Your promising military career was derailed when former colleagues falsely accused you of wrongdoing to cover their own misdeeds. Even though the timeline proved that your alleged malfeasance would have been impossible and you were cleared of all charges, you missed promotions, eligibility cutoffs, special pay, and accompanying bonuses over the course of the lengthy investigation. Adding insult to these injuries is the message that your higher-ups have elected “not to go forward” with reinstating your qualifications and reimbursing you for your losses. So now you’re wondering: should you sue Uncle Sam for this allegation sham?
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:
- Your military career was derailed by accusations of misconduct proven untrue, but you’ve been denied back pay or promotions due. Should you sue? [Thanks to attorney and friend Corbin Payne for helping us with this one!]
- In an out-of-character lapse of judgment, your girlfriend got drunk, drove, hit a car, and got arrested. As a result, she may spend a year in prison. While you feel bad for her, you don’t want to be pulled down by her bad choices. Should you stay or should you go?
- In spite of the pandemic, your new business is thriving. Unfortunately, your mental health isn’t, and establishing self-care boundaries with your workaholic business partner isn’t panning out. Should you try to navigate the partnership for the sake of all you’ve built, or let it go for the sake of your sanity?
- What’s the best way to get your child to learn a second language at a young age?
- 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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Resources from This Episode:
- Ray Dalio | The Changing World Order | Jordan Harbinger
- Michael Shermer | Why We Believe Weird Things | Jordan Harbinger
- How to Design the Perfect Morning Routine (and Avoid a Bad One) | Jordan Harbinger
- Boo’s Rightful Vexation Over Frightening Fixation | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- The Uniform Code Of Military Justice | Military Benefits
- A Few Good Men | Prime Video
- Close Ranks Idiom Definition | Grammarist
- US Army JAG Corps | GoArmy.com
- Laura Nirider | Anatomy of a False Confession | Jordan Harbinger
- ‘Indiana Jones’ Star Shia LaBeouf Busted for DUI After Pickup Truck Crash | The Mercury News
- Driving Under the Influence: What is a DUI? Consequences, Fines, & Sentences | American Addiction Centers
- Dean & DeLuca
- Better Help
- 13 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Set Boundaries | Rescue a CEO
- Live Lingua
- Lisa Feldman Barrett | Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain | Jordan Harbinger
- David Eagleman | The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain | Jordan Harbinger
Should You Sue Uncle Sam for Allegation Sham? | Feedback Friday (Episode 493)
Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. Today, I'm here with my Feedback Friday producer, my compatriot in council, 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 here on the show 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.
[00:00:38] If you're new to the show on Fridays like this, 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 amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers. And if you're joining us for the first time, or you're looking for a handy way to tell your friends about the show, we have episodes starter packs. These are at jordanharbinger.com/start. They're collections of your favorite episodes, organized by topic so that you can get a taste of everything we do here on the show, or share the show with somebody else. And they can pick something that they're actually interested in instead of the thing that you're shoving down their throat. Not that I don't appreciate you sharing this show down people's throats, just to be clear. Just go to jordanharbinger.com/start to get started.
[00:01:21] This week, we had Ray Dalio back on the show, talking about the changing world order. In other words, where are we in the cycle of boom and bust? Where are we in terms of stability here in our democracy here in the Western world, especially in the United States because of the gap between rich and poor and a whole host of other factors that Ray gets into here on the show. We also had Michael Shermer back on the show. This one is from the vault. We discuss: why people believe weird things? Why do people see patterns where there aren't any? Why do our brains do this to us? This is especially pertinent right now in the era of conspiracy theories and QAnon, and all this other craziness. Again, a rebroadcast with Michael Shermer and Ray Dalio. So make sure you've had to listen to everything we created for you here this week.
[00:02:05] Also, I write every so often on the blog. The latest post is about morning routines. I think they're overrated. I think that as a productivity tool, they're a bit of a hard sell. I think a lot of times they work against you. So in this piece, we talk about the right way to create a morning routine that really serves your unique needs and interests, drawing on the latest science all around this. Some wisdom from the interviews here on the show are included, of course, as well as my own experience, designing a routine that actually worked for me. So make sure you've had a look and listen to everything that we created for you here this week. The articles by the way are also at jordanharbinger.com/articles.
[00:02:40] For advice, you can reach us email@example.com. Please keep your emails concise, make a descriptive subject line. Don't just write advice in it. That drives us freaking crazy. If there's something you're going through, a big decision you're wrestling with, or you need a new perspective on stuff, whether it's life love, work, whether you should stop jumping out of closets and scaring your girlfriend. Whatever's got you staying up at night lately or keeping your girlfriend up at night lately, hit us up firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help. We keep every email anonymous.
[00:03:09] Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:03:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, I'm a 20-something guy serving as an officer in the military. I had a very solid start to my military career for the first five years. I was commissioned on scholarship. I passed several military schools and training courses with distinction. I held several positions above my pay grade during my first operational tour. And I received several awards on that tour. I was then selected for a prestigious high-visibility position in the Pentagon to top it all off, beating out several other candidates, most of them senior to me. The training I completed and the positions I held entitled me to certain special pays and bonuses. Then things went off the rails about two years ago. I lost my high-visibility position and was called in for questioning when it came out that former peers of mine had incriminated me for violating the uniform code of military justice. These accusations were coming from peers who I knew on my first tour and were leveled many months after I had already moved away from that duty station. I found out later that this all stemmed from one individual testing positive and a routine drug test, the implications of which pulled several officers into an arduous investigation. And based on the evidence package, I was finally able to read unredacted, a snowball of people looking to cover their asses and cut deals. I was initially questioned by the authorities and my hair, urine, and fingerprints were taken. The process was not fun. My most vivid memory of the day I was pulled in was a federal law enforcement agent telling me I couldn't leave yet. Simply because I was quote-unquote kind of under arrest. And that was after I had asked for counsel for the third time, I stood my ground that these accusations had no basis in fact, and refuted the allegations. I had no recourse to get my position back and could only watch while they stripped away my special pays and bonuses. The investigation took nearly two years until I could finally get in front of the correct board of administrative proceedings to adjudicate it all. The board ultimately found no basis in the accusations leveled against me, essentially clearing me of any suspected wrongdoing and closing the case. Due to how long this process took. I missed my screening dates for promotion, not to mention that I still have not had special pays or bonuses reinstated or reimbursed. I also missed my eligibility to sign on for additional bonuses if I had continued my projected career path effectively ending my career in the military. Furthermore, I have about six months until I can get out. And all they have said to me is that they have elected not to go forward with reinstating my qualifications and reimbursing me. The amount in question is about $30,000. If I were to consider how my career track likely would have gone and extrapolate to the contracts that would have been eligible for, there would be an additional $75,000. Is it worth it to hire a lawyer and sue the government over the roughly $100,000 plus possible pain and suffering? Am I even eligible to do so? Or should I just be glad I made it through to the other side and move on? We're also concerned that it could affect our employment opportunities if we bring a case forward. I love the show and I appreciate all that you guys do. Signed, Throw Down and Spar or Accept That It's Fubar.
[00:06:03] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. This is such a sad and infuriating story. It's yet another example of government bureaucracy, bullshit, causing a guy to lose a hundred thousand dollars and the country to lose a good man from the ranks due to their own inept crap, right? This really grinds my gears. I feel for you, man. I really do. You sound like an incredibly smart, thoughtful, upstanding person who wanted to serve his country. And then he got swept up in some shitty situation, created by a bunch of schmoes. And you were the one left to take the hit because everybody else wanted to save their skin. It's like a real-life version of a Few Good Men minus the awesome ending. Just deeply uncool. I get why you're angry. I would be too. And I also get why you're considering suing. A hundred grand is nothing to sneeze at. I'm sure the emotional toll is actually even higher.
[00:06:47] So look, we wanted to make sure we had a good handle on the legal aspect of your question. So we consulted with none other than OG friend of the show, Corbin Payne, C. Payne, did some great homework as per ushe and helped us think through your situation here. So, first of all, the most important thing to remember here is that you're dealing with a massive, indifferent, ultimately self-interested government agency. That will be extremely difficult to deal with. You already knew that based on the ordeal that you've been through and having worked there, in the service, but it's worth remembering as you consider this lawsuit. Everything we talk about from here on out, every decision you'll have to face down the road, all of it should be informed by the fact that the military is almost certainly going to make things difficult for you far more difficult than they should be.
[00:07:34] And Corbin, he actually has the military contacts who have experienced interpreting and applying the Uniform Code of Military Justice or the UCMJ and the consensus he got from them is to spend very little time getting the military to voluntarily cough up these bonuses or admit wrongdoing. Corbin told us that the term closing ranks was literally invented to describe the military standard response to situations just like this, the likelihood that there'll be team players, if you try to resolve this amicably, is basically zero.
[00:08:04] So if you're going to get what you deserve from your former employer, it's almost certainly not going to be by playing nice. Based on our research, it sounds like a lawsuit is actually the best strategy. If you're determined to get your money and balance the scales here. Now, I do think there are some good reasons to just walk away and build a new career and I'll get back to that in a moment, but there are also some good reasons to bring a lawsuit and fight for what you deserve, especially since the facts of this case seemed to be so stark.
[00:08:30] Now, if you do decide to sue, the best thing you can do, always in any lawsuit, no matter what is to hire a great attorney. Corbin's advice, the attorney has to be a former JAG officer who's now in private practice. That's a lawyer who was in the Judge Advocate General's Corps. That's the branch of the military that deals with military law. The UCMJ, it's a weird mix of regulations, civil law, criminal law. No one outside the JAG Corps is going to be able to make heads or tails of it. To find somebody like that, I'd start with the awesome legal counsel who defended you against these charges before the board. They sound great. They can probably point you in the right direction. They can advise you as to your odds of recovery and the feasibility of a lawsuit. Corbin's take was that you seem to have a pretty strong story here. In fact, he said that if you had received similar treatment from the organization he was representing, he'd recommend settling generously with you ASAP and firing the asshats who did this to you without hesitation. He believes most attorneys looking at the facts of your case would reach a similar conclusion. But like we just said, the US military is another beast entirely. So you just never know.
[00:09:35] Now, if you decide to move forward with the lawsuit, then I would start thinking about what outcome you're going to be happy with. Corbin told us about an old saying among attorneys that basically goes when one party sues, everyone loses. Lawsuits are expensive. They're time consuming. They take a big emotional toll. Take it from me personally, this is so true. If you decide to sue the government, you have to be prepared to pay those costs, both the tangible costs and the intangible ones. A competent experienced attorney can help you identify and budget for those costs so that you know what you're getting into.
[00:10:08] Our hope is that the military doesn't force you to take them to court and just reasonably settle with you. Corbin's advice there. If they make a fair offer, take it and leave those idiots in the dust, depending on what you feel is acceptable and that's different for everyone. But since you're financially stable, you do have some flexibility here, depending on what you can live with. I would just take the money and run with kind of whatever settlement isn't insulting. Save your time and energy and headache, heartache, pushing for more, just get on with your life. That's what I would do anyway.
[00:10:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I would too. For a guy like this, duking it out with the government for six years to get just a little more cash out of them. That probably isn't worth it. If he gets most of what he wants here and you can use it to fund his next chapter, I would say that's a win. Beyond that though, I would start thinking about all of the exciting things you can do with your life now. Because based on what you've shared, you have a ton to offer any organization. If I were you, I would bring your considerable skills, your emotional intelligence, your work ethic. I would take all of that to the private sector where you'll probably be better compensated and not have to deal with people ratting you out for smoking a J when they were on the base one night or something.
[00:11:11] I know it's probably frustrating to cut your losses. It might sting a little bit when you think about this for the rest of your life, but leaving this chapter behind as soon as possible, whether you sue the government or not, that's probably the best move you can make. I know that a hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money. I obviously hope you recover as much of it as possible, but the reality is you have a real shot at making a lot more than that in your career. And I would imagine pretty quickly too. So start building relationships in the civilian world if you're not already doing that. Capitalize on your financial stability to interview and find a great role for yourself and trust that going all in on yourself right now will probably pay much bigger dividends than spending the next decade or so trying to get Uncle Sam to cough up more cash. I know that's a tough pill to swallow, and I'm not saying that they won't give you that money at some time, but you don't need the government to pay you back for the rest of your life to be great. Then I think you'll find a little more freedom, a little less stress. And any money you do end up getting, that'll just be a nice book alongside the awesome life you're building now. That's the real victory in my book anyway.
[00:12:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I agree. Because it's not just time and money that goes into a lawsuit. It's also a ton of emotional energy. Your thoughts and identity get wrapped up in it. It's easy to attach a ton of importance to the outcome here. I've been there. It's exhausting. It's such a waste of brain space. He'd be much better off taking a decent settlement as soon as possible. And then just investing all those resources in himself in the rest of his life.
[00:12:30] My last thought here — and I just want to say this before we wrap up — it sounds like you handled this whole ordeal, like a freaking champ. You get thrown under the bus by your peers. You're being held in question by the military without a lawyer. They're going through a long government investigation. In terms of the most stressful events you can go through in life, that's got to be up there. You sit up to the interrogation with a ton of strength and conviction, even though it didn't go your way. Not yet anyway. You totally held your own. You should be really proud of that, man. I mean that most people, they just crumble in the face of something like that. In fact, we actually talked a lot about that in an episode on false confessions with Laura Nirider recently. That's episode 456 if you want to give it a listen. We'll link to it in the show notes, of course.
[00:13:10] A lot of people who are being questioned, they end up admitting to something, even if it's totally false, just to get out of a stressful situation, but you didn't do that. You held for him in a situation that was probably super painful, embarrassing, annoying, scary. You were exonerated. And the military review board affirmed your integrity. If nothing else, that's a pretty huge accomplish in itself. I think so, anyway. Corbin actually said it best when he weighed in here, he said, "As a defense attorney, my hat is off to you. As a US Citizen, I regret that we're losing such a competent and courageous officer." His words, not mine, but I wholeheartedly agree with him.
[00:13:46] I'm so sorry. This happened to you. It's tough that your life has taken this unexpected turn, but as corny as it sounds, I really do have a feeling that it's pushing you to do something even better. The faster you can find out what that is the better. Take your skills, your experience, your obvious resilience, bring them to a place that truly values you and will compensate you accordingly and know that you'll probably never have to face anything as terrible as this again in your entire career. But if you ever do, you know, you have the goods to survive and frankly, that's a huge asset. So best of luck, my man. As always, we're rooting for you.
[00:14:19] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
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[00:15:40] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by ZipRecruiter. If you're a business owner who's hiring you, probably facing a lot of challenges when it comes to finding the right person for your role. Like not having enough hours in the day. I start my day with hundreds of emails and that's not an exaggeration on average, 200 people apply to a job posted. So if I have 10 of them, that's like 2000 resumes, emails, applications that I need to go through. That's why hiring can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. And sure, you can post your job to some job board, but then all you do is hope the right person comes along and finds it, which is why you should try ZipRecruiter for free at ziprecruiter.com/jordan. You post a job there. It gets sent over to a hundred plus top job sites with one click. They got matching technologies. So they'll find great people to invite them, to apply for your job. So it's not just the most desperate people who are quick off the draw, applying to your position. ZipRecruiter is so effective that four out of five employers who post on ZipRecruiter get a quality candidate within the first day.
[00:16:35] Jen Harbinger: So while other companies overwhelm you with way too many options, ZipRecruiter finds you what you're looking for, the needle in the haystack. And right now, you can try ZipRecruiter for free at this web address, ziprecruiter.com/jordan. Once again, remember to go to this unique place. ziprecruiter.com/J-O-R-D-A-N. ZipRecruiter, the smartest way to hire.
[00:16:55] Jordan Harbinger: And now, back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:17:00] All right, what's next?
[00:17:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, my girlfriend and I have been together for almost a year now. She got divorced at the beginning of last year and spent the rest of the year, trying to put her life back together. So far, she's done a decent job managing life with two young kids at home who are doing online school all day and two senior parents living next door who rely on her as well. Last week though, after having a bad day, she decided to go out with her friends and had way too much to drink. I got a call to come, pick her up in the bar because she was so drunk she couldn't drive. Just as I got there, I saw her pulling out of the parking lot. So I followed her, but before I could catch her, she hit another car. Luckily, no one was hurt, but she did get arrested and cited for a DUI and reckless driving. This is the first time she's ever done anything like this. She's never gotten a speeding ticket or been in an accident, and this is not normal behavior for her. But now she may lose her license and go to jail for a year. I've never been in a situation like this. So I'm kind of at a loss as to how to handle it. Do I run? Do I try to stay and work through it with her? I feel for her and I don't want to drop her when she's at the worst point of her life, but I also feel I owe it to myself to not let her bad choices pull me down or hold me back. What would you do? Signed, D-U-I Have No Idea What to Do Here.
[00:18:11] Jordan Harbinger: Man, that must've been a rough night and I'm not trying to make light of this. I'm sorry your girlfriend decided to drive home. That is extremely unfortunate. It's embarrassing. It's probably a huge legal and logistical headache now. I'm just glad nobody else was hurt. That's the great news. It's kind of a miracle, especially since it sounds like she was pretty blasted. You're right there to pick her up and she decided to freaking Shia LaBeouf it all the way home. I mean, or at least try to get home anyway. That's a bummer.
[00:18:37] So look, I find your question really interesting because based on what you've shared, your girlfriend, she's had a very rough year between the divorce, raising young kids, taking care of her parents. That's a lot for one person to handle. And like you said, she's doing a good job of managing her life. She's on top of it. This is the first time she's ever done anything like this. I'm assuming she's not getting blackout drunk on the regs or drizz-driving every other weekend. This sounds like it really is a one-time thing that unfortunately ended badly. Or fortunately, ended badly enough to hopefully stop her from doing it again, but not badly enough to have lifelong consequences.
[00:19:13] I get why you're a little concerned here. What she did was reckless. It was dumb. It's going to be an albatross around her neck for a while. And now you're going to have to have a front-row seat to her legal drama. Probably a lot of emotional stress. I imagine she's pretty angry right now. She's probably disappointed. And she's obviously embarrassed. Maybe she's lashing out at you sometimes. And this whole thing will probably create financial stress and other headaches for a while. The average DUI costs around 10 grand, all told that's not a trivial amount of money for most people. It might be hard for her to get certain jobs with a DUI on her record.
[00:19:47] If she loses her license, it'll be a lot harder for her to get to the office, to run errands, to get her kids to and from school or their friends to houses, whatever. And if your finances are co-mingled in any way, like if you guys share a bank account or you're on the same car insurance policy, or you're helping support her, then this DUI could affect you more directly. All of which could be creating more obligations for you, more stress for you, if she's expecting you to pick up the slack. So on one level, I understand why you feel the urge to cut and run your girlfriend's life. It's about to get a lot more complicated, at least for the next year, probably longer than that. You guys aren't married. You've been together less than a year. That's not an insignificant amount of time, but it's not exactly a life partnership either. And depending on how you feel about your girlfriend and her kids, how invested you are in her life, I don't think you're some kind of monster for wondering whether this is something you really want to take on.
[00:20:41] That said the truly defining factor here is how your girlfriend handles all of this. If she's super remorseful about what she did and she's not drinking excessively, she's not drinking and driving. She's doing everything in her power to be a good mom, a law-abiding citizen. She's not making her problems, your problems now. Then I think that counts for a lot. That's really hard to do in the middle of a legal nightmare like this. And if she's going through all of this responsibly conscientiously, then she deserves a lot of credit. Like I said, if she were driving drunk regularly, before she got caught and getting blackout drunk every weekend. And if that behavior were continuing now and suddenly you just realized you've been dating a hot mess, who's actually some huge liability for you, then I would definitely encourage you to reconsider this relationship. But if your girlfriend is a decent person, who's made a big mistake and is working hard to fix it and contain the damage, which it sounds like she's doing well. That's a very different story.
[00:21:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes. I agree clearly. Her character, her personality, the quality of their relationship together, that matters a lot. I also think it matters where this guy is in his life. You know, if he's trying to build up his career in a big way right now, or he's trying to finish a degree. Or he has some important obligations of his own right now. Like, I don't know, taking care of his own family or just making room in his life for himself. And his relationship with his girlfriend is now getting in the way of those things. That's something to consider as well. Whereas if he's more settled or maybe has some more money to absorb any financial costs associated with the DUI, maybe he has more time on his hands to pick up the slack for his girlfriend for a little while. Then he's in a better position here, but if he feels like supporting her is going to compromise his own needs, then I don't think it's unfair for him to prioritize himself, even if his girlfriend is a good person, even if she is doing her best. And I wonder if that might be what's going on here, if that's why he's feeling this urge to leave, because he's not sure if he can support her fully and take care of himself at the same time.
[00:22:32] Jordan Harbinger: Good point, her needs, his needs, how he feels about her, how she's handling all of this — he has to consider all of that. It's probably tough to think about breaking up with his girlfriend when she might be doing a really good job of handling this DUI.
[00:22:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure.
[00:22:46] Jordan Harbinger: But it's also not fair to himself to stay in this relationship if he feels like he's freaking drowning. So, yeah, it's a tough one.
[00:22:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Well, here's how I think about it. If you do decide to break up with this woman, then I would make sure that you're breaking up with her for the right reasons. Not because you're scared of the responsibility or you resent her for needing help right now, or you're unfairly holding this mistake against her. You want to make sure that your impulse to leave that it's not just a conditioned response to a stressful situation. I would talk to your girlfriend, talk to your friends, maybe talk to a counselor. And get a good handle on what you're thinking and feeling here before you make a decision. Because I do think that this DUI is clearly bringing up a lot of stuff for you. It's probably tapping into some very deep-seated old stuff about how you respond to your partner's needs, how you function in a relationship. So I would explore all of that before you jumped ship.
[00:23:32] An interesting question to ask yourself would be this: if the situation were reversed, if you got that DUI and you had your girlfriend's life, how would you want your partner to respond? What would you expect of her? What wouldn't you expect of her? I'm not presupposing the answer here. Any answer you arrive at is totally valid, but if you put yourself in her shoes, you might realize a few things that you hadn't considered before.
[00:23:52] Jordan Harbinger: Good question. I like that. That's a great way to get clear on his values here. To imagine if the tables were turned.
[00:23:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. And by the same token, if you decide that you do want to stay together, I'd also make sure that you're staying for the right reasons. Not because you're too afraid to leave or because you feel an unhealthy need to take care of someone else, or because you feel maybe guilty, but because you actually love your girlfriend, you want to be there for her, and she's doing everything she can to help herself along the way. And you're just there as a little bit of extra support, someone to be there for her while she goes through this.
[00:24:20] Jordan Harbinger: Totally. Yeah, he needs to have good reasons either way, but if you do stay, then you need to know what you will and will not take on as this DUI plays out. I'm talking logistically, financially, emotionally. For example, to be specific here for a sec, do you want to help your girlfriend pay for the cost of this DUI? Do you want to co-parent with her to make sure her kids are getting what they need? When she unloads on you about how stressful her life is, are you going to take those feelings on yourself or are you going to listen, find some ways to support her and allow her to take care of her life? I'd think through what you would say to your girlfriend, if she asked you those questions and how you'd handle those decisions if they come up. And I'm not saying like, "You know what? Screw you, they're your kids. I'm not taking them to school." Like I get, you don't want to do that. But I also don't think you should say, "Well, I have no choice in the matter, because I have to do what's best for the kids." Now, that may well be true. But you have to think about how you feel and what you're going to do, because if you just sort of let this happen to you, it might slowly grind you down.
[00:25:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes. Because that's what he's really worried about, right? Like he said, in his letter, he feels he owes it to himself to not let her bad choices pull him down or hold him back, which is exactly what good boundaries are designed to do. My guess is that drawing those boundaries isn't very easy for him. Maybe he's not even aware of how those boundaries operate. So his mind is going, "Well, I better bail now because that's the only way I'm not going to drown here." But there's another way to not drown into relationship and that's by saying, "This DUI, it's your mistake and it's your job to take accountability for it and move through this. And I'll be here for you as much as I can, but I can't take on your entire life for you." You know, basically support her without subordinating his entire life to hers.
[00:25:59] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. He's jumping straight to, "We got to break up," which I understand. Cause he doesn't realize there's another way to be in this relationship. Or maybe he's realizing he doesn't feel as strongly about this woman as he thought he did, which is completely fair by the way. And if that's the case breaking up is the right thing to do, probably. I mean, look, if I were married to this person, let's say Jen gets a DUI, right? I'm going to stick with it or we're going to work it out. I'm going to think she's a freaking idiot for a while and I'm going to get over it. But if I'm dating somebody, even if it's for a while and they get a DUI, I'm going to be like, "Are you the dumbest person that I just didn't know? What else are you capable of doing? Like, what other stupid crap are you capable of doing that is going to blindside me later. I don't know if I want to roll those dice?"
[00:26:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. Or just the crisis is so big that it makes you really question whether you want to be there for this person through thick and thin.
[00:26:49] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. My last piece of advice because you know, I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer is to encourage your girlfriend to hire a DUI attorney ASAP if she hasn't already. DUIs are super stressful as you now know, but dealing with one without a lawyer is lots — dealing with anything like this without a lawyer is always so much worse. A good lawyer can help your girlfriend make the best possible case for avoiding jail time. Get her license back. Who knows? Maybe they can even avoid a conviction here, unlikely but possible. I know it's an expense, but it's absolutely worth it. And it'll reduce a lot of your girlfriend's stress, which will help you with your relationship. And don't worry, it's still going to be stressful enough that she's going to learn a lesson from it. Of course, unless she's not going to learn a lesson from it at all, which I doubt, but that's the most important thing here, right? You don't want to make it so easy that you end up — she's like, "Oh, thank God I got away from that on scale." Like, you want this to be a defining moment where she's like, "Holy smokes. That was the dumbest thing I've ever done in my life."
[00:27:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:27:42] Jordan Harbinger: Whatever you do though, do it thoughtfully, do it respectfully, and do it for the right reasons. Good luck, man.
[00:27:48] All right, next up.
[00:27:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, three years ago, I took a leap of faith and opened a fine food grocery business with a relative stranger. Since then we've had the good fortune of being in one of the only industries that is thriving post COVID. Our annual sales have increased by three to four X. We are in the black and we have a lot of opportunities to grow the business. Despite all of this success, however, I'm struggling to take care of myself. Up until this year, I was struggling with depression. I had terrible self-esteem and I had a drinking problem. I now understand that the root of much of that was a pattern of serious self-neglect that I am now eager to walk away from. The only problem is that I feel like I'm constantly butting heads with my business partner, because I want to take the time to prioritize my health. And he is still completely wrapped up in the business. Last year, I attempted to set a boundary around work, telling him pretty frequently that I would not take on additional projects. I just built an online storefront. I was dealing with an increased workload and I was working on training staff now that we could finally afford to hire, but he didn't take me seriously. And it fell on me to support him through a project that he took on without consulting me or really considering what would be involved. This has been a consistent pattern with him and he has done it again since. It made me realize that I might never really have control over my time, as long as we're in a partnership. And so now, I want out. We talked about it and we agreed that I would aim to leave by the beginning of the next fiscal year. Fast forward to today, our business is doing extremely well with daily sales skyrocketing. I feel like I would be a fool to walk away now, but I also don't know how to own myself or be myself within this partnership. I can't control my business partner and I can't make him be sensitive to my struggles. Fortunately, I am financially secure and I don't need to worry about money right now. I would definitely have the resources to start something new or find another job but I feel torn. Do I stay and try to navigate this partnership for the sake of everything I've built or do I let it go in favor of addressing my mental health as quickly as possible? Signed, The Sober Grocer, Losing His Composure.
[00:29:43] Jordan Harbinger: This is an interesting one, Gabe. You can hear how conflicted this guy is in his letter. He's really stuck between just hanging onto this amazing business and taking care of himself. And they both seem to hold equal weight in his life, which is really unfortunate.
[00:29:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:29:56] Jordan Harbinger: I also find this question interesting. Because I really do get both of these guys' perspectives. The guy who wrote in, he obviously has good reasons to be frustrated with his business partner and that business partner, it sounds like he's not particularly strategic. He's not being very sensitive to what our guy here is going through. He's not being thoughtful about how their work gets distributed, but if we could talk to his partner, I bet we'd hear a different version of events. From his perspective, he's riding this amazing wave with the grocery business. He's trying to grow sales by taking on new projects. And just as the business is really popping off his partner, the guy who wrote in he's pulling away and he's pulling away for reasons that are obviously important, but probably sound kind of vague like self-care or prioritizing my health.
[00:30:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. Plus there are probably some major personality differences between these two guys. They were relative strangers before they got into business together. And as we know, partnerships of any kind, right? They're usually pretty complicated.
[00:30:51] Jordan Harbinger: Almost always. So I could see how they both have some fair points. Yeah, being in a partnership like this is basically it's basically business marriage. The problem is that each of them is locked into their own point of view. They're both convinced that they are the one who is right and they're probably not communicating very well, which is only making things worse, of course. Plus they've managed to build this super successful business in the middle of a pandemic. They've got their own little Dean & DeLuca happening here. It's exciting. And they should be proud of that, but success just breeds more problems and ups the stakes on every decision. So there's a lot going on here. I feel for this guy, I really do. I've been there.
[00:31:30] So the main thing that stands out to me is how binary this decision is for you. In your mind, either you stick with this amazing business and your health suffers or you leave the business and you get better, maybe. Now that might actually be the tradeoff here. And I believe you, when you say that's how it feels, but my question is: is that actually true? Or is there some black and white thinking going on here? Away for your mind to avoid doing the work of balancing these competing needs in your life? Because there's one thing that jumped out at me in your letter.
[00:32:00] When you talked about setting boundaries with your partner, you told him, "Look, I can't take on any more projects. My plate is full with the online storefront and the new staff and all that. Please don't give me any more work." So, okay, fair enough. Boundary drawn, right? But then your partner went ahead and started a new project, and then to use your words, "It fell on me to support him." so he dumps the whole thing off on you. And as you put it, that's been a consistent pattern with him and he's done it again since, and it made you realize that you're never really going to have control over your time. I know that feeling very well. Now, I see how that played out and I can definitely understand why it upset you, but let's unpack that a little.
[00:32:38] You told your partner what you wouldn't put up with. You said you would not do any more work on another project. He went ahead and did it anyway. And you swooped in and you saved him. What a nice thing to do, right? Maybe it was even the smart thing to do, but that's not boundary setting. In fact, that's the opposite of boundary setting. You set a boundary, the moment he violates it, you fold. And now, you're talking about it like that was something that happened to you, right? It fell on you to support him. But the truth is you were the one who decided to give up and pitch in. Then you say that it's a consistent pattern with him, which is probably true. I believe that. But I would argue that this is also a consistent pattern with you, the pattern being, you draw a line with your business partner, he pushes it, you cave, you pitch in. And then you complain that you'll never really have control over your time when you're the one giving your time away to this guy when he doesn't honor the very fair boundary that you put in place.
[00:33:31] So what would it look like if you had handled that differently. Well, you could've said, "Hey, sorry, man, my dance card is full, no new projects." Then he would have come to you and said, "Well, listen, I started this new project. I know I didn't mention it to you, but I'm totally under water now. I'm kind of freaking out." And then you could have said "Man, I'm sorry to hear that, but we talked about this. Remember I told you I couldn't take on anything else right now. I wish you'd talked to me about it before." And then maybe he would have gone, "Well, can you at least help me out be a good partner here?" And you could have said something like, "I'd love to help you. I really would, but this is why I told you I couldn't take on anything else. I'm training the staff. I'm doing the storefront. I have to make time for myself because I'm going crazy and falling apart. This is your project. I'm sure you had good reasons for starting it. I have total confidence you can finish it." And then you would have protected your time and he would have gotten the chance to step up to the plate and take ownership over the project that he started. And yeah, he might've got angry with you for saying that probably would have. He might've felt a little abandoned by you in that moment, but that's okay. In fact, that's good because that's what drawing healthy boundaries actually, it looks like.
[00:34:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, totally. It's not going, "Here's my boundary. Unless you push it. And then it doesn't really exist. And I'll passively aggressively resent you for violating it," right? Actual boundary setting is going, "Here's my boundary. And if you push it, I'll respectfully defend it because I promised myself that that's what I would do, even if it makes us both a little bit uncomfortable."
[00:34:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, good point. The passive-aggressive stuff, that always kind of circles back around. And boundaries are only useful if you uphold them when they're challenged. Otherwise, what? It's like a chalk line on the ground. It doesn't mean anything.
[00:35:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:35:06] Jordan Harbinger: So given all that, my question for you is this: is it possible that you're contributing to the dynamic with your business partner? Is it maybe the case that the freedom you're looking for actually is possible inside the business? Because if you did assert those boundaries in a real way, if you did communicate with your business partner more openly, I wonder if you'd be able to create the flexibility that you need to take care of yourself right now. And let's be very specific here because we're being kind of vague, it's easy to feel stuck when you're dealing with something as general as taking care of yourself. What would you do if you were free of this business? Maybe you'd sleep an extra hour each day. Maybe it hit us therapist up at betterhelp.com/jordan. Or you'd go to some AA meetings a couple times a week. Maybe you'd be working out. Whatever it is, I would be very specific about what you need right now. What you feel you can't have as long as the business is in your life.
[00:35:58] And I wish I did this when I was thinking about my previous business, I would have done that first and then I would make a list and I recommend you do this, make a list of all the things that are standing between you and those things that you want, right? Your schedule, your workload, your partner when he comes asking for help. But when you do this exercise, you might find some obstacles you didn't expect. Like the fact that you're not blocking out an hour on your calendar to talk with a therapist or at betterhelp.com/jordan. Or you're coming home and binge-watching Master Chef, instead of going for the run that you wanted to do. Or you're just too angry and you're too tired to take any of these small steps towards getting better.
[00:36:34] And I'm not blaming you for any of this. This is exactly how our minds tend to operate when they're under extreme stress. Trust me, I have been there, but I'm challenging you a little here, so you can get a good handle on what the problem really is. Because when you're unhappy, it's really tempting to look at the biggest thing in your life, which for you is this grocery business and say, "Well, that's the thing that has to go before I can be happy and healthy." It's like being in a bad relationship. You're like, "I need to break up with this person. They're driving me crazy." And then you break up with them and you're like, "Shit, all of these problems are still there." Turns out wherever you go. There you are, right? When really a lot of the time, it's how you manage yourself, how you relate to your business partner, how you use the business to understand yourself better. Those are the things that will make you feel better. It's possible. You've been kicking the can down the road with your health because in your mind, you can't take care of that as long as you're wrapped up in this business. When in reality, you might be wrapped up in this business so that you don't have to take care of yourself. I know that might sound a little weird, but I'll let you decide for yourself if that's true, if that fits.
[00:37:36] What I'm really asking you is whether this situation is as black and white, as you seem to think that it is. So I would take time to explore that. Take some time, see how it all fits together. You might want to try some of this stuff, especially the boundary setting with your partner and the carving out time for your specific commitments. See if anything changes, give it six months. Think of it like an experiment. The next time your partner comes to you for help and you feel that it's unfair, tell him that. See what happens. See if he steps up and learns something, see if it makes you feel more in control of your time, more proactive, less reactive, whatever. Start moving your body a few times a week. Maybe talk to a therapist, see if your self-esteem improves. See if your mood lifts.
[00:38:18] If you try all of that and in six months are still miserable and you're drinking too much and you hate your business, you can leave. At least you'll know that you gave it a shot instead of just going immediately and pulling the ripcord on it. And you'll know it really was the business and not just you. So I hope that helps, man. You're never going to go wrong by looking more closely at yourself. I truly believe that. That doesn't mean everything you're going through is all in your head. It doesn't mean you're going to be stuck in this business for the rest of your life. It just means that if you're going to get better, the change has to start with you as cliche as it might sound. If you can rewrite a few of those patterns, if you can communicate a little better with your partner, if you can start prioritizing some of your needs now instead of waiting for some hypothetical future when you have more time, which believe me, never comes. Then I think you'll set yourself up to make a much better choice. So good luck, man
[00:39:11] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show and this is Feedback Friday. We'll be right back.
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[00:40:22] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Blue Moon. Blue Moon is on a mission to bring some brightness to your life and break up your routine. From its refreshing flavor with Valencia orange peel for a subtle sweetness and hints of coriander, Blue Moon Belgian White is a one-of-a-kind beer. I've been drinking this since college, not nonstop but basically. And right now, especially, it's important for us to find brightness in the everyday because many of us are living and working in our kitchen and enjoying a Blue Moon while staring out the window and wondering when this vaccine is going to kick in. Blue Moon is great in the summer, but it's also great in the winter. I got to tell you it's a nice one with food or just kind of a stand-alone little treat for yourself. Also be sure to try Blue Moon's latest brew Blue Moon Light Sky. It's a light and refreshing wheat beer brewed with real Tangerine peel for a lighter, exceptional taste. 95 calories and 3.6 grams of carbs per 12 ounces.
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[00:42:11] And now for the conclusion of Feedback Friday.
[00:42:15] All right, last but not least.
[00:42:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey guys, both my wife and I are teachers, but neither of us are bilingual. And we want to give our daughter a chance to learn a second language. Even though she was the lone white girl, we enrolled her in our elementary schools, Spanish immersion program, which means that she spends half the day in each language. As you can imagine, kindergarten during distance learning was difficult, but the immersion parts were an absolute disaster. The teachers were nice, but my daughter was just hopelessly lost and a behavior nightmare for my wife. So we decided to homeschool her instead, which even after a couple of weeks has made a major difference. I'm actually thinking about trying to find some really simple videos on Chinese and Arabic, since neither my wife, nor I will be able to get her to fluency in any foreign language and our daughter can at least learn how to differentiate and speak those unique sounds before her tongue and her ears fossilize, making it much more difficult to learn. Do you have any suggestions to help our daughter learn another language from a young age? Signed, Stuck in a Wrinkle Becoming Bilingual.
[00:43:13] Jordan Harbinger: I think some language teaching would be fun. Immersion is usually way too hard if everyone else is speaking Spanish at home. I kind of got the idea from this question, Gabe, that when he said, lone white girl, that the immersion is everyone else is actually native Spanish speaker with our parents. And she's the only one that's not, which means—
[00:43:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:43:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. It's immersion. But it's not just immersion like, "Hey, let's teach all these kids Spanish." It's, "Let's have first language instruction for a bunch of native Spanish speaking kids." So those kids are actually in English immersion.
[00:43:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:43:43] Jordan Harbinger: Whereas she's in Spanish immersion and they're not on the same page, which means they're not going at the same speed, which means — my opinion, and I'm no expert teacher here. That's not really immersion. That's English as a second language for the first half of the day and Spanish as a second language for the second half of the day. And there is a difference between the way that those things are taught. There's a big difference. So I don't want to get into the weeds on that. Teachers who are listening right now are probably shaking their heads, well in one direction or the other, maybe I'm wrong.
[00:44:10] But if this is her second language and it's everyone else's first language that puts her at a major disadvantage. It compounds the problems that you mentioned in your letter. Your daughter could easily get one-on-one lessons twice a week or more in one or even two languages. All the kids do at this age, by the way. And I've asked this of my Chinese teachers and my German teacher, all they do at this age is play games. They just have fun. They're doing word games, they're watching stuff, talking about it with the teacher. You can get free language lessons in any language just about using this link if you go to jordanharbinger.com/language. We'll link to that in the show notes, that links to a company called Live Lingua. My friend owns the company. I think they're great. I use it for some of my foreign languages. You could even try several teachers in each language and see which ones your daughter likes the best. That school though doesn't have Chinese.
[00:44:59] So if you're aiming at Chinese, I can happily refer my own Chinese company that I use. And I've been using for like eight years. They also teach little kids sometimes. Everything's one-on-one. It's great. It's affordable. I think it's less than $20 an hour or it's around 20 bucks an hour. You get a native speaker. Again, one-on-one these are real teachers. They're not just like random internet people trying to freelance. These are trained teachers. So anyone can just hit me up. I'll happily refer you to any language company, Chinese or otherwise. I think it's great that you're getting her started on languages early.
[00:45:30] As we learned from Lisa Feldman Barrett and David Eagleman kids trim neurons, kids' brains trim neurons that they're not using at her age and up until, I don't know, age eight, 10, whatever. So even if all she does is learn some sounds, some basic sentences, some numbers, colors, whatever, she's at a major advantage if she wants to pick up the skills later. So don't sweat it if she can still only count to 10 and ask for the bathroom and say, "I like red cars," after a few months. It just doesn't matter. Right now, this is a game of activating that part of her brain and exposing her to new things, not getting her to write children's stories and poetry and sing operas in Moroccan, freaking Arabic or whatever, right? Like the more fun these lessons are, the more likely she is to stick with it over a longer term and build real fluency later on. So the letter just watched some cartoons and stuff with her teacher. And then the teacher says, "Did you understand what the bunny rabbit said?" I mean, that is totally fine.
[00:46:26] And keep me posted. I'd love to hear how this goes. Because I'm teaching my own kid, both Chinese and English. And he's also actually going to be starting at some point at a bilingual school, which is obviously much easier to find here in California than you might imagine. I don't know how you find a Chinese English school outside of California, but I think if you throw a stone from my house, you hit two or three Chinese English immersion schools with native Chinese and English speakers here in Silicon Valley. So it may be trickier elsewhere but I think these are useful.
[00:46:57] You just have to be careful that your kid is getting immersion language and isn't just, like you said, the lone non-Spanish speaker in a Spanish speaking class, because that means that you're going at the same pace. All the students are going at the same pace and she won't end up getting discouraged and then left behind.
[00:47:13] Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone that wrote in this week. Don't forget to check out the guests from this week, Ray Dalio and Michael Shermer, some power packed into this week's episodes.
[00:47:24] If you want to know how I managed to book all of these great people and manage my relationships, it's about systems, software, and tiny habits. Check out our Six-Minute Networking course. It's a free course. It's over on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. Don't kick the can down the road. You can't make up for lost time when it comes to relationships and networking. And the number one mistake I see people make is postponing this, not knowing or claiming not to know how to do this. And you've got to dig that well before you get thirsty because once you need those relationships, you are way too late to make them. Jordanharbinger.com/course is where it's at.
[00:47:58] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are also in the show notes. There's a video of this Feedback Friday on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram, or just hit me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:48:20] 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. Keeps sending in those questions to email@example.com. Our advice and opinions, and those of our guests are their own. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer though, to do your own research before implementing anything you hear on this show. And remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. If you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody who can use the advice that 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.
[00:49:00] We've got a trailer of our interview with Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, and an investor in one of Silicon Valley's top VC firms. He drops by the show to discuss how we can tell when we're informing our intuition with the best available data, or if we're just procrastinating to avoid making important decisions, and why never give up is terrible advice and how to separate our winning instincts from our losing ideas. That's coming right up after the show.
[00:49:25] Daniel Ek: The pivotal moment when I realized that I wanted to work with the Internet was the first time I tried Napster. And for someone who is really into music, it was phenomenal. And when it got shut down—
[00:49:39] Reid Hoffman: This was Daniel's opportunity. There's always luck. There's always timing. The game is not so much, can I be one of the heroes that's written about in the next a hundred years, but the game is, can I do something that, where I started from, I can make something interesting. You're playing your own game.
[00:49:57] At just that moment, another email popped up on Marissa's screen. The subject line was just three words, work at Google. So Marissa took the plunge and became Google employee number 20.
[00:50:11] Jordan Harbinger: We hear about analysis paralysis and things like that. How do we strike a balance?
[00:50:16] Reid Hoffman: When I'm confronted with a decision, I say, "What would my decision right now be? What are the key things that might change my decision, and then inform this decision."
[00:50:26] Mark Pincus: It's pretty amazing if you think about it, that I started one of the first three social networks and I managed to fail.
[00:50:34] Reid Hoffman: MySpace, Tribe, LinkedIn, Hi5, Friendster the year before. Facebook, the year after. Of those, only half are still around today. Instagram was an instant hit. On its first day in the App Store 25,000 downloads, within 10 weeks, one million users. Instagram had entered multiplayer mode.
[00:50:58] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Reid Hoffman in a two-part mashup, that includes cameos by the founder of Spotify, the CEO of Yahoo, and more check out episode 207 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:51:15] Jayson Waller: Jayson Waller here, host of your True Underdog podcast and YouTube channel. This is what you've got in store on our episodes. I'm going to tell stories of me growing up, being trailer parked, high school dropout, teen dad, to opening three businesses that were successful. The latest business winning Inc 500, three out of four years, entrepreneur of the year, and it's a billion-dollar company. That's right. I'm going to give you tips, strategies, how to overcome adversity, how to be better, how to not stay in the mud. On top of that, on this show on the full episodes, we're going to have interviews with people who have overcome adversity, people that have been successful but started with things in their way, things they had to overcome and struggle with. How did they get there? Check us out on iHeartRadio, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts. You can go to trueunderdog.com. Subscribe to everything, or go to YouTube at the True Underdog Podcast.
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