I finished the book “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. Here are a few of my takeaways.
- Show up and show out.
- Overall, I believe as women who are ambitious, especially in the workforce, it’s important to show up. Oftentimes women are only seen as emotional and can’t step up when it’s necessary. I think that’s a stigma that might have rang true in the past, but history has shown that during the face of discrimination and doubt, women always prove people wrong. Women should never be discouraged about taking on a higher position or a new position because of choosing to start a family. I know first hand that being a mother and other obstacles in my life, I have stepped down and been afraid to push forward professionally. I wish I had found this book six months ago. Maybe I wouldn’t have stepped down. Now I’m constantly second-guessing myself. “Maybe I could’ve made it work”. I should have believed in myself more. Instead, I let the speedy success of a male counterpart hinder my own success. I allowed being a mother lower my self-confidence in the work place.
- Make sure you have a supportive partner.
- I enjoyed this chapter of the book the most. I struggle with voicing my thoughts with my partner. Mostly because I felt like I couldn’t justify my feelings. I felt like if I said I wanted to take on a new career path but it would put us in a financial hole, then I wouldn’t be doing my part in this relationship. It’s scary. I think women are more willing to step down and be an ‘at home mother’ or ‘at home wife’ because we don’t believe we are worthy of that type of professional success as our male counterparts. Which sounds so devastating to me, because I am one of those women. As a working woman, I didn’t understand how vital it was to have a healthy, supportive partner when wanting to hold a successful high-level position at the workplace. Women need a partner that is willing to step up at home so we can step up at work.
- I think this goes for both working mothers and non-working mothers. Being an at home mom is a full-time job. So it’s important for us to take care of our health. Tying this back to the book, if we are mentally and physically exhausted, how can we show up to work and put our best foot forward? Having a supportive partner is also important in this self-care. We need to have a partner who is willing to take over caring for the kids while we prepare for an important presentation or meeting. Or a partner to takeover bathing and putting the kids to sleep so we can head straight to bed after a long day at work. As women we always over exert ourselves and think that we don’t deserve to rest because we’re supposed to do it all. But we don’t have to. To give the best versions of ourselves we need to take care of ourselves and allow others to help us when we need it most.
- Don’t be afraid.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for the raise. Don’t be afraid to put in for that position. Don’t be afraid to take a seat at the table. The first couple of chapters in the book, Sheryl talks about how women have a tendency to give way to the men at work. Even when well-deserved or even invited, we choose to blend in the background. Sheryl uses a lot of research to back up her points, my favorite one was about how men will apply to a position knowing they don’t have the necessary qualifications. While women may meet more than half of the qualifications but we focus on the 10% of what we don’t have and won’t apply ourselves. How crazy is that?! I am one of those women! Even right now, as I am seeking a new career path, I constantly am telling myself, ‘I’ve never had any experience in that division, why would they hire me?’ I’m constantly thinking that I’d get laughed at for even applying myself. Yet, I know a male counterpart would put in for the position in a heartbeat, WITHOUT thinking about his qualifications. Don’t be afraid! Go for it!
- Take Risks.
- This is my worse enemy. I can attest that I am the very last person on this earth that would take any type of risks. I need to calculate all of the pros and cons. Even then, I probably won’t take that risk. It’s so nerve-racking to me. Yet, I’ll find myself in the same, unsatisfying, underpaid, boring job and think that’s okay. THAT’S NOT OKAY. So yes, take risks. Do your research. Take that leap. Taking that risk might be the best step forward in your career.
- Have a mentor.
- In my women’s in leadership group, they talk about having a mentor at all of our meetings. I have yet to find myself one. Mainly because I have yet put myself out there. I don’t know what I want for myself so I’m afraid of being judged and seen as ‘wish-washy’. I’m very insecure in the professional realm. I’ve never had a mentor in the workplace. I also never aspired to being anything more than an employee on a company’s payroll. I think that’s where my problem started. Sheryl also pointed out how it’s important to allow that mentor-mentee relationship to blossom naturally. If it’s forced, it’s awkward and neither one of you will truly benefit from it.
At the end of the day I am raising a daughter and I grew up in a household where I was limited to the things I could do because I was a female. I grew up resenting my parents for always scolding me for doing things a ‘boy’ did. I want to raise my daughter to dream and not be afraid of placing herself on the same pedestal as her male counterparts. I believe she can do whatever she sets her mind to and I want to pass along that vision. I don’t want her to limit her abilities and to not leave before she leaves.