This past weekend I spent four days being motivated, educated, activated, engaged, and inspired. It was physically exhausting. It’s amazing how just sitting for hours can be so taxing. But as I was listening to top speakers and marketing experts explain how to take my experience and knowledge as a divorce lawyer, extract the real message of what and why I do what I do, and share it with a wider audience, I was so attentive that all my energy was sapped at the end of the day.

In a ballroom at the LAX Westin, I and several hundred other people crowded into tables and chairs to be shown how to develop a comprehensive business and marketing plan to become “Big Money” speakers by the Guru of Gab, James Malinchak, and his crew.

You probably know him from ABC as the “Secret Millionaire” who gave away money to worthy charities. But he’s an amazing motivational speaker, tremendous marketer and an educator par excellence.

I kind of have a business crush on the guy. I left the conference with my head chock full not just of ways to market my law firm,, and my professional services, but with a new attitude.

Part of the appeal of going to a weekend seminar like this is that the promoter brings in amazing public speakers who will inspire and educate. For a guy like me who wants to expand his public speaking skills and business, having the opportunity to hear speakers like Les Brown and Joe Theismann is equivalent to a young real estate developer learning from Eli Broad.

These men shared not just their business experience, but also a wider message of being aware of the life around you, the people in your life and how many amazing moments are all around us, but we miss them. They speak of the value of going where others aren’t to find business opportunities, but that also applies to seeing our life in a wider context. To see what others are missing is an advantage in both business and in life.

That message was not lost on me.

I woke up yesterday morning at 5 and as I took my dog out for his morning constitutional the full moon was shining through a ribbon of clouds. It was one of those moments that looked like a set painter created it.

As we walked along the bluffs of Palisades Park, overlooking the Santa Monica Pier as it glowed in the distance with the Ferris wheel’s constantly changing colors and patterns, the moon reflected off the water. It was one of the moments that seared itself into my memory for future reference.

As the dog follows an endless parade of smells from palm tree to palm tree, I dodge joggers, joggers who are focused on the next step, listening to their iPods and missing the great view. I could be wrong. Perhaps they jog in the park because of the view and I only see a small portion of their attention, but I think they are not appreciating their surroundings as much as they could be.

I assume this because it happens to me all the time. I get busy with work, charities, pursuing a career as a keynote speaker or some other distraction. There’s the constant flow of Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and the never ending firehose of information from CNN, MSNBC and Huffington Post about the latest crisis in the sale of bottled water, or other non-news news story.

This was a well-timed weekend seminar for me. As the year winds down, I leave for a much needed vacation to renew and recreate myself for next year. The reminders to step back and enjoy the moment were welcomed and valued. Not only because they are important to remember, but also because to see the forest you have to stop looking at the trees for a moment.

Over the next two weeks as I relax by the pool, I’ll be charting my course for 2014. I started this year off with a goal to have more vacation time. I did that. I wanted to be more productive. I did that. We’ll see what I come up with for next year.

This is my last column for 2013, so with that, have a merry Christmas, happy Kwanzaa, and a festive New Year’s! See you in 2014.


David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and child custody lawyer specializing in father’s and men’s rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at or (310) 664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra

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