Taking Risks - March 24, 2021

The pace of change in the world today seems to be accelerating. The comfortable traditions and ways of doing things are being pushed to change and adapt at a pace that, at times, can feel hard to keep up with. Learning to adapt involves risk and can feel scary.

Posted
March 26, 2021
Book open with lights pouring out of it

Taking Risks - March 24, 2021

The pace of change in the world today seems to be accelerating. The comfortable traditions and ways of doing things are being pushed to change and adapt at a pace that, at times, can feel hard to keep up with. Learning to adapt involves risk and can feel scary.

Posted
March 26, 2021

JFS Friends – 

The pace of change in the world today seems to be accelerating. The comfortable traditions and ways of doing things are being pushed to change and adapt at a pace that, at times, can feel hard to keep up with. Learning to adapt involves risk and can feel scary. The management consultant and author Peter F. Drucker whose work formed the foundation for how a generation of leaders and organizations approached management once said:

“People who don't take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.

People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.”

At times when I am struggling with whether or not to take a chance, Drucker’s words are often a source of comfort. He is reminding us that “not changing” can be just as big a risk as “changing”. When the world is changing rapidly around us, staying still can itself bring more risk that trying something new and stumbling as we learn something new.

Winston S. Churchill reminds us of the importance of moving forward. He famously said:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Churchill’s words remind us that success is not a destination that, once reached, is permanent. Success depends on us continuing to adapt what we do to the changing world around us.

There is a story about taking risks that I think sums thing up:

A young man was having a difficult year. He was facing financial difficulties which were weighing him down emotionally. It wasn’t long before the stress and anxiety he was experiencing started to impact his social life as well. The man felt that his future was not looking good and that he would truly need a miracle to help him climb out of this hole.

Not knowing where to turn for help, the young man decided to do the one thing he hadn't yet tried - he prayed. Every day when he would go to the synagogue for the daily minyan and he would ask G-d for help.

"Dear G-d, please help me win the lottery. I really need the money, so please help me win."

The young man waited several days and nothing happened. The next time he was at synagogue attending the minyan he pleaded again.

"Dear G-d, I'm not sure if you received my last prayer, but I really need your help to win the lottery. Please help me out here."

Again, the young man waited several days with no results. So he returned to the synagogue once again. This time his prayer had an increasing sense of urgency and desperation.

"Alright, G-d, I've asked you twice, but it really seems like you aren't listening to me. I asked you to help me win the lottery, but I still haven't won. Are you even listening to me?"

What happened next truly shocked the young man. He heard a voice. Perhaps the clouds parted and G-d spoke from above, or perhaps the Rabbi overheard his prayer and spoke up, but the young man finally got his answer.

"BUYA LOTTERY TICKET!"

As this story reminds us, there is help all around us, but we have to be willing to take the first step in order to move forward.

As we move forward as an organization, and as a community, there will be times when we feel stuck or don’t know the best way to move forward. When those times arise, it is important to remember that there is help all around if we are willing to ask for it and are willing to take a chance.

Wishing you courage, strength and a little luck.

Take care,

Carl

Carl Josehart's signature

Carl E. Josehart, MSW (he/him/his)

Chief Operating Officer

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