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Can a Child of Divorce or Trauma Be Successful?

Listen to Reclamation Transformation with Dallas Family Law Attorney Mark Scroggins weekly for candid and empowering discussions among real people with experience in divorce, separation and addiction and the psychological, spiritual or environmental effects on topics relating to family law. Listen for the supportive, healing nature of these inspirational talks and in the lessons being learned along the way.

Mark Scroggins  

Hey folks, Mark Scroggins welcome back to another edition of the reclamation transformation. And today, we have someone who is very near and dear to my heart personally as well as professionally. Stephen Tosha. How are you? I’m good. Good. Well, thank you for joining us. I appreciate that. I want to make sure that everybody understands a little bit. So I’ve known Stephen actually met him through my partner, John withers. And Steven and I hit it off, I think right away, and then read quickly. Yeah. And so you know, we’re able to create that relationship. And then also, we’ve taken it personally. So, Stephen, someone that I trust, and manages, you know, for money and personal money and stuff like that. So obviously, this is somebody that I trust immensely. Just a little bit of pressure. Yeah. So don’t worry about performing. It’s all good. It’s all good. So why don’t you introduce yourself and explain a little bit what you do now. And then I want to talk about what your journey is, because that is a hell of a story.

Stephen Tosha  

Sure. So I’m a managing director at excuse me, Merrill Lynch, I will sit in Morgan Stanley, which is where I came from, I have been in the business about 12 years. And prior to that, I actually worked for Verizon for 29 years, actually worked in corporate investing, before I went into private wealth management. And currently, I have a pretty big practice, one of the largest practices in DFW with Merrill. And I’m also a portfolio manager, which means I not only invest money for my clients, but I have other financial advisors that use me as their money manager for their clients.

Mark Scroggins  

That is a truly unique position to be in it. I love what I do. I bet you do. I bet you do. So it’s always nice to see somebody that retires. And then it’s like, I’m bored. Now I need to come do something, something else. And I feel lucky that I got you involved to help me get past my naivete on certain things. 

Stephen Tosha  

Well one of the things we were talking about before we got started is I always wanted to do this even when I was a kid. I actually used to look, look at the newspaper and pick out stocks when I was eight or nine years of age, oh, my God, and I would save my money. And my brother was 12 years older than me. And I would take him to the Merrill Lynch office, and I would tell him what to go tell the stockbroker I wanted to buy. And he would come out and he said stockbroker said, No, that’s not a good buy. I said, Well, you tell him the P/E ratio, is this, the target price is this. And the Sharpe ratio is this and Tom just executes the order. And I was eight years old.

Mark Scroggins  

Oh, my God. So I got to ask, how did the investments turn out?

Stephen Tosha  

They turned out pretty good, because they paid for college.

Mark Scroggins  

Holy crap! So okay, well, it’s a good thing that I don’t have an eight year old, my expectations were gonna be, we’re gonna be really high. So. So one of the things and we talked about this a little bit, before we started on the podcast, one of the things that I wanted to talk about is, is your journey and how you got from your childhood and the things that you went through, which are the subject of a book by by the way, I would mention that anybody should read this. And it’s pretty eye color to print, I colored her pretty, I’m sorry, I accept titles, but you know, you autographed one for Linda. And she loved it. And I’ve read it. And I mean, it is just, it’s amazing where you are today. And that’s one of the reasons that I wanted to have you here because of the journey that you went through. And one of the things that I see in my practice a lot is people that are at a beginning point in needing to undergo this journey of understanding who they are, and why they are the way they are and what they need to figure out as far as this journey goes. And that has been, as you know, part of my story, too, has, although mine has been in the area of recovery. But you know, that personal journey is kind of long and painful at times. And so there’s been so much to have someone that has had to go through a life’s journey. So what I’d really like to do is talk about, let’s start off talking a little bit about the book and how did it come about that you decided to go ahead and write the book?

Stephen Tosha  

You know, I didn’t realize I was ever going to write a book about it. But I wrote my mom’s eulogy. And when I finished the eulogy, we were driving home in the car, and my husband turned to me in the car and he said, You colored her pretty. And my mom basically I always had a struggle with my relationship with my mom because of betraying us children. But yet, I am always stuck by my mother. And obviously, we’ll get into the story of what happened, right. But there was this huge struggle of loving my mother, and yet resenting that, what she put his kids through, and she didn’t protect us. But I took care of my mom right up until the day she died. I bought her home, I made sure that when the first time I bought her She reversed the mortgage. So I got a pretty smart second home. I bought her, I left in my name, so she couldn’t reverse the mortgage. But the bottom line is, you know, and when, when she was, yeah, to her end of life, I put her in a very nice facility that was very expensive, was $13,000 a month that was six years ago, to make sure she was well taken care of. So I always did take care of my mother, even though there was this. I loved my mother. But there was this piece of me that really couldn’t understand how a mother could restrain her children the way she did. 

Mark Scroggins  

We talked about it. Let’s talk about it. Because the journey of what actually happened and to see you sitting here, I mean, I think that would be amazing to me on a personal level. So let’s talk about their journey and what you went through.

Stephen Tosha  

Yeah. So my parents were married, they had two children. And then they took a break in between and had two more children. But when my parents were getting divorced, my mother was told by my oldest brother, Joe, who is actually he. Well, I changed the names in the book. But anyway, my oldest brother ended up telling my mother that my father had molested him. And my mother was going through the court battle and the custody battle. And so what my mother ended up doing is she used that against my father to gain custody. But in the custody settlement, my father still got rights to see us every weekend. And so including Joe, well, the older two kids, by the time they were 13, they didn’t have to go see my father. So the older two kids did not go to see my father after the divorce. But every weekend, my mother sent my brother and I into his home, knowing he was a child molester. But she never asked us if he was harming us. But yet she knew he had the older two children. So my mother was still young, she was attractive. She was 32 at the time. And frankly, she really wanted some private time. So I think it was a conscious choice of not asking, because she didn’t want to know. Yes, my Yeah, my, my dad was molesting us kids. So my dad remarried, and had two stepchildren. And he was molesting those children. So when I was 11, I ended up having a nervous breakdown, which is obviously in the book. Yeah. And what came out of that was that I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. Right. And the way at the time, the way of dealing with me was to drug me, and to keep me sedated for quite a while. And at some point, I just said, I’m not doing this anymore. I ended up emancipating. I ended up moving out of the house when I was 17. And when I was 18, I realized by looking around at my brothers, that I needed to get therapy. And so really, the story isn’t not about empathy or sympathy. It’s about how therapy helped me become who I am today, right? We grew up in southeast LA, in a predominantly black community. You know, and it was very difficult, growing up in southeast LA being white and gay. But I think that forever changed who I am, because I can relate to all different facets of people. It’s made me who I am. And I’m grateful for that part of my life, right. I’m also grateful for the experience of realizing at 18 I needed therapy. So I actually sought out a therapist, her name is Lynn Brooks, she is no longer alive. And I got into therapy to work through the family trauma. It was not easy. It was difficult. But while I was in therapy, I was in group therapy also. And I saw these men that were 40-5060 years of age, just entering therapy for the first time in their life. Right. And I realized this was the best thing I could do.

Mark Scroggins  

It’s amazing to me that you did that one because of your age. But also I mean it just at that time, it was not something that you had you didn’t have a lot of people doing it, period. But you didn’t have a lot of men doing it at all.

Stephen Tosha  

Well, I think that psychological term is called ego strength. And ego strength is from the core of where your being is. So I don’t know what caused me to do it, but innately, I saw drugs and alcohol. And I saw people in their own financial crisis and emotional crisis. And I realized, my parents can control me. Or I can take charge. And I can control my destiny. And I saw my brothers doing drugs and not not going to school, living in the street, doing crystal meth. And I saw people around me with the same issues. And I thought, This is not who I want to be. And so that therapy is the way I didn’t end up that way.

Mark Scroggins  

That is just unbelievable. To me. It’s funny, because I don’t mean, funny, funny, but ironic. There we go. Let’s call it ironic. There you go, folks, there’s a great way to do things. But it’s so unique, because I mean, I mean, I’m 55. All right. And so I know, there are a lot of people in my generation that are Gen Xers that are, it’s like, we changed somewhat from the baby boomers, where, you know, my dad was a pull yourself up by the bootstraps, rub some dirt in it, get back out there, you know, that kind of thing. And I operated like that for a long time until I couldn’t. And so part of, you know, I don’t think I went to therapy for the first time until I was in my early 30s, early 30s. And, you know, I was beginning actually, I had begun to abuse alcohol before then. I was wearing so tight when I was in law school, it’s the way I went to sleep. I mean, and I’ve always battled insomnia since I was a kid. And I still have bouts of insomnia. But that’s where alcohol began to grab a hold of me. And, but I went through, you know, cycles, where I drink too much, and then cycles where it was in check, and I and then eventually became problematic, but I remember going to therapy for the first time. And that being brought up that I think you might have an issue there, too, which, you know, maybe, maybe, but you know, my answer at that time was not particularly graceful. And it would go along with what a lot of people, you know, think my personality can be at times, because I told him to go fuck himself. I mean, that’s a quote. And that is ironic, as today, I sit here sober for six and a half years. So. So it’s funny now, you know, looking back at that, and how therapy has been something that I have used, in addition to, you know, some 12 Step programs, or, or a 12 step program that is out there that I won’t name but that therapy and understanding certain things about myself has allowed me to create some boundaries that allow me to peacefully coexist relatively peacefully coexist with others, you know, and, and have some grace in in doing that, and that is not something that I did well, beforehand. So I’d like to know a little bit more about the spiritual journey that went with therapy.

Stephen Tosha  

You know, I think one thing I’ll talk about before I get there is, you know, I knew addiction existed, right? Me, right, because of what I talked about, sure, but my addiction was food because I got up to 318 pounds. Oh, my gosh. And so one of the things that happened is once I got into therapy, which I think now leads to the spiritual pieces, without even dieting, really going on to diet. Once I got past all the really what I call hard work, which took about five or six years, right? I made a conscious decision that I was going to shed the weight, and I lost 110 pounds in six months. I was down 160 pounds within a year. And so just by getting a hold of what I will call the mental and spiritual aspect, I began to realize the food addiction was something that instead of being alcohol or drugs, right, it ended up being food. Oh, absolutely. You know, it’s interesting. I’ve lived my whole life through what I didn’t know at the time was called creative visualization. Francis Scovel Shinn wrote a book about one of her first books in the 1920s, about creative visualization. And I read one of her books, and then Lou Tice was a guy that formed an organization in Seattle. Which was, I think it was called investment in excellence. And it was about investing in your own self. Right. And so it’s, it basically was creating your own mantra about what you wanted your life to be, and getting in tune internally, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually with and it wasn’t about a God or a God, it was more about universe or whatever God you so chose, right to help support you through that, right. And I didn’t realize that I had always been doing that in my life. When I was a young kid, I remember walking down the streets of Compton and eight years old. And I’m like, How the fuck do I get out of here? I mean, somebody was shooting up in a gutter. And I am going to, I’m going to third grade, right? And I’m thinking, “How do I get out of here?” And I remember, I remember the clothes I had on, I remember the shoes I had on, I remember that I had money hidden in my socks, because most of the time I was harassed on the way to school, and beaten up to get what money I did have, right? You know, if I got my ass kicked five days a week, that was a good week, okay? Because it usually happens a couple days a day, I mean, happens a couple times a day. So creative visualization, for me, has always been about where I wanted to go. And I remember thinking, Hmm, my doctor has a degree, my dentist has some degree. My teacher has a degree. Nobody ever talked to me about education, ever. It was expected, you just went to school. And lucky if you got out of high school. And that very moment, I knew that I needed to get an education. And that was going to be the paradigm shift in getting out of that universe. And while I realized then in order for me to get an education, I needed to pay for it. So at the age of eight years old, I began keeping score in a bowling alley. At night, starting at the six o’clock League, and the nine o’clock League, I got paid $5, a night, seven days a week. And I saved that money, and literally invested that money through my brother through the stock market, so that I could get out of the house and put myself through college. But I think that all sort of came with this whole shift about one of my escapes, which would be to walk along the beach for hours at a time. And I used to look at the homes on the beach and say, one day, I’m going to live there. One day, I’m going to have an oceanfront property. One day, I’m going to have a husband, not a wife, I’m going to have dogs. And because I didn’t, I couldn’t imagine ever having kids, but the bottom line is I began to visualize what my life was going to be. And I think that that has been my spiritual journey is creative visualization. One of the reasons I think I’ve achieved what I’ve achieved is I keep raising the bar, and mentally imprinting it, and praying about it, and thinking about it, and visualizing it, to the point where I hate to say it, but taste it, smell it, breathe it. Right. And I believe that that has been my spiritual journey, because I really am not religious, but I am a very spiritual person. Right. And I believe that that is what has really helped me achieve the next level. Right? And I do that in my career. Now. You know, my business is a very competitive business, right? But I don’t compete with my cohorts at work, right, I compete with Toshiba. Right? How do I raise the bar? How do I get to the next level? Right? How do I get access to, you know, that next rapper, or that next sports player, or how do I get a politician, you know, as a client, I visualize it, I start creatively figuring out how to get there. But if I put my mind to it, I’m gonna at least try. 

Mark Scroggins  

You know, it’s interesting, because you mentioned the food addiction, and it’s like, you know, what I, I used I always refer to it as you know, a hole in the soul, you know, and so we use something to try to fill that, you know, and, you know, and I’ve used food as well, and you know, thank God, I’m a little over six, one and could carry it, but I’m glad that I’m 75 or 80 pounds lighter than I used to be. But it was always, you know, covering something up and the one one thing that I think we all have, and it’s interesting, you know, you read different different books and you know, psychology, I think is like any other science and that it is the answer today is not necessarily what the answer is tomorrow. And you know, what we seem to have found out is, is that parents were so impressionable at a young age, you know, so much happens between a year and a half and five years of age that affects who we are as people even down to mate selection, and things like that, that are tied to the dominant parent in the household and all of these different things, and that even the best parents that are out there still create issues within their children where it is completely unintentional. So I can’t even fathom the ones where it’s like, you know, I grew up I had, I had a very privileged upbringing I grew up here in Dallas, for the most part, upper middle class went to Richardson high school, you know, went to the University of Texas undergrad was really lucky in a lot of things. But I always had something inside of me, that was, I could believe the negative. But I have a hard time believing the positive. And one of the things that I think that stems from is I was a fat little kid growing up. And so I will much like what you talked about at eight years old, I remember being nine years old, and it’s at nine arrives. 11 Anyway, right around there, there used to be a Chinese restaurant, up in what I think it was called Pepper village that was basically at the corner of Preston and BeltLine, and there was this Chinese restaurant called August Moon. And I remember being there and eating with my parents and I had gotten up to go to the bathroom. And I remember walking past a table. And I heard these adults say, God, he’s a fat little kid. And I remember, that’s all I heard, okay, and that is, that had a huge impact on me. And, you know, that went along with the fat shaming that I got at school and all this and you know, at nine or 10, I’m not, you know, drinking, and you know, then all of a sudden, a lot of that went, went away is I got, I hit 15 years of age, and I dropped, you know, I grew six inches and dropped 40 pounds one summer after I’d already lost 30. So all of a sudden, it was like, you’re stuck, it was a whole new me and I discovered, you know, girls that were actually paying me the time of day, you know, and so it was a different thing. So it disappeared. But that insecurity had been cemented in me. And so it just kind of transferred to whatever was going on. So it’s like, you know, it is still easy for me today to not believe the personal accolades or professional accolades or things of that sort of, you know, people just don’t really understand what a piece of shit I am. Now, luckily, that is pretty much I can keep that out of balance. And but that is all that is all contingent upon my spiritual condition today, you know, if I’m not in a good spiritual place, it’s easy for me to revert back to that. And then when I revert back to that, and kind of, in feeling that way, about myself, what comes out is I’m an asshole to everybody around me, you know, and so I’m trying to avoid that. And it’s funny today, because I know, for me, there are certain things that I need to do to make sure that, you know, I’m in the best spiritual place I can be at. And it involves a number of different things that aren’t really important here, but one of them is therapy, because I still go and see a therapist on about a quarterly basis to do what I call my mental health checkup. And if I’m going through stuff that is difficult, or just having a hard time putting things in the proper box, you know, then I might pick that up a little bit more, but, but it’s all about that hole in the soul. And so it sounds to me, like I don’t recall hearing that the visualization that you were the creative visualization, but I remember I remember that, that incident when I was that age, and I remember I know the impact that it had. And so it’s interesting to put a name to it and hear that that is something else that someone you know, used and where it was a motivating factor to them. Visualize what you want the future to be like?

Stephen Tosha  

Absolutely. I mean, therapy, I haven’t been. I haven’t gone back to therapy probably for five or six years. But every once in a while I would do sort of the same thing: a check in, you know, but, you know, therapy if I needed again, I’m all about having to go do it. 

Mark Scroggins  

That’s something that I think it’s interesting. I joke with people because my law license says attorney and counselor at law, right spelled, you know, a little, a little different than, than it is in other other situations. But, I’m a believer, especially with doing family law, that I will say I’m earning the counselor piece of my license today. Because it is such an emotional upheaval, it’s one of the five worst things that somebody can go through when they’re going through a divorce, you know, it’s like, death or loss of a job, or, you know, all of these different things. And so being able to have some empathy for someone, and being able to share, look, I can help you achieve your goal, if you’re willing to do these relatively simple things, but it involves, you know, trust and, and following what feels abnormal. And I can equate that with the journey that I’ve had to go on, spiritually, to be able to go through a life transformation. For me, it sounds like that has been very similar to what you have had to go through as well.

Stephen Tosha  

Absolutely. I mean, my life is amazing. I look at it, and it’s more than I ever had hoped it would be. And I’m not talking materially, I’m talking spiritually, emotionally, the relationship, I’ve been married to my husband, or get this right, 12 years, we’ve been together 14, who ever thought I could actually legally get married? So that was a nice, nice thing. But absolutely. I don’t think I would have this relationship if I hadn’t done the work, right. And if I hadn’t been on a spiritual journey on my own every day, and like you, if I lose track of centering myself, right? It can get it when I don’t like to use the word ugly, but you sort of get out of kilter. Yes. And that doesn’t feel good. No, you know, so it’s better to, you know, my day I get up at four in the morning, we already talked about coffee, right? I drink coffee, I walked the dogs, I work out, I’m in the office by six or 630. It’s sort of a slow roll of me being with me, right? Before I have to start taking care of everybody else, right. Because when you have to, not have to, I shouldn’t use the word have to. But when you’re responsible for people’s financial security, it’s a very stressful position to be in. But because I aligned myself first and took care of myself, and I did try to put some boundaries on it, my clients will tell you that I’m very accessible. I created that environment, right. And it has its moments like last year, which was a very volatile market, you feel very exhausted after you’re like that. But if I’m not taking care of myself, or aligning myself, then you can kind of just get out of whack.

Mark Scroggins  

Yeah. You know, it’s, it’s interesting, because one of the big things that I find is incredibly necessary, along the lines of what you’re talking about, is being able to set those boundaries. Right. And it, it seems like societally, we get a double, we get a double edged sword along with that we’re in the age of social media, which is a bunch of Look at me, look at me, look at me, look at me. And here’s just a snapshot of what I was talking to somebody in a previous podcast about, you know, it’s me swinging, you know, on this beautiful swing in the Valley over the water. And it’s like, but that’s a snapshot How the hell did the person get there to be able to do that, and they might be a miserable sob in real life, you know, you don’t have any idea who that person is, or what makes them tick, or if they’re happy, right? You know, and so I find it difficult at times, because society on and for me, it is taken, getting comfortable with saying, well, society is out of kilter, and they don’t, you know, that’s great, if that works for you. But what works for me is x, you know, and so because there’s that, that look at me, look at me, look how great everything is, and then you get other people that it’s like you want instant gratification, right? Well, I want to be on that swing and valley. Well, what are you going to do to be able to get there? Right? How do you do that? And I think there is a loss and understanding of this kind of transformation. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s like you were talking about a good lord five or six years for just really really trudging the road of recovering from what you went through. Right. So how do we get that message out there? Because that seems to be verboten. Now, God forbid you mentioned that there has to be hard work involved. and actually achieving things. Now, I think there are some people that all understand that. But there seem to be a lot of people that don’t get it that you’ve got to put in the work to achieve the goals. And even if that goal is just, I feel good about myself. It doesn’t happen overnight. 

Stephen Tosha  

You know, it’s so interesting, you bring this up, because I have a new associate, his name’s Eric, Eric Herman. And he’s fairly young. He’s in his early 30s. And he wanted to join the Tosha Group at Merrill with me. And, you know, we sat and talked, and we’ve been working together. And he said something at an event that my husband was at, he said, you know, your, your husband really doesn’t do anything different than most of the advisors do. He said, the difference is, he works his ass off. The difference is, he’s connected 16 hours a day. He’s in the office at six in the morning. He’s still responding to clients, and at nine o’clock at night. He isn’t doing anything different. It’s just that he’s working harder. And he’s absolutely right. And he and he dreaded that even said that, because I keep bringing it up. And he’s right. I’m not, you know, am I good at what I do. I think I’m good at it. But I don’t think that I’m necessarily better than other people. It’s the commitment to do the work. But it was the commitment of wanting to get out of that neighborhood. It was the commitment, I want you to get educated. I mean, when I started working, my first job was at the phone company. I literally started in the mailroom when I was 17 years of age. My next job, I was a cashier in a public office taking people’s phone bills. I mean, I didn’t go into executive management for, you know, 1314 years. But I also did the hard work, and was able to retire at the age of 46. With the ability to never have to work again. The idea of retirement was work life choice, right. And so, you know, when I see people that want to become part of something and not do the work, I don’t want to use the word entitled, but what makes one entitled, Who isn’t willing to put in the work because the work isn’t necessarily any different than what I did, or what you’ve done, right? I mean, getting through law school is a really hard thing to do. Not everybody passes the bar. Some people have taken what, three or four times? Yeah, so the difference is putting the work in, right. You know, and I also, I also wonder when people say, well, because I do this in my job, what is he doing? That’s magic. I’m not doing anything that’s magic. It’s just doing the work. Right. And, that work isn’t just day to day work. That is self work. You know, staying at 160 pounds is work, because during COVID I got back, I literally did gain about 35 pounds, because, you know, what was I drinking? Was I doing? I was drinking wine every night and my husband was cooking three meals a day and we weren’t going out and doing as much right. But, you know, I had to get realigned and say okay, this, I don’t feel good at 195 pounds, I feel good at 160 pounds, right? Whatever. It’s it’s life choice. I mean, life will throw things at us. But it’s how we respond to it. Do we become victims? And that was one thing about the situation, I’m gonna go all the way back to mom again. My mom was always a victim. My mom always gave me this. And she never, you know, my mom never made more than $24,000 a year. But she was a victim. She chose not to go to college, she chose not to work hard. She chose to sit in victimization and narcissism. And that’s one thing if anything I’ve learned from is I didn’t want to be my parents. But it’s hard. I have to check narcissism at the door every day. Yep. Because when you grow up with two narcissists, it’s really hard not to be one. I know that sounds really weird, but I always have to check that. Yep. So when something happens, I’m always like, trying to keep myself in check, and sometimes it’s not easy, but, I didn’t want to be who they were.

Mark Scroggins  

You know, I agree with you 100% On that. It’s very interesting to me in all of these scenarios that we talked about, pain is the great motivator, right? I mean, it’s wanting that pain to go away. However we go about that. So that journey, that life’s work, I love that you talked about you know, staying a victim because that’s one of the things you know, I will talk to people about it’s like if you find yourself in this situation in this situation In this situation, and they’re all bad, what is the common denominator? Right? It’s you, right? So what did you do to change this, so you can use this situation, I understand you’re going through a real shitty divorce and emotionally, it’s horrible. But you can use this as a jumping off place to transform what your life is going to be, it’s up to you, you get to make that choice today. And so I wish that there were more people that understood that and would actually make the choice instead of staying a victim, it’s much easier, it’s a whole hell of a lot easier to point at all these different sources for my problems today. But nobody’s holding me down, you know, and making me eat, you know, chocolate cake with Bluebell on it. You know, nobody forced that shit down my throat, I never had anybody hold, hold my mouth open and pour a bottle of scotch down it, you know, it’s amazing, I did that shit to myself, I made the choice to do that. Now, it might have been what I had to do at that point to survive. But that changes, you know, and I was able to make different choices. It’s like, the whole reason that I built Scroggins Law Group was to create a different scenario, we don’t take as many cases as, as a lot of firms, because we provide a whole different level of service than most firms, you know. So that’s what I wanted to do. That’s how I wanted to practice. And I’ve been very blessed that I can do that. And we’ve got so many lawyers now. But it was a choice to do that. And to get to that point, I had to do the work to be able to do that. It’s funny, because I see young lawyers come out now. And the first thing they wanted to know, I interviewed for a job a little bit ago. And the first thing he’s asking me is how many days off? And what are the billing requirements? And I’m like, Are you freaking kidding me? Really? Those are the first questions. Because I was taught you don’t ever start with that mark, don’t come out of the chute asking for that. I mean, that shows that you aren’t really, you know, locked into it. Right. Right. So I, I just want to know how we get that message out? How do we get other people to understand that that’s just part and parcel of what you got to do and change? I need immediate gratification.

Stephen Tosha  

Well, I think it’s, who do we choose to surround ourselves with? Because obviously, you didn’t hire him. Did you know, okay, so that’s a message, you know, I interviewed an assistant I used a year ago. And even before we actually met face to face, he was trying to negotiate not only a salary, but we do revenue sharing, right in the firm. So I share revenue with my, with my support staff, right. And he was asking for something that was way in above what I was already doing. And I’m and we literally did like one Zoom meeting, and I get like this, this email about all of his demands. And we basically just said, and he was the only person that applied for the job, because the labor force has been so diminished. And I just said, you know, I don’t care if he’s the only person or not, I’m not gonna be held hostage, before he even starts working for us. I think we just have to be an example. And we have to communicate, you know, and we, and we surround ourselves by saying no, and we need people to fail on their own.

Mark Scroggins  

Can you go into that just a little bit, because I’ve heard that, and I’m a believer in that. But I’d love for you to explain that to the folks that are out there listening to this. 

Stephen Tosha  

Well, we can’t rescue somebody. You know, I remember I was in a meeting. I was a new vice president at Verizon. And I was in a meeting. And I actually presented to the Board of Directors. And I walked out of the room. I was 28 years old. And I walked out of the room, they ate my lunch. I mean, they just, it was awful. It’s the most awful experience I’ve ever had. And I remember I looked at my boss at the time, his name was Craig Stevens. And I said, I can’t believe they treated a kid that way. And he looked at me and he said, you have the title of Vice President, you’re making a couple $100,000 A year people would give their right arm to have your job. You are no longer a kid. He said, You’re a grown man with responsibilities and a team to support and you have shareholders to support. He goes because if you think you’re a kid, then you’re in the wrong job. And he was so right. Yeah, that was the minute I woke up and said he’s absolutely right. There were people that were 5060 years old that didn’t have the position that I had, and I worked hard to do it and get there. But I I went backward for a minute and was like, was that 28 year old who was trying to blame? experience or something else is So I don’t know how to explain it. But I think we just have to be the example. We have to say no.

Mark Scroggins  

Right? Well, and I would imagine just from the story the way you were telling it, that that was a real touchstone for your continued growth. Absolutely. Because it’s, it’s funny, I will, I will harken back to when I was married to my first wife. And she was a partner in a different law firm. And one of her partners was a mentor of mine who I just really respected. And I had gone on a streak of where I just wasn’t losing anything. And I remember his quote was, you need to get your ass kicked really good, so that you can learn some more. And I was like, what he’s like, Yeah, where you actually learn and grow is when you get your ass kicked. I agree. And I was like, I had never heard that before. Or if I did, I completely tuned it out. I’m sure my dad said something like that to me, or my mom did. But you know, I didn’t hear it at that point. But they’re a little later. I grew to understand that.

Stephen Tosha  

Yeah, I actually think failures are some of our biggest gifts. Yeah. I mean, if we fail, we will learn it, will we choose to either be a victim or not being a victim? That’s right. You know, one of the things that came to mind when we were talking earlier about addiction and a couple other things and people pouring Scotch down your throat. So I had my stepbrother George. Yeah. He weighed 747 pounds when he died. Oh my gosh. When they took him out of the house after he committed suicide, they had to cut the window, out of the living room, the window frame out of the living room to literally get his body out. So when you were talking about people being victims, he stayed at home with my father, who was molesting him, even at the age of 26. I know it sounds weird. How can you be molested at 26. But if it’s what you’ve grown up with, since you were 11, you become jailed by this right? He ate three dozen donuts for breakfast every morning. He ate lunch, he ate dinner. God knows what he ate. But he created a situation where he was debilitated. He couldn’t drive anymore. He couldn’t get behind the steering wheel. He lived at home with my father and his mother, my stepmother. And I remember, it was Christmas Eve the last time I saw him. And I remember when we left the house, I said to my brother Mike, who also committed suicide. I said he’s going to be dead in a couple of days. My intuition just said he was going to be dead. Christmas is the 26th. He took pills. I can’t remember if they made his heartbeat faster or slower. But he took 90 pills. And drink a bottle of scotch, no bottle of vodka, quarter vodka. And basically his heart exploded in his chest. So again, he chose to be that victim, he chose to be the person that couldn’t break out of that. And so I switched gears on us pretty dramatically. But again, it’s all about choice. It’s all about either getting out of a situation, you know, and sometimes it’s not easy. He was a victim. And he was victimized by my father. But he didn’t have the ego strength or the choice. So I took this down to a dark place. Sorry.

Mark Scroggins  

But it shows the dichotomy. Okay, so that choice is huge. You can choose to continue to remain a victim, right? Or you can take that path to self determine.

Stephen Tosha  

And it’s no matter what it is. That’s right. It’s a failure. It’s about blaming others for you not achieving or not breaking out or whatever it is, you know, I feel terrible for women that are abused. Yeah, right. I feel terrible. Absolutely. And everybody says it’s so easy for them to just walk away. It’s not no. But there is a point where one decides no longer to be a victim, and try to figure out how to get the help. Right. You know, and, you know, I, I don’t know what that is. But what I know is, I was a child being abused. And at some point, I realized I had to fix it, because nobody else was there to fix it for me.

Mark Scroggins  

Right. You know, I think that that hits the whole thing on the head because at the end of the day. Self Reliance is what gets you to take that step and today we’re in an age where there are so many different support groups and different avenues that can be traveled down to get the help that is necessary to help. Have you risen out of that system of victimization that you find yourself in? Right? So, Stephen, thank you so much. God, I just every time we get a chance to talk, it just means the world to me. And so thank you for making the time for me today. Thank you and thanks to everybody out there who’s joined us for another edition of the reclamation transformation. And remember, change begins with you. So leave your mark.

Can a Child of Divorce or Trauma Be Successful?

Listen to Reclamation Transformation with Dallas Family Law Attorney Mark Scroggins for inspirational and candid discussions on topics relating to family law from the perspective of real people. And without any overwhelming lawyer-speak so you can remember that change starts with you and remember to make your mark.



Hey everybody, Mark Scroggins back for another edition of the Reclamation Transformation and today I’ve got a special guest; Courtney Hemsley has joined me. How are you today?


I am fantastic.


I am really excited about this. We had a really nice discussion prior to and the similarities are frankly a little scary.



To me it sounds like we are kind of cut from the same cloth on a lot of stuff but I wanted to introduce you and let everybody get to know you a little bit.


Can you just talk about what you do professionally and then we’ll get to talk about some of the good stuff as well?


Yeah, exactly.


Professionally, Empire Development Solutions were the one-stop solution for any of your construction project needs.


Everything starts with the land acquisitions, what looks right for land,


What can be built there, single family, multi-family, commercial retail, then I go from there, my company does infrastructure and development. Therefore we are doing on your streets, curbs, gutters and roads for sites to be ready to go vertical. So if anyone knows that word on all of the stuff before vertical coming in, you are building up. In addition to that, I have the lending aspect of it which has been a big part of my business providing construction loans. Land acquisition,



What’s the best way to do it?


Construction loans. Construction loans which are really, really hard for a lot of these developers to get into place.


And from there also being an investor resource.


It sounds like a lot of crazy things going on but all lines up. You have to start with the land, you have to have infrastructure and development done, you, a lot of people have to have that financing in place for construction and then on the investor side, at the end of the day find ways to put your money to work.


I can walk into a room and talk to investors and go, hey, have you ever invested in a business?



I have to be in real estate, let me show you creative ways to invest in real estate.


Nothing is guaranteed.


Of course.


But put your money to work and just get awareness about what is going on in that space.


The only way to get aware or to be aware is to being in those rooms and being around those resources.


So are you doing stuff both with, you mentioned a developer.



But let’s say if I wanted to build a house and so I’m trying to figure out, hey, Courtney, I want to build this real modern house.


There’s an area generally that I want to build in.


Is that something that I would get?


I don’t do anything owner occupied.


So it wouldn’t be like a primary residence.


Anything I’m going to do or going to lend on or be a part of is going to be anything what they would consider in the commercial space.



Even though it may have a residential component, but it wouldn’t be anything owner occupied that would be your typical mortgages like Fannie or Freddie.


Mine’s going to be more of we’re building a single family development or, you know, I’m an investor.



I have some land.


I want to buy this land.


I want to build two townhomes on it.


I’ll connect them with the builder.



If they don’t know how to build and they bring in the money, if they need lending, I’ll bring in the lending.


So just kind of connecting all those pieces together, building multifamily units.


Right now I have three of those going on, doing the financing for that.

And then again, there’s again, investors.


Like here’s opportunities to invest in multifamily.


That’s probably your long play on money.



So like if I wanted to do something like with one of the things that I’m intrigued by right now is the whole inland port.


Things so like, you know, going down 45 where we’ve got the, the inland port right there and let’s say that I wanted to put together some – build some multifamily down there. And to service the people that are actually going to be working at the inland port.


That’s something that’s right up my alley.




All right.


You come up with the idea.



I can do anything to help partner it, you know, find the land to get that entitled for that specific use.


Obviously, if you’re not about going out and swinging a hammer, there are plenty of resources that build single-family townhome, multifamily.


That’s their space.


Having the construction background, which kind of still leads me down this niche.


My career started in construction, like on a job site all day, every day, and develop with multifamily.


I think I went home crying every single day.



I didn’t understand it.


There was no HR.




No, I was like, Oh, my God, what did I get myself into?


But it gave me just tough skin and, you know, that’s so unique to have, you know, frankly, to have a female that is involved in that space on the ground floor.





You’re talking about being on a job site because I remember working some construction summers when I was in high school and it was not a, it was not a PC environment.


Definitely not.


But I will say, you know, it’s interesting because being the different person has made the difference in my career.


There’s not a room that I walk in.


I actually want to walk in a room and be the oddball out.





Because your first thing is not about attention as I’m like, Oh, look at me, but intention.




What is she doing here?


First off, it’s like that.


What is she doing here?


Or secondly, you know, if you’re opposite in a room that you’re in, you get that attention.



Then you, what you’re talking about makes sense.




You just, they’re not going to forget you.


No, that’s exactly right.


So that’s my biggest thing.


I encourage everyone, you know, like, man, walk in those rooms, especially.



Well, you’re the oddball out of the different one, but just make sure you know what you’re talking about.


And, you know, people won’t forget you.


You’ll make those connections.


You’ll have the resources and you’ll make a big difference.


That’s truly been being different has made the difference 100% in my career as a woman in construction.


I can, I can absolutely understand that.



And it sounds like one of the things that you also just mentioned is something that I mentioned to people all the time that knowledge is power.


Oh, you know, so like when I have somebody asking me, you know, what should I be looking for in a family law attorney?


It’s like, well, you know, start with looking for someone who’s board certified because it’s a higher level of understanding.


It’s, you know, and you have to meet all these criteria.




But it’s about knowledge.



You know, if you’re kind of a jack of all trades in the.


You do family law.


You do personal injury.


You do criminal and all this shit.


You know, it’s like you’re, you’re a jack of all trades, but master of none.


So you don’t know what you don’t know.





So you better make sure you get someone who knows what they know, which I can’t imagine.


You know, you hear all the terrible stories about, you know, contractors that have taken deposits and they run or they do an absolute shotty job.


And then you find out, oh, well, they’re not numbers of their business.


You know, all these different complaints and stuff like that.


So, yeah, it’s important to.



And a key to that is I think I don’t market anything about myself.


Everything comes from referrals or resources that I’ve worked with before.



Just like you.


I think that I think people look over that sometimes people want to look on Google or look on however you find people these days social media.


And I just want to see what somebody’s talking about in the moment.





I think the real way that you get people that are legit and their business and then we’ll do their best for you is to check the resources or apps.


Somebody, who did you use them?


I mean, if you problem is, most of us don’t want to ask because we’re too embarrassed to say what we don’t know.




But if you would me, I’m going to ask everybody.





This is what I mean.


I don’t know crap about it.


But who has not who’s dealt with the best person in this?


Who’s dealt with it?


And how did they treat you?



How did it turn out?


I think that’s what we tend to overlook is to instead of not asking or being embarrassed that we don’t think we don’t know is to really just ask people.


Who did you use for who was your best law attorney?


Who was I think that’s probably the key?


Well, and I think most of those for sure.


I completely agree with you.



I think that is you know, it’s amazing though.


You also hit on something that I think is really important that you mentioned that sometimes we’re too embarrassed to ask, which I think is we get in our own ways.


And I shouldn’t I shouldn’t say that like we like third person.


I get in my own way.


All right.

Because it is difficult.



I think one of the hardest things at the end of the day is just being an authentic human being all the time.




Because I think most people it’s easy for me to get caught up in what the idea of a certain role is.




So I have people thinking, you know, that, wow, I should be dressed in a suit all the time.


And you know, this stuff sure kind of kind of deal and it’s like, man, that ain’t me.





You know, so and they, you know, hear me drop some interesting terminology on things.


And, you know, I cuss like a sailor.




You know, but that’s just me.


And it’s more of an authentic thing.



So understanding, getting to that point of, you know, I don’t give a shit.


What people think to a certain degree.



I mean, you’ve got, you know, a healthy amount.


You have to have a healthy amount of you to be able to survive.


But to keep that from turning into an unhealthy narcissist and being a people pleaser or being being concerned about, you know, God forbid you get codependent on stuff.


And I’m so worried about what everybody else thinks that I can’t, you know, do my freaking job.



And that’s not what it’s about.




And when I say do my job, I’m not just talking about being a divorce lawyer.

I’m talking about being a friend, being a husband, being a father, you know, being a son.


All of these different things are different roles where they’re all I look at it like I want to be there to support or to help. 100%.



But if I’m worried about what everybody thinks, I also can’t protect myself by setting proper boundaries.





You’re right.


I think you touched face on something really important there.


Roles can be deceiving.






And they can cause, they can cause a lot of pain whenever or heartache or disappointment.


I’ve experienced myself.


We all get these roles and titles.


Mother, father, husband, boyfriend, daughter.




And somewhere along the way, we’re taught that this role means we have to be this way.





And that’s it.


And when we set ourselves up to go along these roles that everyone else is trying to make us be or that we see or that we think or that we read.


And then that doesn’t happen.


That’s where that disappointment comes in or that for others and even for yourself.


I think that’s when you touch on that and that really, really, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked back in life, not today, but back in life and then been disappointed by myself thinking I wasn’t doing the role right, a role.



Disappointed in others when really now what I’ve learned is you just have to, we spoke on this earlier before, you just have to be here now and you have to love people for who they are and what they are in your life now.


Love yourself for who you are and what you are in your life right now.


And just be here in that moment.


There’s no past.


There’s no future.


But those roles, man, they can you really, you know, had a good one with that one because they can really, really cause us to go all different directions emotionally and mentally.



You know, and the interesting thing to me is that when we talk about, you know, those roles, so the definition of those roles, well, who created the definition?




It is the generation previous.




The generation prior.


So like, I’m generation X. Yeah.



You know, and so you had the baby boomers for us that were defining certain roles.


And so, you know, I look at the way my dad was, the way my mom is, you know, different things of what their expectations are of those roles.


So at that time, it was very gender specific, right?


You know, dad’s going to be the big earner and mom’s going to be home with the kids and, and all of these things.


And, you know, for generation X, that was those definitions are still in play to a certain degree, but less so, you know, so understanding how certain things work and you can be your own individual, I think is difficult a lot of the time for the baby boomers to really understand.


And yet, you know, my daughter, who is now 25, you know, looks at me with some of my thoughts and what makes sense for me and thinks you are out of your damn mind.



Live life a little, honey.




That’s right.


You know, so, but I don’t, I don’t, I can only see it in my perspective.


I can be very open to listening to what she says and what the way they think and think, you know, one of my dad saying said I love and now I understand it was, you know, you’re entitled to your own opinion, no matter how screwed up it is.





You know, so, so I think about that now.


And so, but it’s funny based on what the perspective is.


And so getting comfortable enough in your own skin to be able to say, well, that’s fine.


You can think I’m absolutely out of my mind.




And that, you know, you’re entitled to that opinion.



But I don’t have to live my life.




Based on what you or society in general, you’re right.




I’ve got to figure out what absolutely works for me.









So it’s like one of the things we were talking about before we began the podcast is you’ve really seen an acceleration in your business just going to new fights.


Based on exactly what we’re talking about, being the authentic you and being able to be present right here right now.




So 100%.



So how did you, you know, we all have our own, our own journeys for sure that we have to go down.


You know, mine is kind of mine is steeped in recovery.




And that has allowed me to obtain a certain level of spirituality and some people, you know, that don’t know me well would probably hear that and go, you’re full of shit. Because I’ve seen you in the courtroom and you do not appear to be the most spiritual person in that particular moment.


And that might be true at that moment.



But it’s like, you know, if we’re going to have a street fight, you know, I’m not going into it without.






So, but how did you, what got you to the point, what has worked for you to be able to really be the, the authentic Courtney and be true to who you are and live life the way it makes sense for you instead of worrying about whatever other people see.


And that’s a good question.


I would say that my entire life I’ve been in survival mode from childhood to adulthood as a wife when I was a wife as a parent.



I’ve been in that survival mode and being in that survival mode, you know, we all talk about, yo, I’ve got to be strong up, got to be tough.


But in those modes, I mean, I lost myself 100%.


I was so focused on how to career a great beautiful daughter.


She’s wonderful.


But who was I?


What was I doing?



And I was just what I learned was we, we often, we don’t do it on purpose.


We get stuck in these modes of survival.


And when you’re trying to survive, you’re really not living.


And that’s where there was four years ago, I went through always, like I said, struggled, you know, and just been in that fight, fight mode, not where I’m fighting everything, but just like, man, you just got to make things happen.


You know, I can’t fail.


I can’t do this.



Four years ago, I went through a divorce, really, really bad divorce.


And I was 30, me and my daughter kicked out of our home right at the beginning of COVID.


All of my business was shut down, you know, construction.


There was nothing going on kicked out of our home.


And in that moment, everything that I knew was gone.


And from my home to being a wife, my daughter, we lived in a hotel for several months.



She went to college.


I mean, even my dog died for 15 years.


So a girl was like stripped down to nothing.


I had nowhere else to go.


And I really, and in that time, you know, we can’t get away from ourselves.


A lot of times we do things to distract ourselves.



We do things, you know, as a husband, a wife, as a mother, because we don’t want to stop and work on ourselves.


We don’t want to stop and look what’s really going on inside of us.


But when God puts you through these things so you can get to your purpose, you have to allow that stripping of everything down.


I mean, you don’t want to build back up with the same shit on the bottom.


I mean, eventually, eventually resurfaces.


So I took that time, that time of, instead of feeling sorry for myself, instead of going back in that fight mode and survival mode.



I had to, who is Courtney?


What is she about?


What excites her?


What motivates her?


What keeps her going when all of these things that I’ve lived for when they’re gone?


Because they were gone.





So trying the typical, what everybody does, okay, I’m God, love God, believe in God 100%, but not everything looks the same as what everything looks.


You know, I’m going to go to the church.


I’m going to go to counseling.


I went through all these steps to become my best me because I knew that’s what I needed.


And it wasn’t until I went on this journey, an awakening journey, I call it awakening of the soul, practicing Ayahuasca, that it really allowed me to go deep and address what had me in that survival mode for my entire life.



And not until I was able to address that and really see it and understand that the past is dark, it’s deep.


I don’t necessarily have to keep reliving that or reminding myself of that to be who I am today.




And not allowing what’s going to happen tomorrow or what am I going to do tomorrow?


What’s going on?


Not allowing that.



I’m really focused on, you’ll hear me all the time now.


When moments come up, be here now, be here now, be here now, because that’s all I can do is control what’s going on now.




So I think my biggest turning point was quieting all the noise outside of me.


What people think, what people say, you know, you’re divorced or you have nothing, you’re starting over and everybody wants to.


And really just digging into myself, my faith and God and what worked for me, not being worried about what worked for other people was my big turning point for me to be the best and to be where I am today and to learn and know my purpose.



And in that, it has allowed my business to grow tremendously.


It’s allowed me.


At this age, this point in my life, I feel the freest, most fulfilled that I’ve ever felt in my life.


And it’s all just because I stripped it all down, allowed it to be stripped down.


And I took that time, really took that time to build myself back up.


You know, that is, I think that is something, I will just talk about me again.



But that is something that I struggle with is, nobody enjoys the pruning.






I mean, that’s when you really get your ass kicked.


For sure.


You know, there’s a, there’s a prayer called the Prayer of J. Bess.



And so back in the day, when I actually went to church, instead of just relied more on spirituality, I remember we had a, had a book study about this book.


Called the Prayer of J. Bess.


And it talked about the necessity for the pruning so that the future blooms could be better than they’ve ever had.


But nobody wants to go through that process or understanding that that is just part of the process.




You know, that there are times when I’ve got to learn certain lessons.



So I made big believer in karma and, you know, so what you put out there, you’re going to get that.


And, and so part of that is like doing things.


Charitably, whether it is time or money or whatever where, you know, nobody else knows about that.




And it’s nobody else’s business.





And if I turn it around and make it a look-at-me kind of thing, well, that does – does away with, you know, what it’s about.


That’s exactly right.


But it’s the same thing with other things, you know, I think it’s, it’s very easy to get caught up in those roles or get caught up in certain trappings, you know, whether it’s, you know, people get derailed by different things, whether it’s, you know, booze or money or sex or whatever shining


glibly, you know, and exactly.


And I like sparkly.





You know, so I like it.


But it can’t be what I am all about because if it does, then it’s hollow.


There’s nothing for sure.


There is nothing left inside.


If that is what it is truly about.





And so it’s super easy to get caught up in that instead of focusing, you know, how can I truly serve my fellow man, but within the parameters of healthy bound.




That’s exactly.




That’s 100%.





So there’s, there is a, you know, there’s a saying in the recovery community.


You know, we carry the message.


We don’t carry the alcoholic.






You know, so you can’t do it for someone.



And it’s the same thing.


And I mean, that’s just an extreme example that applies to me.


But that is an example, I think that carries over into every aspect of life.


You know, you can see somebody struggling like hell, you know, and really suffering.


But you can’t make them take the steps that you believe they need to take.


You know, you’re right.



And I think you, you, you really setting those boundaries.




That’s a hard thing.


I mean, I’ve dealt with that in the past setting those boundaries where.


And those come from where you learn how to, for me, they came from learning how to, like I said, going back.


They were somewhere along the way where I saw myself as less than.





We all do it.


At some point.


We feel like we don’t fit in where they were not qualified or not.


And somewhere along that way, when I found myself as less than that’s when I allowed boundaries to be broken in those things.


I think when we’re going through these things as they always come up, someone’s always going to try to, you know, go past the boundary or you allow it.



Not really people sometimes, such as who they are and what they are.


You know, they said they don’t know any better, but maybe they don’t.


But it’s also up to us.


But, you know, we can’t, we can’t play victim to people that have crossed our boundaries.


We have to be responsible for those boundaries and the way, a way to get those is to, it comes with confidence, self love, awareness, awakening to be able to protect that and not in a bitter or have a wall up or, you know, no emotion type of way.


But just what’s wrong with selling someone, my biggest thing.



Now I’ll tell anyone business personally.


Hey, I just don’t think we’re aligned.


Those are probably thinking, what is she talking about?


It’s my easiest way to say is like, “You’re not for me and I’m not for you.”


And that’s cool.


I respect you in your space.



But I’m going to respect myself as well.


But it didn’t come until I was able to break myself down and realize what was allowing me to allow those boundaries to be crossed.


And now to set them and stand by them.


And like I said, love myself and be aware of what works for me.


That may not work for other people.


You know, and that’s, that’s, I think that is so important and difficult because I can be lonely.





And well, and as I sit here though, when I look at, when I’ve allowed my boundaries to be violated.



One, I’ve allowed it to happen.




But the whole reason that I am allowing it to happen is because I want someone to think better of me.




If I do this, which goes against my core values.




And it might be helping this person who says that they need help or doing whatever that is for the benefit of someone else.


But I’m like, this isn’t right.




I should not be doing this for them.



This is stressing me out.


It’s not even my deal.





You know, a perfect, perfect example is, you know, loaning money to those that are closest to you.





You know, don’t do it unless you can view it as a gift.


And you don’t.




And you’re not going to see it as a result.




For sure.



Because then all you’re doing is you’re harming the relationship.




And someone might be pissed at you in the process of you saying no.




But actually what you’re doing is you’re, you know, you’re harming the relationship by saying yes. 100%. For sure.





Because you’re resentful.













It’s just amazing to me how those kind of lessons continue to pop up until I have learned the lesson of don’t do that.




It’s like, you know, I have what I, what I refer to as white knight syndrome.




You know, I want to ride in on my white horse and save the day.





You know, and, and most of the time, that is not my job.


And most of the time, the people that you do that for have absolutely no appreciation for it.


I am 100% convinced.


And then you’re like, what?


I did all that.


I did this.



That’s right.




I am convinced that is where the saying of no good deed goes unfinished.


For sure.


Originates from.





You know, because I’ll see that.


And I will, I will do that.


I’ll do, for example, I’ll do that on a pro bono situation where I’m going to go in and oh, I know I shouldn’t do this.


But I’m going to help this person.


And they are the most ungrateful individuals.


Think that the world owes them everything and has absolutely no self awareness about.



You’re not a victim in everything that happens.


Or if you really think that you are, then what’s the common denominator?


It’s you.


The Bob brings the whole yes.


You know, I mean, it’s amazing.





You know, I will have people that walk in and will do that.


And, and it’s like, yeah, do you take responsibility for anything?


Right. 100%.


But that’s what I meant when I said setting these boundaries off.


I’ve felt it’s been lonely in a good way.





Because it really, when you.


Like, I don’t mind saying no now.




So, I mean, that means that they’re probably going to be pissed that I said no, but okay, well, they’re probably not going to call.


They’re probably.


But that’s what I mean by you have to be comfortable, which I think we both kind of.



Learned how to set those parameters because it can be very lonely, feebling.




Because a lot of times these boundaries, we let them down because we want to be accepted or because we want to save the day or we want to be loved or there’s something missing.


So when you set up these boundaries until someone knows and then they don’t ring your phone again.


Well, first off, that tells you their motives were off.





And, but it feels lonely in the beginning.




When you start setting these boundaries in your eye, how all these things we do to improve ourself feel horrible.






Well, and you get for, I get a warning about it.





Because I am a big believer in what my get.


Oh, yes.




And that’s the way I am a big believer that God talks to me in that way.


And every time I go against what my God is telling me, it’s a shit show.



Why didn’t I?




And it’s like, I knew.


I knew.


You had a ton of warning there.





You know, I was sitting there telling you don’t do it.


Don’t do it.


No, no, no.


I can make it work.


I can do it.


I can fit.



That’s ego.


We are ego.


Man, it can get the best of us.


Well, you know, I think anybody who thought God didn’t have a sense of humor.


I mean, who wants the happiest you can be is when you were living in God’s will.





But I’m going to give you free will.




So you got to give it back to you.


It’s like, wait a second.


How do I get it?





It’s a trick.




It’s like that doesn’t logically make a lot of sense.




But that’s when I met my most comfortable is when I feel like I am aligned.


And for me, that is where, you know, I am in concert with what my gut tells me on stuff.



When I go against it, I have more turmoil.


I feel more disjointed, disconnected.


I am not as nice to be around.


Things are coming out sideways.


And it’s always coming out at those that are closest to us.




Because who you’re really pissed off at or who I am really pissed off at is me.




You know, but who I’m taking it out on is, you know, where’s my next victim?


Who’s the next person that’s walking in here?


You know, that it’s going to come out that way.





So, you know, I know an area that I constantly have to wrestle with is perfectionism.


You know, and it’s hard for me from a professional standpoint because I want things done a certain way.


I want to make sure that we represent people in a certain way.


But one of the things that I’ve had to learn and I continue to learn over and over again is just because it’s not my way.




It doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.





It just means that it’s different.




You know, now sometimes it’s not right.




I’m not going to go along with that.





But a lot of the time, different is just different.


Yeah, you saw this.


And I think it’s about stopping and listening for a minute, looking.


And then from that point, seeing if it does a line or doesn’t align with what you’re doing or what your purpose is or what you’re serving or what you want to represent.





That’s who you are, who your business is for sure.


Well, and that’s, you know, that’s one of the things.


So I started Scroggins Law Group six, a little over six years ago on February 1st, which was also my parents anniversary before my dad died and it’s my anniversary.




Now, so there’s a lot of meaning to that date for me, but it was to create a law firm or family law boutique that is different in that.





I don’t want to say yes to everybody.




You know, I don’t want to represent everybody.


We’re not for everybody.

And when you do that, you have, just like people want to pick us to serve them in business.





I’ve realized I want to pick who I work with and who my clients are as well.


And when I’ve started doing that, it’s kind of so much more peaceful.


I’m not frantic.


I’m not feeling anxious, anxiety.


It’s – I choose who I want to work with.


And if it aligns with me, and it’s it’s so crazy that I can turn around because we all we feel like a lot of times in business that we have to serve everyone that calls us or everyone that wants our services or everyone that says they need us.





But if you just stop for a minute, listen to them, listen to who they are as a person, what they’re doing in their business, how they do handle their business, how they handle other people.


It tells you how they’re going to handle you, how they’re going to handle their transactions with you.


Do they pay you?


Do they talk to you crazy?


All types of things like that.



And with what you’re saying, I think it also comes with all of this, you know, setting boundaries, not just personally, but in business to choose those that we want to surround ourselves with and work with.


And, you know, that makes a big difference anyways.




You know, who you’re working with.


Well, and I think.


Who you are as a person.





I mean, because one of, you know, I will tell people watch their feet.






Everybody’s got this or not everybody, but a lot of people have this.





The gift of gab, right?




They can talk a good game.




But do the feet match up with the game that they are talking and what my experience has been is that for most people, that’s a no.











So, you know, I picked the people who I choose to have as mentors in different areas of my life.




And they allowed me to choose them with it wasn’t where I set up the parameters of exactly what this relationship was going to be or how we were going to do things because I’m coming to them for a reason.







So, it’s basically, if you want what I’ve got, are you willing to do what I did?




You know, so it’s kind of the same thing for me professionally in a lawsuit where I can say, I can help you get from point A to point B. Yeah.


If you are willing to do X, Y and Z, are you willing to do that?





Well, when you see somebody that deviates from that, that’s when you get your real answer.


It’s easy to say yes.




You know, but when they’re not and they continue to do it over and over, you know, that’s where you’re left with a difficult choice.


For sure. 100%.



And especially in, you know, in personal relationships.


Oh, yeah.


You know, so if, you know, if you’ve got someone that is in your life that is a soul sucker, you know, I think we’ve all had them or probably been one.


Yeah, exactly.


And some of that is, you know, I’m not talking about somebody just in a dip going through a difficult time.





That’s, you know, I think that’s one of the areas that we really get the opportunity to be a good friend.


Oh, for sure.


Or a good partner or whatever.


But it’s when, you know, that person who you only hear from them when they need something.




Mm hmm.



And it’s always when, you know, everything is a disaster.






You know, oh, now I’m really willing.


But then you take the time to help, but then they still don’t.


And then they disappear.



That’s called.


You know what those are called?


What’s that?


Ask holes.


I’m gonna, I’m just telling you I’m stealing that.


They are called.



Ask holes.


Ask holes.


Call you.


Ask all the questions.


Yeah, yeah, I’m going to do it.


I got it.



I got it.


And you’ve told them 15 times and they turn right around and do the same shit.


They’ve always done to get themselves in a situation.


That’s, you know, and I stay away from those because like you said, they will drain you.


So like, I don’t have time to repeat myself 20 times.





So if it didn’t work for you the first time or if you didn’t take my advice, I’m saying it’s right.


Or it’s the perfect thing for you.


But then stop asking me the same question.


And again, it’s me going, I’ve already told them that listen, I’m not picking up the sun.


You know.


So that’s, I think that’s something else that’s really important is understanding that that’s a boundary that you are setting for yourself.





For self preservation.


And that’s okay.





Because there’s something unhealthy in society that gives this idea that it’s almost like you shouldn’t have any boundaries.



People are now boundaries have become a buzzword.




In the last few years and setting healthy boundaries.


And, but what does that actually mean?


And when people understand it’s, I can only do so much.


I’m here up to a point.





But that’s all I can do.


That’s all I have to give.


And there’s a societal piece.


I think that tells us, no, no, no, you’ve got to give more.


You’ve got to do.



And it’s like they’re calling me because they need, they need you.


I mean, but there are days, man.


You just need yourself.


There are days when I have nothing else to give someone.


And when ask hole rings my phone, I’m not answering, you know, because you’ve all right.


I mean, you’ve sucked 15 other times that we’ve had that.



So I think, like what you said, boundaries are an individual thing and they have to be.


We can’t think our boundaries have to match everyone else’s and they can come across sometimes as like what you said as, or your cold or you don’t show any motions.


You don’t like I’ve learned right now.


I have to through all of these other past experiences and lessons.


I have to put myself first.


And if I don’t do that, I’m no good to anyone else.





So that is really I stand by that now.


And more than I’ve never done that in my life.


Let’s talk about that a little bit because I think that something like I was talking about just a minute ago that societally we talk about those boundaries and taking care of yourself.


But then you get that same message that, well, don’t pay attention to what I just said over here.


I’m not taking care of yourself.



You need to be there to help everybody else.


And you do need to be there.


I think you do need to be there to help people and to serve your fellow mayor.


But how do you figure out where that line of demarcation is because that’s a struggle for me anyway.


You know, that’s hard.


And you know, and I feel like a complete jackass when I say no.



So no, right.




You know, so how do you go about figuring that out?


It’s hard.


And I think every situation is going to be different because sometimes it’s someone in business.


Sometimes it’s a loved one.



Someone I mean, sometimes it’s a long time friend.


And I’ll just keep going back to once we have really sat down and aligned ourselves first.


That’s when we can.


It’s not going to say we’re not going to have moments where we feel like a butthole, but we can really follow through with what our boundaries are and what our wants are first.


And that often comes across selfish and uncaring and all these other words that people want to use.


But when you go back to anyone, if they’re not okay with themselves, they’re literally destroying themselves trying to fit into this mold of what everybody else needs or wants at that time.



So you’ve got to learn how to say no for the benefit of yourself.


And it’s you have to.


There’s a re at the end of the day, there’s a reason you’re not able to set boundaries.


And that’s what you have to look at.


There’s a reason that you can’t say no to people.


Those are there’s something underlying there that is causing you to not have boundaries or to not take up for yourself or not to stand up for yourself or not to say, Hey, I need me time right now.



There’s something that is underlying right there.


And I think we all are responsible for going back and looking at that and figuring out what that is so that we can be our best selves and be confident enough to tell other people.


Listen, I just I’m sorry.


I don’t have any more of me to give right now.


There’s nothing wrong with.


I mean, that’s normal.



How many times have you ran yourself to death for everyone else?


And everyone else told the great, but you feel like shit.


I mean, that happens constantly.


You do it in your relationships.


You do it in business.


And if you were to pick up the phone and call those people, they wouldn’t answer or wouldn’t be there to do crap for you.



And it’s not a thing where it’s a tit for tat, but we get so caught up in that underlying thing that’s causing us to do that.




That we really need to.


I advise anyone.


You know, you have to stop and become aware of yourself, which is really, really hard and lonely and painful.


It can be painful.





But you have to do that in order to be the best you feel the best and fulfill your purpose.


Otherwise, you’re just you’re just going along through the motion.


You’re surviving.


You’re not living for sure.


I completely agree with that.



And it’s it’s hard now with, you know, one of the areas that really hits me a lot and thank God I’m the age I am because I am not prey to it like, like, I’m not.


Like others are, but the duality of social media.






You’ve got now.


There are more and more studies that have gone on that show that, you know, Gen Z specifically and.



Oh, God.


What was the millennials to have an issue with depression related to that and an inability to truly establish relationships because everything is right here.


And then the problem is, you know, you’ve got an aspect of social media, which is, look at me.


Look at me.


Look at me.





And all that is is a snapshot in time.




You know, of an event.




You know, and 100%.


And a lot of it is created for a specific purpose where people, you know, have the ability once you have enough following that you can monetize it.





So boy, I better look good and I better do this.


Oh, look at me on the swing in Valley.


You know, you don’t know Jack should about what their life is and how they feel and what makes them tick.


I mean, do they have a hollow existence?


Or are they really pleased with who they are as a person?



Are they spending six hours a day taking pictures of themselves all day every day?




You know, and then you’ve got everybody else that’s looking at those that is, you know, oh, I better heart that.


I better like this.


I better do do that.


And then these people that are sucked at, well, why isn’t my life like that?



My life isn’t as good.


And it’s like, you know, anything about what their life is.




So you’re comparing your insides to other people’s outsides.


You’re right.


And, you know, I don’t know how we get past the duality of it because right now, I mean, you know, it’s just, you know, cranky old man, curmudgeon.





Kind of shit.


Get off my lawn.


You know, kind of stuff.


If I say something about that, but it scares me to death with the comparison like that.


And it’s like, you don’t know what makes that person tick.



You don’t know if they are happy or not.


You know, I’ve been really poor and I’ve been pretty well off.


I like pretty well off better.


For sure.




But it doesn’t solve your problems.



You know, if you are just an asshole, you know, you can just be exactly.


That’s exactly right.


I mean, you know, I loved one of the, one of the sayings that Robin Williams had, which was that cocaine is God’s way of telling you you’re making too much money.




You know, and, you know, I have represented plenty of trust babies.





I can tell you that their problems are not any different than anybody else.


And the problem is, is that they’ve got the resources to be able to fund whatever kind of debauchery they want to get into trying to fix themselves at the moment.


If I’ve got to feel good now, right?


You know, and that’s great.


You feel good now.





What do you feel like in half an hour?




What you’re coming down from that.


You feel like when you lay your head on at night.


That’s right.


Can you look in the mirror?



Can you look in the mirror? 100%.






You know, I think identity is a big struggle at some point in anyone’s life.


As a child that may be, you know, how do I fit in at school?





Both of the same parents that look the same.


Do I have a mom and a dad?


Do my parents do what they do?


My hair is frizzy, crazy.


What, you know, there’s always, even as adults, you know, people are always trying to find out where do I fit in.





And that comes with, I think, social media.


Like you said, it stems around a lot of putting this stigma out there.


It’s like, oh, look at me.


Do you want to be like me?


Do you want to be like this?


But when you’re not loving yourself, when you haven’t aligned with yourself, when you’re, when you’re truly not living your purpose, those that identity ego is what I call it.



Oh, it’s always going to get in the way.


It’s always going to have you second guessing yourself.


It’s always going to have you allowing people to run over you because you think that that’s going to get you where you need to get.


I’ll say, and I’ll say it a thousand times over, being confident in who you are, knowing your purpose, and doing what is best to be you.


It can be lonely, and that’s what most people fear.



It’s being alone and not identifying with other people.



But in these last, probably three to four years where I’ve been alone, lost everything, felt like I did not identify with anyone.


I felt that way, growing up, same in business.


I don’t mesh well with everyone.


I don’t look your typical person in construction.




But when I started loving myself and being confident in who I was, which takes work, that’s when I don’t care, but I don’t care.


And that takes all of us going through things and being willing to continue to grow through them as you go and stop and going, okay, what is this trying to teach me?


What am I going to take from this?


How am I going to become better?


What am I going to learn not to do again in this situation?


So I’m not making repeat mistakes and going like that, but it really, anything, identity, self love, setting in rollboxes, all of that comes from that pressure of society, social media, making us think or us allowing it to make us think we have to be this way, and that’s the only way to be.


That’s a hard deal to get your hands around, because talking about the 20-something that’s swinging on a beautiful swing over the ocean in Valley.



Hell, I’ve never been to Valley yet.


I am dying to go to Valley.


I hope they have a swing that will hold me.


But a lot of people, it’s like, I want that.


Are you willing to walk the journey that it takes to get that?


Because it’s almost not almost.



I’m going to take that out.


It is a sense of entitlement.


And a lot of people think, “I need to quit doing that.”


I need to just say, what I thought for a long time was that I had these expectations.


I would set goals and then I’d achieve them, and then it’d be like, okay, this isn’t what I thought it was.


If I do this, then I’ve made it.



And then I achieved that, and it’s like, well, that wasn’t an idea.


So I better do this.


So all of those things are hollow unless you can really be in the moment, I think, to enjoy it.


So it seems to me that everything is, the one constant we have is change.


You’re correct.


And that you can fight it all you want, but it’s going to happen regardless.



So you better learn to get comfortable with it.


But for me to truly get comfortable with who I am, it’s figuring out what’s really important to me.


Is it working four days a week?


Is it that I want to retire at the age of 58?


It’s not.


I couldn’t imagine what I’d be doing.



It’s like figuring out what really makes me tick and what’s important to me.


But you have to know your, in order to answer those questions, what makes me tick, what you have to know yourself.


And truly stand by who you know and who you’ve become and who you want to be.


And that’s what you said.

In order to make those things tick, you have to start with that, which is putting in a word, knowing yourself, standing by protecting it and then staying aligned with that.





Well, and I think there’s also a big piece of, you know, that changes too.


As we get older, everything, your perspective changes.


It’s like the old saying of, you know, youth is wasted on the young.




You know, because you don’t have the, you don’t have the life experience there.


It’s like, so after I got divorced, I didn’t start dating a bunch of, you know, really young girls.



Because my experience with dating someone that was a whole lot younger than I, they didn’t have the life experience.


And so it’s like, what are we going to talk about?




You know, I remember a number of years ago, we had a, had a young associate and, and I was telling her, I was so excited.


I was going out to Vegas and we were going to see Billie Idol and concert and House of Blues out there.


And she just looked at me, dear in the headlights, like, I’m like, you have no idea who I’m talking about.







And she goes, no.


I know we’re Vegas.







Can you not know Billie Idol?


You know, but I mean, that’s the whole thing is everything changes as we get older.


So understanding that my perspective on things is going to change too.




And that I have to be willing to walk the journey to obtain whatever it is I’m seeking to obtain, you know, whether that is, you know, greater self awareness, whether it’s to be able to do ex philanthropically, whether it’s able to do this for family, whatever it is.





And your journey is not going to, your journey will never match anyone else’s.


And if you’re trying to align your journey to be a certain way of what you see someone else doing or whatever, it will never, there’s no way for you to stay on that path.




You know, I mean, it’s just really, it’s really hard to maintain that.




You know, because it’s not really who you are.



It’s not the road you want to be taking.


Well, and things are things are not always as they appear.




You know, there there’s been something that I’ve actually liked seeing on social media a little lately.


There was one showing of a shot towards the pyramids.


And then just you turn away from that.



And most people don’t realize how close the pyramids are to actually downtown Cairo.




And that, oh, there’s a McDonald’s and a pizza hut.


And, you know, and that kind of crap.


But that’s not the vision that you see, or that’s portrayed.


You know, so understanding it’s all about figuring out who I am, what works for me.



And just because that’s what works for me doesn’t mean that that’s what works for anybody else.


And being okay with that.


That’s right.




That’s right.


Well, Courtney, thank you so much for today.



Yeah, this has been a great evening.


Thank you.


You’re sharing your journey.


I mean, it’s beautiful.


I really appreciate that.


Thank you.



And ditto here.


I mean, we’ll become the mutual admiration society here.






Everybody go see Courtney because different and willing to speak to all these stories.


Isn’t that something new?



So, so thank you again.




And thank you all for joining us on another episode of the Reclamation Transformation.


And remember, change starts with you.


So leave your mark.

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