Low Battery, Low Performance, and the Maccabees

Tonight is the fifth night of Hanukkah. It’s a celebration of the Maccabees’ victory over a tyrant king in Damascus. The story, retold for 2,200 years or so, is that the Maccabees fought for their freedom for three years. When they won, they wished to rededicate their Temple and to light the symbolic menorah, the flames of which must never go out. Unfortunately, there was only a small quantity of oil to light the menorah, yet that oil miraculously lasted eight days. In those eight days, the Jews were able to acquire more oil and the flame never stopped burning.

Now that was a struggle. The modern day equivalent is when you wake up in the morning, dash off to work and then notice that you forgot your phone charger, your phone is at 13%, and you need your phone to make it to your appointments. Yet by some miracle, your phone stays “alive” for you all day. It’s a miracle, only it’s just a miracle for you, not your entire tribe. And it didn’t involve years of oppression, so maybe it’s not a great analogy, but it’s still a bit of a miracle.

I am amazed at how that miracle of belief and encouragement shows up in the workplace. In November, I conducted a presentation skills class and one participant was terrified. Her partner helped her practice, encouraged her, and generally helped her see each thing she was doing right. At the end of the course, she was able to stand on her own, literally, and make an effective and interesting presentation.

How can you provide the miracle of light to another person in your workplace who is struggling?

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