E228 Living Aligned Lights Me Up with Chenise Iwamasa

Have you ever got up from bed and wondered “what am I doing?”, “why am I doing this?”, or “am I doing the right thing?”

Our guest Chenise Iwamasa is a lawyer based in Hawaii that has a great story on how she was able to find meaning within her career.

If you have ever felt a little lost on why you are where you are, or frustrated with your current job, then today’s episode is a great listen for you!

Connect with Chenise at https://zivalaw.com/ or on Instagram

Transcript

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Jason Mefford: Alright, well, I gotta tell you i’m really excited for today’s episode, because it really doesn’t matter what we do for a living, but it seems like.

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Jason Mefford: almost everybody at some point wakes up a few years into their career and things what the hell, am I doing Why am I doing this, am I doing the right thing right.

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Jason Mefford: Where it just feels like sometimes we need to find our way, and you know there’s the old saying don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

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Jason Mefford: And I see this some so much of the time in some people’s careers, is there they’re not happy, in a particular circumstance that they’re in.

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Jason Mefford: and often what they end up doing is effectively throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and we don’t need to do that and i’m excited.

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Jason Mefford: to share with you the discussion that I had with Denise because she’s got a great story that everybody needs to hear and so whatever you do listen to this entire episode because.

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Jason Mefford: you’re going to hear exactly what you need to hear today to help you improve your life and, with that let’s roll the episode.

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Jason Mefford: Alright shouldn’t nice well I am excited to have you here you’ve you’ve got a beautiful smile and a beautiful energy about shoes so welcome.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Thank you Jason.

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Jason Mefford: Welcome and we’re kind of you know where Pacific Ocean it in today’s episode right i’m in California you’re in Hawaii right but but maybe just just.

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Jason Mefford: Introduce yourself a little bit to the people that are listening and then let’s kind of jump in because you’ve got a great story that I want to hear and the other people want to hear as well, of kind of how your career has gone the way that it has so take her away.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yeah absolutely um my name is she’s you will masa my current i’m a lawyer, a commercial leasing lawyer in honolulu Hawaii i’ve been practicing law for about 17 years now i’m also a mother of two.

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Chenise Iwamasa: very energetic children.

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Chenise Iwamasa: My eight year old daughter, and a five year old son, so you know i’m busy doing all the things and writing my law practice serving my clients and I have a very micro niche practice where I help.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Small Business tenants primarily with negotiating better leases and navigating these issues.

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Jason Mefford: Okay yeah so it’s it’s you know, a couple of things that you just brought up there is.

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Jason Mefford: You know you have your own firm and you’re also a mother.

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Jason Mefford: Right.

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Jason Mefford: So I think I think that’s you know, maybe we’ll talk a little bit about this as well, but you know, like I said I want to hear your story.

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Jason Mefford: But I think it’s important for everybody, listening to right it’s like we all have families, we all have kids there’s all this other stuff that you’re trying to do, as well as running your business.

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Jason Mefford: And I think that’s that’s maybe where you know let’s just jump in and get into your story because i’m guessing that.

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Jason Mefford: This is going to come up as well, and so people that are listening it’s going to resonate with them because there’s a lot of people who are mothers or fathers that are listening to this as well, so.

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Jason Mefford: So maybe maybe explain a little bit because you know yeah i’m a CPA I have you know professional work we are both trained in professions right.

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Jason Mefford: Yes, and but but kind of explain the journey and how you got to where you are, because I know, especially with attorneys i’ve heard this from a lot is they wake up one day and they’re like why the hell, did I become a lawyer.

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Jason Mefford: And i’m guessing that you had that that kind of experience, maybe too so just just kind of share share your story and then let’s we’ll dig in a little bit deeper as we get going through here.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Sure sounds good um so my story actually starts way back in elementary school because I wanted to be an attorney since I was in the fifth grade.

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Chenise Iwamasa: um I yeah and I, you know, looking back to the 11 year old she Nice, the reasons really why I wanted to do, be a lawyer is because I wanted to help people.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And I wanted to fight for underdogs you know, and I thought that the way to do that was to be a lawyer and the lawyer is I go to court right.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Because that’s what I saw on TV I watch line order the alley mcbeal all of those good lawyer shows, and so I followed that path, so all the way through school.

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Chenise Iwamasa: undergrad I went to law school and I started off my career actually as a litigation attorney so I was civil litigation attorney.

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Chenise Iwamasa: You know, going and battling out cases in court.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And the funny thing is that I very quickly realized that it wasn’t a good fit for me um you know I would say, you know, I was doing that for about three years and within the first year.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I was like you know it, I just found it very energetically draining to be fighting all the time, so you know you’re going to court you’re you’re fighting with opposing counsel.

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Chenise Iwamasa: You know, some some attorneys love it right that’s what they thrive off of what for me I just knew immediately like I would come home at the end of the day I just feel completely drained.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And the favorite my favorite parts of my days at that time, where the mediation, the settlement conferences, the negotiations to try to resolve disputes.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So, at that point in my career about three years in.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I decided to make a change so at that time it was hard for me because I thought hey I wanted to be a litigation attorney my whole life, since I was in the fifth grade right, you know now what.

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Chenise Iwamasa: um, and so I joined a boutique real estate law firm doing transactional work, so what that means you know the litigators go to court.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And the transactional attorneys basically draft contracts and negotiate deals.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So I I kind of shifted my my practice area to that and and I liked it I enjoyed it much more as a better fit for me.

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Chenise Iwamasa: You know, doing transactional work negotiations i’m definitely a more collaborative deal making type of attorney in my heart and I felt that, so I would I felt like I was shifting into a space that felt more aligned with who I am.

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Chenise Iwamasa: But at that firm I was still you know, representing many corporate developer typical clients in commercial real estate purchase and sale contracts.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Commercial leasing on the landlord and the tenant side as well as very big you know large hundreds of millions of dollars worth in real estate and development finance transactions.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So it was very stressful you know you still have that level of stress and I kind of worked my way up to a beginning to partner in that law firm.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And although I was much happier than it was as a litigator I think there was just something still inside me that didn’t feel completely aligned.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And they didn’t know what it was so there was a period of years, where I was kind of searching, you know in myself it’s like.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I wanted to you sometimes you meet people and they’re like I am a judge, and I am so grateful that i’m a judge this is what I meant to do.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And I so like I want I come into work every morning and I love my job right those type of people and I wanted that and I knew in my heart that I didn’t have that at the time.

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Chenise Iwamasa: But I didn’t know what it was that I wanted to do so you’re kind of in that limbo land.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Where you’re I was reading a lot of books like trying to figure out what it is like interview, I would take people out to lunch in different industries and I tried to just you know gather as much information as I could to figure out.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Maybe Is there something else for me and I, and I was seriously considering maybe it’s not the law and maybe this is not, you know, maybe I made a mistake, maybe this is not.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Really, what I was meant to do, and maybe you know, I have a lot of i’m a multi passionate person I like to bake I like to do a lot of different things, I was like I don’t know my family was telling me to open a bakery and.

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Chenise Iwamasa: You know, different types of things like that, and so that’s kind of that’s where I was at that time.

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Jason Mefford: yeah well it’s interesting because as you’re as you’re talking there there’s there’s some themes and i’m sure we’re going to kind of come back to some of this too, as we dig in more but.

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Jason Mefford: But I thought it was interesting you know you started off wanting to help people and fight for the underdog right Those are some of the words that you use in.

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Jason Mefford: I forgotten until you were kind of.

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Jason Mefford: Sharing that you know, and here you were in fifth grade wanting to become an attorney right because, because when I when I was growing up as a teenager you know, I was going to be a leveraged buyout financier I was going to buy and sell companies right.

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Jason Mefford: wow that’s that’s that’s what I was planning to do and then.

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Jason Mefford: You know, along the way I got involved in politics, a little bit you know and and had some you know worked in in that kind of an area, and so I thought okay now i’m going to do polly sigh.

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Jason Mefford: get my law degree right that’s that’s kind of the route that a lot of people end up going on that, but but I remember, because, as you were as you were sitting here talking about it being energetically draining right, I remember, I remember an experience that I had where.

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Jason Mefford: I got pulled over by some COPs because the company truck it wasn’t my truck it was a company truck right the the license plate tag had expired.

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Jason Mefford: And I remember you know they played good cop, bad cop and we’re asking me questions and I realized, there was no right answer.

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Jason Mefford: The way they were asking me the question it didn’t matter which way I responded it wasn’t like the right answer and I remember, I remember thinking because, because for a while I was going to be a civil or criminal attorney as well right yeah.

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Jason Mefford: And all of a sudden, it was just like boom, as I was sitting there in the truck and it’s like.

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Jason Mefford: I can’t be an attorney, that is, I don’t want to be the person putting making people feel uncomfortable.

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Jason Mefford: and put them in a bind to where they can actually answer the question because, whichever way they answer.

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Jason Mefford: yeah right and I get what I wanted right.

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Jason Mefford: But, but you know, and that was for me, and so I took a different route at that point, but I think it’s interesting.

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Jason Mefford: You know and i’m sure we’re gonna we’re going to get there, because we kind of stopped your story.

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Jason Mefford: Where you’re working you know with the larger developers commercial interest these larger multi million dollar projects, but the whole time you’ve wanted to help people and fight for the underdog.

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Jason Mefford: yeah right, and so you know some of the words that you use there about CERT you know you’re searching don’t quite feel aligned but you’re not quite sure what that means.

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yeah.

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Jason Mefford: So pick up the story what what ended up happening because, again, you know i’m sure lots of people that are listening feel the same way right.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yeah yeah.

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Jason Mefford: I mean there’s been different times in my career when I didn’t necessarily feel aligned, so you figured it out though so right that’s why.

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Jason Mefford: Have you here, because so many people are sitting there, like you, are a few years ago, like I don’t know what to do.

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Jason Mefford: yeah right, you know the number one thing in that space, even at the time when I didn’t yet.

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Chenise Iwamasa: know what it was, and I was searching I had other friends so other colleagues lawyers who were in a similar space, you know who they were not happy.

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Chenise Iwamasa: But they weren’t doing anything about it right, so what I tried to do differently is you know you are.

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Chenise Iwamasa: You are where your attention is right, so if you’re just sitting back and just doing doing the daily grind doing the work you’re not happy, you complain about it every day to your friends.

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Chenise Iwamasa: When you keep going to work and doing the same thing you’re not going to get any different result so, even though I there was a period of years that I was unhappy I was searching I was trying to actively figure it out right so.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I really would like I said I was reading books, I was listening to things I was you know meeting with people trying to make connections and.

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Chenise Iwamasa: explore what what it could possibly be, even if I didn’t know at the time with that what’s.

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Jason Mefford: That that’s an important lesson for everybody who’s listening right because i’ve seen it you’ve seen it right all the people that bitch and moan about.

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Jason Mefford: Your job.

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Jason Mefford: But they’re not doing anything about it.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yeah and there’s no magic fairy that’s going to plop a job opportunity that’s going to be your dharma in your lap right, you have to actively go for it and try to figure it out and grow all the growth that comes from the process right so that’s kind of what I was doing at that point.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And it’s not instant you’re not going to just you know pick up one book and know the answer after you finished reading it takes time but trusting right in the divine timing that you know when it when it needs to happen, it will happen.

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Chenise Iwamasa: um.

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Jason Mefford: yeah so how did it happen for you right because, again, sometimes.

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Jason Mefford: I mean like you said right we’re all sitting here like come on.

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Jason Mefford: Already right i’m doing all the stuff why isn’t this happening right.

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Jason Mefford: So how how did it come come to you, I mean, I guess, obviously, like you said you have to be open to it.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yeah.

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Jason Mefford: You have to be looking, you have to be doing some things, but how did it come to you.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Okay, so back, I think it was in March of 2013.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I decided to go to the American Bar Association has a textual every year in Chicago.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And at the time, my my firm, you know we’re pretty tech savvy law firm, so we were paperless law office you know we’re in the process of upgrading to a new document management system.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So we’re you know moving in the direction of getting some new software and, and so I volunteered I said i’ll go up to the tech show, and I wanted to meet some of the vendors all that stuff.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And at that time my kids were even younger than they are now so I remember.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I even have my planner where I wrote down and I wasn’t sure if I should go on this trip, because you know I wasn’t at that point.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I hadn’t taken any kind of TRIPS and the kids with my husband for that long good side, like a week, you know, and I wasn’t sure, and I didn’t want to put stress on him.

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Chenise Iwamasa: um and I remember like I had this little note in my planner That said, should I go to the tech show, yes or no, like it was I remember a week, I was kind of going back and forth on it, but ultimately, I decided to just go and take the leap and do it.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So I went up to Chicago and one of the seminars, that I took at this conference was called running a lean laufer and when I say lean I do not mean like on a budget, but you know, in the corporate world it’s the lean six.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Sigma method of.

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Chenise Iwamasa: You know, reducing waste and how do you make things as efficient as you can in process in processes and systems.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So the concept behind the seminar was basically about specializing.

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Chenise Iwamasa: You know, rather than doing some you know a lot of trees are more generalist and do a lot of different things, but the concept was specializing creating systems to have efficient processes.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And charging fixed fees that can be profitable, because you have the systems in place right, and this is a little bit foreign for a lot of lawyers.

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Jason Mefford: it’s very fun.

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Jason Mefford: Because they always do time time and.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Time and material yes.

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Jason Mefford: Right it’s already.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yeah.

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Jason Mefford: Well it’s that way for CPA is for a lot of other professions as well right and it’s like you’re trading your trading dollars for hours for hours for dollars yeah okay.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And you know earlier in my career, I was interested in alternative fee billing and I had tried, you know.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Testing samples with clients here and there, but it really is hard, if you don’t specialize, and the reason is you don’t have the data to be able to collect to know.

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Chenise Iwamasa: how fast it takes and how profitable, you can be on matters, unless you are specializing in something where you’re doing it, you know enough.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So that kind of just sparked this thing in me where I was like you know it’s kind of made me up a little bit and and the speakers at this seminar had just authored a book on it.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So I went down to the you know the the area where you can there’s vendors and I purchased the book and I literally read it over the course of the next couple of days cover to cover and I just.

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Chenise Iwamasa: It basically sparked in me the vision of a law firm that I wanted to create that was specialized in commercial leasing that was serving small business tenants for the underdog in commercial real estate transactions um and just like it was one of those moments in your life, where.

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Chenise Iwamasa: It just every cell in my body was telling me that this is what I had to and I don’t I don’t know I felt like maybe there’s one or two times in my whole life that i’ve had that so I felt like I just had to.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Do it, even though it was scary, even though it may be, it didn’t make the most financial sense or you know, but I felt that strong undeniable compelling.

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Chenise Iwamasa: push to do this, and so literally on my plane ride home from Chicago I was you know just writing furiously and laid out my whole business plan I started having ideas and marketing my website, like all those things were just coming together like magic.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And the funny thing is my mom picked me up from the airport and you know starving because I didn’t get to eat on the plane.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So we stopped by Panda express on the way home to grab a dinner, and you know Panda express house blows a fortune cookies right.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So I cracked open my fortune cookie and the fortune was something along the lines of you are involved to embark on a business venture.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And I was like right there, I was like okay that’s that’s just sealing the deal, for me, like, I know I have to do this right.

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Chenise Iwamasa: um so after I would say about a couple of weeks I you know I did do my due diligence I did some research, I went to make sure this is for sure what I was going to do.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And then right away, I went in to tell my former law partner that you know, I was going to leave the practice and i’m going to go do this do this thing, and I remember.

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Chenise Iwamasa: him looking at me and saying it’s never going to work and he said, you know in Hawaii you have to do everything to survive, like you, can’t specialized it’s not going to work you’re you’re serving small business clients like you know, like what are you thinking.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And I remember you know looking him back in the eye and just saying you know respectfully I disagree, like, I think.

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Chenise Iwamasa: there’s something here, and I think that it will bring me fulfillment to serve this Community, and so you know, he was very supportive and to his credit in in terms of law, you know i’ll support you, but I just don’t think it’s going to work.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And I still get that you know so from when I see colleagues, I remember for up until a couple years after I went on my own I would bump into colleagues in downtown.

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Chenise Iwamasa: At the lunch hour and they would see you know it’s always a concern like there was a cool.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Okay, and are you getting enough work, you know, like just almost like PD kind of feeling and I would be like oh i’m happy i’m great you know but that’s definitely you know I think a lot of people in town i’ve heard through you know, like maybe don’t.

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Chenise Iwamasa: don’t get it, they don’t see why I would walk away from you know, having all of these established institutional corporate clients to serve small business.

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Jason Mefford: Well, because that’s there’s a couple of places that we can go with what you just said there.

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Jason Mefford: yeah right because it’s it’s.

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Jason Mefford: There is kind of that prestige.

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Jason Mefford: right that that always that always goes along with.

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Jason Mefford: Especially in professional services.

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Jason Mefford: People want to know who are your clients and and the external.

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Jason Mefford: places value on you, based on who your clients are yeah right oh you’ve got walmart as a client or i’m just using big names right.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yeah no absolutely.

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Jason Mefford: And, and all of a sudden it’s like Oh well, I must be somebody important if that’s my client.

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Right.

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Jason Mefford: And, and so yeah it’s almost like people are kind of pitting you like oh porch Nice, you know she.

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Jason Mefford: She she hadn’t made and then.

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Jason Mefford: She.

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Jason Mefford: gave it up.

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Jason Mefford: It reminds me of that john Lennon song, you know watching the wheels.

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Chenise Iwamasa: mm hmm.

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Jason Mefford: I love that song, you know because it’s.

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Jason Mefford: It doesn’t matter what other people think.

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Jason Mefford: yeah it only matters what’s right for you right and so again i’m guessing that by following this path you have less stress.

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Jason Mefford: than you did before you felt more aligned than you did before.

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Jason Mefford: that’s where something in it.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yeah no absolutely and I don’t want to also, I just want to be clear right like starting your own business and doing your own thing it’s still a lot of work so it’s not like it’s not a lot of work, but if there’s a different.

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Chenise Iwamasa: vibration, I feel like when you’re doing work that’s more aligned with who you are it’s like I have this excitement like I want to go to work on a Saturday morning to work on my business versus.

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Chenise Iwamasa: You know before if I had to work late on a client matter it’s I go like I feel bad I will you know I want to be home with my kids are there’s that that.

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Chenise Iwamasa: conflict that you feel.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Where when you’re when you’re doing what you love it’s just like you feel like you’d like to walk and you, you know you want to work.

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Jason Mefford: Well that’s why I think it’s you know, because you and I know as entrepreneurs as well right that that’s a lot of people that aren’t in that space they can understand because my wife still looks at me like it’s Saturday or Sunday, why are you working.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yeah.

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Jason Mefford: Because the fucking love, what I do.

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Jason Mefford: But it’s it’s they don’t understand right but, but even you don’t have to be an entrepreneur to still feel some of those same things right when you’re aligned, even if you’re working for somebody else or your you know, whatever it is, if you can find joy in what you’re doing right.

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Jason Mefford: 20% it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Chan other.

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Jason Mefford: or anything else right if you feel that alignment you feel that joy from it.

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Jason Mefford: Your life is totally totally different.

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Jason Mefford: Right and i’m guessing that this this probably had an impact to on your personal and your home life as well right going from the stress of the one job to now this I mean, are you had a different mom a different partner, you know as a as a result of that as well.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yeah I think so, you know it’s just that you, you are different you.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I think it’s also important for me to model to my children to write and I.

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Chenise Iwamasa: don’t want them to live their life and be stuck in a job for years and be unhappy you know I want them to see what it looks like.

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Chenise Iwamasa: To be able to create a career that you love and you know they come to the just this past Saturday I had to work on, you know i’m doing a migration of software, and so I was like I need to get some work done so we’re going to the office.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And I just make it fun, you know so they hang out in my conference room they watch movies, they you know, bring all their things you like to draw in my office and they love it they they always eat subway because we have some way.

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Chenise Iwamasa: In my office downstairs and it’s like something that they get excited in the board to, so I think there’s always ways to you know show your children that joy to them, and I think that that’s what they will come to see, as you know, healthy and normal and all of that, for themselves.

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Jason Mefford: Well, actually, including them, you know, bringing them down to the office letting them play in the conference room.

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Jason Mefford: yeah you’re making memories.

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Jason Mefford: it’s your kids yeah.

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Jason Mefford: Right and and I think sometimes that’s where.

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Jason Mefford: You know i’ve seen it in my life in other professions right where you have to be a certain way in the profession right, oh no kids allowed in the office you know kind of stuff well why.

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Jason Mefford: Yes, right why can’t we do that and, and I think it, you know it makes memories, for you, it makes memories for them.

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Jason Mefford: You know as well, they see mom happy as well to right and that’s why it’s this this separation, that we have, or that we’re told we have to have between.

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Jason Mefford: Our profession or job or career and our family doesn’t need to be like this Chinese wall like a lot of people try to make it out to be right.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Yes, I agree wholeheartedly yeah.

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Jason Mefford: Well, and I think I wanted to go back to you know when you were in Chicago.

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Jason Mefford: And you had all these serendipitous events actually happen right, you said again, you know that particular session that you went to.

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Jason Mefford: About.

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Jason Mefford: You know, and again.

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Jason Mefford: Those are the kinds of sessions that most people don’t go to at the conferences, because they’re like what the hell Do I need.

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Chenise Iwamasa: For right.

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Jason Mefford: I just need a bill Maher an hour, but, but you you felt inspired to go to that session.

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Jason Mefford: When you sat through the sessions, and you started having kind of some hits what I call heads.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yeah no I call them.

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Jason Mefford: You know, you know you know what i’m talking about yeah I hear you and you started having some hits during during the session and then it’s like.

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Jason Mefford: Oh, they have a book, can you go and you get the book, can you read the book good and then you come back home, and you go to Panda and what’s your fortune cookie.

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Jason Mefford: You know it’s like it’s like all of these things line up and what I wanted to bring up because you said something to the effect of.

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Jason Mefford: You know these things don’t happen like that to that intensity very often in our lives and so those really are gifts.

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Jason Mefford: When they come along right, I mean and again for everybody that’s listening, you know you’ve you’ve probably had a few of those.

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Jason Mefford: That they may not have been career wise but think about you know, like when you met your partner or your spouse or you know you fell in love you know it’s like all of a sudden, it just feels like the stars align the fireworks go.

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Jason Mefford: You know, you can send you have a little pop you know.

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Jason Mefford: pop you know.

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Jason Mefford: And the kiss and everything, but those things that magic does happen in life right, but we have to be open to it, I mean again if you weren’t doing the things that you’d been doing if you hadn’t gotten your butt.

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Jason Mefford: To the to the conference you know and have been open to it, those things wouldn’t have happened so so when people have experiences like that in their life, what do you tell them.

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Chenise Iwamasa: That like you said to be open to it, but also be willing to take action right, so you know, a common thing that I dealt with that I think other people, probably do too is um my husband.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Is is a lot more risk averse you know he you know he we had to have those conversations, because he didn’t he didn’t like the idea at first, you know.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And he just thought is too risky and then what are you know we have a mortgage we have, like all this all all of the practical concerns that can.

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Chenise Iwamasa: hold you back right from leaning into these opportunities that the universe gives you and.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And we had to have many conversations about that to get comfortable with how can it, how can we, how can we do this in a way that makes you feel comfortable with you know our finances and all those things.

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Chenise Iwamasa: As well as our life because it has any entrepreneur knows, like the first year business particularly is like you have another child right.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So it’s a lot of time energy effort money all of that that.

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Chenise Iwamasa: is going to take your attention, and so you know with your family with your partner, how are you going to make it work um, so I would say don’t just don’t let resistance from someone necessarily let it.

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Chenise Iwamasa: prevent you from following that you know figure out a way there’s we there’s always a way.

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Jason Mefford: yeah well that’s why I wanted to go a little bit more, because you said don’t let the resistance, because you know again when when you have hits like that that are.

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Jason Mefford: Significant life changing kinds of things right there’s it’s change and all of us are uncomfortable with change, even those of us that think we handle change well we don’t handle change, as well as we think we do.

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Jason Mefford: Right, I mean that’s just.

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Jason Mefford: that’s just life right but, but I think it’s interesting because, again, you know you came home, you had that discussion with your husband obviously he’s going to have some concerns or some resistance from there, you talked about you know your your partner saying well it’ll never work.

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Jason Mefford: Right so anytime that we’re wanting to change or transform or do something different.

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Jason Mefford: there’s going to be people on the sidelines telling us that we’re not making the right mistake.

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Jason Mefford: or though we’re not making the right.

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Jason Mefford: Decision right we’re making a mistake it’s just like you were talking about at the beginning, you know with all your friends, you know when you would see them and they’d almost pity you like oh.

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Jason Mefford: boy or girl, you know.

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Jason Mefford: well.

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Jason Mefford: And I see a lot of lot of people that do this to where they choose to listen to what other people are saying, instead of what it feels like they’re supposed to do yeah and and so, then they never end up changing yeah.

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Jason Mefford: Which is you know.

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Jason Mefford: it’s a tough place to be right so so again, I mean when when when things like that come up, I mean, how do you how do you deal with it, because you dealt with that kind of resistance in your in your path as well.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yeah I would say, I had to work through it, you know how they say, like the only way around it is through it is really like I did feel all the fears as well, like any other person like I like isn’t going to fail, I don’t know it’s all all those things happened to, but I just kind of really.

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Chenise Iwamasa: What motivated me was that strong.

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Chenise Iwamasa: intuition that feeling that I couldn’t shake like literally I would ever went every time i’m on the road driving I have all these ideas which spark spark spark.

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Chenise Iwamasa: When I wake up in the middle of the night, having to write down notes on like different ideas and things I had it was I don’t know how to describe it, it just like all consuming where that’s all I thought about every second of the day, almost and i’m so when you have that level of.

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Chenise Iwamasa: velocity I guess in what’s coming is like I couldn’t I felt like I could not like, if I if I ignored it if I pushed to the side.

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Chenise Iwamasa: It would be one of the biggest regrets in my life, so I felt like even if there’s a risk of me feeling, even if I might not make money for a few months, or what whatever all the things that come with taking a leap like this, I felt like I had still had to do it.

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Jason Mefford: Well that’s why that word that you regret that you do it, you know before you said that I was thinking you know how much of the time, do we regret.

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Jason Mefford: Because we felt like we were supposed to do something and we didn’t yeah right those those are the worst regrets in life as we get older is, you know that you hear people say things like why didn’t I take that chance you know why why didn’t I call that person back after the day.

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Jason Mefford: right they felt like my soul mate now i’m stuck with whoever right.

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Jason Mefford: Now that that’s ever happened to anybody right, but of course it has lots but there’s things like that right that that again when when those inflection points come.

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Jason Mefford: You know, I was actually just interviewing somebody else, and she used the term the chance of a lifetime.

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Jason Mefford: And I thought you know it’s it’s like what you’re talking about here right it’s like all of a sudden, all this stuff kind of came right, and you have the choice, are you going to take this chance of a lifetime.

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Jason Mefford: Or are you gonna let it go by.

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Jason Mefford: You chose to take it.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And so, since we’re on this topic I want to give us a children’s book recommendation that aligns with what we’re talking about so shortly after.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I was in the process of you know, building my firm and designing everything, I came across this book on Amazon called What do you do with an idea.

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Chenise Iwamasa: um.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I can’t recall the author’s name, but if you if you search it you’ll find it and it’s the most amazing book for adults and children alike.

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Chenise Iwamasa: about what happens when you have an idea and what you, what do you do with that idea and all the things that happened in your life.

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Chenise Iwamasa: That you know with whether people you know discourage you or you’re you’re ashamed of it, or you try to push it down for a little bit and all of that process, so I highly recommend anyone who’s going through this kind of journey or you know, trying to take a leap to to get that book.

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Jason Mefford: i’m going to go by, that but yes, yes, I mean there’s a lot of there’s a lot of wisdom and children’s books and a lot of well and to me that’s.

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Jason Mefford: that’s being open to some of the possibility right is that when you’re open to possibility little things that you would have just you know just put a gun right over you all of a sudden, have a lot deeper meaning.

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Jason Mefford: or it’s even something that you’ve heard.

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Jason Mefford: You know 100 times before, but all of a sudden, now that same phrase or that same song or whatever it is, takes on a on a whole new meaning.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yeah right.

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Jason Mefford: At that point, and so you know I think it’s interesting too, because, as you.

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Jason Mefford: You know, we talked about that a lot of times there’s people we go into professions, we spend years doing it.

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Jason Mefford: We don’t feel aligned and a lot of people just throw away right everything that they’ve done to to go do something else and i’m not saying that that’s.

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Jason Mefford: that’s wrong right but it’s like I could have you know I spent the last 30 some years doing what i’m doing and I could say screw it i’m gonna go be a macro may artists, for the rest of my life.

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yeah.

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Jason Mefford: Okay, I can, and if that’s what I feel like i’m supposed to do, but I think it’s interesting you know again you didn’t throw out everything you’ve done but you made a little course correction.

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Jason Mefford: yeah and there were actually a couple of little corrections during your career to get you to where you are.

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Jason Mefford: So so maybe go there, a little bit because, again, I think a lot of times people think well.

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Jason Mefford: I tried, something it didn’t quite work out the way I thought I was going to so i’m not going to do it again, so how does because again it seems like from your story there, there were kind of these milestones are things that got you prepared for whatever the next thing was it was coming.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yeah and what’s funny too is you know now looking back in my career.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I don’t regret, being a litigator for a few years, because that informs my ability to advise my clients on contracts and track, because I know from firsthand experience what the litigation part looks like right.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Whereas some attorneys who only did transactions and damn the litigation experience they actually don’t really know firsthand some of the stuff that happens in the litigation context so.

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Chenise Iwamasa: All of that helps me, be a better attorney in the type of law.

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Chenise Iwamasa: That i’m doing now, and the same thing, like when I went then to a broader real estate practice I got to learn all the things that I needed to do to be where I am today.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So it all kind of led me to where I am and one of the biggest things that you know happened was when I remember when I said I told my law partner.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I gave him lots of notice like I wanted to give him, five, six months notice that I could help him recruit you know new associates, you know train all of that.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So you know he knew we were we were working toward you know my leaving and about a month before I was set to leave, and I was already telling clients that i’m leaving all of that was underway.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I remember, I went to the office on a Monday morning and my office manager walked into my office and she said.

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Chenise Iwamasa: That my my my law partner had drowned the day before on Sunday why, who was kayaking out in the Bay.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And it was just.

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Chenise Iwamasa: The worst ball dropping at the worst time possible right like I just was like oh my gosh um and then I had maybe a few days of just crisis mode, I was just trying to you know figure out what to do try to figure out how to take care of our clients our staff or you know everyone.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And the first few days was you know kind of just on pure adrenaline where you’re just going going going, and I remember that Wednesday I you know called my husband on the way home, and I said, you know what i’m not going to come right home, I need some time.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So he’s like Okay, you know do what you have to do and I drove out to the Pier and I just sat in my car and I just cried like I just let it.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I felt all the you know all the why me all the all that stuff um and then I picked myself up and then you know moved on, I created a plan I you know, took care of everything I need to take care of and.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Everything turned out fine, so I spend the next like three months or so winding down the law practice transitioning our clients to other law firms but in all of that, you know even even that also.

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Chenise Iwamasa: challenged my decision to start my own law firm to because I had other law firms in town calling me offering me jobs.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Offering to merge our firms like there was all kinds of things going on right and.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I you know I might have you know if I wasn’t as strong i’m in my belief of this vision, I could have just said.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Forget it i’ll just take that job at that other law firm or i’ll just you know, like there’s there’s also different directions that could have went.

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Chenise Iwamasa: But I still felt that strong.

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Chenise Iwamasa: feeling inside, and so I still pursued it and I like it wasn’t oh my God, why would you do that, like you have like a whole law firm all to yourself with all these big corporate clients why wouldn’t you just like you know, keep it.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And I just did I I I really just need to do this thing that i’ve been.

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Chenise Iwamasa: You know planning to do and when I look back, I really do believe that that whole crisis was a gift from the universe, because.

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Chenise Iwamasa: That was like an accelerated course.

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Chenise Iwamasa: In how to run a business, I mean.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Really, I, you know as a partner in a law firm I don’t think I fully appreciate it or understood all that goes into owning a business because you know our office manager took care of most of the stuff.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And I you know I would be management decisions, but a lot of the day to day stuff was actually you know not in my what I was doing, I would just you know serving clients and then I getting my draw check and.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So in that span of three months, like, I had to do with so many business financial legal all those other issues that prepared me.

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Chenise Iwamasa: better than I can imagine any other thing would have prepared me to be a business owner of my law practice now and so i’m very grateful for that gift, even though in the moment it was crazy like I thought i’m like oh my God, how many to do this right.

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Chenise Iwamasa: um but, again, yet everything happens.

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Chenise Iwamasa: for a reason.

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Jason Mefford: yeah when everything happens for us.

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Jason Mefford: yeah because because again it’s the.

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Jason Mefford: As you were explaining that because, like you said, I mean it’s it’s it’s easy it’s convenient.

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Jason Mefford: would have been convenient for you, at that point to say okay forget my forget my dream forget my vision.

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Jason Mefford: you’re right i’ve got this law firm by myself why the heck wouldn’t I do this right, I mean it’s it’s.

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Jason Mefford: i’ve already got the clients blah blah blah blah blah right, and so, how much of the time, though, do we make those choices of convenience, instead of the choices of conviction.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yeah I love that.

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Jason Mefford: And you chose the conviction, no i’m i’m, this is what i’m committed to this is what i’m gonna do, but like you said you know again.

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Jason Mefford: I haven’t heard you play victim at all in any of this stuff that.

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Jason Mefford: we’ve been talking to right which is great, because so many of us end up going into that why me why is this happening now, and, unfortunately, a lot of times, while we’re going through it we don’t know yeah you just got to go through it.

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Jason Mefford: yeah like you just said, you know this having going through this with your with your partner dying gave you that crash course in owning your business that really.

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Jason Mefford: helped give you what you need for now right, but unless you had gone through that experience and i’m sure, while you were going through it, you weren’t sitting there going Oh, this is going to be so helpful later and i’m so.

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Chenise Iwamasa: you’re just landed on that is right.

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Jason Mefford: But but that’s that’s because so much of the time right it’s it’s that reflection afterwards, when we actually kind of understand that so that that.

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Jason Mefford: Steve Jobs Stanford commencement I don’t know if you his speech on that the one that really hit me where it was you know you can’t connect the dots until you turn around and look backwards.

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Jason Mefford: right and it was that way in his in his life in my life in your life right when you’re going through it.

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Jason Mefford: You can’t connect the dots because you’re still in the middle of it it’s the reflection and the learnings afterwards and looking back and going oh Now I understand that that makes a lot of sense right, and I think what’s interesting you know, for you that even.

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Jason Mefford: Who, you were in the fifth grade.

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Jason Mefford: and of what you wanted to do, and why you went into the law.

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Jason Mefford: you’re finally doing now.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Yes, after all these years.

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Jason Mefford: Years right it’s like it’s like.

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Jason Mefford: We know because because that’s why for myself i’ve kind of realized this like if we go back to who we were like 10 1112 1314 years old, that kind of timeframe.

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Jason Mefford: it’s like holy shit right it’s like, but then we become you know responsible teenagers go to college responsible adults everything else.

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Jason Mefford: But when we realize what we really wanted back and then it’s probably what we really want now yeah, and the reason why we don’t feel aligned is because we don’t feel like we can have what we wanted as a child oh that’s a childish thing.

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Jason Mefford: mm hmm right can have it, you got to be a responsible adult But what if you can do both yeah and I think it sounds like your evidence that you can do both yep.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yep absolutely and so that’s what I like in my current law practice I think i’ve incorporated more elements of who I am.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Even if it’s not the status quo, what you think of a stereotypical lawyer right, so I you know I am as much as I have the Left brain side to do people work, I have a.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Right brain side to to me as well you know I love i’ve always been i’ve grown up being a dancer i’ve been a performer a dance instructor.

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Chenise Iwamasa: i’ve taught children, adults, I also love you know, seeing design photography like all of that stuff lights me up.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So i’ve kind of brought some of that into my practice just in the way that I practice and the way I market, you know I do I designed my old commercial leasing infographics on my website.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Because I you know part of what I wanted to do is help make things simpler and easier to understand for people like la shouldn’t be this.

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Chenise Iwamasa: You know, legally foreign language type of thing I wanted to simplify things and make it more accessible to more people.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And I knew, you know when I first started out people who said Oh, you need to have a log log like every lawyer, you have a law blog for marketing and I was kind of like man about that.

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Chenise Iwamasa: was like I really want to spend like you know time writing a law blog every week not really.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And do this, my target client who’s like small business owners would they even have any interest in that no absolutely not right.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So I thought Okay, what can, what can I do differently to offer value and provide resources that can help them that they can actually use and.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So my idea was like hey i’m going to design infographics because then they hear they look at it and they get they get the point within like two seconds.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So I love doing that I, you know I that’s what I do in my spare time when I do photo books for my family and so i’ve translated some of what I do.

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Chenise Iwamasa: In that you know right brain hemisphere to into my work to make it more enjoyable along with you know what I do for social media and all of that stuff because it lights me up and being able to.

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Chenise Iwamasa: You know that self expression piece, where you know a lot of lawyers that’s like not not a thing for lawyers.

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Jason Mefford: No it’s not a thing for lawyers have lots of attorneys over the years yeah it’s yeah both corporate and firm attorneys it’s yeah it’s usually it’s like shut off the personality.

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Jason Mefford: For the most part.

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Jason Mefford: it’s not just attorneys to do that either by the way, anyway.

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Chenise Iwamasa: yeah so even being able to you know.

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Chenise Iwamasa: To is who i’m serving to right so when you niche down, and I can choose that I want to serve small business owners that’s my people i’m the work to is just a lot more fulfilling you know I don’t know how to describe it other than.

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Chenise Iwamasa: It lights meal I you know I know i’m helping and they’re always so grateful and appreciative for the help and being able, for someone to explain things like I said.

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Chenise Iwamasa: in a simple way you know empowering them like my my whole approach and the way I practice law to with my clients is more educational because that’s kind of my style to I liked teaching.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So you know, some people have experiences with lawyers, where they don’t it’s like they’re matter but they don’t know what’s going on, because lawyer just takes the ball runs with it bubble blah blah blah and and they don’t know what’s going on there are left out.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And so my approach and style is I really try to educate them and empower them to make their own informed decisions for their business because you know you probably heard that saying.

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Chenise Iwamasa: If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime right, so I tell my clients, you know you are in a relationship with your landlord for.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Years oftentimes so I don’t want to just do it for you and you don’t know what your what your leases I want to make sure you understand you actively participate in the lease negotiation, so that you really understand what your obligations are what your rights are all that stuff.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And that’s kind of what I do in this current practice, which is not you know what I used to do before proceed on working with big corporate clients.

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Jason Mefford: And it seems like that’s you know, like you said it’s much more fulfilling for you, but also like you said it’s teaching people how to fish.

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Jason Mefford: Yes, right because because, again, but so many people, especially in professional services right they’re like nope i’m the expert.

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Jason Mefford: yeah and the only one that can do it right, because if.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I just just trust me.

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Jason Mefford: Well, or if I let them know how they how to do it then they’re not going to me my hourly rate.

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Jason Mefford: Right and so i’m sure that, for your clients that’s got to be very refreshing to write because, again, I know, having worked with and paid lots of attorneys.

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Jason Mefford: Over the years, right it’s like how much did that phone call just cost me that we didn’t need to have.

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Jason Mefford: You know kind of thing where.

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Jason Mefford: I really doubt your clients are feeling the same kind of way about you, because it’s not that way.

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Jason Mefford: yeah you know and you’re actually connecting with them as a human being, not as a transaction.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Yes, yes yeah.

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Jason Mefford: Wonderful wonderful wonderful stuff it’s a you know i’m really happy for you, that you’ve gotten to that point.

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Jason Mefford: You know where you do feel that alignment you’re happy you’re excited I mean it shows on your face and everything you do, you know as well that that’s.

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Jason Mefford: life’s too short to have a crappy job that we hate right so but but also realizing you don’t have to throw out the baby with the bathwater, sometimes all it takes is that little little switch right so for you that last one was just going from still doing real estate.

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Jason Mefford: Your law but it’s a different group that you’re serving yeah that lights you up and gives you gives you what you need so.

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Jason Mefford: Well, any any final things as well here, you know pieces of advice for things that we left off that you want to make sure that we get in.

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Chenise Iwamasa: I would just say to reiterate your point about not throwing out the baby with the bathwater, because I just think people sometimes.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Look at it so black and white right, so the example you gave was throwing out the baby with the bathwater, but on the other extreme there’s also people who just say well.

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Chenise Iwamasa: You know i’m not going to follow my dream because that’s not realistic and I need to make money and I need to pay my children’s tuition so i’m just going to be unhappy in this job forever.

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Chenise Iwamasa: You know there’s so much space in between that where we can explore and we can maybe find something that, even though it may be, is not the ultimate you know endpoint it might get us a little bit closer to where we need to be to get to where we want to go.

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Jason Mefford: yeah and that’s a great point because, like you said, usually were so polarized.

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Jason Mefford: know if that’s a word polarization.

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Jason Mefford: polarizing you know have have.

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Jason Mefford: You know, because yeah I i’ve seen a lot of people that are that way.

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Jason Mefford: You know, especially, especially, for example, like immigrant families and other people, you know where it’s like.

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Jason Mefford: The parents, you know they work they work, really, really hard and I, you know it’s good enough for the mom you know kind of a thing because.

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Jason Mefford: they’re not necessarily doing what they want to do, but it’s because they feel like they have to provide or give something right, and so a lot of times again now, you can find plenty of joy in doing that.

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Jason Mefford: As well right it kind of depends on your mindset.

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Jason Mefford: But yeah like you said there’s so many possibilities between those two extremes that you just got to kind of work through and find.

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Jason Mefford: Those for you.

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Chenise Iwamasa: And just being open to exploring that possibility and that’s all yeah.

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Exactly.

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Jason Mefford: Wonderful well, thank you for this, because yeah like I said a lot of people need to hear this finally did you hear a lot of what we talked about today as well, too, I mean you know that goes for.

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Jason Mefford: Every day anyway right so.

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Jason Mefford: So thank you.

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Chenise Iwamasa: Nice and yeah.

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Jason Mefford: Thank you for coming on you know if people that are listening happened to be in the white area, and there are a small business and need to reach out to you how’s The easiest way to reach to reach you.

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Chenise Iwamasa: um i’m on instagram so you know people can follow me on instagram at siebel law Hawaii so my law firm is evil law.

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Chenise Iwamasa: So people at the law Hawaii you can DM me or you can just Google me you find me on Google.

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Jason Mefford: Just type in your name and it’s amazing what you can find.

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Jason Mefford: Anything on Google.

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Jason Mefford: Well, thank you like, I said that your story is great and it’s something that everybody who just listen to this there’s a lot of stuff in this that will help you have a better life, be more aligned be happier, so thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time.

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Jason Mefford: To record with me today.

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Jason Mefford: yay Thank you.

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