance gift while they're alive and well to me, my stepbrother, and my stepsister the same amount of money to each. But they don't want to give that gift to my brother because he belongs to a Catholic monastery, and he would have to hand over that gift to the institution. He joined when he was 23 and as a monk, he can't get married or have children. How should my parents communicate this news to my brother compassionately? And are they making the right decision here? Signed, Facing Some Early Questions About These Earthly Possessions.
[00:20:09] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Tough one. All right. Your parents want to be fair to all of you guys but they also don't want to hand over a considerable amount of money to some organization that they're not part of. Maybe they're not super fond of it, who knows? But then they also don't want to hurt your brother or deprive him of his fair share. So yeah, quite a conundrum here.
[00:20:27] We wanted to get an expert's opinion on this one. So we reached out to Dr. Steven Hassan. Dr. Hassan is a licensed mental health counselor. He's been writing and talking about undue influence for over 40 years. He's on our cult episodes. He's been on the show a bunch of times. He's also the author of Freedom of Mind and Combating Cult Mind Control, both great books.
[00:20:46] And Dr. Hassan's take right off the bat is that you and your parents should do some homework on this organization. You got to figure out whether it's on the up and up or whether it's a little questionable. I'm not saying that monasteries are sketchy all the time, but it's possible. For example, is this one of those Catholic monasteries that believe the Pope is like satanic?
[00:21:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:21:06] Jordan Harbinger: How did your brother first get involved? Is he allowed to leave if he wants to? As Dr. Hassan explained to us, the more legitimate monasteries, they have a long period where they don't pressure people to join. They encourage them to take their time, and many of them also offer exit strategies to folks who want to leave down the road which if that's the case with your brother's monastery, that would be encouraging.
[00:21:29] So Dr. Hassan recommends reading up on the Influence Continuum and the BITE model. These are two frameworks he developed to assess the methods that organizations use to recruit and maintain control over people. We are going to link to both of those in the show notes as well. Those should help you get a better grasp of your brother's monastery and the influence that they're exerting over your brother, whether it's benign or otherwise.
[00:21:52] Now, if you come to the conclusion that there is some unethical influence going on in this organization, then Dr. Hassan's recommendation is, do not hand over the money, but if the organization seems fair and non- or un-coercive, which is the right word here, non-coercive, un-coercive, which doesn't matter. It's very possible that it's totally non-un-coercive, then your parents have a tough call to make because a reasonable person could look at this situation and say, well, even if this organization is above board, it doesn't make sense for you guys to hand over your money to some group you're not a part of. Your brother can't enjoy the money anyway, so what is the point? But I could also see the argument that your brother deserves his share of the inheritance no matter what and if he wants/has to hand it over to his monastery, that's his right. Just like it's your right to spend it or save it or invest it on. You could just blow it on cocaine and avocado toast or whatever you all, millennials are doing with your money these days. It doesn't really matter, right?
[00:22:53] But Dr. Hassan brought up another really good point, which is, hey, what if your brother decided to leave the monastery in five or 10 or 15 years and he suddenly needs some support to reenter the world, but he just gave a hundred grand to the organization that's now in the rear-view mirror, that might seem unlikely, but Dr. Hassan actually has a close friend who was a priest for 20 years, then left, got married. So look, this is not out of the question. People can obviously change. It happens all the time.
[00:23:19] Another contingency that happens quite often, what if your brother ever got seriously sick and he needs real medical treatment? Does the monastery offer good healthcare? You never really think about health insurance for monks, do you? Do they have an insurance plan at all? Is there a retirement plan? Because Dr. Hassan said he's seen this happen. And it's not pretty when someone's suddenly out in the cold when their organization doesn't fully take care of them or can't take care of them. And that's where having a little money set aside could really, really help.
[00:23:48] So to get ahead of those possibilities, Dr. Hassan shared a couple of ideas. First, your parents could put your brother's share of the estate aside for a period of time. Maybe put some requirements around accessing it, namely doing some reality testing, reading books about influence and control, listening to some talks, talking to former members of the monastery, maybe even working with a counselor to make sure he really understands the organization that he's involved in, that sort of thing. Dr. Hassan is also a big fan of parents recording a video for each of their children to be played when the will is read or shared, they would basically say, "I've set aside your portion of the inheritance for X number of years. I want to make sure then that you're thinking for yourself. So I'm asking you to go through a few basic reality testing processes, and then you can qualify for a portion of the inheritance, say 20 percent of the total," and then they can see what their children do with the money. If they don't blow it or hand it over to a questionable organization, then they can access more. So that's kind of a cool vetting process.
[00:24:48] And hey, maybe some of those requirements is that he can only receive his inheritance if he leaves the monastery. Now, that would solve one problem in terms of where the money ends up going, but it actually might create a new one, which is he might feel your parents are dangling this money in front of him to incentivize him to leave the monastery.
[00:25:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:25:07] Jordan Harbinger: And that does feel a little bit manipulative, even if it's not intended to be.
[00:25:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: It does feel a little manipulative, yeah, especially if the monastery is totally legit and he wants to be there, but maybe this brother just doesn't care about money, in which case, this whole thing—
[00:25:21] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, he's a monk.
[00:25:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, he's a monk. Like if that's part of his whole deal, you know, that might make this whole thing a lot easier. As far as communicating all of this to your brother, Dr. Hassan's advice is to start by talking with your parents about how they want to manage their money, and then if they decide to withhold this inheritance from your brother, they should have a very open conversation with him about how they arrived at that decision. If this were me, I would probably frame it in a way that is loving and supportive. And just explains the rationale so that your brother doesn't feel like your parents are treating him unfairly or maybe punishing him for his choices.
[00:25:55] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:25:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: I would literally say something like, "We love you. We've thought a lot about this. We want to treat all of you guys fairly, but we're just not comfortable with our money going to the monastery if it doesn't help you," something like that, and then hear him out and see how he responds and see if he disagrees or if he totally gets it. He might get it. Dr. Hassan also said that it would be great for you or your parents to chat with your brother about the future, too. He's a big fan of asking, you know, hypothetical questions like, "What happens if you get to a place where you decide to pursue God's mission for you someplace else? What do you want to have in place if you decide to start a new chapter of your life down the road, or a new role or a new job? What happens if you get sick one day?" To Jordan's point, you know, encourage him to imagine these possibilities so he doesn't deprive himself of the support that he might need down the line.
[00:26:43] Whatever your parents do though, Dr. Hassan definitely recommends working with an estate attorney to make sure that all of this is handled properly and fairly on a legal level.
[00:26:51] Jordan Harbinger: Yes, a good attorney is absolutely crucial. And on that note, just to take this question all the way across the finish line, we decided to reach out to Patrick Hicks, head of legal at Trust & Will, which is a digital estate planning and settlement platform.
[00:27:06] And Patrick's take, it was pretty straightforward, your mother and stepfather are responsible for their own decisions. If they choose to distribute money unequally, it's their money to do so. Now, that doesn't mean that there won't be hurt feelings or ruffled feathers. In his view, the emotional impact of that choice that may very well trump the legal and financial considerations.
[00:27:27] But here's the thing, looking at the big picture here, your parents are considering a gift to their children in order to help them advance their financial wellbeing. And since your brother is a monk in this monastery, that gift simply wouldn't play the same role in his life. That doesn't mean your parents don't love him, that doesn't mean they don't support him, or his calling is a monk. It just means they're making financial decisions based on the different needs of their children.
[00:27:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's a very fair point. And also, Patrick raised another really interesting point, which is if your parents are uncertain about this call, he said it might help to ask them how they would feel if they were to give you or your step-siblings a bunch of money today. And one of you guys blew it on, I don't know, a bunch of vacations or a terrible investment or—
[00:28:10] Jordan Harbinger: Beanie Babies.
[00:28:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Tamagotchi from the 1990s, I don't know. Or you donated it all to Greenpeace or whatever. Would they be upset at that? Or would they accept that that was just how you chose to spend the money? Your brother, he's just made it clear in advance that he intends to pass on any gifts to the monastery. So that would be an interesting question for your parents to ask themselves whether that changes anything. And by the way, we're not presupposing an answer here. It's totally up to them and maybe to you guys. But I do think that's an interesting thought experiment.
[00:28:39] Jordan Harbinger: It is. I'm torn here, but personally, I'm leaning toward not giving it to him, but I really do see the argument that passing it along to his monastery might be a legitimate choice on his part. And that's why Patrick's question is such a good one.
[00:28:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, it's also an interesting question whether handing over his inheritance to the monastery really doesn't benefit him.
[00:28:58] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:28:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Because he might say that it does benefit him in the sense that, you know, it's going to support the monastery that he's a part of and relinquishing worldly possessions is advancing his spiritual development.
[00:29:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. But then you could support his spiritual development by not giving him anything too, right?
[00:29:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right, yeah.
[00:29:14] Jordan Harbinger: Hey, you're relinquishing this, but we're going to keep it in our bank account instead of giving it to the back.
[00:29:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure. Yeah.
[00:29:18] Jordan Harbinger: And then the kids who aren't wearing robes can get a little more and actually use it, or the parents can just hold onto it, whatever.
[00:29:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Also a fair point, although that raises another uncomfortable question, which is, are these kids incentivized to convince their parents not to give their brother his fair share?
[00:29:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, right.
[00:29:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Because more would go to them eventually. I don't get the sense that that's part of this guy's agenda from his letter at all.
[00:29:39] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:29:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: This family actually sounds very fair, which I love, but it is worth acknowledging.
[00:29:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That is important to keep an eye on. I really don't think they're trying to screw their brother over to benefit themselves, especially writing in and asking how to fairly handle this. It doesn't really jive with that.
[00:29:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:29:53] Jordan Harbinger: But the reality is they would get more potentially if the parents withheld his inheritance. So yeah, this guy's to make sure he's encouraging his parents to make the right call for themselves and not just because he's going to pick up another beach house or a cottage or whatever.
[00:30:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:30:07] Jordan Harbinger: Ultimately, I think this comes down to values, your parents, your brothers, and how you guys believe this money should be used, and that is a personal decision. So I hope that gives you a few new angles here. I really love how thoughtful you guys are being about all this. I think it really shows character and good luck.
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[00:30:56] All right, next up.
[00:30:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm 66 and the oldest of nine kids. We weren't poor growing up, but there weren't a lot of extras. My parents were traditional, and because my next sister didn't come along for several years, I assumed all of the conventional girl jobs. I was 13 when the youngest was born and was pretty much his mom for his young years. My husband is great, but never achieved much at work and retired when he lost his job during the pandemic. I don't know if I'll ever get to retire, but I am fortunate to still be able to work. My siblings and their kids are all very successful and have successful spouses from well-to-do families. They talk about things that I will never have or achieve, with the exception of the world traveler. They all have second or even third homes. Five of them had condos on the water in southwest Florida that were either washed out to sea or flooded and destroyed by Hurricane Ian. It will take a very long time to restore them. But here's the thing, I'm not feeling sorry for them. I feel awful for the people whose homes and lives were ruined, but not for my siblings. I recognize that if we weren't related, my siblings would never have me as a friend. What is wrong with me? Do you have any advice on how to tame my envy? Signed, Feeling Sick After Getting the Short End of the Stick.
[00:32:14] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man. This sounds like an intense childhood, nine kids.
[00:32:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow.
[00:32:18] Jordan Harbinger: Not a ton of resources to go around.
[00:32:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:32:20] Jordan Harbinger: So you're the oldest. A lot of work fell to you. You somehow end up being the pseudo mom to your youngest brother, which is a huge responsibility for a child, and you're still working hard to this day, while your siblings have had a very different experience in life. So yeah, I can appreciate why you feel this envy. You're looking at your siblings and you're wishing you had some of what they have. It's a perfectly normal emotion, but it is unpleasant and I appreciate how open you're being about that because envy is really hard to acknowledge sometimes.
[00:32:53] Although it's interesting, Gabe, I get the envy piece here, but what I'm hearing more of in this letter is actually anger.
[00:33:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Same. I hear a lot of resentment built up here and it is coming out in this whole Hurricane Ian thing. She's not feeling particularly bad for her siblings, and maybe that's because she envies them, sure, but I agree. It does sound more like she's angry and yeah, that makes it really hard for her to empathize with them.
[00:33:17] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. And honestly, that anger is somewhat appropriate. She didn't have a normal childhood. She never really got to be a child herself from the sound of it. She spent a lot of her life taking care of other people. Now, she's taking care of herself and her husband, which by the way, I'm guessing that echoes the caretaking role she played as a child. I mean, she's probably burned out. There's probably more resentment there too, even if it isn't entirely her husband's fault.
[00:33:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Great point.
[00:33:42] Jordan Harbinger: So it makes sense that she's sitting there while her siblings complain about their third beach house being washed away by a hurricane, worrying about whether the insurance is going to cover the remodel on the deck or whatever. And she's thinking, "Yes, sorry, I changed your diapers when I was supposed to be out riding bikes with my friends or going to prom, and I just put in a 14-hour day so my husband and I can make our mortgage payment, which is already late. I am not about to feel bad for you. And that might not be the most charitable response. It might not be the most helpful, but it is the most understandable in my opinion.
[00:34:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally. So we can answer your first question right off the bat. There's nothing wrong with you. The anger you feel, the envy, it might be unpleasant, but it's not abnormal given the upbringing you had and also the relationship that you have with your family now. But now, that she's acknowledged these things, Jordan, you know the question is what does she do about them?
[00:34:34] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:34:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: One of the things I really admire about her is that she doesn't just want to give into these feelings and live with them and be miserable. She wants to do something about it.
[00:34:41] Jordan Harbinger: Right. I admire that too. So my first thought is keep exploring these feelings, especially the anger piece, because I get the sense that that's the emotion that's harder for you to be in touch with. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that a lot of the anger is probably directed at your parents for putting you in the position that they did, whether they meant to or not/had a choice or not, and probably just that you're angry at the situation as a whole, and obviously some of the anger is about your siblings, how they've had more success on an external level.
[00:35:12] But it's an interesting question whether they're really to blame for how things turned out. I mean, they were kids in your house too. They weren't any more aware of the dynamics in your family than you were. In one way, things worked out better for them, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are to blame for that. And I know that that could be hard to come to terms with, but I think it's worth keeping in mind because this is kind of poisoning your relationship with your siblings.
[00:35:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: I know what you're getting at, that's a really important point, but I also think it matters how they treat her now.
[00:35:41] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, true.
[00:35:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Like are they decent people who just have high-class problems and they're not being very tactful about how they bring it up around her? Or are they actually pretentious a-h*les who like flaunt their wealth and make her actively feel unwanted?
[00:35:54] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. It's hard to say. I think she experiences them as the latter, but that might be because of all this history.
[00:36:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: When she said that if they weren't related, her siblings would never have her as a friend. That really got me. That's an awful feeling. It makes me think that her family just isn't very kind to her based on what she shared, but it's also possible that they treat her just fine and the anger she feels that's largely an echo of these childhood wounds and how she feels perhaps about her life, in general, these days, which again, totally fair given what she's been through.
[00:36:26] But if that's the case, I would say investigate that too. Trace the feelings back to their roots. Figure out what is really making you angry, what is really making you envious because you might be surprised to find that the source of those feelings isn't just your siblings. It might be closer to home than you thought.
[00:36:43] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Her siblings might just be the nearest object for these feelings that are very complex.
[00:36:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly.
[00:36:51] Jordan Harbinger: I also think it's worth pointing out that she's measuring her siblings' success very narrowly. They have material wealth, they've got some status. I get it. Those things are desirable. They do matter on one level, but true wealth, not to sound all, self-help Dale Carnegie here, but true wealth is so much deeper than that. I mean, are they happy? Are they fulfilled? Do they have healthy relationships? Do they have the capacity for introspection that this woman obviously has? Do they have her sensitivity, her dedication, her work ethic? Do they care about other people half as much as she does?
[00:37:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow. Yeah, that is such an important point. She's looking at her family and she's enving them for having these champagne problems, right? But I promise you, having a beach house, traveling the world, yes, very fun, but those things alone do not make you happy. They don't make you complete. And again, like Jordan, I don't mean that in some Instagram quote kind of way, the research actually bears that out.
[00:37:45] Jordan Harbinger: I got to pause you right here. I don't even know if we can say Instagram quote anymore. Now it's a TikTok dance while the text appears over the video and you're pointing at it while you're doing a really cringe dance. I don't—
[00:37:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: I feel like I just saw that video, and I really don't mean to sound like that video, but that is actually true.
[00:38:01] Jordan Harbinger: On that note, I also want you to read an article we wrote about this exact topic. It's called Want to Overcome Envy? Make It Your Teacher. This is an oldy buddy goody. We get deep into the psychology of envy in that one. We talk about how to break it down and use it to become a better person, and I think that'll be a great read for you right now. We'll link to that in the show notes for you.
[00:38:23] If you unpack these feelings even a little bit, I really do think they'll start to. And then you can decide what to do about them. Maybe you approach your siblings in a new spirit. Maybe you pull away from them a little bit. Maybe you remember that their problems are not a reflection of you. Maybe you encourage your husband to go back to work so you're not recreating a situation where you're taking care of somebody else at your own expense. There are a lot of pieces to this experience, so just try to pull them apart as best you. So hang in there. Be kind to yourself. Get curious about this stuff, and here's a hug from hurricane-free California.
[00:38:59] You know what'll make everyone else in your life envious? The amazing products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
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[00:41:01] All right, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:41:05] Okay. What's next?
[00:41:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey guys, I'm 17 years old and I'm in high school in Nairobi, Kenya.
[00:41:11] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, wow, amazing. Both the age and location. Love it. Go on.
[00:41:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: I was appointed class prefect last term, and I was very eager to shape up my underperforming. I strove to do my best reading leadership books, trying to improve myself, but I feel like a few are not willing to follow me. They've just accepted their condition. Some classmates are now committed to making my life a living hell. If I reprimand them, they'll steal my property. The school administration can't really do anything since there's no evidence. My friends want me to drop the post since I'm getting seriously psychologically hurt. But I can transfer to a different school now, and I want to shape up the class to bolster my chance of admission to MIT, which is my dream university. What should I do? Signed, Embrace My Inner Tracy Flick, or Find a Better Way to Crack the Whip.
[00:41:59] Jordan Harbinger: Gabe, you're going to have to explain that Tracy Flick thing.
[00:42:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Okay. Have you seen the movie Election?
[00:42:05] Jordan Harbinger: Is that Reese Witherspoon? I don't think I've seen it, but I've seen, you know, the trailer or something.
[00:42:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Got it. Such a good movie. I actually have to re-watch it. It's been a long time. It's really good, really bizarre. It's basically about this like type A, you know, a hyper-competitive girl who desperately wants to be like the president of the school and she's just like kind of a monster and the whole election devolves into this like insane campaign where the whole school is pitted against — it's great. It's a great movie, but I don't know, just something about this guy just reminded me a little bit of Tracy Flick.
[00:42:34] Jordan Harbinger: The intensity there.
[00:42:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:42:36] Jordan Harbinger: This is an interesting situation. Well, look, you sound like a very ambitious guy. You're obviously very driven, and I'm sure you're going to go very far in life.
[00:42:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:42:45] Jordan Harbinger: I wouldn't be surprised if you end up running for office or leading a company or something one day. It's exciting. But I also hear you that this approach has taken a real toll on you. It sounds really hard. I'm sorry that your peers are retaliating against you now. I experienced maybe the very diet light version of that myself at your age, and I know how hard that is to cope with.
[00:43:06] So first of all, I think some of this is happening because not everyone responds well to personalities like yours, especially people who are not as disciplined as you seem to be. And that's especially true in high school where social hierarchies and frankly adolescent BS play a huge outsized role in people's opinions. Some of what you're struggling with sounds just like high school stuff that is markedly absent from the adult world in most cases. At the same time though, I do wonder if what you're starting to realize is that your leadership style just is not working the way that you hoped.
[00:43:42] You're reprimanding your peers, you're pointing out their flaws. They don't seem to appreciate that, and your reasons for whipping this place into shape, well, they're largely about advancing your interests. You'll want to go to MIT, so you're stepping up. Bravo. But my question for you is, "Are you the prefect who's encouraging people to be their best selves? Or are you the prefect who's maybe kind of sometimes a little bit of a tyrant for his own ends?"
[00:44:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:44:06] Jordan Harbinger: I think it's probably both, but the latter might win out sometimes. So this whole ordeal that you're going through, it might be your first big lesson in leadership and power. To get people to change, you have to inspire them to get better for themselves, not just because you're telling them to or because it'll help your chances of getting into college or because you're going to tell the assistant principal or something like that. You have to build relationships with people that go deeper than just your role.
[00:44:33] You have to be a good peer to them. You have to be respectful and humble. Fun to be around is not going to hurt. You can't just be the drill sergeant who's always handing out dress code citations or whatever. I mean, you don't take that crap from a teacher, you're going to take it from some fellow student, give me a break. And you have to figure out what motivates other people, what their interests are, and then see how those line up with yours. Because what you really want is for your peers to identify with you, right? But to do that, you have to be willing to do the same with them. It's really hard to earn people's loyalty and respect when you're only telling them what they are doing wrong.
[00:45:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:45:12] Jordan Harbinger: It can come across as annoying. It can be a little demoralizing. It's nitpicky, especially in high school. Being a hard ass has its place, but it just can't be the only arrow in your quiver.
[00:45:24] So that's my take. If you want to get on better in school and you really want to lead people in the future, you have to balance your authority with kindness, flexibility, empowerment, and I know it's kind of funny to be breaking down a high school politician's playbook like this, but everything we're talking about, it's the exact same thing I would say to a 45-year-old entrepreneur or senior manager executive. I'm just excited that you're getting to learn this so young. I think that's amazing. This challenge you're going through now I know it's painful, but it's also a great opportunity. Be open to adjusting your style, and I know you'll take some great lessons into the rest of your life, and good luck.
[00:46:03] All right, next up.
[00:46:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a partner at a very large law firm where I've worked for six years, and generally, the firm has been good to me and offered me many opportunities for success. Recently, though, I've been treated like a doormat by those above me. This is par for the course for people at and below my level. My other colleagues have the same experience, but they choose to just stay silent or quit. Lately, I've been speaking up more when I feel disrespected. I go directly to the person in question and I tell them that what they've said or done is inappropriate and that I don't appreciate it. Most of the time I get an apology, but I don't feel the apologies are genuine. My direct supervisor treats everything like a joke, and I think that's a way to make it seem like I'm just being sensitive when in fact, I'm actually pretty thick-skinned. I've considered looking at other opportunities, but I know that a change might be a setback financially and opportunity-wise, and I would have to start all over. What advice do you have for someone in my situation? Should I stay, put my emotions aside, and ignore the haters? Or should I go and hope that the grass is truly greener? Signed, A Barrister Fed Up With These Disparages.
[00:47:14] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man, letters like this really make me grateful to be out of the law.
[00:47:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: I bet.
[00:47:20] Jordan Harbinger: Some of the personalities you encounter in that world are just, yeah, they are not easy. The fact that other partners at your level deal with the same thing, that you're pretty thick-skinned, in general, that means this probably isn't a you problem, it's a culture thing, and that sucks. The good news is it sounds like you're learning to speak up when it's necessary, and you're doing that the right way by talking to these people directly. That is not easy to do, but it is the mature thing to do, and I commend you for that.
[00:47:49] This supervisor who kind of laughs it off when you tell them that something bothered you. That could be them trying to signal that it's nothing personal or that could be them not taking you very seriously. Hard to say. But it would be nice if they could say, "I can see that you're upset. I'm sorry I rubbed you the wrong way. I didn't mean anything by it. Maybe our wires got crossed. Let's talk it out." Even if you were being a little sensitive or misreading things, you'd at least feel heard. But again, tall order asking a senior law partner to actually, you know, have feelings.
[00:48:21] So here's my take. If being treated this way is just business as usual at your firm, if these people are making you miserable, like in a way where you just dread going into the office, then yeah, I would consider looking. I found it interesting when you said, I know that a change might be a setback because you're right, jumping to another firm could be a setback, but it also might not be a setback or not an insurmountable one and you can't know that for sure without seeing what opportunities are out there. Because first of all, just meeting people at other firms, casually interviewing, that might give you some freedom, maybe even a little inspiration, and that might help you cope with these tough personalities at work. Just knowing that you're not stuck.
[00:49:04] But also I wonder if you're just being a tiny bit rigid here or if you're imagining worst-case scenarios because it's only abstract. Because if you met some cool people at another firm, if you found a more positive culture, you might be like, "Wow, okay. These are my people. This firm is great. Yeah, I kind of have to start over, but I'll be starting over in a place that actually makes me want to do my best work and I can catch up." But again, I want to challenge you a little bit there too, because you're a partner. You have a track record, probably a book of business. I'm assuming you're pretty good at what you do, so I'm not sure if you would be starting from scratch if you left.
[00:49:42] You might be starting from scratch in terms of some relationships or clients, but that doesn't mean that you're absolutely back to square one in your career. It just means you'd have to put in some work to get up to speed and build your cred in a new place. And look, that's okay. In fact, if you're motivated, it can be invigorating and fun.
[00:50:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: I totally agree, Jordan. Also, when you said that any change might be a setback, I think it's important to remember that also sticking around in a negative workplace, that's a setback too, right? You might be jamming on your cases. You might have an established reputation, but you're still dealing with these senior partners who seem to treat you pretty poorly. So it's like, which setback would you prefer? The place that's familiar, that gives you opportunities, but also makes you miserable. Or a new firm that's unfamiliar at first, but that values you and treats you well, you know?
[00:50:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, good point. In my book, life is just too short to be miserable, and she's too young to just resign herself to a firm that makes her unhappy.
[00:50:40] So my advice is, if you stay put, find a way to cope with these annoying partners. Maybe learn how to let this stuff roll off your back a little more and look for ways to change the dynamic with these people if you are playing a role in all of this. But if they won't change, and you just want to shake things up, I would start casually looking around. Just be open, be curious, try to connect some dots. You don't have to leave your job. No one is making you do that, but you have literally nothing to lose by talking to people and everything to gain. So at a minimum, make a decision to be open to the possibility. Sometimes that's half the battle and good luck.
[00:51:17] Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week and everybody who listened. Thank you so much. Go back and check out General Robert Spalding and Angela Duckworth if you haven't heard those.
[00:51:25] Want to know how I managed to book all these great people and manage my relationships using systems, software, tiny habits? Check out our Six-Minute Networking course. That course is free. It's over on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. I'm teaching you how to build relationships before you need them. Manage them in just a few minutes a day. Dig that well before you get thirsty. And look, these drills, they're designed to take just a few minutes per. This is the type of habit that we can ignore only at our own peril. This is the stuff I wish I knew 20 years ago. It's not fluff. It's crucial. You can find it all for free at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:52:01] A link to the show notes for the episode at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts in the show notes. Advertisers, deals, and discount codes, all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi or on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
[00:52:20] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions, they're our own. And I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show.
[00:52:38] Ditto Patrick Hicks at Trust & Will. If you want to learn more about those guys, visit trustandwill.com, which is a great domain, by the way, to learn more and get started on your will or trust today.
[00:52:48] And we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. And if you found the episode useful, please share it with somebody else who could use the advice we gave here today. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:53:05] You're about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show with pickpocket king Bob Arno.
[00:53:10] Bob Arno: Pickpockets don't talk. They lift and do everything, silent. I have spent 20, 30 years befriending or getting very, very close into how they work. They can be put into three or four different categories, the skillful ones that are ashamed of what they're doing. Then, you have the youngish one who couldn't care less about some moral compass. And then you have the ones who get out of work and some older guy is saying, "Hey, I want you to be part of the team." They weren't thinking of going into crime. There are many, many levels of pickpockets. Some are very aggressive and angry.
[00:53:54] The thief picks it but pickpocket never holds. So he passes it on to a partner. So if the police catches him two seconds after, he's clean, there's nothing on him. And the way, there was none of this usual pickpocketing move. It was, the elegance was unbelievable. I had to look at it at least 10 times before I could see what the hell did I see. And some of them are very charming by the way. And that goes for the territory. There's a very good smile and like a ping pong very quickly, boom, boom, back and forth. There's nothing slow.
[00:54:31] If you measure me against the very, very best in each country, I'm going to be a couple of pinhole below. The good pickpocket respects me for my skill. And they say, "Bob, I don't understand, how the hell did you get this skill? They are in awe.
[00:54:49] Jordan Harbinger: To learn pickpocket tricks of the trade and how to protect yourself against thieves, pickpockets, and scam artists, check out episode 530 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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