Author Archives: Leah

Get Over the Imposter Syndrome without Faking It

In a popular Facebook group inhabited by Israeli working moms, the imposter syndrome is a perennial guest. A talented writer, whose words make people cry, feels like an imposter when reading our people’s prolific writing. A successful university lecturer shares her surprise, when her candidacy is raised for a teaching job elsewhere. And the crowning glory of female inadequacy feelings, the imposter mom syndrome, the debilitating thoughts of not being good enough to parent our own kids, make frequent appearances.

Conventional wisdom suggests that it precisely the more talented and capable women that are most likely to suffer from the imposter syndrome. Driven to achieve from an early age, they look around, see how others look so successful from the outside, and feel like fraud in comparison.

The most common advice, “fake it till you make it,”  actually makes things worse. Faking is precisely the art of the imposter.  Consciously pretending to be good at something, when we don’t feel competent in that area, undermines our authenticity and makes us feels deceitful.

The other problem is that our culture upholds a binary outlook on success. Either you are a zero or a hundred. There is no middle ground and no process. If you are faking it till you make it, you will continue to feel like a zero until you “fake” it through the range and magically make it to the hundred. This attitude is not only false, but completely counterproductive.  It implies that so long as you don’t make it to some imaginary standard, you remain a zero. That you are not good enough as you are. That to be successful, you need to play games.  This only reinforces our feelings of inadequacy.

Finally, faking it assumes some kind of an idealized “it.” The approach suggests that only once we become “it” will we be worthy to do our work, feel competent, and experience success. Yet the “it” is illusive. Like the proverbial donkey with a carrot tied in front of its nose, the more progress we make and the better we become, the more the ideal seems out of reach. As we grow, we surround ourselves with more accomplished peers and look up to new, more advanced role-models. By the time we reach our desired goals, we have already set sight on new ones. This turns “fake it till you make it” into a source of frustration, instead of a solution.

The reality is quite opposite. Accomplishment is a process. There is no zero and there is no one hundred. There is no ideal “it.” You don’t fake your way to success, you work your way to it. And you are completely authentic, real, and worthy no matter how far you have come. Even when you fail.

During these weeks of sefirat haomer, as we move from the Exodus from Egypt on Passover towards receiving the Torah on Shavuot, the Talmud’s description of what transpired on Sinai gives us an insight into this process (Shabbat 88). The Sages relate that when Moshe went up to heaven, the angels protested G-d’s intention of giving the Torah to imperfect human beings. G-d asked Moshe to provide an answer.

“What’s written in the Torah?” Moshe asked the angels. “‘I am the L-rd your G-d, who took you out of Egypt?’ Have you been down to Egypt? Have you been enslaved to the Pharaoh? What good would the Torah do to you?”

Moshe then goes on to cite the various commandments in the Torah and to show how these are only applicable to tempted human beings and completely irrelevant for the perfect angels.

The angels’ argument is precisely the voice of the imposter syndrome in our head. It says that you can’t receive the Torah, or by extension you cannot be involved in significant work, experience success, and perceive yourself as accomplished until you become perfect. The voice claims that you have to become an “angel” (whatever that angel looks like to you) to be worthy of doing what you are doing.

Moshe proves quite the opposite. The Torah (or our work) is meant precisely for the people who are imperfect, for those of us who have to deal with the grime and challenge and the pain of “Egypt.” Each of us is enslaved to our own personal “pharaoh,” whether it be fear, low self-esteem, lack of knowledge, unproductive behavior, or a bad character trait. Setting our sights high and striving for new altitudes, be it in observing the Torah or in  reacing a goal we have set for ourselves, is precisely the meaning of real, authentic, and productive life.

The way to get over the imposter syndrome is to start thinking of accomplishment and success as a ladder with many rungs. It’s not a place; it’s a journey. As you travel on the path, with its hills and valleys, ups and downs, you become better at what you do. And like with any journey you need a map.

Instead of faking it to make it, just work to become it. Here are some tips for doing so.

  1. Figure out your next goal – take a few minutes to sit down and picture in your mind your next desired level of achievement. Close your eyes and see yourself there. What does it look like? What are you doing? What do you know? Whom are you serving? How does it feel? Why is it important for you to get there?
  2. Map out the path – honestly ask yourself what skills and knowledge you need to get there. Do you need to brush up on something technical? Do you need to overcome an internal objection? Are you afraid of failure? Are you scared of success? Is there a gremlin in your head that tells you you can’t learn that/do that/be that? Do you need to kick a habit?
  3. Create a game plan – think what you can realistically do to improve yourself so as to reach your goal. This can include reading books, taking courses, getting a mentor, apprenticing with someone, volunteering, and working with a coach or a therapist. Decide how much of your resources (time, money, and emotional energy) you can invest into the improvement process right now. Even if it doesn’t sound like a lot, go for it. Whatever work you do will take you forward and you never know what will happen there.
  4. Get supportive friends – surround yourself with people who already appreciate you for who you are and who will be able to both share words of inspiration and honestly, but gently call you out when necessary in a way that you can hear and accept.

Above all, do it! Working proactively to reach your goals (even if you don’t succeed initially) will make you feel proud of yourself for going forward, despite the fear.

There is no better way to be true to yourself and kicking the imposter syndrome.

So what steps are you going to take to reach your next level?

This article first appeared in The Times of Israel.






How to Talk so Your Client Will Listen

Simply put, order to reach the clientele you want, you need to have a compelling message. Perhaps you have heard that term before, I know it is kicked around the business world quite frequently. In case it is not ringing any bells, a compelling message expresses what your company is all about. It answers: Continue Reading

Redefining Marketing: A Process

The truth is, many business owners hate marketing. They despise it, yet they know it is necessary in order for them to capture more clients. They associate marketing with having to push clients into buying their product, with cleverness, trickery, sleaziness. They hate marketing, simply because it feels unpleasant. Another reason that small business ownersContinue Reading

4 Concepts for Finding Your Ideal Client:

4 Concepts for Finding Your Ideal Client:

When I ask most business owners to identify their ideal client or ideal client group, they don’t have a clue. They are all too happy to sell to anyone and everyone. The problem is that if you don’t know who is most likely to buy your products, you don’t know where to look for them.Continue Reading

The Unique Business

In order to get your entrepreneurial dream off the ground, you must first understand the concept of a unique business. When it comes to a unique business, I notice that many people get off on the wrong foot because they do not understand how to see their business from the point of view of theirContinue Reading

6 Ways to Solve Your Biggest Business Problem

6 Ways to Solve Your Biggest Business Problem

It’s keeping you up at night. It is clouding your thinking. It looms large on your desks and obscures everything else that needs to be done. And it pushes you to the brink of despair. You biggest business problem can be lack of money to pay for basic expenses, not enough clients, debt, or lowContinue Reading

How to find a mentor to propel you to success

It’s cliché by now that if you want to become successful, you need find a great mentor. Recognizing the importance of mentorship, Pirke Avot council us to find ourselves a teacher and obtain a friend. Both of these are powerful strategies for doing our best work. A mentor will not only give you advice. GoodContinue Reading

Have you showed up today?

About 15 years ago, I applied to head the office of our mayor. Seven other people wanted the position, most of them much more qualified and experienced than I was. But qualifications and experience didn’t come into play. The municipality asked the eight of us to take a psychometric test to help them choose theContinue Reading

Lady, give yourself a break!

At a workshop, the other day, I met her – the old version of myself, circa 2003. She was harried and disoriented, had a to-do list the size of the Atlantic, and kept running to the phone, as if each ring could bring the client that would turn her into a success. She couldn’t payContinue Reading

Beating Overwhelm with Hire, Outsource, Delegate!

Are you overwhelmed and tired? You don’t have to do it all yourself. In fact, the most successful business people are the ones who realize their boundaries and get other people to do the less lucrative work for them. They’re not wrung out. They’re still A-ok at the end of the day, ready for anyContinue Reading

Getting Your Words Perfect – BizChizuk Song

For business owners these days marketing = content. Words are a big thing for you. Copy-writing for your website, talk for your workshops,  ideas for your blog, small talk at networking, convincing arguments for your clients, negotiating. That’s a lot of talking! And sometime we feel intimidated. We don’t know the right words to say or are afraid ofContinue Reading

Thank You Hashem – BizChizuk Song

We start off each day with Mode Ani, how much do we really think about thanking God for all the amazing things we have in our life. Our families Our talents Our physical possessions Our friends Our faith Our clients Our drive to bring good things into the world This gorgeous song is a reminderContinue Reading

Count Your Blessings – BizChizuk Song

The passing of Reb Dovid Winiartz last week came as a shock as it did to so many people who knew him. Over the past year, I had a couple of business-related conversations with him, but walked away with a distinct feeling of having had spoken to someone special. Then i came across him onContinue Reading

Developing a New Product: Jump in or Perfect Some More?

Today I met a young developer, who is developing a new online product. He told me he’ll skip the trial version  and will offer the perfect program from the start. Sigh! Many small business owners waste a lot of time obsessing about developing their new products  to “perfection” before actually selling them when they could be already making money.  In thisContinue Reading

Hashem has given you a mission- BizChizuk Song

Hashem has given you a mission- BizChizuk Song

Hashem in His infinite kindness has given each one of us so much knowledge, skill and ability with which to serve Him by serving His children. The more we concentrate on serving Him through our business and work, the less we get stuck in the rut of our ego and fears. He has faith in our ability toContinue Reading

Event planning business in Israel with Adena Mark – Spotlight on Biz

Event planning business in Israel with Adena Mark – Spotlight on Biz

Today’s interview is all about the event planning business in Israel, with Adena Mark from A to Z Events. Hi Adena, Please tell us a bit about yourself Adena Mark, from Long Island, NY, moved to Israel 10 years ago with 5 children and a husband. Today I have 6 children, and we divorced 4Continue Reading

A song to my clients – BizChizuk Song

A song to my clients – BizChizuk Song

For the longest time, I have wanted to say thank you to all the amazing women, whom I have been privileged to meet while working on LoveYour.Biz. My clients, networking group members, workshop participants, blog readers, colleagues, and friends have made this journey incredibly enriching, educational, satisfying, meaningful and FUN. THANK YOU!

Have You Thanked Your Husband Lately? – BizChizuk Song

Have You Thanked Your Husband Lately? – BizChizuk Song

Let’s face it. Without our family’s support we wouldn’t get far in this business thing. If your husband has helped you, encouraged you, supported you, loved you, put up with you, when was the last time you said “Thank YOU!” If he hasn’t, have you told him how much it would mean for you ifContinue Reading

Who’s the Boss? – BizChizuk Song

Who’s the Boss? – BizChizuk Song

So you know when we get REALLY stuck? When we think we are the ones running the world. The other day I spoke to a client, who is stuck in a bad deal. She knows she has to get out of it ASAP, but she’s just too scared to fail and so she’s digging herselfContinue Reading

Thank God it’s Shabbos – BizChizuk Song

Thank God it’s Shabbos – BizChizuk Song

“I have a precious gift in My treasury and it’s called Shabbos” No matter what our life situation is, Hashem keeps showering us with gifts, big and small. Shabbos is one of them. It’s an opportunity to set the work aside and start being, not just doing. To spend time with our loved us. to readContinue Reading

Life-Work Balance – BizChizuk Song

Life-Work Balance – BizChizuk Song

Life-work balance? What’s that??? With so much on our plates, how do we manage it all? Let’s face it, we don’t. But it helps to know that we are normal and that we face the same challenges as other moms out there.   How do you keep your sanity? How do you preserve your life-work balance?

Spotlight on Biz – Therapist Batya Yaniger

Spotlight on Biz – Therapist Batya Yaniger

Therapy is a very crowded business both in Israel and in the US. It comes in lots of flavors. but I have found Logotherapy, the field that Batya Yaniger specializes in, to be the most interesting and positive. It also has echos the Torah’s approach to self-development. Here’s Batya’s take on therapy and business. Hi Batya. Great having you here!Continue Reading

There’s Hope – BizChizuk Song

There’s Hope – BizChizuk Song

Things are getting a bit rough? Don’t lose hope. You are not alone Want to suggest a song that inspires you? Drop me a line. What’s your source of encouragement?

The Sunday BizChizuk Song

The Sunday BizChizuk Song

I am starting another series, called Sunday BizChizuk song, in which i’ll share a song from my playlist that’s a source of inspiration for me. Want to suggest a song (with an honorable mention)? Email me.   Life is curly. Business is curly too. And it’s easy to get lost. We get stuck all the time.Continue Reading

Spotlight on Biz – Rebecca Sigala

Spotlight on Biz – Rebecca Sigala

Have you ever considered what it’s like to be in business with your spouse? Well, here’s how one couple does it. Photographer Rebecca Sigala shares her perspective on business, art, and some stuff in between. As always, if you know of a great biz to be featured? Drop me a line. Hi Rebecca. Pleasure to have youContinue Reading

Women’s entrepreneurship in Israel [VIDEO]

Did you know only 5% of Israel’s working women are business owners? More on that and women’s entrepreneurship in my interview for Israel Hayom Insider:

How to Keep Bad Customers from Pushing Your Buttons (Part 1)

Let’s face it. We love our customers, except when we don’t. Along with great customers, sometimes we get one or two of those bad customers that take all the fun out of running a small business. Then again, even if the customer is OK, you may still have some bad customer interactions. Small business owners spend so much time complaining  about bad customers, you’d think that this isContinue Reading

Letting go of the Yezter Hara of Self-Doubt

The other day, I had an intense conversation with one of my clients. She shared all the negative thoughts, all the self-doubt about her ability to succeed, all the reasons why her business will never take off. The funny thing was that the negativity was completely out of sync with the amazing progress she isContinue Reading

Spotlight on Biz – Hilary Faverman

A couple of weeks ago, I strolled down Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall in search of something to eat that’s not a sandwich or pizza and came across a new Anglo-owned muffin place (more on that another time). That’s when an idea hit me – why not feature stories of other Anglo small businesses in IsraelContinue Reading

Don’t read this if you are not overwhelmed…

O-V-E-R-W-H-E-L-M-E-D. This is how most of my friends describe themselves. They have a lot on their plates; work, kids, housework, social obligations, chesed, spiritual growth, and the list goes on. They have been to time management workshops. Read all about time management tips. But they don’t seem to work. With everything cramped into our lives,Continue Reading

3 Critical Steps for Getting More Clients with Blogging

We have all heard that blogging is a great way to build your business. That “content is king!” That writing good content will turn you into an expert. Many business owners set up a blog in the hopes of becoming a popular writer. They have dreams of thousands of readers visiting their site daily andContinue Reading

Will Shlissel Challah Get You More Parnassa?

Will Shlissel Challah Get You More Parnassa?

The origins of shlissel challah are a hot topic come the week after Passover. Hailed as a segula for parnassa by some and dismissed as a leftover from a Christian custom by others, the discussions get as heated as the oven-fresh bread itself. So let’s get it straight. Shlissel challah is a loaf of bread bakedContinue Reading

5 Ways to Get More Clients in a Way that’s Right for YOU

Do you know a small business owner who dreams of getting more clients, but is earning peanuts? More often than not, instead of educating herself about marketing and business development, the owner is copying what others are doing. And you know who gets paid peanuts… “Everyone has a blog – I must get one too.”Continue Reading

Marketing is a lot like Yoga

This week I realized that building a business is a lot like yoga. Funny, right? A couple of months ago, against all odds, I joined a yoga class. If you are thinking of someone standing on one foot, eyes closed, and arms held high over the head in a tree position, yes that’s me. BalancingContinue Reading

8 Ways to Get More Clients to Your Business

Have you ever thought who your favorite clients are? What would you do to get more clients like that to your business? Because as you are looking to grow your business and go on to the next level, you are probably tempted to rethink everything your marketing until now. Don’t. In her 15 years ofContinue Reading

How to Raise Prices AND Get More Clients

Last week a potential client told me that raising prices has been the one sure way to get new clients.  I bet you know some people who manage to charge 10 times the market price for their service and the clients just line up at their door. How do they do it, when everyone elseContinue Reading

Fight Procrastination with a One-Hour Business Plan

Procrastination is the number one enemy of every small business. You push things off because your business feel like a bunch of puzzle pieces thrown on the floor. You have the pieces, but can’t figure out how to make them work together. You want to grow your business, but have no clue how to getContinue Reading

6 Steps to Selling Without a Sales Pitch

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you enjoy giving a sales pitch? Many small business owners I speak with would prefer getting a root canal done rather than sell. The word I hear most often when it comes to giving a sales pitch is “convince.” How do I convince the clientContinue Reading

How to protect your business from Google’s changes

Lately, Google has been shutting down the Analytics keyword feature,  a popular small business marketing tool, used to figure out which keywords drive traffic to a website. And this is not the first time such a thing happens. In 2012, Google’s Penguin algorithm massacred many a business by kicking them off of the first pageContinue Reading

How to Get the After-the-Chagim Work Actually Done

So, after-the-chagim is here. Officially. As in NOW. No getting away from it. After two months of procrastination, your workload has caught up with you and there is nowhere to escape. With Chanuka two full months away, all excuses are gone. For months you have been promising yourself that after the chagim, you will setContinue Reading

Fixing a Mistake in Business and in Life

You know those times when everything goes wrong? A while ago, I planned a webinar and lots of people signed up to be with me on the call. Although I had accessed my chosen platform as a student via Skype for over a year, in honor of my webinar Skype decided to charge for calls,Continue Reading

Teshuva for Your Business

“Three words of loshon hara.” “Keep forgetting  to make a bracha after snacks.” “Got angry at my kids the other day.” Welcome to the world of teshuva. So many omissions, so little memory. So many faults, so little willpower to overcome them. But there is a whole other aspect of teshuva we never give muchContinue Reading

Marketing Lessons in a Grocery Bag

How often do you get marketing insights while shopping for groceries? We spent this summer visiting family in the US. Our kids love staying with the grandparents, but there is one thing they absolutely hate about these visit – the food. Anyone who has ever been to Israel can vouch for the unbeatable taste andContinue Reading

Managing Family Finances as You Build Your Business

This is a joint blog post with Family Financial adviser Suzy Kahati, who specializes in helping families with fluctuating income (that’s right business owners and freelancers) manage their finances. Suzy can be reached via her Facebook page. Shira* started a small business two years ago. She sells fashionable clothing and makes a nice profit. However, since herContinue Reading

5 ways to raise prices AND increase business

If you want to earn more from your business a simple way to do that is to just… raise prices. Now, I know what you are saying. “That’s impossible to raise prices. My clients already argue that they can’t pay what I charge.”  Believe it or not, it is possible to charge more AND increaseContinue Reading

Your Business Risk Lesson from My Better Place Fiasco

Six months ago, we walked into a Better Place dealership and bought the car at full price, bank loan and all.  Two days later we cancelled the deal. My husband, the ultimate risk-avoider, couldn’t sleep knowing he had taken on a loan for a car whose future was uncertain. But we still loved the car.Continue Reading

How to Promote a Blog with Technorati

  You have probably heard that blogging is a terrific way to get more clients to your business site. Technorati is one of the tools you need to promote your blog. First of all, Technorati is an excellent source of information about everything that goes into creating a successful blog. Search the site to learnContinue Reading

Why You Won’t Get Clients With Facebook

  And neither will you get clients with your website. LinkedIn? No way. And forget about Twitter. Before I am stoned for marketing heresy, here is why. Have you ever observed a child building a Lego house with one piece of Lego? Two pieces? Five pieces? Of course not! To build a strong Lego house,Continue Reading

Where Do You Find Clients?

Where Do You Find Clients?

Business owners’ attempts to find clients often remind me of one my kids’ favorite books Where’s Waldo? You know, those busy pictures where you have to find the guy in a red-and-white striped shirt? We try to put ourselves “out there” in the hopes that some elusive client somewhere will notice us and bite. The biggestContinue Reading

5 Tips for Talking About Money and Charging Your Clients

“Talking about money with clients is so hard. It doesn’t feel right to charge clients in order to help them.” “Making money from other people’s misfortune makes me sick.” “My clients expect me to help them for free.” Sounds familiar? If I got a dollar for every time I hear one of these from clientsContinue Reading

Why Marketing Doesn’t Have to be Scary

Why Marketing Doesn’t Have to be Scary

Today, my daughter lost her precious ring. At the park. In a sandbox. It’s a ring that costs 10 cents, but is priceless to a 4-year-old. We spent a while sifting through the sand. We found 10 cents, some glass shards, and a toothpick. The ring of course was nowhere to be seen. For manyContinue Reading

On Getting Customers and Shlissel Challah – BizTorah

We all know that we have only seconds to get customer’s attention. We don’t always know how to do it. Think back to your childhood. How many of your parents’ talks do you remember? What about hands-on projects, outings, trips? Were those more memorable? Human beings (kids and clients included) are wired to seek novelty.Continue Reading

BizTorah Video: This Passover Declutter Your Business

BizTorah Video: This Passover Declutter Your Business

With Passover just around the corner, we are busy decluttering our houses. But when was the last time you decluttered your business?

Are Frum Women Depressed?

Are Frum Women Depressed?

This week I had had enough. My Shabbos relaxation is reading a popular frum glossy. But this time it was it. To my horror, I realized that for the past few months, every single issue of their women’s supplement ran a major story about depression and mental illness. Not that I advocate sweeping important issuesContinue Reading

Decision Making: Learn it Through Games With Your Children

Yesterday, someone shared her difficulty with decision making. She is bright and capable and has many many skills, but she can’t pick the ONE on which to base her business. Another client shared a similar story the day before, and even I, despite preaching niche marketing to business owners day in and day out, haveContinue Reading

Limiting Beliefs: Find and Overcome – BizTorah

Every struggling business owner isn’t stopped by lack of knowledge. She is kept in place by limiting beliefs. “My family knows nothing about business and marketing. We aren’t business people,” a client told me recently. A talented graphic artist, she craved financial freedom. She also realized that working a 9-to-5 job would never get herContinue Reading

Niche Marketing: 5 Questions for Differentiating Your Business

Focus“All of my colleagues are doing this. Shouldn’t I be doing it too?” Most business owners have heard of niche marketing. Yet they are afraid that by concentrating on a niche, on just one section of the market, they’ll have to forego all the other clients. Differentiating yourself seems like the right thing to do,Continue ReadingContinue Reading

How to Prevent Misunderstandings with Clients in 5 Steps

  Realizing that a project is much broader than she had thought and quoted on is one of the most upsetting experiences business owners encounter. Let’s say you own a small marketing agency and have been asked to handle advertising for a clothing boutique. You sign on the dotted line only to be told byContinue Reading

Should You Pitch Your Business?

If you are a business owner, you have to pitch your services to sell. Right?  Check out this unsent letter I wrote today and tell me what you think. Dear “Business Consultant,” Yesterday, you responded to my LinkedIn message, suggesting that we discuss possible cooperation options over the phone and asking me to call.  SoContinue Reading

Marketing Is Not a Foul Word

“I don’t market,” a colleague shared this morning. She then proceeded to tell me how she wrote “memoranda,” sent it to relevant business owners, and spent half an hour talking to each client before getting the deals.  I asked her what she called all of this activity. “Client relations,” was the answer. For many, ifContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Why Do I Get Sidetracked?

“I know what I need to do, but I keep getting sidetracked,” is a common theme among my clients. If only you could get away from Facebook, email, and the phone that keeps ringing as soon as you start a new task, you would achieve so much. I’ve been there too. I’ve started my daysContinue Reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers