James and Ilana’s beautiful Jewish wedding had the exchanging of the vows, followed by the photos of friends and family – all fairly enjoyable and standard (apart from the vows being in Hebrew, so I didn’t understand them).
Later on, we went to our dinner tables and waited for the bride and groom. They glowed with unbridled joy as they entered and then we all started dancing. I say all, everyone hit the dance floor except me.
Lesson one – Get out of your comfort zone
I’m in my 40s, so I don’t dance. When I do, I look like Shrek: no rhythm, clumsy and really not appealing. My wife dragged me, quite literally, kicking and screaming onto the dance floor.
I was terrified, however, like most things scary, it’s not that bad once you get started and then I enjoyed it so much, I started singing as well. Sure, I was out of tune and many people moved away from me, however, it’s amazing what you can achieve when you face your fears instead of hiding away in the corner.
Lesson two – Spend time with successful people
Over dinner, I had the pleasure of speaking to successful sales managers and, over dessert, asked a few business people for advice. It took me five years to get from sales manager to group sales manager and I don’t plan on waiting another five years to become director.
Many of the people I spoke with gave me recommendations of excellent books on leadership, which I’m now reading. They also advised me to turn off social media until lunchtime and no email until 10am, so you finish the most important task without distraction, something I’m proud to have implemented. It’s amazing how much you can get done.
Lesson three – The food of the Gods
Most people I know have one job title, yet have more than one job. Many marketing managers also run events and PR, while most sales managers I’ve worked with manage teams and sell. Constant pressure of work life means diet often consists of fast and easy junk food.
At the wedding I took the time to enjoy all the delicious food, from salmon and asparagus to chicken and vegetables, and even mouth-watering melon, pineapple and grapes for dessert. All fresh, delicious and it gave me plenty of energy for more dancing. At work, I’ve stopped eating junk – instead, a healthy packed lunch and fresh fruit rather than chocolates and crisps are giving me more energy to perform at my best.
Lesson four – Be grateful
Many managers I do business with dream of working a 35-hour week, but instead many of us put in 45-55 hours with commuting on top and often spend Sunday evening prepping the week ahead. Life’s so hectic, when you add family responsibilities on top, so it’s easy to complain.
Listening to several hilarious speeches, making new friends, excellent customer service at Radisson Blu, eating delicious fresh food, made me realise how incredibly grateful I am to have my life.
And gratitude matters whether you’re outside or inside work. A positive attitude and appreciation for others will always help you achieve more.
I can’t wait to experience my next Jewish wedding to see what else I can learn.
Niraj Kapur is group sales manager at publishing house Caspian Media
Elsewhere, one entrepreneur revealed how the military prepared him for the world of business.
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