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Rav Noach's Defining Moment

Have you ever been held back from taking action by a fear of failure?

If so, you're in good company.

Many Jewish leaders, with the heavy responsibility, grapple with this fear.

We fear failure in our organizations in various forms...

... not meeting our budget, not paying our staff on time, failing with a new program or initiative, experiencing rejection when we make an ‘ask’, or making decisions that might negatively impact our reputation or our organization's sustainability.

These fears can immobilize us, stifling our growth and blocking our path to success.

But what if failure wasn't something to fear? What if it was, instead, a stepping stone on the path to success?

That’s where the "Failing Forward Mindset", can transform your approach to failure.

This mindset, which embraces failure as a natural stepping stone toward success, was beautifully exemplified by Rav Noach Weinberg zt'l.

As a bochur in Aish HaTorah in the late 90’s, I was deeply struck by his belief that his failures were a pivotal part of his journey toward success.

When asked about how he had achieved so much, his humble reply was always, "I've made more mistakes than anyone else."

His message?

Welcome failure as a key learning opportunity. Because of his greatest failures, he was able to achieve his greatest successes.

His attitude imbued his talmidim with a fresh perspective: Failure isn't an embarrassment. Instead, it's an essential part of the learning process.

So how can we embed this 'Failing Forward Mindset' in our leadership and fundraising efforts? Here are a few key strategies:

1. Embrace Failure:

Recognize that failure is an integral part of growth. In fundraising, each "no" is merely a step toward the next "yes". Each unsuccessful initiative offers lessons to guide your future efforts.

When you face failure, embrace it. Dissect it. Understand what went wrong and why. Learn from others, adjust your approach, and keep moving.

2. Foster Resilience and Stay Positive:

Persist, even when failure rears its head. Don't let setbacks pull you from your mission. Donors are drawn to leaders who show resilience and determination. Your attitude sets the tone for your entire organization.

Maintain a positive outlook and adjust your approach if needed. Believe in your mission, your team, and yourself. Your positivity influences those around you, including potential donors.

3. Embrace Risk and Experiment:

Fundraising often requires stepping into the unknown.

Take calculated risks. Experiment with various fundraising strategies. Discover what resonates with your donors and what truly benefits your organization.

4. Journal Your Failures:

Journaling your efforts, successful or not, allows you to map your future journey.

When reviewing past failures, it's natural to feel a twinge of disappointment. But hidden within are valuable lessons.

They are strategies to refine, pitfalls to avoid, and your personal guide to navigating your unique fundraising landscape.

Remember, the leadership journey isn't always smooth.

Your greatest successes may be born from your most challenging failures. So don't shy away from failure. Embrace it, learn from it, and let it propel you forward.

This week, embrace this 'Failing Forward Mindset' in your leadership journey.

Here's how.

Reflect on a recent setback and write down ...

  1. What went wrong? (or right)
  2. What three lessons did you learn?
  3. What steps will you take moving forward?

Have a great week,



© Avraham Lewis & Co.