For those of you who don’t know of Sheryl Sandberg, she is currently the COO of Facebook, and basically the Sophia Amoruso for the 1% (Ivy League/Nerds). Her book, Lean In, persuades women (and men in some instances) to be bold and be proud of your success. Statistics and personal anecdotes give really good proof that women are succumbed to social norms. She makes me think about my actions and my coworker’s actions throughout the day. I’ve started to realize: I need to step it up.
Read the next 11 tips (her chapters summarized), and I think we all might take notice and start being a bit braver.
1. The Leadership Ambition Gap: What Would You Do if You Weren’t Afraid?: “Ask yourself: What would I do if I weren’t afraid? And then go do it.” We cannot let society place women in one place and expect us to stay in that place; as women who work, we are also expected to get pregnant and therefore can’t be a CEO AND a mother. Well, today, that is not the case.
2. Sit at the Table: Women consistently underestimate themselves. There are multiple studies showing that women often judge their own performance worse than it actually is, while men judge their performance better than it actually is. Men are also more likely to chase growth opportunities, even before the position is announced. Opportunities are rarely offered; they are seized. The next time that opening is announced, make a seat for yourself at the table and show why you deserve that role.
3. Success and Likeability: It’s become human nature to characterize men and women in opposition, and because of this, professional achievement traits get placed in the male column. It is frustrating that women are expected to be nice and concerned about others, but when something like a salary negotiation is taking place, use the word “I” instead of “we.” Being liked by everyone is going to hold you back. Confront your own power and feel comfortable with your success.
4. It’s a Jungle Gym, Not a Ladder: Ladders are limiting; people can only move up or down, or jump off. A jungle gym, however, offers a more creative path for exploration. A fierce approach to getting a job in a new industry: get in touch with a contact at a specific company and ask them “What is your biggest problem, and how can I solve it?” Then, make sure you choose a company that is growing quickly, because there will always be new opportunities for you.
5. Are You My Mentor?: If someone has to ask you the question “are you my mentor?” the answer is probably no. I have given you my two cents on what a mentor is, but being that I’ve only been in the workforce for two-ish years, having an established woman tell me that the connection part is especially necessary, I will listen. Just like any relationship, the connection has to come from both people. Don’t force it. Work hard and someone will take note and want to nurture your talents.
6. Seek and Speak Your Truth: Communication starts with the understanding that there is my point of view (my truth) and someone else’s point of view (his truth). People who believe they speak the truth are silencing. With this comes the fact that sharing emotions build a deeper relationship. I find myself struggling with sharing TOO much with my coworkers, as I know everyone ‘talks.’ However, motivation comes from working with things AND people that we care about, so bring your whole self to work and be proud of it.
7. Don’t Leave Before You Leave: This is a bold and for some a dumb statement… but the time to scale back your work is when your child actually arrives. If you don’t even have a boyfriend, this shouldn’t even be a thought. Although not every woman is suited to be a CEO, (but neither is every man), don’t go into the workforce already looking for a way out, unless you’re sure that’s what you want.
8. Make Your Partner a Real Partner: Your partner should be just as involved in your children’s life as you are. Do you have to stay in on a Saturday night to ‘babysit’ your kids? No. So your husband shouldn’t be saying he is either. Men are very capable creatures and deserve more credit when talked about as a parent. The fatherly sense is just as important as the motherly one.
9. The Myth of Doing It All: It’s a myth. You don’t ask: “Can I do it all?” But rather :“Can I do what’s most important for me and my family or whoever is most important right now.”
10. Let’s Start Talking About It: Basically, if you see something that your work place is not doing (like close parking spaces that are marked for pregnant women), say something. What would it be like if you weren’t classified by your gender?
11. Working Together Toward Equality: Day after day, women fail to encourage women, let alone to aspire to leadership. This needs to change.
We all want the same thing: to feel comfortable with our choices and to feel validated by those around us. Your mother had fewer choices than us women today, and our kids will have more choices than us. Let’s all start by taking a step back and making sure that, man or women, we are creating and taking opportunists that best suite us, regardless of gender.
Bottoms up to our future,