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Who Woulda Thunk It?

I attended a lecture yesterday. Given by a Rabbi. I've never willingly attended a Rabbi's oration before, especially since around here, they're often called "shiurim" and I start shuddering involuntarily when I hear that word, since I immediately begin conjuring mental pictures of arrogant men dictating behavior expectations to rooms full of rapt women.

But shame on me, right? Because not all Rabbis are like that, and not all female religious audiences are like that, and thank you, Temech, for helping me embrace this knowledge. It is one of my life goals to become less judgemental (notice I did not say less sarcastic, just less judgemental) and ensuring that I am exposed to all kinds of people who believe all kinds of things is helping me fulfill that goal.

The reason I attended the lecture is because it was titled "Entrepreneurship Secrets of Chabad". Chabad, for those who are unexposed to this movement, is an ultra orthodox Jewish sect (also known as Lubavitch) well known for its outreach efforts in convincing nonpracticing Jews to become more observant. In plain English, these are master salespeople. I mean, MASTERS.

Years ago, when I was interviewing for entry level headhunter jobs in San Francisco, the owner of an exclusive boutique agency asked me what I learned later was her infamous interview question, "Who are the best salespeople in the world?" Well, my answer, "The Catholic Church?" was met with a scowl (I didn't land the job) but I was right then, and I'm right now. Evangelists of every flavor, in every corner of the world, are incredible salespeople, and this lecture was my chance to discover exactly what made Chabad so successful. So I covered my elbows and I covered my knees, and off I went.

Apart from having to dismiss at least 30% of what this guy had to say (not because it was unintelligent or offensive in any manner, but rather because I don't speak Yiddish or Yeshivish, so I honestly had no idea what many of his words meant) he was a dynamic speaker who delivered a message with which I identified.

Although I had hoped to learn about Chabad's sales funnel, its stages, their recruitment tactics and how they optimize conversions (sales conversions, not religious conversions - Chabad, and Jews in general, do not promote conversion to Judaism) he didn't get near any of that. I bet their process is locked up tight at 770, and I can't say I blame them. Any sales organization which has met success like Chabad needs to protect their secrets.

That said, he hit on five critical points that make Chabad successful, and these are the SAME critical points that drive ME. Who would have expected me to share values with Chabad? #Shocker

Here goes:

1. Leadership

Look at life this way: What are YOU doing to take responsibility for your goals, everywhere you go? You are not life's spectator! What are you doing to get closer to the accomplishment of those goals every day, every minute, with every action you take? Leadership is about seizing the moment and moving forward. Stand up. Solve the problem. Move forward. Be assertive about it.

2. Commitment

Your goals are not your goals. They are the embodiment and the very fiber of who you are. Live them. You are either in 100%, or go home. Commit. Own them. They are the core of your life. Invest yourself.

3. Audacity

Obstacles are only presented to you so you can overcome them. Don't be passive. When you hit difficulty, work harder. Meet your audience where they are; find common ground with them. Make them comfortable, even if it makes you UNcomfortable.

4. Integrity

When there's an opportunity to do the right thing, as there always is, DO IT. Every day, consider: what can you do to impact some one's life positively? You are a constant, living example of integrity. You are representing your people everywhere you go. You are a role model. You are not just at a conference to do business. You are there to touch peoples' lives.

5. Change is incremental

Don't expect the world around you to change instantly. Celebrate small wins. Take things step by step and you'll always be happy.

Honestly, if I had to sum up my own principles, it would be a replication of this list. He articulated it better than I could, and while I'm comfortable flying my secular flag (and refraining from judging those who differ) I have to admit and embrace that Chabad values and me? We're now besties.

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