And Know the Difference Work Smarter, Not Harder September 2018
As a kid, I loved baseball, despite the fact that I was terrible at it. To make up for it, I put a lot of work into improving, especially when I got to high school. I worked with my hitting coaches and I stayed after practice to get in extra practice time, but I never did as well as I wanted. Looking back, the missing factor was that I never really learned the fundamentals of the sport. I was practicing a lot, but in the wrong way. I was working hard, but I wasn’t working smart . I didn’t have a foundation or overarching goal to orient all that practice time. I may have missed my chance to be a Marlins player, but learning that lesson early has helped me apply it to every area of my life.
Math was another area that perpetually challenged me as a kid. I didn’t pick up the concepts as quickly as my peers did. Despite my lack of natural talent, I was determined to conquer it. In my junior year of high school, I enrolled in an upper-level calculus class that led up to an exam at the end of the year that would exclude you from having to take calculus in college if you passed. It was hard, but my teacher, Ms. Fenton, encouraged me to keep going and worked with me a lot so I could learn the principles. I worked very hard to get a B. But unlike with baseball, thanks to Ms. Fenton, I learned the fundamentals, and I had the encouragement of a larger goal that I was working toward. I passed calculus and the big exam. When I got to college, I chose to take on more math. I majored in accounting, and the discipline I developed in high school paid off. I realized quickly that my preparation time needed to be 3–4 times as long as it had been in the past. That’s what made me successful. It’s the same strategy I used when I got to law school, and it’s the same I use today. If I think a case is going to be more challenging, I make the time to prepare for it thoroughly. For people who can prepare faster, they may not need as much time as I do. But I’ve gotten to know myself, and I know how I work and what I need to do to get the best job done. With a lot of hard work and dedication, you can accomplish your goals. It’s just about finding the strategies that work best for you. What my experiences have taught me is that hard work alone isn’t going to cut it if you’re not working in a smart way. What I try to do now in every area of my life — my law firm, my children, my marriage — is to make sure the big picture is in place. I talk with my team every morning about how we’re approaching our work and about our systems and processes. We make sure we’re never just doing tasks for the sake of doing tasks; we do them in a way that benefits our firm and our clients.
When you step back and look at the big picture, you learn to prioritize the tasks that will contribute to your goals. You learn to work smarter, not harder.
– Chris Bruce
Ashley and I mountain biking in Colorado this summer.
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Will My Prenup Govern My Divorce?
Prenuptials are binding agreements that you and your spouse agreed upon before your marriage. You might be surprised to learn, though, that a judge can decide whether or not a prenup comes into play in your divorce case. For better or worse, your prenup may or may not govern your divorce. Whether or not a judge sets aside/invalidates a Florida Prenuptial Agreement could be the difference between one person leaving the marriage with nothing or with millions, so disputes over the validity of prenuptial agreements are more likely to be litigated and go to trial than most other issues that arise in divorce cases.
INVOLVED BUT NOT OVERBEARING
When are prenups invalidated?
In Florida and most jurisdictions, judges operate under some version of the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. It stipulates that a prenuptial agreement will not be enforced if any of the following are proven:
Either spouse did not voluntarily sign the agreement.
PARENT-TEACHER ETIQUETTE TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD’S DEVELOPMENT
2. The agreement was the “product” of fraud, duress, coercion, or overreaching.
Helicopter parents are the bane of every teacher’s existence. With the return of back- to-school season, it’s vital to find a happy medium between the tiger mom who bares her teeth at the smallest setback in her child’s schooling and the laissez-faire parent who is totally disengaged from their kid’s education. Here are a few tips to keep you involved in your child’s educational development while fostering relationships with their teachers in a way that won’t drive all of you up the wall. 1. BE A LITTLE EMPATHETIC. Teachers are some of the hardest-working people in the world, wrangling the disparate needs of around 25 children day in and day out while attempting to get them to actually learn something. It’s a high-stress, low-paying job. In the midst of grading 300 research papers written by 12-year-olds, the last thing they need is the added pressure of concerned parents bearing down on them. If you can approach a teacher from a position of understanding and be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, you’ll be off to a good start. 2. SHOW UP AND KEEP AN OPEN MIND. Ask any teacher in the country, and they’ll undoubtedly tell you that one of the best predictors of a child’s success is whether or not their parents make an appearance at parent-teacher conferences. Your engagement should go beyond that. Use the teacher’s preferred method of communication to stay in semi-regular contact with them — always ensuring that you keep an open mind about any praise, suggestions, or concerns they have about your child. 3. TEACH YOUR CHILD TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. Aside from leaving your kid completely to their own devices, one of the worst things you can do is swoop in to solve their problems for them at the slightest hint of adversity. Maybe that D your kid got on their algebra test really was their fault. It’s important to acknowledge your child’s missteps, but you should also try to equip them with the tools necessary to advocate for themselves. Learning to articulate what’s going wrong or what they need from their teacher will help them to develop positive and effective communication skills. The key is to work together with your child’s teacher without being overbearing. Don’t come in with guns blazing at the first sign of an educational slip. Think of your kid’s schooling as a collaborative effort — maybe one in which you’re a little less involved than the teacher — and you’ll be giving your child the best chance of success.
Is your friend or client in need of a guide as they prepare for divorce? our divorce strategy book can help! Did you know that in addition to free copies of our “My Best Divorce” book, we offer a complimentary membership to our My Best Divorce course? It includes a video/audio course that will help you understand the process and give you the details you need to know for the Best Divorce. Visit brucepa.com/join-free-membership to learn more. 3. The agreement was “unconscionable” when signed, and before the agreement was signed, there wasn’t adequate exchange of financial disclosure or knowledge of the other spouse’s finances. For prenups signed before 2007, a different framework applies in Florida that makes it easier to invalidate the agreement. Also, some jurisdictions will not recognize a prenuptial agreement if the conduct of the spouses during marriage indicates that they chose to abandon the agreement. The issue of whether or not Florida prenuptial agreements are enforced or invalidated requires fact-intensive analytics. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced attorney to help you navigate this process. Turn to the trusted team at Bruce Law Firm. They are there to help. They’ve also provided free resources to guide you through the divorce process.
The book can be downloaded for FREE at GetOrganizedForDivorce.com.
If your friend or client lives in the South Florida area, we will mail them a hard copy of the book upon request.
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The Habit You Should Start Today
1. FIND A GUIDE.
These days, you don’t have to go to India to find guided meditation. There are options all around us, like the Headspace meditation app you can access from your phone. Many yoga studios also incorporate guided meditation classes, including Karuna Yoga Center in Palm Beach.
2. MAKE IT PART OF YOUR MORNING ROUTINE.
Last month, the world watched anxiously as the lives of 13 young men were in jeopardy. The rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team from Tham Luang cave in Thailand captured international attention while Thai Navy Seals and professional divers brought the boys safely out of the cave two weeks after they entered it. How did the teammates remain calm through those scary two weeks? Their assistant coach, Coach Ake, is a former monk and taught the boys to meditate to calm them and conserve energy while in the cave. Meditation has many benefits — and not just when you’re trapped in a cave. Neurologists have observed positive structural changes in the brains of people who’ve meditated for several years. If you haven’t already added a meditation habit to your schedule, now is a good time to do it. The practice can help you shift your approach to challenging circumstances and teach you to accept your thoughts without letting them or your emotions rule you.
Research shows that we’re more likely to do something when we make it a priority at the start of the day. Try making meditation the first thing you do when you wake up. If you’re not a morning person, try taking a break during the afternoon. Even five minutes a day can help you build the habit.
3. NOTICE THE BENEFITS.
Now that you’ve been meditating for a few weeks, have you noticed any differences in the way you approach your thoughts? It might help to write down how you’re feeling now that you’ve incorporated mediation. The positive results will reinforce this powerful new habit.
Remember, the time you devote to yourself isn’t selfish. It’s necessary self-care that will improve every other interaction you have. Start making time for it today.
Here’s how you can get started.
have a LAUGH
Beans & Greens Rigatoni
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12 ounces rigatoni pasta 1 bunch Tuscan kale, rinsed 1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
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1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt, for pasta water and to taste 2 ounces fresh grated Parmigiano- Reggiano (optional)
1. In a large stock pot, boil 6 quarts of liberally salted water. On another burner, heat a large skillet to medium-low. 2. Add pasta to boiling water and cook for 3 minutes less than the package recommends. 3. While pasta is cooking, add beans, red pepper, and 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet. Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. 4. Add cooked pasta, kale, and 1 cup pasta water to skillet. Toss vigorously as kale cooks, about 4 minutes. 5. Transfer to bowls, top with a squeeze of lemon, sprinkle with cheese or salt, and serve.
Inspired by Bon Appétit magazine.
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Work Smarter, Not Harder page 1
The 3 Keys to Parent-Teacher Etiquette
When Your Prenup Is Challenged or Enforced page 2 Begin Your Self-Care Practice With This Habit page 3 Why Labor Day Is Indebted to the Pullman Strike page 4
The Pullman Strike and the Origin of Labor Day HOW A RAILROAD PROTEST LAID THE FOUNDATION FOR A NATIONAL HOLIDAY
Today, Labor Day mostly means a day off and the closure of public pools. But when it was first created, it was a president’s desperate attempt to curb the tension after one of the most violent strike breakups in American history. In the late 19th century, the workers of the Pullman Company, which manufactured luxury train cars, all lived in a company-owned town. George Pullman, the owner, lived in a mansion overlooking houses, apartments, and crammed-together barracks, all of which were rented by the thousands of workers needed for the operation. For some time, the town operated without a hitch, providing decent wages for the workers while netting the higher-ups millions of dollars. But after the economic depression of the 1890s brought the country to its knees, everything changed. George Pullman slashed his workers’ wages by nearly 30 percent, but he neglected to adjust the rent on the company-owned buildings in turn. As a result, life became untenable in the town, with workers struggling to maintain the barest standards of living. In response, the workers began a strike on May 11, 1894. As the event ramped up, it gained the support of the powerful American Railway Union (ARU). But Pullman, stubborn as he was, barely acknowledged the strike was happening, and he refused to meet with the organizers.
The tension increased when Eugene Debs, the president of the American Railway Union, organized a boycott of all trains that included Pullman cars. The strike continued to escalate until workers and Pullman community members managed to stop the trains from running. Eventually, President Grover Cleveland sent in soldiers to break up the strike. Violence ensued, with soldiers making a great effort to quell the strike at its core. By the time the violence ended, 30 people had lost their lives and an estimated $80 million in damages had been caused throughout the town. A few months later, President Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day a federal holiday. Many experts believe that this act was an effort to build rapport among his pro-labor constituents after handling the incident so poorly.
This month, as you fire up the barbecue and enjoy your day off, take a moment to remember the workers who fought for labor rights in our country.
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