Sharing child custody with an ex can be an exercise in trust, patience, and compromise. But what happens when that ex decides to remarry and now your kids have a stepdad who has pled guilty to two felony charges of sexual exploitation of a minor? How can you ensure their safety when they’re around their pedophile stepdad, and how do you explain what’s going on without traumatizing them? We’ll try to find answers to these questions 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 email@example.com. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- How do you protect your kids from their pedophile stepfather and explain the situation without traumatizing them? [Once again, clinical psychologist Dr. Erin Margolis saves the day!]
- Your wife’s Chinese family is immersed in CCP propaganda, despite living in the US for over 40 years. Now that your father-in-law has passed, your wife wants her mother to move in — but you’re concerned about her influence on your children and the risk of being monitored by the CCP for listening to its media. What should you do?
- You and your partner moved in together before really knowing each other’s darker sides. Although you’ve turned your own life around, your partner is struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues and exhibits emotionally destructive behavior. You plan to move out and find a new place to live with a friend, but how do you delicately navigate the situation?
- You’re 28 years old, working for your 73-year-old father in the family business. You want to modernize the company’s procedures and processes, but your father resists change and is beginning to display signs of cognitive decline. Can you find a way to take charge of the business while still showing your father you value his advice?
- You’ve been running your own business as a side project for years, but you’re ready to bring it to the forefront. Even though it’s been demonstrated time and again that you know your stuff, imposter syndrome and a beginner’s mindset keep you from being self-confident enough to charge clients an expert rate. How do you make the transition?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
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Miss our conversation with human guinea pig and best-selling author AJ Jacobs? Catch up with episode 174: A.J. Jacobs | Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey here!
Resources from This Episode:
- The Oscars | Skeptical Sunday | Jordan Harbinger
- Matt Frederick & Ben Bowlin | Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know | Jordan Harbinger
- James Cantor | Exploring the Complexities of Sexual Orientation | Jordan Harbinger
- Utah | Prevent Child Abuse America
- Shine Campaign | Utah Children’s Justice Center
- Parental Alienation Can Be Emotional Child Abuse | NCSC
- Dr. Erin Margolis | Website
- David Kilgour | The Heartless Art of Forced Organ Harvesting | Jordan Harbinger
- Nury Turkel | A Witness to China’s Uyghur Genocide | Jordan Harbinger
- China Episodes on The Jordan Harbinger Show | Spotify
- Airplane Clips | YouTube
- Succession | Prime Video
- Approaching Life with Beginner’s Mind | Zen Habits
816: Kids’ Pedophile Stepdad Is No Minor Threat | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to Peloton for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:08] Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, the can of compressed air, knocking out the hidden debris from this clogged-up keyboard of life conundra, Gabriel Mizrahi.
[00:00:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Nice.
[00:00:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:00:22] Deep cut. You know those little fuzzies blowing out everywhere.
[00:00:24] 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—
[00:00:36] You know what's funny? If you blow one of those things in your keyboard, you're going to find like a Cheez-It in there, even if you haven't had a Cheez-It for five years, it's in there.
[00:00:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:00:44] Jordan Harbinger: You're going to find stuff in there you haven't snacked on since the Reagan administration.
[00:00:48] We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave. Our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker—
[00:00:56] Was Reagan too far of a stretch? Maybe the Clinton administration.
[00:00:59] Our mission is to help you become a more 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.
[00:01:07] If you are new to the show — welcome — on Fridays, we give advice, we answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of incredible people, from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers.
[00:01:20] This week we had Matt Frederick and Ben Bowlin from the Stuff They Don't Want You to Know podcast, talking about conspiracy theories, why people believe them, including some true/real conspiracies. We also had Dr. James Cantor on what makes people gay. Believe it or not, there's science behind it. He's not a kooky kook. It's real. I can't believe I didn't know about this. So make sure you've had a look and a listen to everything we created for you here this week.
[00:01:45] Gabe. I thought of yet another ridiculous story that had completely forgotten about.
[00:01:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ooh, amazing. Let's hear it.
[00:01:52] Jordan Harbinger: So I was on, and this is a long time ago now, but I was on a Mexican soap opera, a few episodes only, it was called—
[00:01:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh oh oh oh. Let me stop you right there.
[00:02:02] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:02:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: A Mexican telenovela, you were on?
[00:02:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. And I didn't really know at the time, but it was for young people. It was kind of like, I don't know if Sweet Valley High or Beverly Hills, it was sort of like middle schooler, high schooler to get people into telenovelas.
[00:02:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Okay.
[00:02:17] Jordan Harbinger: It was Tio Alberto I think and—
[00:02:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:02:22] Jordan Harbinger: I, of course—
[00:02:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: So Uncle Albert.
[00:02:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yes, Uncle Albert and to this day, I have no idea which guy was Alberto. I met the producer filming in a park in Guadalajara and I just walked out. I was just hanging out because—
[00:02:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure, yeah.
[00:02:35] Jordan Harbinger: —I was an ex-pat hanging out alone.
[00:02:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Why not?
[00:02:37] Jordan Harbinger: And it was so ridiculous. I played an American bad boy who wore a blue durag. Of course. because all bad guys wear durags, and yeah.
[00:02:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's incredible. Wait, so like one episode, like you were in a few episodes?
[00:02:52] Jordan Harbinger: I actually don't know how many episodes because you film in chunks. And if you don't really understand what the heck is going on most of the time, which is where I was kind of at with my Spanish, you just film a bunch of stuff and then it's like, where do these go in the episodes? I don't really know. Like was that whole thing one episode or did they stretch it out over five episodes? I only saw myself in maybe two or three episodes, but I don't know if I was in five or what or more. I doubt it.
[00:03:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wait. Were you speaking Spanish or English or no speaking?
[00:03:23] Jordan Harbinger: I was speaking English and I think they either dubbed it or they did subtitles.
[00:03:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Amazing.
[00:03:29] Jordan Harbinger: And I had a couple of lines in Spanish if memory serves, but I don't know.
[00:03:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's so funny.
[00:03:35] Jordan Harbinger: I don't really, you just never know what they use. You never know. Like it's also been over 10 years, so I don't quite remember when I saw it. Was I listening and it was in Spanish or did I speak English? And they used that and they dubbed it. I can't remember.
[00:03:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dude, I would kill to see those scenes. Oh, man‚
[00:03:52] Jordan Harbinger: Me too.
[00:03:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: I just Googled it. I just Googled it. And the only Alberto DVD available online goes for $2,000.
[00:04:00] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe skip that, not quite worth it.
[00:04:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Is it worth it? I don't know. Probably not, but I wish it were on YouTube or something so we could find your clips but it doesn't seem to be out there.
[00:04:09] Jordan Harbinger: I've tried to find it in years past and I've had zero luck and I've even looked in, I remember before I had somebody who I thought would help me find the production company. And they're like, "Yeah, that series ended a long time ago." No surprise. It's like, "Yeah, but can you find the old stuff?
[00:04:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: And they're like, lost a time, I would imagine.
[00:04:26] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe. Yeah. Yeah. It's probably on film, like actual film. I don't know how easy that would even be to get if you worked at that company.
[00:04:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:04:35] Jordan Harbinger: Anyway, the takeaway is randomly chatting up strangers is almost always a good thing, especially if you're traveling. You just never know where opportunity lies, et cetera. I'm struggling, I'm stretching to find a takeaway here. Other than being like, hey, I was on a Mexican soap opera. It's just so weird.
[00:04:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: The takeaway is you get to flex on everybody for the rest of your life. That you were on three episodes of a canceled telenovela—
[00:04:54] Jordan Harbinger: That's right.
[00:04:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: —in Mexico in the early 2000s.
[00:04:56] Jordan Harbinger: Wearing sleeves that were way too short. Because it was kind of like, oh yeah, he works out at the gym because that was part of my shtick because I work out all the time.
[00:05:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure.
[00:05:06] Jordan Harbinger: And I'm here in Mexico to cause trouble and steal women.
[00:05:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: What a character.
[00:05:10] Jordan Harbinger: Or whatever the subplot was.
[00:05:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Love it.
[00:05:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It was a really two-dimensional.
[00:05:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: You didn't have to stray too far from your bass personality for that one, did you? Not a lot of acting involved.
[00:05:19] Jordan Harbinger: That's right. Just a meathead muscles-for-brains guy in Mexico trying to get some strange. Watch out, fathers of daughters and older brothers everywhere.
[00:05:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: You know, you did come from the dating world.
[00:05:31] Jordan Harbinger: I did. Part of the thing was like I was in the mix to stir things up with these other characters. You know, it was a very sort of minor plot device.
[00:05:39] Speaking of protecting your kids, Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:05:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, good pivot. And just a heads up, the first question does deal with some kind of intense stuff that relates to child abuse. So just keep that in mind before you listen.
[00:05:52] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:05:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hello, Jordan and Gabe. I grew up in an abusive and devout Mormon home with a dad who is a narcissistic man-child. I later married my wife after only knowing her for six months under pressure for my community. Six months after that, we were expecting our first child. She was on various medications up until this point and was mostly normal. But after getting pregnant, I began to see the real her, impulsive and extremely emotional. After a few years, I realized she was the female version of my narcissistic dad.
[00:06:23] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:06:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: After our second child, I really began to see the emotional damage she was doing to our daughters and to me. Then, amidst all that drama, I found out that she had tried to cheat on me multiple times.
[00:06:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yikes.
[00:06:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: After a lot of conflict and deliberation, I finally filed for divorce. Long story short, I went from having 25 percent custody of my kids to getting 50/50 custody, which cost me over $100,000. Then, while trying to negotiate 50/50 custody, I found out my ex-wife's new husband was arrested for four felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. I got copies of the court documents and learned that he had downloaded and screenshotted videos of a baby being sexually abused. Two six-year-olds abusing each other, and 11-year-olds abusing each other which has turned me into a nervous wreck because my daughters are now eight and 12. He pleaded guilty to two of the four felony charges and his sentencing is in a few weeks, but Utah is pretty lenient on child abuse, so he'll likely go to jail for less than 200 days. I've tried calling Child Protective Services, but after taking my statement about my ex-wife's husband, they told me there wasn't anything they could do as my daughters hadn't reported being abused. I've called to report other safety issues with the same response. On top of all of that, my ex told my daughters that her husband is innocent, but had to plead guilty to make things easier, and she convinced them to lie about his past, saying that if they told me the real reason he was fired from his job, I would take them away from her forever. The lie is now causing some real confusion with my 12-year-old. On the bright side, as part of our new custody agreement, my ex-husband has to be monitored around my daughters by trained supervisors. I was also able to get a guardian ad litem, basically a representative for children's needs and a child therapist for them to see. I've talked with my attorney, the courthouse, and the agent who arrested my ex-husband, but I'm still at a loss as to what else I can or should do. How do I protect my kids from this guy and how do I explain to them what's going on without traumatizing them? Signed, Dealing With the Louse My Ex-Spouse Has Brought Into the House.
[00:08:36] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Holy crap, Gabriel. This is insane. This is just a heartbreaking family situation. Gosh, I'm so sorry that you've been through all this. Not only what your ex did when you were together, this guy she married and brought around your children, but also what you experienced as a kid and how that's impacted your life. Oh man, what an intense situation. If I were in your shoes, I would be a nervous wreck too, and I'd also be doing everything in my power to make sure my kids were safe, probably legal and otherwise. But I'm also really sorry to hear that Child Protective Services doesn't want to or simply cannot investigate here. I know there's a lot of shade throwing on CPS, but I also feel like their hands are tied. This is literally why they exist, and I'm kind of stunned that they're not at least looking into it. Although we spoke with somebody in the mental health field and they said, they've also heard that Utah does have a bit of a reputation for being much more lax than other states in this arena, which fits with what you said about their sentencing guidelines, which is freaking infuriating because I kind of, I don't even want to go there. Let's not even bother. That's just a tangent. We don't need to go down. It's shocking to me but whatever.
[00:09:44] That said, I'm really glad to hear there's been some progress. The monitoring stipulation is really good news. The guardian ad litem is really good news, and the fact that you found a therapist for your kids is really smart of you, and I'm so glad that they have someone to talk to through all of this. I think that is so important. We wanted to run all of this by an expert. So we reached out to Dr. Erin Margolis, clinical psychologist and friend of the show.
[00:10:08] Soundbite: I'm also known to the people who know me the best as the f*cking doctor. [Analyze This - Ben Sobel]
[00:10:13] Jordan Harbinger: And Dr. Margolis had the same response we did. Her heart goes out to you and your kids, and she knows how worrisome this situation might be. So she laid out a few paths forward here. First, even though CPS seems to be doing deadly squat, you can continue to make reports and Dr. Margolis said that you might want to make a new report about your ex-wife, not just her husband. The logic here is if mom is knowingly exposing her kids to someone convicted of a sex crime, that is absolutely a cause for concern. And CPS should hopefully look at her, not just at him, and that might trigger a new kind of report. Maybe get you some traction there. And by the way, Dr. Margolis said that in many states, if somebody with a history like his has access to children again and there's even a hint of suspicion that they could be harming those children, that's all you need to do to trigger an investigation. You don't need proof. You need a possibility alone. Although maybe the new supervision requirement makes this less urgent, I have to imagine that this guy won't be able to do much of anything if there are literal supervisors watching every interaction. I'm not sure how these supervisors work, but I kind of assume they're supervising. That's kind of the point, right?
[00:11:25] The second thing that Dr. Margolis reminded us is in most states, and Utah does seem to be one of them, people convicted of charges like this usually have to register with the state. So Dr. Margolis said that if you're concerned, you can call the police, you can make a report, and if this guy is in violation of any registry requirements, he could be arrested again or at least looked at. Although, given that several lawyers and the court have dealt with your case for years, I'm going to go ahead and assume that any registry issues would've come up already. So I'm not sure if that's even relevant.
[00:11:57] Another option, Dr. Margolis mentioned if you see a therapist yourself, you can mention your concern about your kids being around this guy, and because therapists are what's called mandated reporters, which is exactly what it sounds like, your therapist then has a duty to report this. That'll trigger the system to get involved again. No guarantee that Utah will take it seriously, but it's worth a shot. You're coming at it from multiple angles. Different people might be getting these reports who take things in different levels of severity. Also, you can tell this all to your lawyer. He may also be a mandated reporter, although lawyer's duty to report is often more circumscribed than that of mental health professionals for reasons we don't have to get into here.
[00:12:37] All that said, let's talk about how to talk to your daughters about all this. Obviously, it's a bit complicated. There are a lot of nuances here, but given that your ex-wife told your kids to lie to you about what her husband did, it sounds to me like they already know what's going on, or they have some sense of it at least, and maybe they actually know the full truth, especially your 12-year-old. Kids aren't dumb. They get it. They might not be able to articulate it, but they know it's up. So I'm not sure how much you need to sanitize the truth here if the cat is already out of the bag. But Dr. Margolis's general take on this is you know your kids best. You know what they're developmentally capable of hearing and understanding.
[00:13:15] So if your 12-year-old is asking you specific questions about her stepdad, if you sense that she's able to process this information, you might want to talk to her pretty openly about it. But of course, what you tell an eight-year-old that's going to be different from what you tell a 12-year-old. Maybe you keep things a little more vague with your younger daughter. Maybe you only answer the questions that she explicitly asks if you'll pardon the pun. You don't volunteer difficult information that she's not wondering about just yet. As she grows up, you can share a little bit more. Her sister can share a little bit more, and you can tailor the conversation to her level.
[00:13:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Completely agree. And Dr. Margolis made a really great point here, which is that generally, you want to talk to your kids openly about this kind of thing because if your ex ever did subject them to some kind of dangerous behavior in the house, you want your daughters to feel like they can come and talk to dad about it. So there's a real argument to be made for leaning into this difficult conversation, thoughtfully, of course, sensitively, but doing that, rather than dancing around it too much.
[00:14:17] Now, Dr. Margolis pointed out that you don't have to approach this conversation like, "So has Tim ever touched you?" You know, just go at it with a sledgehammer. No, but you can say, "What's it like living in the house with Tim? Do you feel comfortable there? Is there anything you wish were different? Do you ever see anything that makes you feel a little strange sometimes?" stuff like that, you can ask them questions and again, to Jordan's point, make it safe for them to talk to you.
[00:14:42] Jordan Harbinger: Such a good point. I think there's probably more to gain here by being fairly open than by sending a signal that is dangerous to talk about. Dr. Margolis also said that if there ever were something going on with their stepdad, you might pick up on some new behavior. For example, when children are subject to sexual abuse, they often start to develop other symptoms like separation anxiety, or they don't want to go back to mom's house, or they don't want to leave mom's house because they're afraid of having to tell dad what happened. Or they start to become overly sexualized for their age, which is creepy and gross to think about. Now, I obviously hope that it never comes to any of this because then the damage is already starting to be done and I think you've created an arrangement where it is much less likely now just because the supervisors and the other court-mandated stuff.
[00:15:29] Man, it's important to keep an eye on this stuff. And if I understand your worry, I'm not trying to tell you not to worry. And if you ever do notice anything like that, these symptoms showing up, Dr. Margolis said, you can make another report to CPS or just call the police or hell do everything. Do it all.
[00:15:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes. And of course, talk to their therapist, which is again, amazing that you have in place. On a related note, when you talk to your kids about their mom, I would keep your comments about her fairly neutral and do your best to not demonize her in any way. When you talk to them, stick to the facts, focus on how your kids feel, continue to support them however they need. I wouldn't say things like, you know, "Well, mommy's a psychopath and she married a bad man, so I don't want you near her," or whatever. "Mommy makes bad choices and you aren't safe at her house, but I'm working on it," whatever it is. I would stay away from slandering mom as much as you can.
[00:16:18] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh, but totally, I wouldn't fault the guy for wanting to say that out loud—
[00:16:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: No, sure.
[00:16:22] Jordan Harbinger: —because it's obviously the truth. But then again, you know, yeah, parental alienation, not a good look.
[00:16:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, totally. I get it. But as Dr. Margolis pointed out, you need to be the more responsible parent, the less reactive parent, and yeah, again, the safe parent. That'll also help counteract some of the things their mom has told them about you, to keep them quiet about her husband. Also, to Jordan's point, you don't want your daughters going back to mom and being like, "Well, dad said you're an unstable, manipulative, hot mess who married a pedophile and can't be trusted around us," and you know, somehow that coming back to bite you in any way, especially with all of this ongoing custody stuff.
[00:16:56] Jordan Harbinger: No, it is an important point because I mentioned before, parental alienation, that's a real sort of issue in custody. It's not something you want credibly thrown at you in a custody hearing and it's more common than you think when somebody's gift bombing and all this stuff or talking smack about the other parent. You might think it's an offhand comment, but the judge is going to say, "Hey, you're doing this on purpose." You just don't want any part of that. You want to stay above the fray.
[00:17:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: There's one final piece of the story that we have to touch on, and that's how you and your history fit into all of this. Obviously, your ex has some very real issues and she has made several unfortunate decisions that have caused a lot of pain and anxiety for all of you guys, that is not your fault, but as you pointed out, you essentially married your father, which is such an important insight on your part. And now, you want to protect your kids of course, because you're a good father. But I also wonder if you are maybe especially worked up and especially motivated to protect your kids in a way that maybe you couldn't protect yourself as a child. And look, that is not necessarily a bad thing, but I think it's important to be aware of that. Just to consider how your own past is informing how you are interpreting and responding to what's happening now.
[00:18:09] And if you're not already seeing someone talking about this with a therapist would be really helpful. It could also help you communicate with your kids. Make sure you don't project any of your own childhood stuff onto them. Or, you know, take out any anger you might feel toward your own father or your family on your ex-wife in a way that could potentially poison the well with your kids, which I'm not saying you're doing that, but it's got to be very tempting and it's something that a childhood like yours would certainly inform.
[00:18:37] Jordan Harbinger: I'm glad you touched on that, Gabe, because he mentioned his past in the letter and I thought that was really interesting.
[00:18:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:18:42] Jordan Harbinger: He's obviously very aware that it's shaped his life, and I'm sure it's still showing up now in how he processes and responds to all this.
[00:18:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:18:51] Jordan Harbinger: Phew, again, I'm really sorry that all of this has happened. As a father, I can only imagine how upsetting this must be. Your ex is obviously a source of a lot of dysfunction and frankly, potential danger, but your kids are lucky to have you and you need to do everything you can to be the best possible parent that you can be, which you're already doing. So hang in there, stay close to your daughters, give them everything they need, and I know you guys will be able to get through this difficult period together. I'm wishing all three of you the best.
[00:19:22] Gabe, I do not understand how somebody could stay together with a pedophile when you have kids the same age as the ones that they downloaded the porn.
[00:19:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:19:33] Jordan Harbinger: I have a show that is with Dr. James Cantor and we talk a little bit about pedophilia and it was surprising that a lot of people who offend, so who molest children, are not actually pedophiles. They simply have access to children and/or are psychopaths who want to hurt somebody. That's a whole counterintuitive thing that he explains in terms of who ends up hurting children versus who is actually attracted to children.
[00:19:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Kind of unconscionable to even bring someone like that into your life when you have children. I don't really know how to overlook that in his ex. But I also think that probably speaks to his ex-wife's own psychological challenges. I mean, it's just, it's so beyond the pale that you're like, this person isn't thinking clearly. This person doesn't have a good grasp on reality or what her children need or what is best in this house because how would you bring someone into the home with that history if you weren't a little questionable yourself?
[00:20:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. No, you're not wrong. Well, you know what else you'll want full custody of? The amazing products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:20:39] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help. I think it's funny, my dad's friend keeps him on the phone for hours complaining about his marital problems. I understand that he needs to vent. I've laughed before, but him choosing my dad for that, I mean, God, this guy must have absolutely nobody else to talk to. What this guy needs is a therapist. Friends can provide emotional support. They can be a valuable source of comfort except for my dad. But you know, like I said, this guy needs a freaking therapist because therapists are trained professionals who have the expertise to provide support to get you out of a rut. So don't be that guy, and for God's sake, don't call my dad if you're having a problem, try Better Help. You can do chat, phone, video sessions. Therapy is vulnerable work and Better help understands you're not going to click with everyone. Switch therapists whenever you want. They've got 94,000-plus reviews on the iPhone app. Just give it a shot, folks. Take this as your sign to dip your toes in the waters of therapy/sanity for that matter.
[00:21:28] Jen Harbinger: If you want to live a more empowered life, therapy can get you there. Visit betterhelp.com/jordan to get 10 percent off your first month. That's better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan.
[00:21:39] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by Peloton. Trying a new workout is like learning a new skill. It can be overwhelming, and the uncertainty can be a major barrier to actually getting started. Peloton's approach to convenience is very helpful for people who are looking to take on a new fitness skill or routine. Everything is designed to be as simple and streamlined as possible from the easy-to-use touchscreen interface to the wide range of class options and personalized recommendations. You can access a variety of live and on-demand classes, including cycling, running strength. Now, there's an incredible rower, which I really enjoy, all from the comfort of your own home. Rowing is great as a full-body workout, which means you'll be engaging multiple muscle groups at once, including your legs, core, arms, and back. This will help you burn more calories, of course. It'll help you build more strength especially, and improve your overall fitness. Correct rowing form isn't intuitive. At least, it certainly wasn't for me, and doing it correctly is harder than it sounds, especially once you start getting tired because, of course, your form always breaks down when you get tired. Form Assist shows you a figure of yourself as you row, and when you screw up a portion of the body, your body turns red. That's a good way to avoid getting super, super injured or tweaking something and not being able to work out, which stops a lot of people who are diving in either for the first time or getting back into it after a long time. So try Peloton Row risk-free with a 30-day home trial. New members only. Not available in remote locations. See additional terms at onepeloton.com/home-trial.
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[00:23:23] Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:23:27] All right, what's next?
[00:23:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. My wife's family is from Southern China, but has been in the US for over 40 years. Whenever we visit their house, there's always Chinese news playing on the TV or on YouTube and Chinese newspapers around the house. This didn't raise any issues until my wife listened to your episodes on the Uyghur situation.
[00:23:46] That was episode 497 with David Kilgore and Episode 730 with Nuri Turkel, by the way, for anyone who wants to check them out.
[00:23:54] And she decided to ask her mom about it. Her mom completely denied the tragedies saying, "You can't believe everything you see in the media." She then went further and denied other injustices that are happening in China. My father-in-law recently passed away and my wife now wants her mom to move in with us to keep an eye on her. She spends a lot of time with our young children as well, and I'm now wondering if her viewpoints might rub off on them as they get older and learn more about their ancestors and culture. Do I need to be worried about any of the media that my mother-in-law brings into our house while searching for any CCP-related items, put me or my IP address on some kind of sympathetic to the CCP list, and how do I make sure my mother-in-law's questionable views don't overly influence our kids? Signed, Refuse to Pander to This Slander or Channel My Inner Panda with This Propaganda.
[00:24:49] Jordan Harbinger: Great question. As you all know, I'm pretty fired up about the CCP and about propaganda in general. This is something that every parent needs to be thinking about because information and disinformation and bias, it is everywhere. It's on our TVs, it's on our phones, it's in our institutions, and part of being a solid parent these days is making sure that your kids understand how this stuff works and have access to reliable information, especially from a young age. So yes, I do think there's some cause for concern about the media your mother-in-law consumes in the house since it's essentially created by the Chinese state, by the Chinese Communist Party, or at least with their approval. She's obviously not going to hear about the Uyghur genocide or forced organ harvesting or media censorship or corruption or mass surveillance or any of that stuff. She's only going to hear what the CCP wants people to know. This is not a conspiracy theory. This is very well documented, even China admits that they censor the media. If you don't believe me, you can ask Chinese people, they know all about this. It's just their reality. They're not even in denial of this anymore.
[00:25:49] Now, does it mean that it's automatically going to hurt your kids? Uh, hard to say. Your kids are still young. I'm guessing they're not really engaging with the news just yet. They might just view this as this boring channel grandma watches and just not give a crap or a second thought. Also, I don't know from the letter if your kids speak Chinese, but if they don't, you have even less reason to worry. CCTV, so state-run Chinese media, it might sound like the grownups in Peanuts to them, you know, like wah, wah, wah when they're in class. But if grandma starts taking them to the park three times a week and tells them, "You know, America makes China sound like monsters. They make up all these stories about how we hurt people, but it's America, that's the bad guy," while she pushes them on the swings. Okay, then that's a different story, which look, she's not entirely wrong. America's got some serious problems. But if that's what she's telling your kids, then you have more reason to worry but I don't know. It's a little kooky and I doubt she's doing that. That's highly unreasonable. I wouldn't assume that she's doing anything like that.
[00:26:47] And it's a little ironic. I mean, why did she move to the United States from China? Why did millions of Chinese people, especially educated ones with skills and talent leave China in droves over the last several decades? Could it be that the West was, especially in the past, a better place to live and has more freedom and more opportunity? Hey, if China's so amazing, why stay here? Why? But now, I'm on a rant. Anyway, the best thing you can do is invite your kids to talk about this stuff when grandma's not around. If they're like, "Oh, [wàipó] said America tells people that Chinese are oppressed and hate their government, but they don't?" You can say, "Well, that's very interesting. That's definitely one side of the story. But you know, there is another side of the story. Do you want to hear about it?" And then you can tell them what you know about how China treats its citizens and how they've done so in the past, in the recent lockdown protests and the difference between the American system and the Chinese system and stuff like that.
[00:27:41] And I'm not saying you have to go full-on Epoch Times anti-CCP propaganda mode. You really don't need to do that. All you need to do is look at reality. What's that Stephen Colbert quote, Gabriel? Reality does have a significant — I don't know, whatever, I'm going to butcher it. But when you look at reality from any sort of free media at all, internationally, the outcome is, it's pretty clear what's better. And the only people denying that are people who are either paid to do it, are in a media bubble or are sort of kooky. And coincidentally also still live in Canada and the US.
[00:28:13] But anyway, while you do that, I would resist the urge to talk too much smack about grandma. Same idea as what we talked about in question one, right? Maybe you say, "You know, grandma knows about one side of the story because she watches a certain kind of news, but there's a much bigger story and we think it's important to look for all the information before we decide what to think." And once they find out more about a topic, I would ask them, "So now that you've learned more, do you think [wàipó] is right? What do you think?" And just like that, you're having a really cool conversation with your kids, and this is going to work depending on what age they are, right? Eight-year-olds might not have a super nuanced view of this stuff, but as they get older, you'll be able to engage with them on this stuff and they'll be able to make their own decisions. And they live in a free country or a free-ish country, right? And they're going to be able to make educated decisions at a much earlier age than you think.
[00:29:02] And what you're doing when you respond like this is, yes, you're gently telling them that grandma is wrong, but more importantly, you are teaching them how to think. You're introducing them to the idea of healthy skepticism, of responsible research. You're acknowledging that the truth is actually complicated and it's important for them to come up with their own opinions and that it's fun to do that. And that right there, that is the best thing you can do to combat propaganda. Not just CCP, Chinese Communist Party propaganda specifically, but the whole mentality that makes propaganda possible in the first place.
[00:29:38] There's a reason that countries that control the media shut down discussion everywhere they can. They don't want these conversations to happen. That's really what makes things better in the West, as we have the right to have these conversations anywhere and everywhere, even if they get a little out of hand sometimes and annoying to other people, we're allowed to have them. You can't do that over there. Like I said, your kids are young now when they're 10, 11, 12, they're definitely going to be aware of this stuff, and the earlier you can get them thinking responsibly, the better. But yeah, I wouldn't freak out your five-year-old by saying, "Grandma is insane. She watches the organ harvesting Channel 24/7. You ever heard of a concentration camp, Amanda?" You know, give it a few years, you can work up to that.
[00:30:20] Soundbite: Joey, have you ever been in a Turkish prison? [Airplane!]
[00:30:26] Jordan Harbinger: As for the whole ending up on some kind of sympathetic to the CCP list, your ISP Internet service provider, eh, they don't care, unless law enforcements come and knock in. Google, they almost certainly log everybody's searches, although they do that primarily for advertising purposes. The NSA might/probably does keep tabs on this stuff too, even though, of course, it violates the Fourth Amendment, in the opinion of many, not that spy agencies are known for giving a crap about any pesky Bill of Rights nonsense, getting in the way of they're all seeing digital eye of Sauron. And I'm off on another rant.
[00:30:58] But honestly, my hunch is that you are probably fine. I don't think the US government gives any schitz if an 85-year-old woman who's not committing a crime, Google's America corruption lies or whatever. Now, if your mother-in-law lived in China and searched for China corruption lies and posted a dicey opinion on Weibo, which is their version of Twitter, now, that would be concerning. But again, that's the difference between China and America. You can Google and search for and talk about whatever kooky crap you want, see also Alex Jones and every other sort of grifter, that would be another great example to share with your kids. And hey, when your kids are old enough, maybe you just play our whole China starter pack for them during a long road trip, and that should do the trick, and traumatize everyone in the car,
[00:31:40] All right, you can reach us email@example.com. Please keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject line that makes our job a lot easier. If there's something you're going through, any big decision you're wrestling with, or you just want a new perspective on life, love, work. Whether to keep working for your cheating, unstable ex? Whatever has got you staying up at night lately, hit us up firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help and we keep every email anonymous.
[00:32:05] All right, what's next?
[00:32:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Two years ago, I moved in with my partner before we knew each other's darker sides. Shortly afterward, a family member of hers tragically passed away. Her career took a hit, which tanked her mental health. My partner and I began to drink more heavily, and it escalated to sleepless nights of drug abuse, which increased to the point where it became clear that there was a problem. I've always enjoyed partying, and I have a history of substance abuse, but one of the crowning achievements of my life is finding my way out of that hole. I've recently found the strength to turn the ship around, and the energy arising within me has been almost spiritual in nature. I'm taking control in a way I never have. My productivity is through the roof, and it really feels like the sky is the limit. My partner, however, is struggling. We've stopped with the drugs in the house, but she regularly justifies bringing a bottle of wine home just for one glass. When she's under the influence, she becomes volatile, angry, aggressive, and will escalate if I stand my ground on a point that she disagrees with. Her behavior is often emotionally abusive, but then she'll be totally sweet and loving the next morning and often doesn't even remember what happened. Also, I frequently had to pay rent for both of us or face eviction, and she owes me a substantial amount of money. She regularly tells me what I want to hear, but doesn't follow through on paying me back. Sometimes, it's hard for me to contain my rage in response to her lack of integrity and her poor reasoning, which gives her another excuse to victimize herself and paint me as equally culpable in our dynamic. We genuinely love each other, but for my own wellbeing, I cannot be in a relationship with her. I plan on moving out ASAP, and I have a good friend who wants to share a place, but how do I navigate this? Signed, A Guy Who Transformed in the Eye of the Storm, Looking to Inform His Way Out the Door.
[00:34:03] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man, this is a dark story. There's a lot of pain and a lot of dysfunction here. It's really, it's extremely sad. On the bright side, I want to commend you for kicking the drugs and getting your life together. I think that's just incredibly impressive. It's got to be so hard to do that. The way you described your energy that you feel now, I love that it's inspiring.
[00:34:20] So look what's happening with your partner and between the two of you, that's obviously very complicated, but I think the answer here is actually pretty simple. Your girlfriend is an addict. These recent losses, stressors, they've brought up some very painful stuff for her and she's turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with it. It also sounds like she has several other challenges, the anger, the aggression, the accountability stuff, the money stuff. She's running away from a lot, and I'm sure all of that is connected. She's really going through it. So I can't blame you for wanting to leave. You've done a lot of work on yourself, and honestly, there's a big part of me that's screaming, "Go get out. Take your new quasi-spiritual life force chi, energy vibes, and flourish. Godspeed." But if you wanted to, and if you sense that your girlfriend is even a tiny bit open to hearing this, you might want to tell her what you're seeing and move her toward the realization that she needs help.
[00:35:17] And that's going to be a tough conversation because there's a lot hanging between the two of you. It might be hard to even catch her when she's sober and have a reasonable conversation but you can try. And the gist of the message is, "I genuinely love you. I hate to see you in so much pain. And as your partner, I got to tell you, you have a substance abuse problem. And I know that because I have one too, and it's taken me a lot of work to climb out of it, but you need help. And if you're ready to get that help, I'll support you. I'll be a friend to you in that process," something along those lines, although I would take a moment and decide just how much you're actually willing to support her recovery after you break up.
[00:36:00] It's perfectly fine if you don't, but if you don't, then I would not over promise. But hey, maybe you go with her to a couple of meetings, get her started. Maybe you help her find a therapist or a sponsor that might be doable for you, and it might be the right thing to do since you've been together for two years. If she's willing to accept your help, that counts for a lot. But if you do try to help her get sober, I would do that before you tell her that you're breaking up, because it'll probably be really hard for her to hear you say, "Hey, so I'm leaving you because you're nightmare and this relationship is complete cluster and also you have a problem and you need help. Bye." right? If anything, I'm being flippant here, but I think a breakup could send her deeper into her addiction, and you don't want to do that if you can avoid it.
[00:36:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Good point.
[00:36:48] Jordan Harbinger: By the way, if she has any friends or family who can support her through this, you might want to give them a heads up about the breakup.
[00:36:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:36:54] Jordan Harbinger: That may make it easier for you to make a clean break and not leave her without any kind of help. Regardless, though, she has to want that help in order to get better, and ultimately that's on her.
[00:37:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Agreed completely. The only thing I would add is like Jordan said, the fact that you have gotten sober on your own is remarkable, but it's also very rare, and I love that you take so much pride in your recovery. You should take pride in that, but I also think it's important to remember that many people can't do what you have done without some help. Your girlfriend might not have the same inner resources that you do. The mechanics of her addiction might be different from yours. She might have way more stuff to unpack, which makes it harder to stop and it might not be entirely fair to expect her to turn her life around quite as easily as you did.
[00:37:43] Jordan Harbinger: You know, that's a fair point, Gabe, because I could see him going, "Look at me, I did it. You can do it too," which is wonderful. But I could also see him going like, "Well, if I can do it, why the hell can't you do it? Just stop," which probably is not helpful.
[00:37:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's right. And him saying that, or even just implying that, that might even make things worse because he could inadvertently be adding to her sense of shame. The shame that she can't take care of herself as easily as he does, which might itself be one of the reasons that she's turning to drugs and alcohol in the first.
[00:38:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yep. Just one more reason, he needs to approach her with a lot of patience and compassion.
[00:38:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:38:21] Jordan Harbinger: As for the money piece, unfortunately, I think you're just going to have to write that money off. I just do not see her paying you back for the rent. Certainly not, while she's drinking and using, who knows? Down the road, she's sober, she rebuilds her career, she circles back with you and tries to make things right. It could happen. I wouldn't bet on it. I definitely wouldn't stick around longer, merely in the hopes that she's going to pay you back.
[00:38:44] I am very sorry that things played out this way. My heart really goes out to your girlfriend. But if you zoom out, things might have had to get this bad for you guys to take care of yourselves, to get the help that you need, which is ultimately a good thing. So hang in there and I hope you guys each flourish from here on out. We're wishing you and your girlfriend all the best.
[00:39:05] You know what you're definitely going to want to take with you in a breakup, though? The amazing products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:39:14] This episode is sponsored in part by Peloton. We are getting so much rain here in California. And finally, right, we need the water. We're probably going to waste a bunch of it, just letting it drift into the ocean. But that's not what this is about. It's like a disaster outside. Trees collapsing, the streets are flooded. All of a sudden, people don't know how to drive. I don't know why that is in California. In Michigan, we can go to work in a foot of snow. Here it's like there's an inch of rain and people run straight into walls and each other. I like to stay active, but I don't really want to leave the house when this happens. That's one of several reasons why I love Peloton. The convenience factor just can't be beat. I don't have to go anywhere to stay active and healthy. Peloton makes top-notch machines. The classes are taught by world-class instructors. They're known for their amazing bikes. Everyone's probably heard of that. We have one of those. It gets plenty of mileage here. The rowing machine is where it's at, though, for me. Rowing is, maybe. It's the novelty factor of having a new thing, but I love it. Rowing is great for a full-body workout. It's great for improving your cardiovascular endurance. I've improved a ton since starting this. I love the flexibility. If a call cancels, which happens all the time, I can hop on the Row and get a quick workout in. I can get my heart pumping in the morning before the kids wake up working out at home. It's just been amazing, especially — first of all, there's nobody judging me. The kids can bother me and I can go right back to it. There's no waiting for a machine. There's no equipment slathered in other people's freaking sweat, other people's drool and grossness. And what's unique about the Row? Is it gives you real time form feedback. The seat and handle contain sensors and during setup, you go through this five-minute calibration process that then enables Form Assist, which is really cool. It's a little collapsible window on the left-hand side of the screen. You can monitor your technique because for me, especially, a lot of this athletic stuff is not super intuitive. Rowing form certainly was not intuitive and doing it correctly, especially when you get tired, is a lot harder than it sounds. And Form Assist shows you a figure of yourself as you row. When you screw up, a portion of your body turns red. That is a good way to avoid getting injured. First of all, tweaking something, overworking something, not being able to work out, which is going to stop a lot of people who are diving in for the first time, getting back into it after a long time. The last thing you want is some sort of repetitive strain issue, and at the end of the workout you get a read out of how well you did and a breakdown of your most common mistakes. So if you're kind of like me, you want to be competitive, even with yourself, you can improve over time. Like I said, I've improved a lot of these metrics over time in a way that's kind of feels good, I won't lie. I also love the scenic rides. That's kind of my new jam. You can transport yourself into the Thames River in London, and when you're basically rowing through London and smell-free without getting that water in your mouth, you can see famous landmarks such as the Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye. They also have Sydney Harbour. You can look at the Opera House, the Harbour House Bridge. I just think it's really neat to be able to row through Miami or different cities in the world. I just think it's really, really great. There's culture, there's beaches. It's very relaxing for somebody who's going to be sweating their brains out on one of these things. So I really, really enjoy that. And frankly, I didn't think I would, but I love it. And so if that doesn't make you want to work out, probably nothing will. Try Peloton Row risk-free with a 30-day home trial. New members only. Not available in remote locations like the ones you can scenically row through on the scenic rides with Peloton. See additional terms at onepeloton.com/home-trial.
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[00:42:45] Now, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:42:48] Okay, what's next?
[00:42:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a 28-year-old guy working for his 73-year-old dad in the family business, which is owning and managing property. My dad worked with his dad since he was 21. My dad's been in charge for more than 35 years. I've been working with him for more than six years, and I now oversee the day-to-day operations. My mom and I are both noticing the start of some cognitive decline in my dad. He doesn't have many hobbies. He does golf, but due to his age even that's becoming difficult for him to enjoy and because he is been running the business for so long, I don't think he knows what life would be like without it. I'm really excited to grow my role and modernize our company's procedures and processes, but I know I can't do that with him still involved anymore growth would come at his expense. He constantly resists significant changes. For example, we only accept physical checks. We had no employee handbook before I made one, and he has no interest in growing the real estate portfolio. And he gets frustrated, yells, and makes BS excuses whenever I question how things are done. I don't want to just wait around for my dad to pass away for me to take charge. Ideally, I want him to still be around while I run the company as I see fit. And he could still offer advice on big picture operations. How should I approach the situation? Do I work within the system he has currently or continue to approach him with new ideas? Signed, Afforded Prince, Trying to Court and Convince His Dad on the Fence.
[00:44:20] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. What a fascinating dilemma. Such a great question. Your grandfather started this business, your dad helped him grow it. Now, you are helping him grow it. That's kind of a beautiful thing actually, but because it's a family, it's also complicated.
[00:44:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:44:33] Jordan Harbinger: You're up against your dad's unique personality. He sounds like a very vigorous guy, which is awesome, but also very stubborn and angry at times. Sounds very familiar to me. And that's extra tricky because he's your pops. It sounds like he has a lot of his identity and purpose wrapped up in this company, which of course, I can really understand. But then you're fired up and you're ready to take the reins in a real way. And you know this town ain big enough for the two of us.
[00:44:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. It's a zero-sum game, isn't it? This is basically mom-and-pop succession.
[00:45:04] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:45:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: He's Kendall Roy, except he'd actually be a good CEO and his dad is Logan just grasping onto his legacy even as he declines in front of everybody.
[00:45:12] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. He wants to take their little Waystar Royco into the future and his dad is digging his heels in.
[00:45:18] Soundbite: It's my f*cking company. [Succession]
[00:45:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Nice. Yeah, it's such a good clip. Perfect.
[00:45:23] Jordan Harbinger: And you know much like that Succession clip, I'm just going to come out and say it, given the facts here, I think your dad is probably making a mistake by not even hearing you. Assuming you'd be a good leader, which it sounds like you are, at least on your way there, the smartest thing he could do is give you more and more responsibility, prepare you to take over, figure out how to set you and his legacy up for success. Because even if you were super sharp, he can't do this forever. So this transition is coming, whether he likes it or not, he might as well be part of it. So here's the approach I would take.
[00:45:56] First off, I would put your desire to take over on the back burner for just a moment and begin a series of conversations with your dad about the future of the company. You could start by saying, "So Dad, we have this amazing business. We have something really special here. You've done an incredible job building it and I'm proud to be part of it with you. As we both grow, I want to talk to you about where you see the business heading. What do you want it to look like? What do you want it to do? Because one day I'm going to be the steward of this remarkable thing that you've built with grandpa and I would love for us to build that future together. So what do you see for your company? What shape do you think you want it to be in? When it's my turn to lead? What do you think I should be doing to prepare starting now," and then, and I would let him talk. Keep asking him questions. Keep drawing him out. Your agenda is not to steer him to any specific conclusion. Like, "Fine, you can take over. I'm retiring." Your agenda is to just get him thinking about his hopes for the company after he's gone. And look, it's possible that he hasn't even thought about this because he doesn't want to think about what happens after he's gone.
[00:47:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. That might be why he's clinging so hard because maybe that's a way to ward off some pretty intense thoughts about his future, his purpose, and I'm imagining also his mortality.
[00:47:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. He strikes me as a guy who's avoiding some difficult facts.
[00:47:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hmm.
[00:47:19] Jordan Harbinger: So you might have to rewind the tape even more and say, "Look, I know this might be a little hard to talk about. It's sad for me to even think about, but you're 73, at some point, it will just be me running this place. So you know what's on your mind. Do you ever think about that?" And maybe, that's where you have to start. Just getting him comfortable acknowledging that this transition is coming, in fact, that it's already happening.
[00:47:44] And I would encourage your dad to get specific about what he wants. I'm sure he would eventually agree that he wants what you want for the company to succeed, maybe even to grow, and that he wants his son to be empowered to do a great job. Once you get to that point where he's acknowledged that his vision and your vision for the company are actually the same, then you have a window to talk about the succession stuff. And maybe that's when you say, "Well, look, you and I are both on the same page and I am fired up. I'm energetic, I'm ready to rock. But I know it isn't easy for both of us to lead. I know some of my ideas rub you the wrong way, and you see things differently and you know that's okay. It must be wild for your son to come in and go, 'Oh no, we need to do things a different way.' But if you really want the company to succeed, if you really want me to be a good leader, we need to talk about this stuff. I would love to find a way for us to discuss new ideas and not argue and come up with the best solution together."
[00:48:41] And again, you're going to have to be very, very thoughtful here and not advocate too hard for the outcome you want, which is, "Fine, do whatever you want. I'm retiring." Instead, I would invite your dad to talk about why he responds to your ideas the way that he does. Maybe you say, "So the other week when I brought up the idea of buying that new apartment complex, you got really frustrated with me. Can you help me understand why?" And again, let him talk. Do your best to not react. Just make some space for him to explain and really listen to him. Maybe he tells you that he thinks you're being reckless. Maybe he admits that he's risk averse, that he's a little afraid. Maybe he doesn't even literally understand half the stuff you're pitching.
[00:49:22] This is kind of a problem I have with my own dad, right? I mean, we're not in a business together, but I'll say something and I realize later he just doesn't even know what the hell I'm talking about, and it makes him feel confused or insecure.
[00:49:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:49:34] Jordan Harbinger: Because here's his 28-year-old son who was popping zits yesterday or in diapers yesterday in his mind, and now he's talking about, you know, online tenant platforms and new process technology and new ways to value acquisitions or whatever. And he's just like, "Dude, I can barely get my iPhone to sync messages with my computer." I don't know exactly what's going on with your dad, but that's what you need to find out. and then you can hopefully resolve it.
[00:50:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm. Such a good point. That's a crucial phase to go through because until you really understand how your dad thinks, and until your dad truly feels understood by you, you guys might always be locked in this tension until he finally retires or possibly passes away. And like you said, it would be a shame for both of you if you had to wait that long. And I do hope it's a long time. I hope your dad has another couple of decades where he gets to see you flourish and advise from a distance and watch you shine. But it could be that long if you guys don't get to the heart of the matter.
[00:50:32] If you guys can talk about this stuff even a little bit, then you'll be setting the stage for what I think is the third part of this conversation, which is, okay, let's talk about the future. And again, I would only do this if you feel like you have built some real understanding, some real rapport with your dad, that's when you can say, "Look, I want to lead this company and I also want to honor your legacy by doing a good job and the way I see it if that's going to happen, I need to start stepping up now. I do not want you to leave. I am not kicking you out. I just don't want to wait another 20 years to take our company into the future. And I know you don't want to hold me back either."
[00:51:07] I'm saying this and I'm realizing that this is literally Succession. It sounds like dialogue straight from the show.
[00:51:12] "So what if we took the next few years to start transitioning things? You know what if we run the company together more and then I start taking on more of your role and making decisions on my own, and you can stay close so you can advise me on big picture operations and you help me become the leader you want me to be." I feel like that would be a great way into this conversation.
[00:51:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I like that. I would also show him that you need him around to advise.
[00:51:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:51:36] Jordan Harbinger: But also put you into the role where you can walk on your own with his supervision. Of course. Kind of like how we let toddlers walk while we're nearby in case they fall, same principle.
[00:51:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Which sounds like it's already kind of happening, and yet they're still butting heads, right? Which means that dad isn't really letting him walk on his own.
[00:51:52] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:51:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Which is a very interesting. Anyway, I would be prepared for any response from your dad if he goes full Logan Roy and he's like, "Hell, no, I'm not going anywhere. You're not stealing my company out from under me." Then, I would stay very neutral and shift back into curiosity mode, ask him questions about why he's responding this way, and ideally you help him get clear on why handing over the reins is so difficult for him. My guess, this is my hunch, I think your dad is probably terrified of not having a purpose anymore. Or look, maybe he just hates the idea of losing control.
[00:52:27] Jordan Harbinger: Or maybe to be fair, maybe he just loves the company.
[00:52:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I think he's probably all of the above, and that is all perfectly normal. It makes total sense, but you can't help him work through any of that until he can acknowledge it.
[00:52:39] And when he does, then you're in a great position to say, "Dad, I get it. I don't want you to feel purposeless. I don't want to take away the great love of your life. Let's talk about how you can still be involved. Let's talk about all the other ways you might be able to find meaning in your life," or whatever, it is and hopefully, you get him to the point where he says, "I mean, yeah, okay. The idea of letting you take over has been really freaking hard for me. But you're right. It's time. It's important. So, okay, I'm willing to give it a shot." And if you get there to that point, bravo, I think it'll be worth all of the effort.
[00:53:11] Jordan Harbinger: That would be a great outcome. But if your dad really digs his heels in, if he goes full Logan Roy, season four , then you're going to have to find out.
[00:53:19] The people who don't watch the show are going to be like, "What are you freaking talking about?"
[00:53:21] Then, you guys are going to have to find other ways of making progress. So, yeah, maybe you do work within the current system. Find little ways to slowly make big changes. For example, maybe you still take physical checks, but you also set up an online payment portal to show him how it would work. And then, when 90-freaking-nine percent of your tenants are using that and he sees that it works even better, he's finally like, "Oh, okay. You were right. Let's do it," even though you've already done it, or maybe you learn to pitch your ideas in a way that your dad can understand and you tailor the message a little more, possibly even making him think it's his idea to get that, that's an art form in itself.
[00:53:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:53:58] Jordan Harbinger: Or you just bide your time until he finally retires and you make peace with the fact that that's just going to take longer than you'd like, which might be really hard, but it is an option. Whatever you do, try to have as much curiosity and compassion for your dad as you can. This is obviously an intense transition for him, and the more you can help him see that you guys are partners in it, not adversaries, the more likely it is that he'll make room for you to step up.
[00:54:23] So we're sending you and your dad our best thoughts and hoping you get to build your own legacy with this company soon. It's all very exciting, frankly. Good luck.
[00:54:31] Okay, next up.
[00:54:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I've had my marketing business for many years now, but it's always been more of a side project than a business until last year. I've also always had a beginner's mindset and focused on learning in my life. Lately, though, I've been wondering whether this is actually holding me back. I'm now at a point where every class I take or every talk I attend is boring because I've heard it all before and I even usually feel like I do a better job than the presenter. I realize more every day that I do in fact know my stuff. But having this beginner's mindset, probably with a bit of imposter syndrome tagging along, has begun to hold me back. This is especially true when it comes to charging my clients. I've always felt like I don't know enough yet, or I'm not at a level where I can demand a decent rate. Since this is my full-time job now and I'm about to give birth to my second child, I need to make it. What comes between the beginner's mindset and being an expert? Is it competence? Is it growth? What does that phase look and feel like? Signed, Get in Some growth in While I Transcend This Shoshin.
[00:55:42] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, nice. Shoshin, Japanese for beginner's mind, right? That's like a karate thing.
[00:55:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, that's right. Exactly right. Yeah.
[00:55:49] Jordan Harbinger: I love Japanese words. We should slip more of those into the show.
[00:55:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. What is Japanese for conundra? I feel like that might come in handy.
[00:55:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:55:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: We should look that up.
[00:55:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. What's Japanese for narcissistic dumpster fire? I think that one's much more relevant for the podcast that we do here.
[00:56:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, that's going to get play.
[00:56:04] Jordan Harbinger: Anyway, you aren't a narcissistic dumpster fire. Quite the opposite. I think this is a really good question. First of all, I love that you have this beginner's mindset. You sound like a very grounded person, eager to learn, willing to put in the work. You want to know that you have the goods before you charge somebody a high rate. Those are admirable qualities that I think more people should probably adopt. But you're absolutely right that beginner's mindset, eh, can become a bit of a mental prison if you clinging to it too hard, especially when it comes with some imposter syndrome, which is also very common by the way.
[00:56:35] I think what's happening here is that thinking of yourself as a perpetual beginner, even as you are objectively leveling up, that's feeding the sense that you really are a bit of a fraud, which I don't agree with for the record. At the same time, feeling like a fraud probably makes it hard to see yourself as anything other, because that protects this mental concept of, "Well, I really don't know what I'm doing. I'm really not good enough to charge a full rate, so I must be a novice." So this beginner's mindset, it's kind of a double-edged sword.
[00:57:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:57:05] Jordan Harbinger: And what tips it over from being a helpful mindset to a mental prison is when you use it to keep yourself safe, to protect your vulnerabilities, to avoid situations where you'll have to stretch and grow and step up or ask for what you really want. And to be fair, those can be very intense experiences. So it makes sense that you want to stay in the beginner's cocoon. But if you want those things, and I know you do because the stakes are higher now, then you're going to have to push past this.
[00:57:33] So to answer your question, what comes between the beginner's mindset and being an expert? Well, a whole lot. Many, many, many degrees of expertise, passion, insight, experience, relationship, the list goes on and on. Becoming great at something that's an open-ended journey. And it can be really hard to grasp that if you are perpetually stuck in first gear because you can't break out of that beginning phase.
[00:57:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Absolutely. Because I think for you, your ability feels like a light switch. Either it's on or it's off. Either you're a beginner or you're an expert. And in your mind, until you get to the point where you can finally flick the switch to expert, you won't be able to do the work you want to do and you won't be able to charge the rate you want to charge.
[00:58:15] Jordan Harbinger: Right. That's the prison.
[00:58:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: When in reality, there's a lot of territory in between those two. So I think what you're really asking is — how do I make room for that territory in myself? How do I embrace the idea that, yeah, I'm not a beginner anymore, but I'm also not quite an expert yet? And yeah, I'm starting to get comfortable with that. Can I really own that? I do have a lot to offer, even if I haven't reached this magical abstract point in the future of being an expert. And also just practically, how do I position myself as somebody who is still in process?
[00:58:49] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. So actually the most important question for her is why does this journey feel so binary? Look, either or.
[00:58:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes. Exactly. So to answer your question, what does that phase look and feel like? It looks and feels like accepting yourself exactly where you are right now. Knowing that you're both really good at what you do and that you still have things to learn, and you can ask for what you believe you deserve, and you can still remain flexible if somebody cannot pay you that yet. And then just showing up and doing the best possible work you can do. And generally, what that means is you're living more in the tension of being in a process. You're on the journey, you're in the middle of growing and not being the beginner you once were and not quite being the master you hope to be, which I want to be clear. That is really hard sometimes because it's exposing to go to a client and say, "Look, here's what I can do really well. Here's what I'm still learning to do. Here's what I would like to be paid for my work, "and then risking their response because you're being honest about where you are. And maybe that falls short of the idealized version of yourself that you have in your head, which is what you call expert.
[00:59:58] Jordan Harbinger: For sure, hey, you know, I wonder if that's another function of the beginner's mind for her to allow her to delay these conversations, to put off asking for the money she wants.
[01:00:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally. Because she doesn't have to be so vulnerable, right? Or rather she gets to be vulnerable in a way that feels safer to her, which is the vulnerability of being a beginner who isn't ready to make this money, as opposed to the vulnerability of being somebody who's more advanced, who's actually, you know, in the ring, so to speak. So that's what this phase feels like, I think, kind of exciting, kind of wounding sometimes, enlivening, but also kind of scary. It's all of it. And being in touch with all of that sometimes that is what's scary.
[01:00:39] Jordan Harbinger: Well said, Gabe. So here is what I would do. First of all, it's time to recognize that you've grown tremendously and it's time to own that expertise. If you're constantly noticing that you know more than these experts, then you have to take those signals seriously. If those people are charging three times as much as you do for the same work, you probably can as well. Second, you could spend another three years hemming and hawing about this beginner's mind thing, but the reality is you're only going to rewrite that by doing something.
[01:01:08] So my advice, start quoting clients, the rate you want to charge, it's going to feel uncomfortable, it's going to feel a little scary, but I would treat it as an experiment. The worst that can happen is they say, no, or more likely, "Sorry, I can't do that rate. Can you work with me a little?" which by the way, not even a bad outcome at all. You need to find out what happens when you ask for what you want and when you get it, which I think you eventually will, then you're going to be pumped and you're going to crush it. And when you crush it, you're going to go, "Holy crap, I actually can charge that much. I'm worth that rate. And so this is the rate that I charge now."
[01:01:42] Something's going to shift at that moment, and this paralysis and imposterism are going to start to lift. Sometimes, you just have to take the leap to put something out into the world, trust that the path will start to unfold. But while you do all that, hang on to the best part of this beginner's mindset, the humility, the eagerness to grow. That's the part of Shoshin that will serve you for the rest of your life no matter how advanced you get. So go get your bag and good luck.
[01:02:09] And Gabe, I wish more people had this mindset because I've hired so many knuckleheads that charge full rate, and then when they're blowing it, you find out like they've never done the thing that they're charging $20,000 to do. Or they've done it once in the online course where they paid to learn how to do that thing. And you're like, "Wait a minute. You convinced me you knew what the f*ck you were talking about, and you don't know any of th of this. Like, gimme my money back, knucklehead."
[01:02:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: How did you end up here? Right.
[01:02:36] Jordan Harbinger: Right. And they're just conning you.
[01:02:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[01:02:38] Jordan Harbinger: Because they're like, "Well, my coach said I should be able to make my money back for the course and my first job, so that's what I'm charging." It's like, "No, that's not how valuing a service goes." And I guess I shouldn't say I've hired so many, I've come close to hiring until I find out that the reason they're basing their price on this is because that's what their stupid coach said. Not like, "This is what the market will bear. This is what my experience dictates." Just like, "Well, this is the amount of money I want because I want to go to Vietnam for a month and not work." It's the opposite in most times, you're hiring somebody who's new to something. So I would love to find somebody who is needing to charge more. People want to pay you what you're worth if you're worth that, they want to do it.
[01:03:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[01:03:21] Jordan Harbinger: So I think that's the trick. It's not that you can't do it, and if you screw something up, make it right. That's all. That's all anybody could really ask for.
[01:03:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[01:03:30] Jordan Harbinger: So anyway, hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everybody who wrote in this week, and everybody who listened. Thank you so much. Go back and check out Matt Frederick and Ben Bowlin and Dr. James Cantor if you haven't had a chance yet.
[01:03:40] If you want to know how I managed to book all these great people for the show, it's all about relationships. The Six-Minute Networking course is free. I'm teaching you how to dig the well before you get thirsty. It's all there on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. Don't wait. You can't make up for lost time when it comes to relationships and networking. I see people kick the can down the road. They don't want to do it. They'll do it later when they need it. That's not how this works. Once you need relationships, you are way too late to build and maintain them, and it just takes a few minutes a day. This has advanced my business tremendously, my personal life tremendously. Again, it's all free. jordanharbinger.com/course.
[01:04:15] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. Advertisers, discounts, ways to support the show, all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. Go try the chatbot and search for promo codes or anything from any Feedback Friday at jordanharbinger.com/ai. 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.
[01:04:42] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty. Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own, and I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show.
[01:04:58] Dr. Margolis' input is general psychological information based on research and clinical experience. It's intended to be general and informational in nature. It does not represent or indicate an established clinical or professional relationship with those inquiring for guidance.
[01:05:11] Remember, 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.
[01:05:27] Here's what you should check out next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:05:31] AJ Jacobs: What I tried to do was thank a thousand people who had even the smallest role in making my cup of coffee possible.
[01:05:39] Jordan Harbinger: And that's like a thousand, you go, oh, that's not a lot. That's a lot.
[01:05:43] AJ Jacobs: Oh my God. It was a lot.
[01:05:44] Jordan Harbinger: A hundred people would be tedious—
[01:05:46] AJ Jacobs: No, it was way more than I anticipated.
[01:05:49] Jordan Harbinger: 10 times that many.
[01:05:51] AJ Jacobs: Everything we do requires hundreds, thousands of interconnected people and that we take for granted. And just making this mental switch, just from a selfish point of view is very good because it really does help you appreciate the hundreds of things that go right every day instead of focusing on the three or four that go wrong.
[01:06:11] There's a great quote, I wish I'd come up with it myself, but it says, "It's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting." So I had to fake it for a long time. You know, I would wake up in a grumpy mood, but I'd be like, "I have to spend an hour calling or visiting people and thanking them."
[01:06:33] Jordan Harbinger: And I'm not in the mood to do that right now.
[01:06:35] AJ Jacobs: No. So it was like acting. It was like method acting, and I would force myself to do it. But I'll tell you, by the end of that hour, your mind, you know, the cognitive dissonance is too much, your mind will switch over to gratefulness. There's a great quote that happiness does not lead to gratitude. Gratitude leads to happiness. Having that mindset really will make you happier.
[01:07:00] Jordan Harbinger: For more with AJ Jacobs and his fascinating journey to thank everyone involved in his cup of morning coffee and an inside look at just how complex the supply chain of our lives really is, check out episode 174 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:07:15] Special thanks to Peloton for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:07:22] This episode is also sponsored by Practical Stoicism podcast. You ever wake up in the morning and dread the day, or a struggle with feelings of discontent? Of course, I have. I'm sure you have as well. There's a podcast you can check out called Practical Stoicism, which delivers straightforward, practical advice about how to live a more fulfilling life. Every Saturday morning host, Tanner Campbell examines the ancient texts of stoicism, which were practiced by kings, presidents, entrepreneurs, and more. But don't be intimidated by those that came before you with the dense text. You can benefit and learn from the principles of stoicism, just like George Washington and Adam Smith did. Practical Stoicism is a podcast designed to help newcomers get comfortable with the practical aspect of the philosophy. Listening to Practical Stoicism is an incredible way to make a habit of self-reflection and constant learning, and it's a great way to press pause on the stress of your everyday life. Check out Practical Stoicism on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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