Showing posts with label Be Yourself. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Be Yourself. Show all posts

August 2, 2019

What's Your Relationship?

This week I learned about the Three Levels of Relationships.

Level 3: Family/Friends
The highest form of a relationship where you are being authentic (i.e. yourself), you share deeply about yourself (thoughts, feelings, desires, mistakes, etc,) and you are vulnerable. 

Level 2: Professionals
The middle level of relationships in which you are seeking to build trust and respect, you share some information (i.e. appropriate), and you expose yourself a little to the other person. 

Level 1: Acquaintances
The most elementary of relationships that is superficial in nature, there is little personal sharing of information (i.e. mostly when you are asked a question and you feel comfortable answering it), and you remain guarded. 

This is a good way to assess your relationships--is it a level 1, 2, or 3 and are you behaving appropriately within that, so that you trust, communicate, and collaborate effectively.  ;-)

(Graphic Credit: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 23, 2019

Trying To Be A Plumber

It's wonderful when we try to help others.

Isn't that one of the reasons we're here? 

But sometimes we are trying to help and it's really something beyond our capabilities. 

My mother-in-law said something funny about this:
Sometimes you're an electrician, but you're trying to be a plumber. 

Isn't that true, we are really one thing, but we are often trying to be something else that we're really not. 

We can't help someone that needs a plumber, if we're an electrician. 

We have to know who we are and what we can do--as well as what we can't. 

No one can do everything, no matter how smart, strong, or able they think they are.  

Each person has strengths and weaknesses.  

We need an electrician and a plumber. 

And you can't be what you're not. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 3, 2018

We All Have Our Moods

Thought this was a funny comic strip in the office. 
Today I'm feeling {choose your poison}...

While I'm sure that we'd like to be happy all the time, it's not realistic to think that will actually be probable or even possible.

Sure, everyone puts on the big smile.

But behind the smile is often many other feelings 

As one colleague said to me:

"People are complex!"

Isn't that true?

Anyway, don't beat yourself for feeling what you feel--it's okay to be relaxing, excited, angry, sad, stressed or whatever.

Of course, that doesn't excuse letting it get the best of you and bad behavior.

We're adults, not children with temper tantrums.

Certainly, though, we are all human, and all feelings are fine. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 25, 2017

I Drive The Tractor

Thank you so much to Rabbi Schneur Kaplan for his wonderful speech today in Downtown Jewish Center Chabad synagogue, Fort Lauderdale.

He told the story about the boy who grew up in Israel as a chasid, but later left chasidism to work the land--he drove a tractor!

Years later, the young man rediscovers his religion and goes back to yeshiva to study, and he is excellent and surpasses many of his peers.

Eventually, he ends up in a one-on-one with the Rebbe--and he waits with baited breath for what the great Rebbe will tell him that will guide his life--will he become a great scholar, Rabbi, shaliach, or head of a Yeshiva.

Then the Rebbe speaks, and says:
"You will be a tractor driver"

The young man is shocked and goes back to studying Torah with even more determination and harder than ever.

Once again, he comes before the Rebbe, and he is anticipating what he will say.

Again, the Rebbe looks deep into his soul and says:
"You will drive a tractor!"

Sure enough, the man now understanding that he has to meet his particular fate head on, goes back to working the Holy Land and driving the tractor.

But in so doing he is able to do outreach to tens of thousands of people who otherwise would have never had the opportunity to be brought close to Hashem through Chasidism.

The message was that we are not all destined to be clones, robots, or do the same thing in life.

The Torah is our guide to serve Hashem and do what is right.

But each of us has our own mission in serving Him and we can achieve greatness and Holiness even when we drive a tractor or do whatever we do.

I am not a Rabbi, but in my own way, I try to raise my family--be a good husband, father, and prior a good son--and also to serve with integrity and a good example in my professional and educational endeavors.

It's okay that I'm not a Chabad Rabbi doing outreach--that's not me--although I did meet someone today from my elementary school, Manhattan Day School, that did become just that and we had a nice kiddish lunch with him and caught up together after services.

I am me--and I am okay with me.

I don't have to be someone else--anyone else.

I can do good being me--and that is what I will try to do with each and every breath of every day.

Whether I drive a tractor (or this cool VW van with a big smiley face), we all serve our Maker.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 17, 2017

Ok To Be Ourselves!

Someone shared this beautiful Jewish wedding gown on Facebook and I wanted to share it with you, because it represents life, love, and faith. 

While perhaps normally I wouldn't just post this to my blog...

I thought that in light of the report that came out of 917 hate groups operating right now in the United States, that I would take this as an opportunity to be me.

To hell with all the haters out there!

- The more they hate us, the more I will love my Jewishness. 

- The more they try to stamp out our religious freedom, the more I will relish in it. 

- The more they try to kill us, the more I will live as a Jew.

No more Holocausts...no more bigotry...no more hate--it is enough! ;-)
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June 24, 2016

Why Can't The English Be More English

The people of the United Kingdom voted in referendum yesterday for Brexit (British exit) or independence from the European Union (EU). 

Unity is a wonderful thing when values and vision is widely shared and the burden and benefits are more or less evenly distributed. 

But in the case of the UK in the EU, the vote for independence was anchored in the unsettling issues of mass immigration from the Arab Spring, the debt crisis of many of the poorer Southern EU states (e.g. Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc.), the decision of the UK to maintain their own currency (not accepting the Euro), and culturally (and language-wise), even though they all interact with each other, the UK has more in common with the US and Australia, then they ever had with Germany, France, and the rest of Europe. 

It is really very understandable that the UK doesn't want to lose their identity and sovereignty and just be another EU state--rather than be a unique, independent, and dominant entity of it's own, charting their own course and driving their own fate. 

While it's great to a part of something bigger, sometimes being yourself is more important, and you can still interact with the rest. 

No people should be forced to become a shadow of themselves, and if the call is for independence, then that is noble call even if it is inconvenient for those who would rather call themselves the EU. 

Unity may best be by alliance rather than strict integration...one for all and all for each and every one. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 1, 2015

It's What You Can't Say

So I saw this game called Taboo when doing the grocery shopping today. 

(This one is the Jewish edition.)

Having never played this before, I looked it up and learned that it's a word game, where you have to give clues to the other team for them to guess a word, but you can't use the "taboo" words on the card. 

So for example, if the word is baseball, then some of the taboo words may be sport, pitcher, hitter, etc. 

So this is not an easy game per se. 

Thinking about the premise of the game though, I started to reflect that this isn't just a game, but in real life isn't so much of our interactions with others not about what we can say, but also the "taboo" things that we can't.

How many times do you want to tell someone off and explain what a jerk they have been acting lately or say your real feelings on a topic that you may feel passionately about, but it's somehow taboo to get into those things--you don't want to offend, be "politically incorrect", or perhaps you just think others may not agree with you or understand your point. 

What do we do? 

We "beat around the bush"--we express our dissatisfaction or disapproval or the opposite, with facial expressions, non-verbal cues, or perhaps we take a deep breath, hold back, or mince our words, so as not to somehow cross a social boundary of some sort. 

We want others to know us, accept us, respect us, and truly like us, but we can't always really be ourselves fully, because our words or feelings may be seen as taboo. 

In the end, sometimes we're discreet and "hold our tongue" and occasionally we blurt out what we really think and maybe are proud we did or are sorry for it afterwards--but wouldn't it be great if we could just be ourselves--without fear or retribution.

It shouldn't be taboo! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 19, 2014

Cool Cat

So yesterday I was coming home from the fitness center/pool.

I was wearing shorts and pool shoes even though it was only in the 30's-40's temperature out. 

This large man with a Texas accent stops me to ask how I can dress like that around Winter time.

And it's particularly funny, because there is another man overhearing this conversation next to us wrapped up in no less than 2 coats/layers.

So I say in a lighthearted way "I guess that I just have warm blood, so the temperature doesn't really bother me."

He says, "Uh, in Florida, when it goes into the 60's, people start shivering and bundling up down there."

I smile, and say "Well maybe we're just different people."

Then he goes, "I like that--I like people that think different! You know why, [and he pauses and repeats again] you know why?"

I look at him sort of eyes wide open at this point waiting to hear his explanation to the build up. 

And he says, "Because it means they don't give a sh*t what other people think!"

At that point we both started nodding and laughing. 

Maybe you had to be there, but I think you can probably envision this sort of nutty scene.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 19, 2012

When TMI Is PC

An interesting editorial in the New York Times (19 August 2012) bemoans the state of affairs in the workplace, where generation Y'ers, take the liberty of sharing too much [personal] information (TMI) with others.

The author, Peggy Klaus, gives examples of young workers talking about their looking for other positions, recounting family birthing experiences, or discussing sexual exploits or a shortage thereof. 

Klaus see this as a carryover of people's online social behavior or what she calls "Facebook in your face"--where you "tell everybody everything"--whether appropriate or important, or not at all!

Similarly, this behavior is viewed by some as young people simply acting out what they learned from their helicopter parents--who instilled "an overblown sense of worth" on them--where every poop is worth sharing from infancy through adulthood. 

Ms. Klaus refers to this as O.S.D. or Obsessive Sharing Disorder--and she instead calls for "decency, common sense, and just plain good manners" in deciding what to share and when.

While I agree with a certain amount of base political correctness and decorum in the office, I think too much control (TMC) over our workforce is not a good thing.

We cannot expect people to fit in, be enthusiastic about coming to work, and be innovative and productive in their jobs--when they have to constantly be on guard--watching what they say and what they do, and worrying about making any mistake. 

Assuming that people are not doing anything that hurts themselves or others, I think we should give people more room to breath, be themselves, and to self-actualize.

Holding the reins too tightly on workers, risks developing a cookie-cutter workforce--where everyone must look-alike, talk-alike, and think-alike--like virtual automatons--and such a telling and controlling environment destroys the very motivated, creative, and entrepreneurial workforce we desire and need to be globally competitive and individually fulfilled. 

Best practices for teleworking, flexible work schedules, and clubs and activities at work that let people be human and themselves--makes for a happier, more committed, and more productive workforce. 

Creating climates of workplace sterility, and fear and intimidation for every miscued word or imperfect deed--is neither realistic for human beings that are prone to make mistakes--nor conducive to learning and growing to be the best that each person can be.

I am not a generation Y'er, but I appreciate people who are real, words that are sincere, and deeds that are their personal best--whether it's the way I would do it or not. 

Yes, don't talk and act stupid at work--and shame yourself or others with hateful or abusive behavior--but do feel free to be honestly you as an individual and as a contributor to the broader team--that is better than a zombie army of worker bees who faithfully watch every word and constrain every deed. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Irregular Shed)

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August 7, 2012

Being Yourself Is a Full-Time Job

There is a saying that "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." 


But over time and a level of professional maturity, I've learned that rather than act, there are times when the more prudent thing is too hold your tongue and your will to take immediate action.

In the Revolutionary War, they said, "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes."

Back then, the strategy was employed to conserve ammunition, and today, similarly, it is way to preserve relationships and manage conflicts.

Indeed, sometimes, it's harder to do nothing than to do something--when we are charged up in the moment, it takes a strong leader to keep their head--and hold back the troops and the potential ensuing fire--and instead focus on keeping the peace and finding a genuine resolution to tough and perhaps persistent problems.

An important exception is when ethics and social justice is involved then everyone must find their inner voice and speak up for what is right--that is not the time for a wait and see approach.

The lesson for me is that while it can be challenging to at times hold your fire, and at other times to find your inner voice and speak out--this is where sound judgment and willpower come into play.

In this light, I said to my daughter that "It is sometimes hard just to be yourself." To which she replied wisely, "yeah, and it's a full-time job too." ;-)

She's right--we have to be ourselves and follow our conscience all the time--whether it means taking the shot or holding our fire.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Oh Candy)

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