Tuesday, January 22, 2013

One Book, New View

Six months ago, a friend recommended a book that changed my perspective and gave me a new confidence that would greatly impact all aspects of my life.  After I shared some typical frustrations that we all have, this friend recommended StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.  These were his instructions, “Buy the book – it is under $15.00, do the test online, and read the results.”  Easy enough. 

Bought the book that day, did the test that night and got the results within a minute.  I wasn’t too surprised when the results used these words to describe me - Communication, Connectedness, Learner, Maximizer and Arranger.  For those who know me, you might not be surprised by these descriptive words, but it was the way the information was presented that allowed me to hear it and understand it.  What I noticed immediately was the voice inside me that began to repeat, “Yes, that is me.  Yes, that is me.” 

I was excited to have a review of my strengths.  So many of us spend our time focused on what we lack, how we fail and those great mistakes that we believe everyone is measuring.  Advertisers market their products based on our insecurities, “You need this, you can’t live without that, this product will change your life, you can be better.” 

My heart and soul wasn’t in balance.  I was so busy worrying about what I was doing wrong and not giving myself credit for all that I do right.  Now I am balanced.  I am able to see my strengths with joy and gratitude and have clarity to work on those areas where I want to gain some confidence.  There is no inner voice louder than it should be and I am able to work more honestly with my family, friends and colleagues around me.

So what made me think of this today?  I had tea with this friend and said, “Thank you.”  I am grateful for such a simple instruction that gave me a new perspective and now six months later, I see that this new view is one I really like. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Courage Inside

In meditation today, our Rabbi asked our group, “In what part of your body do you feel courage?”  I repeated the question several times in my mind knowing that I would want to write about it later.  When I was satisfied that I would remember, I then thought about my answer to the question. 

In what part of my body do I feel courage?  My first thought was my shoulders.  When I am afraid, I straighten my shoulders, stand tall, and brace myself.  What do you do?

Next I thought about my feet.  When I am afraid, I straighten my shoulders, stand tall, brace myself and walk.  My feet force me to walk through the fear and allow me to get safely to the other side.

Heart and Soul.  That is my answer.  When I am afraid, I dig deep down into my heart and soul to find the courage I need.  My heart and soul tells my brain to straighten my shoulders, stand tall, brace myself and walk through my fear.

Where is your courage?  Shabbat Shalom.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Listen First, then Speak

In my work, I hire speakers to share their wisdom on a variety of topics including peace, politics, leadership and spirituality.  With these speakers, I hope they will impart their great lessons and in doing so, our donors will be more engaged in our organization both emotionally and financially.

And outside of work, I am fortunate to often be in the audience for worldly speakers who have made a positive impact on my life.  Some of these speakers are rabbis, authors, politicians and teachers.  Some have even been chefs sharing their lessons of life through cooking.

While doing a wide search this week, I found so many speakers that I thought would be interesting.  Since hiring a speaker is both an art and big business, I began to think about how we listen to well-known speakers as well as to each other. 

When you need to hear a message, does it matter who is delivering it?  When I was younger, I was resistant to “hearing the message” from those who were trying to help.  And then, messages appear from unlikely sources and life is changed forever.

I celebrated my bat-mitzah when I was 42-years-old.  With help from Rabbi Mark Borovitz and Cantor Rebekah Mirsky, I was able to listen, learn, and apply those lessons to make my life better.  That moment transformed my life.  Becoming a bat-mitzvah gave me the gift of listening not only to others but to myself. 

That was almost 8 years ago. 

And learning to listen helped me be a more thoughtful speaker both personally and professionally.  Though I don’t garner big speaking fees, my partnerships at work and home are more honest and richer.  Thank you to Rabbi Mark and Cantor Rebekah for teaching me lessons that I still hold sacred today and will for a long time.

Shabbat Shalom.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Day, New Year...

49 days until I turn 50.  I am excited.  This is what I love about January 1st - the day is full of hope for all that can happen in this new year.  I had written an earlier post with my 2013 resolutions.  Now that I am on this side of 2013, I have an updated list of things I want to do this year.  And as I mentioned in my previous post, these too all have a purpose for me. 
  1. Visit the California Science Center to see the Endeavour Space Shuttle.
  2. See more movies - not ones I rent (those are good too), but I want to go out to a movie theater more often.  It is still one of my favorite experiences.
  3. Take more cooking classes with Elana Horwich - www.mealandaspiel.com
  4. Learn from great teachers, guides, and friends.
  5. Watch more old movies, those made before I was born. 
  6. In my travels this coming year, I will be visiting new places and some that I have been before.  Before I arrive at each destination, I want to plan the must see sites and allow some time to see how locals live. 
  7. Be compassionate - I am not always good at this.  Like strengthening a muscle, I need to work on this to help lessen my frustration and disappointment in myself.
  8. Teach my kids about all kinds of classic books and music.  My husband, Perry, does an excellent job sharing his love of music with our kids.  I want to participate in this more.
  9. Bring the incredible world of science more into our lives. 
  10. Visit a zoo.
  11. Take a road trip.
  12. Visit art museums.
  13. When there is an opportunity to share joy, celebrate with friends and family.
  14. Stop worrying and start solving.  To limit my anxiety and stress, focus on solutions to problems.
  15. Study/Meditate/Pray - Attending my Meditation Plus class has been one of my greatest gifts in 2012 and I am excited to deepen my learning in 2013.
  16. Kiss and hug more and definitely hold hands.
  17. Work hard. 
  18. Laugh a lot.
Wishing everyone a great day one of 2013!