Category Archives: Relationships

The Best Networking Advice You’ll Ever Get

2-½ minutes to read

“In the end, the most important thing will not be the titles you have held or the money you have made but the kind of person you have become.” ∞ Judy Robinette, Author of How to Be a Power Connector

Not long ago a friend mentioned he was considering enrolling in an expensive executive MBA program. I was surprised since he already has a successful business. He said it would be good for networking. This got me thinking. At a minimum cost for an EMBA of about $50,000, is it worth it?

The Best Networking Advice You'll Ever Get

Why Does Someone Want to Know You?

There are three ways you can use an EMBA to make contacts. Get to know businesspeople teaching the classes. Attend job fairs and other arranged interactions with companies and their recruiters. Connect with the school’s alumni.

Here’s the rub. Getting your foot in the door is the easiest part. The person might help you merely because you both went to the same school. It depends on his strength of feeling for the school since he knows little or nothing about you.

There are other, potentially better grounds for connecting. The U.S. military is the largest fraternity in the world. Service members want and like to help each other out. And having military service in common, we know more about each other than people who attended the same school.

If you haven’t served in the military or gone to college never fear. There are other reasons someone would want to know you. Do you love dogs? Are you passionate about fishing? Do you have a particular challenge raising your child? People in all walks of life from CEOs to manual laborers have these interests in common. Unless you and the person you’ve connected with are both diehard fans of your school, a common, deep interest is more fertile ground for the hard work ahead.

Networking is About Relationships

When you don’t know someone well, are you likely to do him a favor that puts your reputation at risk? Most people won’t. It makes sense. You’ve built up credibility among your colleagues. Why squander it by going out on a limb for a stranger.

Before you ask a contact for help you need to establish a relationship. Strengthening connections takes thought and work. If all you share is having gone to the same school, reasons to touch base can be hard to come by. Conversation can lag. If you share a common passion you’ll always have something to talk about.

This is what makes social media so powerful. You can find people at a target organization who have similar interests.

There’s no bigger waste of time than networking to collect names. Unless you establish a basis for an ongoing relationship don’t bother. Do you have at least one common interest? Do you share similar values? Do you like speaking with the person? If you answered no to any of these questions you lack the foundation for a fruitful connection. Move on. As The Marvelettes sang, “There’s too many fish in the sea.”

You don’t need to spend ten of thousands of dollars creating a reason someone might want to know you. With such abundant fishing holes as LinkedIn and Facebook, you can easily find great people to connect with.

What passion do you have on which to build relationships? Please comment below.

Let Me Show You How to Be Perfect

2 minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Kedoshim – Leviticus 19:1-20:27

Searching for perfection is usually counterproductive. Fear of failure prevents people from taking action. After all, if they make mistakes they aren’t perfect. But striving for perfection can be beneficial in one area of life. Parshas Kedoshim explains:

…you will love your fellow as yourself… (Vayikra/Leviticus 19:18)

Let Me Show You How to Be Perfect

This Sabbath’s parsha list many mitzvahs from practical to religious. Each gives you a way to improve your relationship with G-d. They include respecting parents and elders, giving charity to the poor, being honest in business, observing the Sabbath, not dabbling in the occult, not taking revenge, and forbidden relationships.

“This is the great rule of the Torah” - Rabbi Akiva

How realistic is it for G-d to insist we love other people as much as we love ourselves? Isn’t the Torah hopelessly naïve to demand such selflessness? The Sages say you should act as if you love others. Such behavior will eventually transform your emotions.

The Tanya, a classic work of Chassidic mysticism, teaches that you must put aside physical matters and focus on the spirit. By concentrating on a person’s soul you may truly come to love him. Too often people are preoccupied with a person’s appearance, the sound of his voice, how she dresses, or annoying habits. None of these physical concerns embody the essence of a person. Superficialities do not emanate from the soul.

People say someone has a good soul. Do they really have the depth of insight to view a person’s core? Does it make sense to suggest that someone has a weird or annoying soul? Habits can be described this way, but a person’s core, the soul? It’s a spark of the Creator in each of us. It is perfect.

Be Perfect at Recognizing Someone’s Essence

What is the practical result of this philosophy? Suppose you know someone who rubs you the wrong way. You have two choices.

  1. Let your irritation rise to the point where you think the person is a monster.
  2. Counter your exasperation by telling yourself that perhaps the person is like Shrek, an ogre on the outside but with a heart of gold.

If you’re honest you’ll realize some people dislike you for external factors. Yet you believe you’re good. If you want to receive the benefit of the doubt, shouldn’t you offer it others?

To be perfect, look beyond people’s superficialities. Engage with them soul to soul. Love your fellows as yourself. A simple change of perspective will help you be perfect and improve your relations with family, friends, and strangers.

How do you view people? Please comment below.

 

Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

How to Make Love in Heavenly Bliss

1-½ minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Acharei Mos – Leviticus 16:1-18:30

Peruse the magazine headlines in any supermarket checkout line. It seems there’s nothing more important than sex. Articles abound on how to hookup, turn him on, and blow his mind. But if all these ultimate techniques work why do they have to come up with new ones every month? To learn to make love exquisitely, check out this week’s parsha, Kedoshim:

And Aaron will bring his sin offering bull, and he will atone for himself and his household. (Vayikra/Leviticus 16:6)

How to Make Love in Heavenly Bliss

This Sabbath’s parsha tells about the Yom Kippur service (from which comes the term “scapegoat”), the prohibition against eating blood, forbidden relationships, and the holiness of the Land of Israel.

How to Qualify as High Priest

Although many values vary little across the religious spectrum, celibacy creates a dividing line. Roman Catholicism, Sufism, classical Hinduism, and several Buddhists sects embrace physical asceticism. They require rejecting base human desire to reach a high spiritual level.

Not so for the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest serving in the Ancient Temple in Jerusalem. As the first step in the special Yom Kippur service he brought a bull to atone for he and his household. The Talmud teaches household means wife. To become the High Priest, a man had to be married. No bachelors allowed.

The Commandment to Make Love

The first commandment in the Bible appears in Genesis 1:28. G-d tells Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. Lovemaking is established as the foundation for marital bonding.

Several sections of the Talmud discuss a husband’s obligation to fulfill his wife’s needs. Neither the setting nor pre-coital preparation are off limits. Even frequency is covered. A husband must make love to his wife daily unless his occupation keeps him away from home or is physically demanding.

In Jewish law, the purpose of marital relations is having children. In the broader context of married life, spouses should make love to give pleasure and bond.

Contemporary life’s focus on the self is counter to God’s purpose in creating lovemaking. The Almighty wants His precious gift shared by a husband and wife to enhance their union. As the third party to all marriages, when they make love and connect a couple joins with God in heaven.

What do you do to bond with your spouse? Please comment below.

 

Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

How to Repair a Damaged Relationship

3 minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Shir Hashirim/Song of Songs

Marriage is hard. You must communicate clearly and compromise daily. You need the patience of Job and the wisdom of Solomon to avoid arguments. Since I have neither, from time to time my wife and I quarrel. My challenge is finding the path back to marital harmony. Fortunately, readings and practices during this time of year blaze the trail:

I am my beloved’s, and his spirit is toward me. (Shir Hashirim/Song of Songs 7:11)

How to Repair a Damaged Relationship

This Sabbath coincides with the last two festival days of Pesach/Passover. The weekly parsha is a special one from Shemos.  We also read Shir Hashirim, the Song of Songs, composed by King Solomon.  This mashal or allegory is very difficult to understand.  On the one hand it appears to be passionate poetry between a man and a woman.  Yet in reality it is a “duet of love” between the Jewish people and G-d.

Cycles in a Relationship

Shir Hashirim begins with a beautiful young woman getting engaged to, then marrying a king. Shortly after her marriage she is unfaithful and the king banishes her. She enters a “living widowhood.” But the king loves her too deeply to abandon her, so he keeps watch over her and protects her. When she returns to him, resolving to be faithful evermore, he will take her back. Their love will be fully restored.

Allegorically, the bride is the Children of Israel who G-d betrothed when He took them out of Egypt.  They consecrated their relationship beneath the chuppah or wedding canopy of Mt. Sinai and received the Torah. But it was torn asunder by the unfaithfulness of the sin of the Golden Calf. Yet G-d forgave this sin and brought the people into the Land of Israel. They sinned again and were exiled.

Through it all G-d remains ever watchful over His people, protecting us. The Almighty waits for the day we fully repent and return to Him in love.

While most marital fights don’t involve infidelity, the cycle is recognizable. You commit, hurt your spouse, and struggle to find your way back. Then you do it again. To repair the relationship, you have to know what re-committing looks like.

Bonding with Your Spouse

The Rambam, the great 12th century Torah scholar states that Ahavas Hashem (love of G-d) is the highest form of relationship that we can have with our Creator. It is higher than Yiras Hashem (awe or fear of G-d). When we are in love we only think of our beloved. We should love the Almighty with such intensity.

In your marriage, there is no alternative to love for creating an enduring connection. Neither awe nor fear is a sound basis for a lasting relationship. After an argument, the goal is to return to the closeness you had with your spouse when you got engaged and married.

Recommitting to Your Marriage

Shir Hashirim shows you the ideal state. The practice of the counting of the Omer gives you the tools for getting there. Most marital disagreements stem from a lack of loving-kindness or a misapplication of justice. First determine the source of the discord. Then you can identify what’s needed for reconciliation.

Next, call up your humility so you can lead the way. No matter whether you feel you’re at fault, take the first step. Apologize for your share of what happened. Make it easy for your spouse to seek forgiveness. Use compassion to strive for harmony.

Once you have reconnected, begin deepening your bond. Remind your spouse about good times. Relive fond memories. Doing so will build endurance into your marriage.

It’s no coincidence that the middos (characteristics) necessary for repairing damage to your marriage are the ones practiced during the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuos. Each of the following weekly themes is paired with those of the other weeks. On the first day you work on the trait of pure chesed. On the second day work on gevurah-chesed, discipline in your loving-kindness, day three tiferes-chesed and so on each day and week.

Week 1 – Chesed – loving-kindness

Week 2 – Gevurah – justice and discipline

Week 3 – Tiferes – compassion and harmony

Week 4 – Netzach – endurance

Week 5 – Hod – humility

Week 6 – Yesod – bonding

Week 7 – Malchus – sovereignty and leadership

Practice these qualities and skills before you need them. (You can get my free 49 Days to Refine Your Character tool by signing up for my email list). Disagreements in your marriage are inevitable. Make sure you know the steps and have prepared to repair the damage.

What is your process for reconnecting with your spouse after a fight? Please comment below.

 

Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

How to Keep Your Spirit in Balance

2-½ minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Metzora – Leviticus 14:1-15:33

Self-improvement is hard. First you have to figure out what needs fixing. Then, you have to find a system that will deliver results. Because it’s intangible, spiritual improvement is the most difficult. I almost pine for the old days described in this week’s parsha, Metzora:

This will be the law of the metzora on the day of his spiritual purification. (Vayikra/Leviticus 14:2)

How to Keep Your Spirit in Balance

This Sabbath's parsha tells how a metzora, someone with tzaraas (a spiritual disease contracted because a person’s life is out of balance), and a house with a tzaraas become tahor, spiritually purified. It also details how a zav, zavah and niddah become tahor.

The Plague of Spiritual Imbalance

The Kabbalah, a compendium of Jewish mysticism, says tzaraas comes from life being out of balance. An hormonal imbalance causes acne during puberty. It shows up in skin becoming swollen, red, and even pus-filled. So too, a metzora’s spirit is out of equilibrium. It reveals its presence through a leprous-like affliction.

In time, a young person’s body adjusts to the increased hormonal output. Balance returns and the acne goes away. Hopefully it leaves no permanent scars. A metzora experiences a sudden increase holiness. While this is a great thing, it takes time for the person to adjust. Over time the person will rise up to the new level of sanctity and regain spiritual balance. In the meantime, tzaraas serves as a reminder that further work is necessary.

So, the loss of the ability to contract tzaraas is a mixed blessing. It is embarrassing for a person’s shortcomings to be displayed in public. But, he misses out on a tangible motivation to elevate himself.

The Modern Day Alternative

Most people have a default mode for handling life. Is yours one of these?

  • Chesed– Loving-kindness
  • Gevurah– Justice and Discipline
  • Tiferes– Harmony and Compassion
  • Netzach– Endurance
  • Hod – Humility
  • Yesod– Bonding
  • Malchus– Sovereignty and Leadership

In addition to your primary mode, you are probably pretty good at using a couple of the others in this list. The challenge comes when you’re presented with an issue that cannot be handled within your existing frame of reference. Perhaps you tried solving a problem but it blew up in your face instead. Or you’re procrastinating because you do not know how to approach it.

You need to stop trying to force people to enter your world rather than gaining the skills to enter theirs. When you recognize other people’s modes, you have a valuable tool for problem solving. And you’ll avoid hurricanes while navigating through life.

Each year, beginning on the send day of Passover, the Omer is counted. By following it, you have the chance to practice understanding many approaches to life and experience their nuances. Such training prepares you for higher levels of holiness. You enhance your ability to build relationships with other people and the Almighty.

Like any new skill, you must be intentional to grasp it and make it an integral part of yourself. Each night the count introduces you to a new concept that your minds can ponder while asleep. Then you can explore it the next day through deliberate acts according to the day’s theme.

You can get my free 49 Days to Refine Your Character tool by signing up for my email list. Enjoy the benefits of expanding your repertoire for creating successful relationships!

How do develop your spirit? Please comment below.

 

Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

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