Driving up to Jerusalem with one of my mentors and Board members, Ian
Fisher, we discussed the importance we put in self-analysis and self-
criticism, and the essential need for objective constructive criticism
from others, both re. personal management and strategic substance.

Being a CEO in charge of taking ultimate decisions and guiding your
team, it is very valuable to find team members you trust to give you
earnest feedback re. your internal management. Board members, peers,
and mentors are also invaluable sources of feedback.

But the most important source for keeping grounded is the internal,
constant analysis of your own actions, behavior, ideas and failures -
not to chastise yourself but to help you improve. A self-imposed
methodical and introspective daily examination of the day – through
prayer, meditation, writing, or structured thinking – is healthy.

Precisely when you are succeeding the most, that is when self-
criticism is most vital to keep you grounded.

.

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[I am often asked for career advice by students and friends searching
for what to do with their careers, so I will start sharing thoughts as
the below for those interested - you may find the advice is worth as much as you paid for it]

The obvious advantage of choosing as your job something that you are
passionate about and gives meaning to your life is that you are never
bored, that you get a lot of fulfillment, and that you derive that
very meaning.

A lot of my friends that chose a more traditional path after law
school some times complain about the long hours, lack of fulfillment,
and lack of ‘meaning.’

But there is also a less noticed corollary to each of the above.

Living your mission can be addictive and dangerous because it turns
your job into an obsession and you into a workaholic. It is hard for
you to find as much enjoyment in a lot of otherwise rewarding social
activities when you derive so much fulfillment from advancing your
mission. And so your responsibility as a social entrepreneur is to
force yourself to have some non-work space with your friends and
family – and with yourself, lest the fire of your passion burn you out.

The positive corollary to the negative of having a job that doesn’t
give you as much fulfillment is that you can complement your work with
after-hours hobbies and social activities that will give you
fulfillment.

I personally feel very lucky to be able to truly (and not as a
gimmicky marketing fad) combine social and business objectives, which
is unfortunately not as frequently done. I would not change my path
for anything else – what I do with PeaceWorks and OneVoice is what I
would choose to do if I could choose anything in life.

But no one path is superior. As you evaluate your professional path,
it is optimal – indeed important – that you find something you can
ENJOY doing. It would be a shame if you are otherwise miserable at
work, and it is likely to make you perform badly.

But beyond the minimum requirement for your job that it be something you enjoy and care about, finding ‘meaning’ withing your vocation or through outside pursuits is a very personal decision.

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Today we filmed our first scenes of the “We Are Standing Up” viral video we are planning to release as a teaser for the October 18th OneVoice Summit: One Million Voices To End the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

It was great seeing the energy of all involved, the real commitment, and the real awakening that happens in peoples’ actual lives, when they get involved with our message even if through film…

 The sound guy, who never had known about OV till today, started debating with a group of 4 Israelis who initially would have rathered been left alone – and told him so.  In the end, he signed them up and they got involved.

Gil Shamy, the OVI Executive Director, recruited a couple dozen people to join us for the recording.  And Ayelet Daniel quickly followed up to get them to wear OneVoice pins and get them to sign the OneVoice Mandate.

This is the power of OneVoice, that people start recognizing their power and potential for change, and we just need to keep going till we achieve critical mass and tip the point.

Today’s filming was in Tel Aviv, on Rothschild Street – which is actually a beautiful avenue.  We had a grandmother (played by Savta Dotty who blogged about us) stand up from her knitting, a pregnant Mom stand up for the future of her kid, and a few others who you will have to wait to see.

 Yesterday in Ramallah I planned the filming with the Palestinian team and hopefully we’ll complete the filming on both sides within a week to two at most – and edit right away, to release by second week of September.  If it ends up looking the way I have envisioned it in my mind, I think it will be an energizing blockboster that will really awaken people.

It starts from apocalyptic depression and inaction,

moves on to an internal awakening,

which results in each individual STANDING UP To End The Conflict

and culminates with ALL PEOPLE joining together as OneVoice to Stand Up….

Then it cuts to invite the viewer: Join Us on October 18th.  You, too, Stand Up…

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Doc Paskowitz Crossing Erez Checkpoint to Donate Surfboards

12 surfing boards were delivered by Doc and David through Mowaffaq’s facilitation, amidst enormous media attention.  Here are a couple, amidst hundreds of stories that were picked up on TV and Newsprint:

New York Times Story – Prescribing Surfboards for Peace

 The Guardian Story – Reuters – Surfer Promotes Israeli-Palestinian Peace

 And a couple pics, some public and some from behind the scenes:

Mowaffaq Crossing with Boards

More pics here:

Dorian being interviewed, David watching over

Mowaffaq from OV Gaza and Ayelet from OV Tel Aviv

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Watching the interaction between Shlomo Artzi and his audience, now I
understand why he is seen as THE foremost icon of the Israeli people.

He is as big a star as they come in Israel – without any doubt the #1
choice of the Israeli people – and yet he has this warmth &
approachabiliry & comfort in his own skin, to be loved by all. More
so, Israelis seem to relate to him as their favorite member of the
family.

Sent from my iPhone – pardon typos
.shlomo-concert.jpgnew-image.jpg

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Check this invitation out:

http://blog.onevoicemovement.org/one_voice/2007/08/save-the-date-o.html

 We have been working on this for close to a year!  We have been dying to share this with the world for so long, but waited and waited till we could be strong enough to guarantee that we will pull this historic event off!  Now is YOUR time to join us and find your way to help us make this a historic TURNING POINT - the day the moderates stood up in unison, said enough, and propelled their heads of state to achieve an agreement within one year at most!

Momentum is crazy.  I can barely sleep with all the work, and yet not even feeling it b/c of all the adrenaline of all the great people wanting to sign up and join and contribute.  Lots of roller-coaster-type challenges every day, and so many frustrations and worries and apprehensions.  But net-net, this thing is going to make a very strong impact in the psyche of the region and the world – the first time ever when a moment in history will have a shared narrative for the Palestinian and Israeli people!

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The Boards Made it through to their intended recipients!

 Mowaffaq, Ahmed, Mohammad with surfing boards from Dorian

Now Americans David and Dorian are heading tomorrow morning with Ayelet Daniel from OneVoice Israel to deliver a lot more boards for the Palestinian surfers to be able to teach others to surf, with coordination from Mowaffaq Alami, from OneVoice Palestine in Gaza. 

They are also hoping to surf together in Jaffo later this week!

Surfing for Peace will have an official launch on October 18th in partnership and coordination also with the OneVoice Summit – www.OneMillionVoices.org – and the campaign to reach One Million Voices to End the Conflict!   David and Dorian may be bringing world-famous surfer Kelly Slater to surf with them here, along with an entourage of world-famous musicians who will perform that night at the OneVoice Summit in Tel Aviv.  David may perform his OneVoice song that night also. :-)

Suddenly there is a lot of media commotion and CNN, ABC, and others are trying to do a story on this.

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So, not only did we locate the Gaza surfers and their federation, but through the amazing work of Adi Balderman of OneVoice-Israel, we were able to secure permits for one of their representatives to come meet with David, Doc, and Arthur, who is Doc’s loyal apprentice and also a very good surfer, who also runs a surfing magazine in Israel.

The meeting started a bit weird because the “representative” was not a surfer himself, which took David and Doc aback. But they quickly learned that he was indeed representing the surfing federation, because Ahmed Abu Hasera and Mohammed Abu Jayab were not able to get permits that quickly, and were actually scared to go to Israel – they have never left Gaza before.  When Mowaffaq called Mohammed and Ahmed on the cell – all excitement took them over and they started planning how to really help surfing take off.

 I love these guys – Doc and David.  They are savvy and sincere at once.  Doc brings the wisdom of the 86-year old surfer and teachere that he is – and he explained that if surfing could take off in Gaza, it could generate tourism, jobs, etc.  But above all, it would help build a bond that no politician can break – a bond of freedom riding the waves.  David brings the heart of gold and purity of a citizen of the world – his commitment is so pure that he makes all barriers come down.

 So, before you knew it, Doc, David, and Arthur, arranged to get some surfing boards donated to the guys in Gaza – and Mowaffaq was kind enough to try to get them through.

 Mowaffaq from OneVoice with surfing boards for GazaYou can imagine that when Mowaffaq tried to cross Erez, he had a bit of a challenge.  He spent over two hours trying to carry the boards across.  The officer on the border said he had never seen this before, and Mowaffaq said there was always a first time.  Eventually, Adi Balderman interceded and convinced them to let Mowaffaq through. 

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Every time I visit the OneVoice office in Ramallah, I am happy to meet my colleagues who are so talented, hard-working, courageous, and committed to our shared mission – really an exceptional bunch.

Every time I visit the office after an absence of a week or more, I am greeted by kisses by the men, not by the women.  And depending on the village or city that each person comes from, I get two, three – or, in the case of Abu Rami, FOUR kisses – one cheek, then the other, then again the first one, then again the other.

Abu Rami comes from a small village and does not speak English.  He is the office’s janitor and jack-of-all trades, and he comes from a very humble background, so I make a particular effort to connect to him.

Abu Rami always offers me “babounish” to drink – chamomille tea – and he sincerely gets hurt if I don’t take him up, so I always have to be prepared for Babounish, a few times a day.

In our own way we’ve developed a warm relationship, and he seems to get particularly excited and proud when he sees me leading a meeting.

Last Thursday there was a lot of movement in the office because the OneVoice staff from Gaza had come to visit with their colleagues in Ramallah, something which is hard to organize, so we took advantage of the opportunity to do some in-depth strategic planning.

Abu Rami is modest and reserved in general.  He self-selected to appropriate a tiny closet into his mini-office, where he tends to do small chores when no other task is needed.  This happens to have been located right across from where I was seating, and I found it particularly charming that Abu Rami kept smiling and winking at me from within his tiny “office” throughout the staff meeting – so I couldn’t resist and I took a picture – which delighted him even further.

Can you find him? (you may want to click on the picture and zoom in)

Abu Rami behind the scene

Just in case you want to meet him more formally, here is a picture of the charismatic and sweet Abu Rami in his “office” (a lot of the boxes you see behind him are filled with OneVoice Mandates filled out by signatories and Citizen Negotiators, which we keep in their original form for auditing purposes):

Abu Rami in his “office”

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Sometimes I stop to reflect on how far we’ve gone to implement one powerful but seemingly implausible idea (building a grassroots movement of moderates determined to push to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), and yet how far we have yet to go to achieve our mission, and I wonder if I really have what it takes.

OneVoice has grown from a fledgling idea with a few dozen supporters, to a movement with close to 500,000 signatories, 3,100 youth activists, and scores of dignitaries, celebrities and luminaries behind it.

 And yet, when the lights are dimmed, when the logical and methodical mind is resting, when the bravado tires, and when I am alone to wind down, I often get scared as to what I have taken on.  And I doubt myself.  Can I really help pull this off?  Can our team really execute on this bold undertaking?  What if we fail? What if the people don’t show up? What if the luminaries don’t take the bold step to inspire them? What if the people don’t care? What if I make some fatal mistake in planning? What if I disappoint all of our supporters and friends?  What if a war breaks out? What if our team succombs to the internal or external pressures? What if we don’t have what it takes?

Then I breathe again.

And I realize that if we don’t try, we will fail by simply shying away from the responsibility.

I realize that this is not about me or about OneVoice but about the future of our peoples.

I realize that while there are no guarantees we will get to the finishing line, what is guaranteed is that we will not get to the finishing line if we don’t take the first step.

 I realize that the power we are invoking is greater than anything anyone ever has relied on in this region - the power of the people – and that if we are able to channel the frustrations of millions of moderates into constructive energies towards ending the conflict – nothing and nobody will stop us.

I realize that there is no alternative but to succeed, because the future is too stark for humanity if this conflict does not get resolved.

I realize how much inspiration I draw by seeing how people always rise up to their responsibility – how even the most skeptical and cynicial ultimately will do their part.

I realize we WILL ABSOLUTELY get there – even if it will take a lot of work.

I realize there is nothing magical about doing this – other than the magic of determination and sheer depth of belief and conviction.

…I realize I better go to sleep (3:22am!) b/c I need to wake up in 5 hours or risk being late for Gil and Ayelet!

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