We can stop for a second. We live in a constantly moving society. We’re always out of breath, trying to conquer the next big thing. I grew up in Italy, in a culture that demanded folks to relax throughout the day and enjoy the fruits of their labor. This is our chance to do just that here in America as well. Our bodies and brains need some time off and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Grab a coffee with a client without talking about business or simply take a book and spend some time reading in the middle of the day. It’s time for us to re-establish human contact both with others and ourselves in an effort to clear our minds of all the extra stuff that we shouldn’t be stressing over.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Reuben Ben-Yehuda.
Reuben founded Plus972, a fully-integrated boutique branding and marketing agency, headquartered in New York City with a global presence across North America, Europe, and Asia. Reuben has an entrepreneurial spirit and a progressive philosophy focused on integration, collaboration and crafting custom solutions for client’s needs, which he has integrated into the Plus972 mission. Reuben is specifically experienced in sectors ranging from real estate, hospitality, e-commerce, non-profits, businesses, and more.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
I was born in Milano, Italy, into a family of entrepreneurs. From a young age, I was instilled with the belief that hard work pays off and it’s not enough to just have persistence, but you also need creativity to help you adapt to any sort of challenges that come your way.
I always rushed out of school to spend time with my father and see him “in action” in his office. I loved watching and learning from him as he dealt with challenges and capitalized on opportunities.
After I graduated from Parsons School of Design, I realized I wanted to be more than an entrepreneur. I wanted to help others elevate their businesses, assisting them with disrupting various industries. That, my addiction to growing small businesses, and my ability to recognize possibilities for growth is what led me to eventually establish Plus972, a marketing and branding company with a modus operandi to help businesses and entrepreneurs reach their fullest potentials.
Since the pandemic struck, I have been working alongside my team to get Plus972Cares up and running. This initiative seeks to help businesses navigate these uncertain times by offering consultations and services from experts that can relieve business leaders of operational pressures and assist them with pinpointing a path to success post the COVID-19 crisis.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
It might sound cliche, but the Bible for me has always been more than a book. It’s a lifestyle that I fully revel in as an Orthodox Jew. Every aspect of my life — from the personal to the professional — is inspired by the Bible. The book helps me confront everyday challenges. There must be a reason it’s the most popular book in the world!
I’m particularly fascinated by the Old Testament, both in its purity in terms of structure and language, but also because of the way that philosophers and commentators have been able to truly dissect its on-the-surface, simple stories into life lessons that echo throughout generations.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ weekly reading of the Jewish Bible — Lessons in Leadership — particularly resonates with me. His work is the prime example of religious values being properly applied to everyday life in logical and efficient ways. I find myself constantly recognizing parallels between my life during the week and segments of the Bible as explained by Rabbi Sacks.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
I like to think that, when pressed to adapt, humans access the highest level of creativity at their disposal. I think that’s what will likely transpire when this crisis is finally behind us. In particular, there are plenty of things to be hopeful about:
- There are always good deals to be made when markets shift. Given the crisis that the airline business is in, Amazon, for example, was able to secure a fleet of planes for a relatively low price.
- Empathy has taken center stage. I’ve noticed that people are just nicer to each other and, given that being a good person will likely contribute to establishing a good business, there is no better time to ask others for help and guidance. People are willing to stick their necks out these days, and that’s great news.
- Empathy works both ways. So, although making use of others’ dispositions is certainly good practice, allowing yourself to help others will be widely appreciated during this time as well. After all, we’re all in this together.
- We’ve got time to look into our past. We’re in a historical period that generations to come will dissect and, as the world has hit pause, this has become the ideal time to not only look to our right and left but also behind us. This year, we don’t have to wait until New Years to set up a resolution: the time is now. That’s a luxury we have never been granted before.
- We can stop for a second. We live in a constantly moving society. We’re always out of breath, trying to conquer the next big thing. I grew up in Italy, in a culture that demanded folks to relax throughout the day and enjoy the fruits of their labor. This is our chance to do just that here in America as well. Our bodies and brains need some time off and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Grab a coffee with a client without talking about business or simply take a book and spend some time reading in the middle of the day. It’s time for us to re-establish human contact both with others and ourselves in an effort to clear our minds of all the extra stuff that we shouldn’t be stressing over.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
It’s simple: recognize the issue, take a deep breath, think about the issue widely, refuse to get anxious or angry, and start focusing.
One of the main issues that business owners contend with is stress — especially during uncertain times. It’s important to note that panic and anger are our biggest enemies because they force us to focus on the wrong things. I highly suggest meditating and talking about your issues out loud to help ease your nerves.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
Whatever career path you have embarked on and whatever situation you are in, I highly suggest using a project management tool. I find it to be fundamental in today’s world. We at Plus972 use Basecamp and Monday.com on a regular basis, but I do understand that some folks find the reliance on technology to be counterproductive. To those people, I suggest something as simple as a notebook that you keep organized. When your space and your tools are clean and easy to access, it leaves room in your brain to think properly. I sometimes need to take a break from technology, which is when my good old Moleskine comes to the rescue.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
There is a quote by Italian race car driver Alex Zanardi that has guided me through the years: “The perfect life is the combination of great moments and bad ones, and under that point of view, my life is fantastic because I’ve certainly hit more than one bump.” The idea is that, when bad things happen to us, we shouldn’t get down on ourselves and wonder why it is that we’ve hit a road bump. Instead, we should use that bump to elevate us, turn the situation into a good one and learn to appreciate anything that life throws at us.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I have been so very fortunate to have had a role model as great as my father, although he unfortunately left us prematurely. More and more each year I realize how important it is to have someone to look up to, both for simple advice or to solve problems and make important business decisions. That being said, I’d love to see some sort of global mentorship program take over the world and help those less fortunate than me who can’t count on mentorship from their family and who are looking for genuine, sincere and practical entrepreneurship and business advice. Finding your direction in life is hard, and asking for help to recognize it should be a right for everyone.
What is the best way for our readers to follow you online?
I am not very involved in the social media world but am always open to folks contacting me directly through LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/reubenby/ or via email at [email protected] You can also check out more of what we do at https://www.plus972.com and if you are seeking assistance with rebuilding and recovery post the COVID-19 crisis, please visit https://covid19.plus972.com/
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!