Eli Albrecht shares a beautiful story of opportunities….

On the Jewish New year, we have a custom that I find profoundly liberating. It is applicable to people of all faiths (or no faith) this New Year. 

On the afternoon of Rosh Hashana (New Year), my family went to the river carrying bread. We broke the bread into pieces and threw them in the water. Each of the pieces bobbed to the surface and was carried off by the river. 

Then, we said a prayer (Tashlich) that contemplates the mistakes we make this past year and imagined that like the bread, those mistakes were forgiven and flowing away from us. 

At the time, my son, the skeptic, said, this is nonsense, why would God forgive us because we throw bread in a river? 

I said, how do you know it is God who needs to forgive you and give you a fresh start this coming year? 

So many of us are hauling around mistakes we made this past year and, honestly, it is weighing us down.

We are so critical of ourselves that our perceived failures have built up like calluses. We are carrying the times we yelled at our kids, said something hurtful to our spouse, acted contrary to our values, or just messed up at work. We carry the times we prioritized meaningless goals over meaningful people in our life. We remember and hold onto the times we were dishonest or blurred moral lines.

We remember our failures and it makes us hesitant to take chances this coming year. 

In private equity we say, past performance is not indicative of future results. Similarly, past mistakes are not indicative of future failures, even if our brain tells us so. 

It’s almost a new year. It is time to forgive ourselves for the past year, and let the flow of the river carry those mistakes away. 

We each deserve a fresh start. We made mistakes. Let’s identify them, forgive ourselves, and start this coming year anew.

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