I’ve had many life-changing events happen to me and I believe that each and every one has led me to the next life-changing event. I’m continuously evolving and growing over the years and one of the things which I often speak about on the Hope to Recharge podcast, is the power of gratitude and how I overcame my own deep depression using this power. Eleven years later, I still practice the power of gratitude each day.
I want to share a story about somebody to whom I am grateful.
When I was 18 years old, I graduated from high school and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life or career. I volunteered at a special education school in the morning, which led me to life-changing event, in which I went to Hong Kong to teach in a Jewish orthodox school. When I returned, I worked in a digital printing company which I liked, but the environment didn’t inspire me. I was unclear about what my pay-check would be each month and I wanted to leave, but I didn’t know where else to go. I was extremely shy and timid coming from an Orthodox Jewish background. Many of my friends were already married with children, which was not the road that I was ready to embark on.
My two elder sisters were married, had children and working for Rachel Dvir. Rachel was an orthodox Jewish woman who owned one of the largest software companies in Israel. She had lost her husband and was a widow with five children. She decided that she needed to start a company to provide for her family and one sister of mine became employed in the finance department and another sister in the programming department of Rachel’s company.
Rachel was a very wise woman and we began speaking to each other regularly, developing a bond. She often gave much welcomed advice and encouraged me to leave my job, take a leap forward and come and work for her. I remember asking her:
‘But what am I going to do at your company?’
By that time, Rachel’s company blossomed and grew and there were several hundred people working for Rachel. I knew nothing about computers. She replied that she’d find something for me and that we’d both figure out what I’d be good at. Once I took the plunge, quit my printing job and began working for her, she advised me to “just follow her for the next few weeks and see where it takes me”. Within a few days, I felt like it was beyond my abilities. I had to follow up on different projects with people in Government and banks and Rachel soon realised that I didn’t enjoy it much, but we really took a liking to each other. Two weeks later, she promoted me to the position of project manager, in charge of implementing software for the companies that we were developing for.
I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. But she told me to keep asking a lot of questions.
Rachel instilled so much confidence in me and the ability to believe in myself. She pushed me beyond my wildest dreams. At one point, I had more than 30 people working under me. She then sent me to a training course to learn Systems Analysis, which that was my next big career! After a few months, Rachel called me in to a meeting and said that she wanted to give me a raise, a company car and a cell phone to use!
I was a single girl and I felt I was living the dream, all because she believed in me and gave me the confidence to believe in myself.
Those few years changed my belief about myself in so many ways. Rachel taught me about being curious, about dreaming big, that it’s ok to fail, how to pay it forward and about kindness. She taught me that I had to be more assertive, strong minded and passionate. If I think of my journey in developing confidence, being more assertive and showing up without doubt, I still owe it all to my mentor, 22 years later, to whom I am exponentially grateful for. Rachel is still my friend and I connect with her often and ask her just about anything and everything. She’s my role model in leadership.
Rachel was the mother of so many people in the company. She deeply cared about peoples’ success, their growth and even about them having children. She took the lives of others around her so personally. I was amazed to learn that she took one of her employees for fertility treatment. She cared about each and every individual whom she knew.
I call Rachel my adopted mother and my mentor. She changed my life. She trusted in me and saw something in me that I didn’t see. I am deeply grateful and a lot of who I am today is thanks to her.
Eventually, Rachel sold the company to one of the largest public companies in Israel. Meeting and working for Rachel was the beginning of so many more huge things that happened in my life. It was all built on the confidence that she helped instil within me – the confidence that we have the power to do big things, that we can learn and that we can evolve. She changed my life when I was only 22 years old and provided me with a huge stepping stone into the future that I have built for myself today.
Many lessons learned often don’t influence our behaviour to others. I can’t imagine the turns that life forced onto Rachel and how she transformed herself into a powerhouse of helping and giving to others. She unselfishly devoted her time and resources to helping so many others, myself included, and making a difference in their lives. I can only try to role model what she did, what she is, because she really made a difference to others.
She really made a difference to me and now, I too, try to make a difference to others.
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