Ross Garcia: “If you want to be a better parent, do something you’ve never done as a parent; Try things you haven’t tried, and see if the results are more in line with how you envisioned your life”

If you want to be a better parent, do something you’ve never done as a parent. Try things you haven’t tried, and see if the results are more in line with how you envisioned your life. If not, adapt again and again. Life is a journey and we owe it to ourselves to pursue our […]

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If you want to be a better parent, do something you’ve never done as a parent. Try things you haven’t tried, and see if the results are more in line with how you envisioned your life. If not, adapt again and again. Life is a journey and we owe it to ourselves to pursue our highest calling.

As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Ross Garcia. Ross serves many roles, currently acting as Managing Partner & Broker at PREI Capital Group, Founder at Divorce Mortgage Advisors, and Co-Founder of Survive Divorce. Mr. Garcia is a mortgage pundit and entrepreneur, with extensive experience in mortgage loan financing. He has built two mortgage companies from the ground up, as well as a media company founded in 2018. Ross is a highly sought after industry guest speaker, frequently presenting to law firms and various state bar associations. Ross has also been called on to provide expert witness testimony in litigated family law cases. Mr. Garcia was selected as a member of the prestigious Forbes Finance Council. He earned a degree in Economics from University of California, Santa Barbara. Most importantly, Ross is a proud father of two young boys — Grayson (5 yr) and Jaxon (4 yr). They enjoy sports, superheroes, and best of all — candy!

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

I was born and raised in the Bay Area, California. I’m the oldest of 3 siblings, with one younger brother and one younger sister. I was raised in an upper middle-class neighborhood with two of the best parents anyone could ask for.

Growing up I was big into sports, with aspirations of becoming a professional baseball player. My mother and father instilled in me an incredible work ethic. I’d like to say that I heeded their advice from Day 1 in realizing how “practice makes permanent”, but unfortunately that wasn’t always the case.

Whether it was sports or school, I’ve always had to put in twice as many hours as the more ‘talented’ kids in class. In other words, nothing came as second nature to me. I was a late bloomer in that it took me well into my 20’s before I matured. By lots of trial and error, I eventually got to the point of being able (and willing) to make sound, growth-minded decisions that would ultimately catapult me to where I am today.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

Ironically, my dad is also a mortgage broker and has owned his own mortgage company for the past 35 years. His influence, coupled with my exposure to his daily work as a kid and through college, is what led me down the path of becoming my own broker.

After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, I moved to Los Angeles on my own to start a career working at the Wells Fargo Private Bank in Beverly Hills. I spent several years in Los Angeles working under a top producer who served as my biggest mention. After years of learning the ropes, I moved back to the Bay Area to spearhead my own brokerage. After managing the brokerage for a couple years, I was approached by one of my best friend’s from high school and college who had founded his own divorce financial planning company. We pursued a niche combining both of our specialties in divorce mortgage & financing, an underserved and otherwise nonexistent segment of the market.

Within 6 months, we founded Divorce Mortgage Advisors. Soon after, we realized a gap in the divorce market for a clean, functional resource center providing nationwide content and and courses to help clients navigate the tumultuous divorce process. In 2018, we co-founded Survive Divorce.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

Needless to say, holding an executive role for several entities is an extremely time-consuming undertaking. It requires LOTS of time management. Every day I wake up and go to work I set specific, hand written intentions for the day ahead. If I didn’t do this, I would get bogged down in minutia and would be otherwise and largely unproductive (at least by my standards)/

My alarm goes off at 4 AM. One cup of black coffee, I am off to the gym for my morning workout. I conclude my workout with 10 minutes of dry sauna and meditation. I can’t understate the importance of starting the day in the right mindset. A mindset that surrounds gratitude for all the opportunities in front of me. Once I’m finished, I head home to eat a healthy breakfast, read the Wall Street Journal for 30 minutes, write in my gratitude journal, and map out my day in time blocks as best I can.

My days vary greatly throughout the week. Most of my mornings at the office are occupied by new client consultations. Afternoons are often spend creating content for our various entities, and managing the content creative process — from ideation, to creation, to publishing, and engagement.

Other days I am on the speaker circuit, giving presentations to various industry professionals anywhere in the state of California.

I typically return home around 6:30–7 PM. This might sound early, but let’s not forget that I am in bed by 9:30 PM for another 4 AM wake up call. I would trade late nights for early mornings any day of the week.

I then Facetime both of my kids. You’ll learn that my situation is unique in that both of my kids are located in different states. Facetime with them at night is a must. This consistency is imperative.

When I visit them, as a result of my productivity during the week, I afford myself the ability to be present and engage with them as best I know how. Sure, I still oversee the business and meet my obligations, but there’s nothing overwhelming about it. This has become the new ‘norm’ for me.

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

I think it goes without saying that parental involvement in a child’s life is critical to their growth and development. Children lean on their parents, often intuitively and subconsciously, for affection and guidance.

As children get older they are on a mission to understand the difference between right and wrong. The difference between good and bad. And the difference between love and hate.

A parent’s role is to steer their kids in the right direction. This can’t always be accomplished from a distance. At the very least, it makes things more challenging. It requires time and effort — a commitment on the parents end.

Children also look to parents’ to set structure and guidance in their daily life. Parents help to teach good habits, discipline, and respect. Again, this requires involvement — physically, mentally, and emotionally in your childs life. A parent that doesn’t prioritize spending time and engaging with their children is depriving that child of the support they need to flourish. A primary battle in today’s world is “nature versus nurture”, I think we can all agree that no matter what role nature plays in a child’s development; Nurture is something that we cannot leave to chance.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?

Aside from the reasons I just mentioned, your child WANTS to spend time with you. Whether we see it as parents or not, they yearn for our love and affection. The truth of the matter is — they deserve it.

As busy executives we can easily get caught up in other activities that we consider to be priorities. We can sometimes even convince ourselves that these career driven activities are priorities because it will help to provide a better life for our kids. We fail to understand that their youth depends more on the way we treat them and interact with them, and is less about the things we hope to provide for them.

You don’t want to look back on your life with regret. We can always pursue that new business opportunity, or work long nights, but we can never go back in time and raise our kids differently. Those memories are permanent in their minds. Unfortunately, so is the lack thereof.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

My situation is extremely unique in that both of my sons live in different states (Los Angeles and Denver). This means that when I fly to see each of them for an extended period of time, the “quantity” of our time together is defined by the actual days. However, the “quality” of the time we spend together helps us feel like we squeezed the life out of each and every visit. Nothing compares to the feeling I get from “leaving it all on the field” on the visits with my boys.

1) Without a doubt, disconnect from the emails. Emails will never end, they are a staple of our busy lives. Don’t let other peoples false emergencies dictate how and when you spend time with your kids.

2) Do the things they want to do. It’s easy for us to be selfish and push our kids to join us with the activities WE enjoy. Know that this is a selfish approach. Let them decide what they want to do, and do that. If you don’t know how, learn!

3) Incorporate some of your good daily habits into their lives. For example, every morning I sit down and fill out my gratitude journal. When I have the kids with me, I’ll often sit them on my lap and have them contribute something they are also grateful for. Not only is this a stellar habit to enforce, but it makes them feel like they are part of a growth process together with you.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

1) Set intentions

In other words, plan plan plan. You can’t expect to use all of your time wisely unless you schedule your day. Don’t wake up as if it’s an accident. You know your objectives as a parent AND an executive. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how much more time in the day there will be for the “fun” things, when you’ve set a time and stuck to a time for the “must” things.

2) Learn to say no

We can’t agree to do everything and please everyone. At some point, something has to give. Be disciplined with who and what you say Yes to. You’ll notice that when you become more selective about where you focus your energy, the more time you’ll have available for the things you actually want to pursue — which usually includes more time with the kids.

3) Get up earlier

This one might seem obvious, but it works. Wake up at 4 AM instead of 5 AM. You just added an extra hour to your day. Wake up at 5 AM instead of 6 AM. You can literally create additional space in the morning, which can then be traded for additional time with the kids at night. It might sound hard at first, but how bad do you really want it?

4) Ask questions

We think we know what our kids want, but do we really know? Spare yourself the time and mental fortitude needed to guess what your kids want or need on any given day. Try asking them in the morning if there’s anything they want to do or discuss that day. You’ll then be able to prepare accordingly, and save yourself the anxiety and time lost that comes with always wondering.

5) Slow down and limit distractions

Most of the stress and rush that we feel is self imposed. It’s created in our own minds and we have the ability to control it. Slow down and take things one step at a time. Also, limit the opportunity for distractions around you. These distractions add up and ultimately strip you of the ability to properly engage with family.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

Simply put, a good parent loves their children more than themselves. A good protect protects their children. A good parent listens before they speak. A good parent has empathy. And most importantly, a good parent is consistent in all of these practices.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

You can inspire your kids to “dream big” by enabling them to “dream anything”. Big dreams don’t have limits. Big dreams don’t have any constraints or restrictions. By allowing your kids to “dream anything” you are instilling a mentality within them that gives them the confidence that anything is achievable.

It moves me to the core when I see parents doing the absolute funniest, silliest things with their kids. Maybe that means wearing a princess hat and waiving a ‘magic wand’ around the house. Or maybe it means staring out the window for an hour looking to defeat that ‘goblin’ that you know will never come. Whatever it is, allowing their imagination to run wild will ultimately enable them to dream about anything they can wrap their head around — while knowing that you’re in it with them for the long haul. With that foundation, they actually CAN achieve anything.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

Earlier in my career I defined success the way most people in today’s world define success — Money. In a way, financial gain is success, if success were siloed in one particular area. However, true success is not a silo. True success encompasses all aspects of our lives — mental, physical, spiritual. True success extends far beyond achieving the things we personally hope to achieve. It should have a ripple effect on those close to you as well.

If you can lead a happy, honest life while enhancing the lives of those around you (which obviously includes your kids) isn’t that what real success is all about.

At the end of the day, we came into this world with nothing and we will leave with nothing. The only true measure of success is who we become in the process of life.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

Believe it or not, I have never read a single parenting book or listened to a single parenting podcast. Everything I’ve learned has come from trial and error. Everything I teach my kids comes from the heart. I’m sure there are a plethora of resources out there which can help give us guidance in our parenting journeys. However, nothing can replace our instincts as parents. No one knows your child better than you.

Truthfully, if you’re looking to inspire yourself to be a better parent — surround yourself with the parents you already admire. Their influence alone will encourage you to do more, or as much as you possibly can.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“If you want something you’ve never had, then you must be willing to do something you’ve never done”

I was the type of person that used to complain about everything. I defined the concept of the ‘victim mentality’. Ironically, I complained about the same things over and over. What did I do to change the outcome? Nothing at the time..

My life change dramatically when I realized that in order to move past where I was, I needed to change what I was doing. You can’t expect to stay stagnant in life and see different results.

If you want to be a better parent, do something you’ve never done as a parent. Try things you haven’t tried, and see if the results are more in line with how you envisioned your life. If not, adapt again and again. Life is a journey and we owe it to ourselves to pursue our highest calling.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

We should understand that we are spiritual beings, living temporary lives. Once we come to that realization, we’ll be able to focus on the impact we leave on this world. We’ll be able to focus on the impact we had on those we encountered, rather than focusing on attaining things that we ultimately leave behind when all is said and done.

The moral of the story is: Live outside of yourself. Turn your focus outwards to your kids, your family, your business acquaintances, and whoever else you wish to influence.

Do that, and watch how much comes back to you in the way of joy and success that you never even asked for to begin with.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

— –

About the author:

Chaya Weiner is the Director of branding and photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator. TLI is a thought leadership program that helps leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field. Please click HERE to learn more about Thought Leader Incubator.

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