Watching the movie Suffragettes made me into a feminist. Of course I always believed in women having completely equal rights and security as men but I never gave it much thought. But watching that movie brought me to the horrifying understanding of the alternative, which isn’t a fantasy. It is how it was in the past, with women working for substantially lower wages, working harder, dying from diseases they developed from terrible work conditions, having no protection against rape by husbands, having no rights on their kids, etc. etc. Horrifying.
Since I saw that movie I’ve become much more sensitive and conscious of potentially being treated differently because I’m a woman. I currently live in a very male-dominated world – working in a coworking space where I’m often the only woman and a lot of my friends today are wonderful men.
And one thing I seem to notice is that many men shake hands with each other but not with me. Like, within the same 30 seconds two men might shake hands and then nod at me.
I don’t know how to feel about this. I have felt a little annoyed by it but I’m not sure it’s such a bad thing. Men and women are different and no matter what we do, I’m pretty sure there will always be that awkward tension between the two sexes (well, besides with gays which is a different story, of course) and although I do prefer to shake hands in most cases, there is something nice about having that little bit of distance.
At the same time, it’s just a hand shake. If the person is religious then that’s completely different but there are many non-religious (or at least not outwardly religious) men who have that extra distance and that is a little strange to me.
Entrepreneurship is very important to me. It is this lifestyle that opens up the opportunity for me to develop the ideas I have, work with the people I want to and influence the things that really matter to me.
But it’s also a very difficult lifestyle. I am often trying to figure out not only how to put one foot in front of the other, but which direction to put that foot in. I am forever competing with self doubt in a lifestyle that demands constant decision-making, a balance between ideas and practicality and, of course, all this with the infamous uncertain and unknown future staring right back at me.
I’d like to share some of the philosophies that, when actually practiced, give me the strength to get through the day-to-day life as the woman roaming the streets of Jerusalem, consciously (and self-consciously) offering narrowly-defined services, dreaming of an innovative business with a colleague and almost always juggling too many things at once.
I hope you find this list useful.
1. The impostor syndrome isn’t only bad (most things aren’t only bad)
Many of us are walking around life sure we’re about to be found out as the frauds that we are. We feel like we don’t know enough and we aren’t professional enough and we marvel at the fact that people take us seriously at all.
But recently I saw a new way to look at the impostor syndrome which made me realize the upside of this painful phenomenon. Namely, that if we feel like we don’t know what we’re doing, it is a sign that we’re pushing our limits and trying new things. So, maybe we’re feeling like a newbie because we really are always learning and trying new things, which is a good thing!
Here is the animated gif which I love that inspired this thought:
2. Be really forgiving of people
While working on building up my own thing, there is little space for pettiness. It’s a world of imperfect people and being suspicious or feeling resentment towards them for making mistakes or being inconsiderate, dooms me to a life of tab-keeping. It takes too much energy and people really aren’t usually that bad.
Of course that doesn’t mean we’re never going to get upset and that there aren’t times when it’s important to get upset. But I often experience first hand the benefits of letting things slide and moving on.
3. Keeping self-absorption to a minimum
Working for myself, being my own manager and having to make decisions constantly, are all things which bring up a lot of feelings about myself. I am so aware of the responsibility I hold all on my own that my successes and my mistakes hit home very hard.
And I find it best not to dwell.
I love how my latest blog post came out? Yay! Next. I made a big mistake with my taxes last year? Oy veis mir! Learnt my lesson big-time. Moving on. I think I came off sounding a little stupid in that meeting? Ugh. Anyway… That excellent piece my colleague wrote was based on my idea? Clearly I do know what I’m doing! Woo hoo! MOVING THE FUCK ON.
Because, like in #2, we could spend our entire lives keeping tabs, trying unsuccessfully to figure out if we’re the bee’s knees or impostors indeed, and that’s a waste of a lot of perfectly good energy.
4. Be happy for (and learn from) others
I grew up being taught to “fargin” people their achievements and successes. Only in my adulthood did I find out that fargin is a Yiddish word, not an English one (and it is also a popular Hebrew word – לפרגן). It means to be generous of spirit and to feel truly joyful for people and their accomplishments and good fortune.
For some reason it scares me when others do good work, as though it is a sign that I missed my own boat of success. But I’m aware of the fact that this is a narrow-minded view of the world and so I think it’s good practice to show support to people in their work and celebrate their successes with them. And, of course, we can always use their successes as learning opportunities for ourselves.
5. Always on the lookout for excellent people
Work relationships are intense and important and one of the benefits of independence is having more control over who we work with. Namely, I want to be with professional, kind and idealistic people who I truly respect, trust, enjoy, admire and can relate to.
This might sound like a lot to ask for and sometimes I feel like my pickiness might hold me back, but I also realize that this is of utmost importance to me. And when I do meet people who fit my criteria, it is often exhilarating and with (relative) confidence we can move forward together.
6. Doing things I enjoy
Sometimes I could spend an entire week trudging through annoying work. But this isn’t the reason I’m where I’m at and at those times, I like to ask myself, “What could I choose to do with my time right now that I’d enjoy?” and I try to do that work instead.
When we stop for a moment and make sure to spend time on things we enjoy, that means we can still be productive but also create something which wants to be created and and it will inspire us to continue on.
7. My support network only goes so far
I have a wonderful support network of colleagues, friends and family. I rely on these people often and often heavily, but I have understood over time that the buck stops somewhere. In every situation, at some point we must stop talking, take control, believe in our abilities to make good decisions and move on.
8. Finding inspiration
As many people close to me know, I am in a near-constant state of asking “Why?” Why am I doing what I’m doing? Does it even matter? What does anything matter? Is this where I want to be putting my time? How do I make that decision?
To say the least, this is a strenuous place to be and I’m always looking for ways to either answer the questions, quiet the questions or give a constructive place for them. This is very personal and each person needs to find their own sources of strength and inspiration but here are a few ways in which I inspire myself:
b. I listen to talks and read pieces which touch upon the philosophical and psychological issues I deal with. For example, Krista Tippett’s interviews on “On Being” with deep thinkers from around the world (like this one with David Steindl-Rast where they talk about what gratitude really is) give me the opportunity to find insight into the issues that often sit in my subconscious and not feel alone with my questions.
c. I talk to people who either can relate to my internal process helping me understand and appreciate them more or can offer me different perspectives on them, helping me evolve over time. For example, it is one particular friend who has helped me respect my questioning and understand how it contributes to the work I do, taking mine and my colleague’s ideas to deeper, more innovative places.
d. I remind myself that this is not the last dance but instead just one movement in the composition of my life. Everything has worked up to this point and is continuing to work up to some future unknown point.
9. My personality isn’t a hindrance
Sometimes I get upset at myself, for certain personality traits I possess, and I think that they hold me back. For example, my constant questioning of “Why?” mentioned in #8 has often infuriated me since it makes me lack the carefree spirit which I have idealized in other entrepreneurs as their way to move forwards without always looking back or thinking too much.
But I am reminded, also via the tools I mentioned in #8, that who I am is the reason I do what I do, not the thing that gets in the way. For example, my sensitivity and awareness towards others, though tiring and intense, often allow me to connect with people in wonderful and inspiring ways.
I think that when we’re upset about certain things about ourselves, it’s a good idea to stop for a moment to ask ourselves how these traits might also contribute towards our goals, hopes and dreams, not only holding us back. Because the more we respect who we are, the more we can tap into our unique selves and create our own unique work.
How about you?
If I had written this list a few months ago, it would probably look different. It’ll probably look different in a few months from now too since the things I’m dealing with change and I’m always looking for new ways to deal with the challenges and continue to grow. What helps you stay strong, persevere and carry on?
I’m currently participating in the JCC Association’s Innovation Lab: Jerusalem. I’m meeting dozens of dedicated JCC leaders from the United States who’ve come to Jerusalem to be inspired by local talent and initiatives and I’ve had the opportunity to get an up-close look at so much of Jerusalem’s innovation.
During these days I’ve thought a lot about what I do, shared my ideas with participants and it has helped me realize more than ever the importance of my work – both my social-cultural events and my Jerusalem events listing. I’ve also understood how these projects could probably be beautifully extrapolated to JCCs as well as other settings.
But this is not all as rose-colored as you might think.
I just spent the last two hours lying on my bed, staring at my Facebook newsfeed, and refreshing it repeatedly; anything not to deal with “reality.” Actually, even yesterday, as I was enthusiastically talking to people about what I do, I wasn’t actually doing what I was supposed to be doing. Namely, I was supposed to finalize dates for my upcoming events but I didn’t. I pushed it off yesterday and I didn’t take care of it today. Because for all the excitement and understanding, my cold feet remain. You’d think it would be the easiest thing in the world to set the date for my next event when I’m in the zone of feeling like my work is nothing less than a personal mission. And yet instead, just like every time before this, actually doing it, is feeling like a huge leap and yet again I need to work hard to muster up the courage to take it, which sometimes works and other times doesn’t.
It almost seems that there is a downside to dreaming big and feeling inspired. Over the last couple of days we’ve talked about great successes and grand dreams. But in the end, every success and dream is laden with that nitty-gritty work and that frustrating up-hill battle. And that’s not to mention the not-so-grand dreams, well, projects, that simply still need to get done. And yes, there are some people who consistently push through their challenges with their goals always in the forefront of their minds. But many others – myself included – get scared, wondering if it’s worth it, forget why we’re doing it.
The transition from inspired to mundane is painful. Inspiration is created by looking at the big picture. The grand picture. The meaningful picture. And getting things done is about the hours of wording a Facebook event, finding the right person for a job, managing said person, figuring out financing, trying to sell your idea to others, etc. etc.
And so after the conference is over and we settle back into our regular lives, I guess we’ll all sit back down at our (messy) desks, and along with our limitations, concerns, struggles and fears, we’ll put our noses to the grind and get back to the good ol’ mundane stuff, awaiting there patiently for us inspired souls, with the hope that something has shifted towards at least one of our grand dreams.
Some articles speak to me so much that once they’re opened in a tab, it’s hard for me to close them. Once my computer starts slowing down because of all the open tabs, I know it’s time to say goodbye. No! Don’t make me do it! So I thought, why not share the wealth with my readers? And that’s what I’ve decided to do. I hope you enjoy these amazing articles I’ve come across over the last few weeks.
You’re Just a Dumbass is a blog I just found which is about dating (found it after the author “Liked” one of my pieces on Habitza.com). She is definitely more crass than me but she’s quite insightful. Here is the best line from this post:
…[Men] don’t say to themselves: I’m not pretty enough, I’m not at the sexiest at the moment, I put on some weight, or whatever else that would stop them from trying to get what they want.
Here is a piece with a few simple tips for figuring out if you’re on the right track or not. I loved reading it because it made me feel great about the direction I’m currently taking at a time when I can use all the positive reinforcement I can get. She starts by saying you should ask yourself two questions:
1. What am I really good at? 2. What can I be passionate about for a really long time?
And then she gives more tips on how to get to the bottom of it. Read more.
I admit I’ve had this one open for a while already, to remind myself about my inner thoughts that could definitely lead to major nervousness, if not a nervous breakdown. The writer mentions destructive thoughts like:
If people really knew me, they’d hate me–and probably want nothing to do with me.
This funny-cuz-it’s-true comic strip depicting 12 kinds of procrastinations. Of course it’s not as if I can relate to all 12 of them, or anything like that. Why would you even think that? Check it out. That is unless you haven’t yet admitted to yourself that you’re a procrastinator, just like the rest of us. :)
My first post in Hebrew. Ever. No need to correct mistakes though thanks for the offer. :) And to the English speakers, good luck with Google Translate.
זה הפוסט הראשון שלי בעברית. ולמה זה קורה עכשיו? כי היה לי רומן והוא קצת שינה אותי. מה זה רומן? זה קשר שמשנה אותך לטובה. שגורם לך להבין קצת יותר מי את ומה את צריכה ולמה את מדהימה וחכמה ומבינה וטובה ויפה.
אז זה קרה. לא כל כך ידעתי שכאילו דברים באמת קורים, רומן שנמשך שעות בודדות, אבל הנה קרה. וזה שבכלל יצא לנו להפגש במשך היום הבודד הזה זה מדהים. כי לא התאים בכלל שנפגש. לא לי ולא לו. אבל הבנו שכדאי, או סתם רצינו משום מה, אני חושבת שטיפה הבנו שיש משהו בינינו. אז הוא בא לירושלים מרחוק ואני נפגשתי עם חילוני גמור גמור (מבחוץ) שחי חיים שונים מאד ממני.
אבל רק מבחוץ זה שונה. מבפנים זה דימיון מפתיע. אבל זה לא שינה שום דבר בסוף. אין מה לעשות, דברים חיצוניים הם מאד חשובים והיו עוד המון דברים שעמדו נגדנו וכתוצאה מכל הגורמים, הרומן היה בר יום בודד בלבד. אבל איזה יופי שהיה את היום הזה! מישהי נעימה מלמעלה כן הרשתה לנו פגישה אחד. פגישה חמודה ושונה ונוגעת ללב.
ואני עצובה אבל זה קצת שינה אותי. לטובה. זה עזר לי קצת יותר להפרד ממשהו אחר שתקוע לי בלב. זה גרם לי להבין מה חשוב. זה נתן לי טעימה של איך יהיה עם הבחור הנכון וזה עזר לי לדעת שאני חייבת לא להתפשר על הדברים הלא נכונים (טוב, זה הוא אמר לי בפירוש). זאת אומרת שאני חייבת להרגיש מוערכת ומדהימה עם הבחור שלי. אני גם צריכה מאד להעריך אותו ולראות כמה שהוא טוב, טוב, טוב. וחכם רגשית וחכם אינטלקטואלית. ואני צריכה להרגיש שפשוט בא לי להיות איתו. ושפשוט בא לו להיות איתי. ואני צריכה להרגיש שאני יכולה להיות מאד פתוחה איתו ולראות שהוא מאד פתוח איתי ושנעים להיות פתוחים אחד עם השנייה.
רומן בר יום. מי היה מאמין… זה הסתיים בעצב. הוא אמר לי כל מיני דברים נוגעים ללב על כמה שהוא שמח שהוא פגש אותי ונתנו אחד לשנייה חיבוק וירטואלי ואיחלנו אחת לשני המון טוב.
וזה היה הסוף. אבל ברוך השם על החוויה ששנתה בי משהו, שקצת פתחה אותי, קצת גרמה לי להעריך את עצמי יותר, קצת גרם לי להבין את עצמי יותר, ואולי טיפה גם את העולם. ואני מתפללת שזה עשה גם לו משהו טוב.
אז להתראות, חמוד. הסכמנו בדייט היחיד שלנו ששנואות על שנינו פרדות. והנה הזדמנה לנו פרידה.
Amira Young wrote a post explaining how she could have known that her marriage wasn’t going to work based on signs she shared with her readers in said post.
Amira, I would not be surprised if you did in fact have a gut feeling that something was off in the relationship. But I’m not convinced that the signs you shared in your post are them.
1. You knew how, when and where he was going to propose.
It doesn’t sound like he did anything wrong. I actually think it sounds pretty nice and romantic. I’m serious. The problem is there is an expectation that everyone should do the American-style proposal. This is a pretty unfair assumption. If that wasn’t his cup of tea and he didn’t have it in him to do it, face this fact. He is not romantic in this way. (You say he wasn’t romantic in any way but that’s too vague to refer to.)
So, either take it because he makes up for it in other ways, or leave it because maybe this is something you really need.
Also, everything needs to be a discussion. Theoretically, during your dating period you could have explained to him what kind of romantic gestures you enjoy and want. And then you could have seen whether or not he attempts to do things for you based on what you like. I can’t know whether or not you tried that.
2. The family insisted on having a kosher wedding
There are a lot of people who keep certain traditions at important occasions (like men wearing a kippa during the wedding ceremony). It is more about how you and your groom dealt with the whole thing, rather than the outcome, that would be telling.
But having a kosher wedding could be purely a nice gesture towards your heritage. It in itself doesn’t say anything about your in laws and definitely not about your ex.
3. He only had one friend to invite
Some people don’t have many friends. I’m not sure this is a bad sign. The strange thing is that you only found out about this when you were doing the invitations. How did you get that far in your relationship without ever meeting his friends or at least talking about them? That seems to be a red light regarding your relationship, not just him.
4. You were “forced” to wear a white dress
You wrote: “[I] acquiesced my wants and desires just to make everyone else comfortable.”
In general no one should feel like they’re being forced to do anything in a relationship. If there is a disagreement – even if it supposedly only has to do with you and you could wonder why he should even have a say in it – then there should be a discussion/argument and then you should reach an agreement that makes you both feel OK.
The way you felt about it is a very bad sign. Again, not necessarily (though possibly) about him. But definitely about your dynamics.
5. He didn’t want to wear a flower
You say his argument was childish. But maybe your argument about your wedding dress seemed childish to him. Why do you need to be able to relate to his reasoning? The huge problem is the fact that you felt such a lack of respect towards him in regards to this. You can’t marry someone towards whom you feel such disrespect.
I also don’t get what the big deal is that once he realized his brother wore one at his wedding, he decided it was OK. Why do we always need to be 100% logical and make purely “mature” decisions? He probably never thought in his life he’d wear a flower. He sounds like he’s not the type of person to notice what someone else is wearing and so the theoretical idea seems girlie. But hearing that his brother did it puts it in perspective and makes him realize it’s OK.
And… Wasn’t that nice of him to give in in order to make you happy? I wonder if he felt that he acquiesced his wants and desires just to make you comfortable.
6. He wasn’t involved in the wedding planning
Meh. This could go either way depending on the dynamics between you guys.
7. He hugged you at the end of the chuppa
That is so sweet. My heart breaks to think that maybe he’s more traditional or private than you and instead of enjoying the show of affection, you deemed it as not enough (and at all connected to your sex life – I’d assume that at this point you knew what your sex life with him was like).
Of course I can’t really know what his reasons were but definitely, the hug in and of itself is a fine and lovely thing to do at the end of a chuppa.
Sorry for sharing such strong opinions about your piece. I feel like you didn’t write the real stuff and honestly I’m happy you didn’t because that’s between you and him (and it would probably not be fair to him to air your dirty laundry online).
And meanwhile, until you figure out the real issues (or maybe you did and don’t feel comfortable sharing them publicly), it’s so important not to learn the wrong lessons from our past relationships. And your post definitely is a sign of wrong lessons learned.
Beshert = destiny or the individual you’re destined to marry
Part of me has felt very bitter over the years for having to remain single and go on so many dates.
But lately, for some reason, my heart has opened enough that I’m able to feel nostalgia about the experiences I’ve had with the guys I’ve dated, especially those I dated for longer periods of time. I’m really not sure what has changed but suddenly I’m finding myself feeling more aware of the gratefulness I feel towards the men with whom I’ve had meaningful experiences.
Although they were not my Beshert, I now see them as my besherts – those with whom I was destined to be in relationships.
The first boy I really dated… We were both so young. He was (well, still is, I’m sure), very sweet. A truly gentle soul. My feelings towards him didn’t match his towards me but I was complimented to have a good boy have such strong feelings towards me. This was the first time I had to communicate openly with someone. I remember one time writing down on paper what I wanted to say and having to partially read it off the paper because I was so scared to open up.
Sadly, I broke his heart which in turn broke mine.
Then there was the guy I dated who was the first to drill into me the importance of openness and honesty in relationships. It was exciting to start finding out that there are men out there who want as open a relationship as I dream of having.
Then there was the guy with whom I really learned to communicate. He would sit patiently while it sometimes took me hours (literally) to get out what I wanted to say. I found out later that every time I took forever to say something, he was sure I was breaking up with him. Poor guy. He had real strength of character. He was my first real and extended relationship. We were together for over a year. We did so many things together and matured a lot together. We were both committed to making it work.
The two main things I always feel gratitude towards him for are the fact that with his seemingly infinite patience, he (very slowly) taught me to become a better communicator. And the other is that he started helping me understand that I am attractive.
Then there was the more recent guy who was so good to me. He just wanted to be with me, to make me happy. He made me understand some of the important traits I need in a partner. Someone who doesn’t play games. Someone straight forward, very giving, caring, loving and affectionate. Feeling cared for was a very important experience for me.
And now I have someone new to add to the list. The last few days I’ve been thinking about the guy who just broke up with me last week. Our time together lasted less than two weeks but there was something about it that made it feel longer.
With this guy I got a glimpse into what some moments might feel like with my Beshert. I really got to experience with him those fun, exciting dates that I don’t dare hope for. The ones where you make them laugh and they make you laugh. You have good conversation and you’re proud to walk down the street with them. He also made me feel very attractive – something that apparently I am taking a very long time to learn. There were beshert qualities in our dynamics and this has made me feel like I lost something, even though it was all so quick and it probably couldn’t have worked.
It’s liberating feeling endearment towards these men. Maybe none of them were my Beshert but I must admit that they did enrich my life forever by letting me experience them.
I think that one of the things I don’t like about networking is that most of us feel the need to act perfect while doing it. Since the supposed goal of networking is to help get yourself business or, at the very least, leave a good impression, being clumsy, acting with a lack of self confidence or, worst of all, acting clueless, is a big no-no.
Lets see some rules for networking that make me want to hide at home. These rules have been paraphrased for anonymity and brevity:
Say something memorable so you’ll be remembered later.
Although I might remember someone who had something interesting to say, the people I’ll remember actively will be 1) nice and 2) have something to say that connects to me in some way. If you try to impress me, I’m outy (and annoyed).
People qualify either as: Potential clients, source of referrals or interesting-but-nothing-more. Realize that not everyone will be a prospect. People can also be useful in other ways.
I really hate the using aspect of networking. I guess it’s the same reason I dread singles events. Instead, be nice, be friendly. Let us learn new things from each other. Don’t treat me like an object through which you can acquire something and I won’t treat you that way.
Always act like you’re on a first date. (From here)
Sounds too difficult if you ask me. And misses the point. Again, you want to be a trust-worthy, kind and professional person. So be that person and then be yourself. OK, a little more difficult than dressing up and waxing the car, but much more to the point.
OK, so what tips would I give for networking? Here ya go:
Be a nice person (not a bad idea for any area of your life). In general, people want to work and associate with nice people.
Act and speak honestly. Don’t be fake and don’t suck up. Try to give an honest picture of who you are and not to put on too much of a show.
Talk to people, and look them in the eye, even if you don’t think you’re going to get anything out of them.
Don’t forget your business (or personal) cards. They are so useful.
Know how to explain what your company does and what you do in not too many words.
Don’t talk about yourself too much.
Those are my rules for networking. They basically comprise being a mensch and carrying business cards. I made it easy so you can remember them easily.
It is 100% normal these days to temporarily and periodically fade out of a real conversation in order to”quickly” check what message just made your phone vibrate or beep or sing a song. Of course, you’re likely to answer the message too while you’re at it.
Accepted, maybe. But cool? Not so.
This video is super kitchy but so true that it more than makes up for the kitch. I think that a lot of us are on both sides of this rude coin and it seriously is about time that we got a hold of ourselves and asked ourselves why we’re so desperate to check our messages so obsessively.
A question: Who do you feel worse for when you do this to people or see others doing it: kids or elderly people?