Jenny Sassoon
Guiding stuck & frustrated professionals to direction, motivation, and inspiration.

Translating Chabad’s Lessons for Business to Lessons for Love

The two spheres have a lot more in common than would appear at first
A Chabad representative lays tefillin on Baci Weiler in New York's Union Square on Friday, June 19, 2015 (Facebook)
A Chabad representative lays tefillin on Baci Weiler in New York's Union Square on Friday, June 19, 2015 (Facebook)

Last Wednesday, I attended a talk with Rabbi David Eliezrie on what Chabad can teach us about how to succeed in business. Leah Zakh Aharoni, who hosted the event, wrote this piece on the points Rabbi Eliezre shared and how the Chabad movement applies these points to fulfill their vision and mission with great success. And Hilary Faverman, who also attended the event, wrote this piece on how she applies these key points to the running of her business (and how, she believes, we should be running our businesses too.)

I would like to take a different perspective and share my thoughts on how to apply Rabbi Eliezrie points to building successful relationships.

Point 1: Be a Leader & Take (Personal) Responsibility

Rabbi Eliezre emphasized that any time we see a ‘problem’, we must ask ourselves this important question: “What am I going to do about it?” If we are seeing a problem in any given situation, we are seeing it for a reason. Therefore, instead of complaining about the problem, or ignoring it, we must view our recognition of the problem as an opportunity to take action and create a solution. This picture I found on the internet with a quote from the late Lubavitcher Rebbe summarizes this point nicely.


How does this point apply to relationships?

In relationships, it is so important to understand that we cannot control the other. We cannot control how they feel, what they say, and how they behave. Nor does anyone have any control over what we feel, say, or do. How then do we create change in our relationships? How do we create the love that we want to experience, or the healthy and respectful atmosphere that we want to have? By taking responsibility and being the change. (Yep, that’s right – that famous quote by Ghandi.)

Too often we feel frustrated or unhappy in our relationships because we are waiting for the situation or for the other to change. This waiting will get you nowhere, besides for getting you more frustrated and unhappy. Instead, take responsibility. If you want to experience respect in your relationship, BE respect. If you want to be heard more in your relationship, BE a good listener. If you want to experience more love in your relationship, BE loving and giving.

Point 2: Be Fully Committed

“In a relationship, it takes two people to say yes, and only one to say no.”

in a relationship

It’s true. Relationships do not work unless both people are fully committed to it. Each person in the relationship, be it personal or professional, must feel and trust that their partner is fully committed to the relationship in good times and bad. Being fully committed does not mean that you know all of the answers, or know how to solve all of your relationship problems, or how to be the perfect lover or mate. It does mean that you are ready and willing to give it all that you’ve got to learn, to grow, and to cultivate your relationship.

Point 3: Be Audacious

The audacity it takes to be successful in business is true for relationships, as well. Do not be afraid to jump in and be proactive. Similar to the first point made above about being a leader and taking responsibility, being audacious means getting out of the sidelines and taking action.

When it comes to dating, for example, do not wait around for others to seek you out, and/or only date people who come your way. Be proactive. Think about the people you would like to date or meet, and make it happen. Go to events where you are likely to be around and meet people you would like to get to know better and/or date. If you are in a relationship, and want to bring it to a more committed level, be audacious and let that person know how you feel. If you are in a long-term committed relationship already, continue to keep sparks flying by taking the reigns and initiating fun and meaningful experiences where you and your partner can continue to grow closer to each other.

Point 4: Change is Incremental

This is a very important point to keep in mind when growing not just your business, but also your relationships. Strong, healthy, loving, real, and long-lasting relationships are built on the foundations of consistent tending to by each partner. Daily reminders of love and commitment, regular expressions of appreciation, continuous encouragement and support for each other and each other’s personal goals, and focused attention and sharing where meaningful connection is experienced, are what successful relationships are made of.

Grand, fire-cracker gestures might be nice and fun, but they are not enough to sustain a real, committed relationship. Like my husband (who loves a good barbecue) likes to say, “you can’t cook a good piece of steak directly on the fire. It’ll burn and get hard as a rock. You have to wait for the fire to settle down before you can put anything on the grill. Making a good steak takes patience and tending to.”  (I hope that convinced all of you steak lovers out there.)

Point 5: Have Integrity

In your relationships, just as in business, be honest, forthright, and bold. Even when it is difficult for you to tell the truth, tell the truth and share your real feelings anyway. Keep in mind to be respectful when you do so.

You might think that your truth might hurt your partner’s feelings. That might happen, but being honest with your partner will ensure a trusting relationship you can both rely on, trust, and feel secure in.

To ensure the likelihood of a more successful outcome when sharing your truth, keep the following point in mind:  Speak your truth respectfully. Take responsibility (point #1) and be sure to express your feelings from your point of view. These are your feelings. Nobody made you have them. You are feeling them because you are you. For example, say “I am feeling…”, as opposed to “you made me feel…”

In addition to the above points made by Rabbi Eliezrie in his talk, what I did recognize at the end of his lecture (something he did not point out himself) was that the Chabad movement’s success can also be attributed to the fact that they have a clear Vision & Mission. This is true for relationships, as well. Having a clear vision and mission for your relationship serves as the guiding compass for what is most important to you and your partner when it comes to your relationship. In fact, I recommend forming clear a vision and mission as the first step you take to creating the relationship you desire.

About the Author
Jenny Sassoon is a social worker, professional coach, and the founder of UnleashingU!, where she specializes in guiding frustrated and stuck individuals and professionals to confidence, direction, motivation and fulfillment in their career and relationships. Jenny's services include professional direction coaching, leadership training and development, and relationship/communication empowerment. Her work, and the way that she lives her life and runs her business, is guided by her belief that we are successful at what we do when we are authentic to who we are. Jenny also recently joined Mass Challenge as an expert/mentor volunteer to provide mentoring and support to founders and CEO of Start-Ups. To learn more about Jenny and the work that she does visit
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