My “Message in a Bottle” to My Daugher Nava Feisee
When I sat down to write this letter I did not expect to get emotional, but when I stared at the screen to think about what I would say I realized I will not always be here with you. I love you so much it hurts me to think of not being here with you. You are not even six months old and you have the whole world and rest of your life in front of you.
Below are some ideas and lessons that have helped your father. Some of these lessons were taught to me by my parents, siblings, teachers and friends. Others were hard earned lessons that cost me dearly with either time or money.
1. You create your own reality.
You can decide to be happy or be sad. You can decide to challenge yourself or waste time. You can achieve as much or as little as you want. You control your fate and you are responsible for your life. You can do or be whatever you want to be. I was told I could not play division 1 lacrosse; that law school was too hard; that you could not compete against the big law firms. I disagreed, then set my goals and focused on achieving them. I have seen it over and over again in my life and this is a simple truth I have learned.
2. Good listeners are usually successful.
Your mother’s name “Newsha” means good listener so it runs in the family. I wish I was as good as she is at listening. There are teachers all around us and they are not limited to those that teach in schools. Listen carefully and you are bound to learn something. Here are some tips to be a good listener: 1) Don’t talk or interrupt when someone is talking. Let them finish their thought. 2) Look at the person’s eyes you are listening to and concentrate on what they are saying and not on what you are going to say. 3) Read the book “Time to Think” by Nancy Kline.
3. When you feel life is getting the best of you or you want to quit think of your family.
I have faced many crossroads in my life where life was getting hard and I wanted to quit. I was fortunate to have a mother and father whose mere existence did not allow “quit” in their vocabulary. Your grandmother and grandfather are real life legends. They are not fiction. They beat odds far greater than what I or you will ever have to face. You see… they paved the way for us. Your grandfather came from a small village with no running water. His story is too long for this letter but let’s just say that no one thought he would ever get out of the village. He put himself through school and studied medicine like his life depended on it…because it did. He could not afford books like the other kids so he would have to read the books in the library. He graduated medical school and migrated with his family to the United States without knowing the language and with a few hundred dollars in his pocket. Every day was a struggle for him.
Your grandmother became a doctor in a country that persecuted women. Everyone would say “No” to her but that word is not in her vocabulary. Quitting is not an option for this woman. Time and time again, I have seen her face the toughest challenges and every time she lands gracefully on her feet.
Anytime I feel down and life is getting hard, I think of them and I see their smiling faces giving me the inner strength to persevere and beat the odds. You see…you should expect to face obstacles and challenges in your life. The trick is how you identify and respond to these challenges.
4. Manage Your Time.
Time is a precious commodity. You will learn that every day is a miracle. Make the most of each day. Here are some tips: Use a calendar and start with thinking about your ideal year and the goals you want to accomplish the activities you want to do. Then work backwards towards your ideal week. I have learned this approach through the teachings of my business coach Dan Sullivan.
5. Having a Sense of Humor Helps.
This relates to item 1. The best people I know are always able to find humor in a difficult situation. Humor is a powerful tool that can change your perspective and how you look at a situation. Laughter is good medicine.
6. Be careful with debt and don’t use credit cards until you can pay off the balance each month.
We live in a world where debt seems to be “accepted”. It is a trap that can cause serious harm to your financial future. Do not buy anything that you cannot afford to pay in cash because the debt can and will pile up which will cause problems for you. Avoid it completely by not using credit cards until you know you can pay the balance off each month. If you are reading this letter and are already in debt then see items 1,3 & 5 and get to it!
This “Message in a Bottle” exercise is a way to put your voice into your planning. Although we offer “legacy planning” services at InSight Law, only a small percentage of our client base opt for this type of planning. Though there are some additional legal fees that apply, I strongly believe the benefits far outweigh the costs of this type of “Purposeful Planning.”
There are several ways to integrate your voice into your planning: (1) audio and/or conversations where we go through carefully designed questions on various topics and preserve the conversation for future generations; and (2) actually weaving in your legacy statements and comments throughout the trust document where appropriate. Clients who are interested in learning more should contact Bobby directly to discuss options.