Friday, December 12, 2008

Mid-Year Reflections

Six months ago, I engaged in reflective practice at the end of my first year as a “Jewish Educational Consultant.” At that time, I articulated some things I would “do differently” in this coming year. It’s worth taking a mid-year look and see how things stand at the mid-point of the year. Let’s see now:

I’ve decided to build in structured time to stay on top of the logistics involved in running a business. 9 AM on Monday mornings didn’t work. Well I structured a different time and day in, but I’m still not REALLY doing this. Time to think about new options:
  • maybe asking a friend to help with the accounting piece (?Do I really want someone else getting in to my financial stuff? What would be the emotional cost of having a friend involved?)
  • maybe working with an acquaintance who’s a life counselor (?Maybe I need to be accountable – sorry for the pun – to someone else?);
  • maybe just quit messing around and do it?
On the positive side, I’ve set up a separate calendar on my PDA for invoicing purposes; all my receipts are in one drawer (even if they’re not entered into Quicken), and I’ve learned to cross reference invoices and checks received.

I’ll set up a process for new clients, so I can track whether I’ve opened a file or begun a project without forgetting any details. I’ve made some (small) progress here by setting up separate “binders” in my OneNote program – it enables me to save notes from phone calls, emails and download research directly from the Internet and save it.

I’ll revise the curriculum and materials for the long-term teacher training classes I’m running AND have them ready to go before the first class. DONE! – but the classes were cancelled because we didn’t have the enrollment the grantor required.

I’ll review and assess the format I use in other workshops, in order to model how one can teach to different learning styles. I’ve begun to do this – repackaging some of the workshops I’ve done in the past; using some new technology. It's actually been kind of fun!

I’ll look for a few other consultants here in the area to network with on a regular basis – for support, brainstorming, and collegiality. This I HAVE done – I’m now meeting/talking semi-regularly with three separate colleagues. It’s good to be able to bounce ideas around and to get energized when I hear what others are doing.

I’ll update and expand my website to more accurately reflect Morah Mary Consulting. I did revise the website this summer and even signed up for a search engine enhancement… BUT I didn’t follow through with the suggestions resulting from the analysis. It’s on my to-do list for this winter break.

Okay – what are some other things I’ve been involved in that weren’t on that list:

Pro-bono work – I’m working with a group that was in a period of crisis this summer, guiding them through the process of visioning and then articulating what they’re looking for in a new director.

Tzedakah work – As a co-director of Mitzvah Heroes Fund, we’ve watched our Fund collect and distribute over $30,000 in less than 9 months. We’re well on our way to getting our IRS 501(c)(3) status approved. In the last week, with a co-director, we’ve presented programs to two separate groups in this area.

Personal – as a personal tzedakah project, I knit scarves for homeless men and women who are sheltered by an interfaith group of religious institutions in Howard and Prince George’s counties in Maryland. One of the participating institutions is Oseh Shalom, where I worked for four years. It’s been my custom to knit scarves for the guests to have during the weeks they are housed at Oseh. So far, I’ve completed 18 men’s scarves and 3 women’s scarves. My goal is 2 dozen men’s scarves and 18 women’s scarves. The first guests will arrive at Oseh at the end of January. I’ve got a little time left – but not too much!

Personal study – With a friend and fellow-congregant, I’m co-chairing the weekly Torah study sessions at our synagogue, Tikvat Israel. Our primary job is to organize things so that each week someone leads the discussion on the Torah portion. It’s been fun…. but I’m thinking maybe it’s time for me to volunteer to lead another session – I haven’t done that since before Rosh Hashanah.

More reflection later – I’m “reflected out” right now!

Shabbat shalom.

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