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    10 Blind Spots To Start Seeing Now

    Now here’s a sentence you don’t hear too often the week after Passover: “I’ve dropped 17 pounds.

    But I’m saying it – loud and proud.

    Now of course, I must admit that the week before Passover, I was also down 17 pounds, but for me, maintaining my weight loss over a holiday not widely known for its health benefits is a victory.

    I also admit that I’ve lost 17 pounds before. Many, many times. So what makes this weight loss different from all others? This time, I used the same coaching approach on myself that I teach in the Jewish Coaching Academy  and that I use with my clients to anticipate obstacles.

    Whether our task is losing weight, beginning a new fundraising campaign, kicking off a professional development program, doing performance reviews, or anything that we’re starting – or starting again – we need to reflect on the common stumbling blocks that get put before us, by ourselves or others:

    1. How committed we really are to doing the work or making a change.
    2. How many other things we’re also committed to right now.
    3. How “secretly committed” we are to maintaining the current situation.
    4. How hard or complex it is.
    5. How much time it’s going to take.
    6. How many things we couldn’t have anticipated (or could have but didn’t).
    7. How much energy it requires.
    8. How quickly or easily we may get discouraged.
    9. How challenging it may be to get others on board, or who else we needed on board but didn’t realize.
    10. How powerful the voices in our head can be that stop us from being bold and moving forward.

    When we skip thinking and talking about these blind spots, we increase the chances that our efforts will fail, that folks will become frustrated, and that we will have to go back to square one – again. When we consider and admit these stumbling blocks to ourselves and to others, we’re far more likely to move forward with eyes wide open and success in our view.

    “Anticipating Obstacles” is only one of the 10 skills that I teach in the Jewish Coaching Academy, a 10 hour blended-learning program that teaches coaching skills through a Jewish lens to professional and volunteer leaders. Over 100 people have graduated from our program – and our next public program is on Thursday, May 7th in New Jersey.

    Click here for more information.

    Our early bird special ends Friday, April 17!

    Traditions: Keep, Ditch, or Reinvent Them?


    “Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.”
    I was home sick, lying on my couch, hopped up on cold medicine and for some reason glued to the TV waiting for a puff of smoke to come billowing out of the church chimney. I knew I was watching history but usually Days of our Lives or The Prices is Right takes precedence on a sick day agenda. I couldn’t figure out why I was so interested in the Pope elections, but I was. Then one of the reporters used the word “tradition” and a light bulb went off — or in this case, a white puff of smoke.
    tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past.  Traditions feel important to so many of us because they bring us comfort and safety.
    But do traditions help us — or do they hold us back?
    When you look at Judaism or any other religion, it is steeped in tradition and it’s often what people love most about their faith. I find comfort in the idea that no matter what synagogue I go to on a Friday night, the service will always be the same. With Passover in just a few days, I have been thinking a lot about what my parents’ traditions were, and what I will carry on with my own family.  My Seder, like many of yours, included telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt from the Maxwell coffee haggadahs, eating matzo, and me as the youngest singing the Four Questions. Now that I have a family of my own, I have the opportunity to reinvent what my Seder looks like and incorporate the traditions of my past, the new things I’ve learned along the way, and anything else my imagination can create.
    But what about traditions at work?  How many times have you heard the answer, “It’s how we’ve always done it.”  Sometimes that statement is about tradition — and other times, it’s just easier to do the same thing over and over again (remember: comfort and safety).  Tradition in the work place can hinder creativity and keep you stuck in the same old, same old.  Think of the program or project that you do year after year: is it still bringing in the same amount of people or raising the same amount of money?  Are you doing it because it’s a tradition and that’s how it’s always been done?  I’m not suggesting that traditions are always good or bad but what I do think is that we should always be aware of whywe are doing something year after year.  If you simply ask the question during the planning process, “are we doing this because it is truly a tradition or because it’s how it’s always been done”, you may avoid the pitfalls of getting stuck in a rut.
    So, as we approach the Passover holiday, ask yourself: what traditions do you want to keep, let go of, or reinvent?

    “Deb has been a respected speaker and facilitator for a number of our JCC conferences over the past few years. While I've heard about her energy, hard work in preparing, and meaningful content, it took her recent keynote speech at our annual JCCs of North America Professional Conference to make me realize what an incredible asset she is. Watching her present a content-filled, energetic, and personalized session -- without using any notes -- was very impressive. Deb is a multi-talented, serious, and impactful presenter."

    – Allan Finkelstein, Past President and CEO, JCC Association of North America

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