Posts in perspective
12 Personal “T.H.A.N.K.S.G.I.V.I.N.G” Reasons To Show Appreciation

Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays of the year.

For many, it’s a time to be with family and enjoy delicious food (and some football).

It’s also the kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

At its essence, though, Thanksgiving is all about gratitude,

Whether you choose to remember how early American settlers survived a difficult winter or something more recent and personal, Thanksgiving gives us all opportunity to pause and reflect about all the goodness in our lives and say, “Thank you.”

🙏 “Thank you” for your gifts

🙏 “Thank you” for your opportunities

🙏 “Thank you” to the special people in your life

🙏 “Thank you” to the Being that produced you

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Learn to Let it Go

When I say that haven’t recited this prayer properly I refer mainly to the above paragraph. After all, there have been people who have hurt me, sometimes in serious ways. They seemed very content with their behavior and most did not seek forgiveness. Even though I recognize that if we all – myself included – willingly forgave one another then we would all be able to approach God for the atonement that we desperately seek. But still, it was so hard to forgive sometimes, especially is their behavior hurt my career and/or affected my family. I suspect that most of us have struggled with this point. We simply have a hard time letting go and are prepared to hold grudges indefinitely when we feel that we were right, even to our own detriment.

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Learn to measure, measure, measure 📏

My eyes can deceive me quite a bit.

Over the past two months, I have embarked in some house-related projects. One was to redo our front walk. The other was to level the area underneath an over-ground pool.

Because my home 🏡 is on a hill, an optical illusion is created that makes flat surfaces appear sloped.

When I saw our completed walk, something just didn’t look right.

And after adding substantial top soil to one end of the pool 🤽 site to even things out and prevent water for building on one end, it still seemed uneven.

However, when I used a level 📐 (a tool that indicates how flat a surface is), I saw that the surface is in fact flat.

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What do you want to become independent of?

“Independence means that the amount of value you take from other people is equal to or less than the amount of value you put back. It doesn’t mean you don’t need other people. And it doesn’t mean you avoid other people’s help.” Scott Young

As we near July 4, we have many things to think about, such as…

🗽 The great country (USA) that so many of us live in, that grants us so many personal freedoms

🗽 The many sacrifices of others, on the battlefield 🔫 and in the political arena, to ensure and sustain those freedoms

🗽 The awesomeness of BBQs 🌭 and fireworks 🎆, even if they have nothing to do with independence

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Choose Substance Over Form

When I knew that I would be moving on from my role of school Headmaster five years ago, I considered two primary pathways forward. One was another school leadership position. The other was to become a leadership coach and consultant. A variety of factors would point me in the latter direction, which I have been traveling on for the past five years. But this was only possible due to my willingness to open up to new possibilities and not allow myself to become stuck along the one path that I had come to know so well.

In their timeless presentation on the perils of leadership (Leadership on the Line, HBR Press, 2002, pp. 218ff,) authors Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky caution leaders to worry less about the form of their work and focus instead on the substance or essence of their contribution. We tend to come to think of ourselves by the form of what we do (“I am a mayor”, “I am a business executive”, “I am a professional athlete”, etc.) and struggle to make sense of things when our positions and status change, voluntarily or not. Suddenly, the stay-at-home mom with an empty nest, the non-profit leader who had not been renewed, the politician on the wrong side of an election, the retired technician or the laid-off laborer find themselves disoriented, with a reduced sense of purpose and unclear direction.

Without question, such periods can be very difficult and confusing, particularly when they occur suddenly and are imposed from without. But when a person chooses to identify first by who they are as people and what motivates them in the service of others, they can more easily and confidently move forward.

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Is it Father's Day or Father Day?

How did you spend your Father’s Day?

Full disclosure: I’m one of the purists (if I can call my self that) who says that “every day is Father’s Day”. So, in my house, there’s no big celebration, no gifts of ties or toolsets.

Instead, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. Putting together my kids’ pool, that is.

Pools, even the inflatable variety, take real work to assemble and properly fill (I did well on the former but not so great on the latter – hard to get it all even and fully balanced, but that’s for a different post).

But the weather was hot, and the kids were pining for the pool, so out went dad in his finest shmatas (Yiddish for upscale yard attire) for hours of fun in the sun (before the real fun began, of course).

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Step Away to Step into Life

I have two clients that are a block away from each other in NYC. The walking time between them is measured in seconds and often I can schedule things to allow me to go from one to the other in short order.

But there are times when I have to schedule them on different days, which would be less of an issue if I didn’t live an hour away from them.

This past week, I took things to a new level. I visited one client on Tuesday and the other on Wednesday. In between, I flew down to Florida for an early morning talk to over 300 leaders. Including local commutes to and from the airport, my journey from one client to the other, though themselves separated by only one block, exceeded 1900 miles.

Talk about a long walk down the block!

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Do You Live to Work or Work to Live?

The upcoming Jewish holiday of Shavuot (the Festival of Weeks, which commences on Saturday evening) commemorates the Hebrews receiving of the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, at Sinai some 3300 years ago. On that seminal date, a series of commandments were issued that would frame key elements of monotheistic thought, spiritual observance, and social interaction for centuries to come.

The Sinaitic experience was the culmination of a seven-week period that began with the Hebrews’ Exodus from Egypt (commemorated by Passover). That physical birth, so to speak, of the Hebraic nation was followed by its spiritual naissance at the foot of the mountain.

It is noteworthy that the seven-week period that separates Passover from Shavuot is a period of counting, known as Counting of the Omer. During these 49 days, the Torah proscribes a steady, upward count, leading up to Shavuot.

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How to Come of Age in Style

This past week, my son Chaim celebrated his 13th Hebrew birthday and became a bar mitzvah. My wife and I reveled in the moment that was shared by family and close friends.

Literally, the term bar mitzvah means “son of a mitzvah (commandment)” and is intended to convey that a young Jewish man who has come of age is now obligated in the fulfillment of divine commandments as an adult male. (The same holds true for young Jewish women when they reach the age of twelve.)

But this milestone is so much more than a simple transition from childhood to adulthood (the Torah offers no such concept as adolescence). In fact, it represents three very important transitions in a young person’s life that can serve as a lesson for us all.

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