I wake up at 3:30 a.m. to be able to start this new project (I’ve been wanting to get back into writing for a while), I sit down in front of my computer with a nice big strong cup of instant coffee and start deciding what it is specifically that I want to share with you, and where to start.
Having gone through such a transformational journey since high school — failing out of three colleges, building myself in the hospitality industry, and ultimately moving to Israel, becoming religious, starting a family, and moving towards a career in marriage and family counseling, there are a myriad of topics and opinion I want to share. My goal being to inspire others through connecting with my experience and findings in life.
But before I have the opportunity to write my first line, I hear the pitter-pattering of little feet, the creaking of a slowly opening door, and out comes my two (and a half) year old son holding both his blanky and the heavy winter blanket of his bed trying to gain forward traction like a cartoon character pulling something far too heavy up a hill. I can’t help but give a stifled snort, holding back a good laugh. He hears me, turns his head, recognizes that I’m awake – and Oh… I just melt with his huge smile! I’m literally powerless. Well, at least it reminds me what I want to write about, perhaps the best place to start (Now writing with a two and a half year old on my lap – perhaps my co-author?) – the reason I made Aliyah in the first place, the engine that keeps me moving forward.
The desire to build a Jewish family. A family consistent with my personal values.
I wish I could say that Judaism or Zionism or some combination of both were the main reason for moving to Israel. I do believe in them and they are important to me, but I am not sure I would have gone through with it on purely ideological grounds. I needed a personal goal, and honestly a physical desire. Perhaps in the next few blogs I can expound more on the differences in Israeli and American societies for raising a family, especially as Jew. Or why I for years could not find a suitable life partner that was both Jewish and matched my values, but how that search helped me to define and refine my understanding of what I was looking for to the point that when I met my wife we dated for only two and a half weeks before getting engaged.
But what I really want to share with you is one of the great secrets I have learned in Life: A clearly defined personal mission statement, and a set of personal values.
When I was working at Carmel Valley Ranch, we underwent a renovation to the property both physical, and in culture. One of the main changes was the adaptation and implementation of a new mission statement, which defined the new direction of The Ranch. From this mission statement we were able pull values that were at the core of the experience that we wanted to portray to our guests. These values were easily relatable to the employees, and in any individual judgement call, if the employee could explain how he was trying to embody one of the values we would empower him to make that action (even if it was not necessarily what anyone else would agree is this right call).
What I learned from this is that in my personal life I could only benefit from also defining my own mission statement, set of values, and from there be able to understand what directions and goals I have in life. Before defining what it is that I want to do in this World I was much less anchored, and the “I” was much less, and much more influenced by outside factors. The more that I have lived according to my mission statement and values, the more I have seen my own impact and influences on this World, and on my Life. Decisions that were once difficult become much easier when shining the light of: “does it resonate with my mission statement or not?” on it.
A mission statement does not have to stay static, mine has been altered a bit since moving to Israel and becoming religious, but it is in a continual direction.
I challenge everyone reading this to think about what their mission statement at this point in their life might be. Let’s take a week or so and think about what is really important to us, and who we are, our strengths and weaknesses, and how we can make those important things come to be. Perhaps after a week or so I will be able to continue this train of thought in this forum.
Anyone that wants is more than welcome to come along for the ride!
There are a great many topics I want to share with you over the upcoming blogs, hopefully including my thoughts on Free Will, Judaism, Israel, being a Hozer BTshuva, Philosophy, Marriage, Family, Life, G-d, Orthodox vs. Reform Judaism, and maybe more.
May we all be blessed with personal success and growth, health, and happiness on the deepest level.