After reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, I not only say that this is a great book, but that the message has truly enlightened me. Being a woman myself and working in a male dominated industry, I could not help but nod my head as I read about Sheryl’s own experiences in the workforce and some of the mistakes she has made along the way. But the most important message overall was how she conquered her fear.
Now I have no intention of spoiling the book for everyone, but all I will say is that Sheryl does dedicate a portion of the book to overcoming fear. Now when I say fear I do not mean the same fear that you have going into a scary movie or riding a roller coaster.I mean the fear that will hold you back from opportunities.
She speaks about an inspiring message on the walls of her job at Facebook that reads “What would you do if you were not afraid?” Although I read this book weeks ago, I find myself repeating that same mantra. What would I do if I were not afraid?
When I asked myself this question, I had to think about what I was afraid of. And when I thought about it, I could not believe how long my list was! I am afraid of making mistakes. I am afraid that maybe I am not doing enough at my job. I am afraid I will not be taken seriously because of my age, gender, and race. I am afraid that I will not meet a deadline. I am afraid of letting my family down. I am afraid of asking my boss too many questions. I am afraid of being judged. Heck, sometimes I am afraid to just speak up in a group!
The worst part is that once that fear hits me, it cripples me: I stutter, I make mistakes, and I feel like a failure. If only I could just get out of my own head! Although I feel this way, most days my boss tells me that he thinks I am doing a good job. So how can I even justify these feelings?
What would you do if you were not afraid?
Luckily for me, Sheryl addresses this with her own personal touch. She talks about how many women hold themselves back when it comes to certain opportunities in the workforce due to fear. Many fears are similar to mine above. Some others feel fear of not being liked or fear of not having a family one day. Whatever your fear is, what matters is having the courage to “lean in” to it and face it as opposed to “leaning back” due to fear of not being a good enough or not feeling like the opportunity is deserved.
Whatever the reason why we often choose not to” lean in,” Sheryl makes the point that we have to do something about it! We need more positive women leaders in the world to pave the way for future generations. We have every skill we need to accomplish whatever we choose; we just have to be sure we are grabbing those opportunities as opposed to fleeing them.
If you are interested in being inspired, learning some interesting statistics and learning invaluable information about how to handle yourself in corporate America, I highly recommend reading Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. You will be so glad you did.
A few other books that I have read that have inspired me to better myself in the workplace and in life altogether can be found below. Enjoy!