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.

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