Friday, December 28, 2007

What the Talmud Says About Lasagna

"A light for one is a light for one hundred." - Talmud

As profound as the Talmud is, it doesn't speak to me as clearly as food does (did I mention I'm Jewish?). When I read this quote, my first instinct was to go long -- what profound meaning could we find in being a light unto the masses, how could we lift the darkness for one or one hundred, what unique gifts do you have that you can be sharing with more people...

And then, lunchtime came. Which meant that the Talmud was clearly talking about lasagna. Not just any lasagna. My husband Michael's lasagna.

Michael makes a MEAN lasagna. It's got all the standard stuff in it -- cheeses, spinach, sauce, eggs. It's got an added twist (a dozen cloves of roasted garlic, which makes for good eating and infrequent kissing on lasagna night). And it probably has some other stuff that I don't know about, and likely don't need to know about. In fact, when I suggested the addition of some more spinach the other night, Michael said as respectfully as possible, "could you just let me do it myself???" Hmmm...sort of sounded like one of our 6 year old, it sounded like someone who knows what he is doing and is saddled with living with a professional coach.

But I digress...

If Michael had just made his lasagna for our family's eating enjoyment, dayenu. It would have been enough. A light (meal) for one (family). But here's the thing. We invite people over a lot. And Michael makes his lasagna. So for my sister-in-law Rachel, who doesn't cook, lasagna night at our house is a huge treat. Really. A light for another family. Dayenu. And then we (he) started making an extra pan each time, to give to Rachel. But wait -- then Rachel asked if she could come over on Sunday and have Michael teach her how to make the lasagna so she could have it any time she wanted, and cook it for others. Give a girl a lasagna and she eats for a day. But teach get it. A light for many more. Nice. Dayenu.

But here was where the light shone even brighter: Our good friend Amy's son is having his Bar Mitzvah next Shabbat, and Amy (having experienced Michael's culinary magnum opus) commissioned Michael to make several pans of his lasagna for her extended family's post-simcha celebration! Would we send her the list of ingredients and she would go to the story for us? she suggested. Could she write us a check to cover labor and materials? she offered.

No way. Michael's pleasure and honor to be a part of the simcha. From a humble tomato and noodle comes my husband's light unto a hundred (well, 25+ aunts, uncles and cousins, but you get the gist.)

Yes, I will resist the urge to go long, except to ask you: what are you currently enjoying that others might enjoy as well? Post here!

And of course, Es gezunterheyt! (Yiddish for Bon Apetit)


Do You Know Your Top 3 Goals for 2008?

Take the free 5 Minute Quiz and download your Free Goals Report!

Get it here:

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Is an elephant rope keeping you from getting to goal?

See? I told you there would be more to the elephant story (and if you don't know what I'm talking about, check out my previous post:

You've got a goal, right? And with that goal comes a list of excuses for why you can't make it happen. Check your list of reasons why not -- and I'll bet you'll find an elephant rope.

When baby elephants are brought into the circus, they get a rope tied around their leg to keep them from running away. And it works pretty well (I mean, how many times have you heard on the news that a baby elephant escaped from the circus? Exactly). Now, when that elephant grows up, it can weight between 3 and 6 TONS -- one firm yank of the rope, and that elephant is off! Except that the elephant stays put. Why? Because she has learned over time that the rope will keep her from running off. Even though it's no longer true. Even though she has it within her power to move at will.

What elephant ropes are keeping you tied down? What excuses do you have, and firmly believe to be true, where a simple reality-test -- a firm tug at the rope -- would show that the only thing holding you back is an old belief? Who can you test this with? What might be possible for you if it turns out that you are truly stronger, braver, and more able than you originally believed?

Keep me posted.


Do You Know Your Top 3 Goals for 2008?

Take the free 5 Minute Quiz and download your Free Goals Report!

Get it here:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Who is on your Personal Board of Directors?

"Ask your team; they know the answer." -- Chuck Carlson

That's great advice -- if you have a team. And I'll bet you just might not have thought about it that way. I think of my team as my Personal Board of Directors.

Non-profit corporation law states that the Board of Directors has three primary duties: Duty of Care, Duty of Loyalty, and Duty of Obedience.

Duty of Care: A board member has the duty to exercise reasonable care when he or she makes a decision for the organization. Reasonable care is what an "ordinarily prudent" person in a similar situation would do.

In your personal life, who would you trust to make good decisions with you, or even for you, if need be? Who would regard your well-being as highly as her or his own? Is it mutual?

Duty of Loyalty: A board member must always act in the best interests of the organization, and never use information gained through his/her position for personal gain.

In your personal life, who acts in your best interest? Who is loyal to you in your absence? Who's got your back?

Duty of Obedience: A board member must act in a way that is consistent and aligned with the goals of the organization, and be faithful to its mission. The board member is also trusted with fiduciary management aimed at fulfilling the organization's mission.

In your personal life, who suppports you in developing in your own unique direction? Who gives you room to grow and well as acts as a touchstone for your core personal values? Who would call you on your BS -- or step if if he or she saw you going down a path that might take you away from yourself? And who would you trust with your most personal information -- health decisions, financial data, etc.?

Take a few minutes to think about it. Who is on your Personal Board of Directors? Why? And have you told them?

I guess there's nothing wrong with blogging for board recruitment, right?

Hey, Wendy...can I officially recruit you to my Personal Board of Directors?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Goals Interrupted: Notes from a Funeral

Despite the fact that I had a to-do list a mile-long today, my day was disrupted by a funeral. The brother of a friend, young guy, 3 kids, heart attack - never saw it coming. And the fact that my work day was interrupted by an event I didn't and couldn't plan for clearly paled in comparison to a life interrupted. Lives interrupted. Changed forever.

I paid a shiva call this evening, and found myself talking with the eldest daughter of the man who passed away. Despite the fact that it is a small world -- and an even smaller Jewish world -- we were suprised to find that we had attended the same High School, Stuyvesant, and even the same Junior High, Robert F. Wagner -- 10 years apart. New York is not that small -- and it felt bashert to have something to talk about that would provide a welcome distraction.

As we mused about teachers we shared, I started to remember the plans I had made for myself so many years ago. I was going to be a doctor (and not just to make my mom kvell). I was a serious science student, a decorated science fair champion, and had an addiction to Trapper John M.D. reruns that set the course for later med-head addictions to E.R. (during the Clooney years only), Grey's Anatomy, and even Scrubs. I followed those plans up through my freshman pre-med year of college, when I realized that organic chem might only be foreshadowing for future academic horrors to come.

I had had lots of plans, and of all the plans that I made, only one concrete youthful plan actually came to fruition -- being a mom. And I can honestly say that I don't look back on any of the plans that I made and then changed, interrupted or ignored with regret. I do know that the one plan I actually fulfilled is the one that has defined my life the most.

We never, ever know when we will run out of time to fulfill our plans, our dreams, our goals. What goal have you achieved that most defines who you are? What else do you want to achieve? What are you waiting for?

And how can I help?

Take the free 5 Minute Quiz and download your Free Goals Report!
Get it here:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Do You Know Your Top 3 Goals for 2008?

Take the free 5 Minute Quiz and download your Free Goals Report!

Get it here:

Get Moving on those Goals by Eating Elephant Steaks

Few things stop us as much as the start.

Face it: you can set all the goals in the world, but actually taking the first step towards achieving it can be the biggest hurdle of all. Often the goals we set are difficult, complex, or ask us to make tough choices. So we don't even start.

Here's a piece of advice that has helped me, and many of my clients, get started on goal attainment: Think of elephants.

Of course…elephants! Elephants??? What about ‘em?

Here's Elephant Tip #1: Eat elephant steaks. It’s nothing new, and it’s based on the old, old joke, “How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time!”

I know, I know…not kosher…(the joke OR the elephant).

Think of the goal as an elephant, and then cut that elephant into steaks. Steaks that are substantial enough to be noticed on your plate, but not so big that they choke, stuff or scare you. Then cut that steak into bite-size pieces, and eat one at a time.

Try this approach:

Goal #1: ____________________________________________________________

Elephant Steak 1:______________________________________

    • Bite 1:_______________________________________________________
    • Bite 2:_______________________________________________________
    • Bite 3:_______________________________________________________

Elephant Steak 2:______________________________________

    • Bite 1:_______________________________________________________
    • Bite 2:_______________________________________________________
    • Bite 3:_______________________________________________________

Elephant Steak 3:_____________________________________

    • Bite 1:_______________________________________________________
    • Bite 2:_______________________________________________________
    • Bite 3:_______________________________________________________

...and so on.

Having trouble cutting your elephant into steaks, or your steaks into bites? Ask a friend, family member or someone you trust to help you cut your meat. Just like in the old days!

Wondering what Elephant Tip#2 is? Stay tuned...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Make Your Resolutions "Green Light" Goals

Whether you want to lose weight (again), end a relationship (find a keeper this time!) or get out of debt (more gelt with less guilt?) -- your first step is identifying a goal that makes you want to GO towards something.

What? Isn't that obvious?

Not really. Think about the differences in these goals:

Lose 15 lbs. vs. Feel confident and attractive on the beach next summer
Get out of debt vs. Gain enough financial freedom to buy an apartment or house
Stop working in a dead-end job vs. Find a job that fulfills my professional passions

See the difference?
Green Light Goals give you a clearer picture of where you want to go by creating a compelling, appealing positive vision of a future state.

It works -- and I'm not alone in prescribing this. In his book,
"Change or Die: The Three Keys to Change at Work and in Life", Alan Deutschman shares decades of scientific evidence that shows that positively reframing life's challenges can put us in the driver's seat on a faster track towards goal achievement.

So here's some coaching homework:
  • Write down 3 goals you have for the New Year
  • Re-write them so that they make you say "Yes! I want to do that!" That's how you know you have a Green Light Goal
  • Brainstorm the Red Light actions -- or inactions -- you associate with the Green Light goals (such as "Stop drinking at happy hour" as part of "Feel more attractive at the beach")
  • Replace those Red Lights actions with new Green Lights (like "Have a wine spritzer or seltzer" instead of "Stop drinking")
  • Post those Green Light goals and actions someplace where you can see them every day. As Confucius said, "The palest ink is better than the sharpest memory."
If you need support, try this with a friend, family member, therapist or coach.

And post it here!

A new relationship. A job transition. A healthier habit. No matter what you want to achieve, you need specific and engaging goals, identification of your natural strengths, anticipation of potential roadblocks, and a clear strategy to get you farther faster. My Jewish gives you an interactive, interpersonal, action-oriented process to take your personal and professional life to the next level.

Why a Jewish coach?
Why not?