I recently started reading Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller Lean In, which explores the factors holding women back from leadership roles and issues a friendly bum kick to her fellow sisters: know what you want, be brave, take risks, work hard, love it, own it, get it and be proud.
The book landed on my table by chance after a work colleague of Chris told him how inspiring it was and that I should read it. Of course I know who Sheryl Sandberg is. Yes, I was aware that she wrote this book of hard truths that caused societal waves. But I never sought it out, subconsciously figuring that the power house that is Facebook’s COO was just too hard core for me to relate to.
A couple of chapters in, I’m enjoying Sheryl’s apt observations, and I’m struck by my incorrect perception of her: once you strip back all the pomp and circumstance, she’s a regular woman, a woman with strong ambition, but also a woman with self doubts and fear. Critically, she’s learned to embrace this whole package and not kowtow to the many perceptions, including my own, of who she is or who she should be.
So what has struck a chord?
That women tend to hold themselves back with self doubt and by being self deprecating. That it’s fine to acknowledge that support and luck help in life, but vital to recognise our strengths and where we kick as because of our talent.
Women’s self inflicted deterence toward achievement due to cold, unfavourable perceptions of women who reach the top of their game. They must be sacrificing their family life. They must be a cold bitch to get where they are. Really? Would we think the same of men?
That reaching for the stars in our pursuits (be that a professional job, tennis or home making) is something we need to embrace and be proud of. That balances can be achieved and that some give here or there isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Thanks Sheryl, I look forward to the rest of my read. Have you read Lean In and if so, what did you think?