The High Holidays are a time for introspection and self-improvement, in which we beseech God for a favorable judgment for the coming year.
– aish.com’s home page
I recently met a restaurant owner and I remarked on his great success in drawing in customers with high-quality food and customer service. He told me, “I wasn’t always successful. I had to close several restaurants early in my career and start over.”
Curious, I asked him, “Did this affect your self-esteem and ability to continue?”
His answer has stayed with me. He said, “I don’t have a rearview mirror. I keep moving forward.”
I share this story as the High Holy Days draw near because Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur give us an annual opportunity to make positive changes in our lives, to reflect on the past year, and to move forward in the coming year.
I believe that to make positive changes, we must reflect on the past year, both the good and bad, to access what worked, what needs improving, and how we can proceed. I agree that looking in the “rearview mirror” for too long can keep us there, but observing our mistakes and flaws on a yearly basis can be highly beneficial.
Here are some questions I ask myself during the high holidays:
• What accomplishments am I proud of this year?
• What growth have I seen this year, both personally and professionally?
• What lessons have I learned?
• Have my words or deeds been hurtful? If so, can I make amends?
• Have my words and deeds been helpful? Can I appreciate and kvell over those moments?
• Where has God’s hand shown itself in my life this year?
• What has been the gift in any struggles I have encountered?
• What goals and dreams do I have for the coming year?
We can ask these questions anytime, but the high holidays give us a special time, place and space to take an “aerial view” of the whole year.
PATRICIA RASKIN, owner of Raskin Resources Productions, is a media host, coach and award-winning radio producer and business owner. She has served on the board of directors of Temple Emanu-El, in Providence.