Leaning into the wisdom of Sheryl Sandberg

Choosing Sheryl Sandberg as my thought leader was an easy decision for me. In my Perspectives of Leadership class with Kathy Patterson, we have been tasked to study a thought leader for the semester, then taking our learning and applying it to a workshop in class. When I knew Sheryl Sandberg and her book Lean In were options I immediately reserved it.

Although I am only about a third of the way into Lean In, I have already learned two valuable lessons from Sheryl Sandberg. The first lesson is to always “take a seat at the table” and the second being the “the ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have”.

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Take a seat at the table

Sheryl talks about how if you are a woman and you are in any way involved in a meeting you should take a seat at the table. This stands also as an analogy for individuals but specifically women in business. Taking a seat at the table applies to more than just a meeting, it applies to everything involving the success of an individual.

By asserting yourself, you are showing that you not only deserve but that you also demand respect. Sheryl talks about a certain situation where she was one of the only women attending a meeting. When the meeting took a bio-break the associate running the meeting could not tell Sheryl where the ladies bathroom was because there had been so few women attending meetings in their office. This is shocking.

Never stop learning

Sheryl talks about how leaders are always learning. By continuing to learn you are continuing to become a stronger leader. I apply this to all aspects of my life. To learn is to understand in my mind. By continuing to learn about yourself you are able to understand others from your internal, intellectual “clock”.

Online Presence

Sheryl Sandberg has an active online presence. On Twitter she shares her thoughts on leadership, shares other individuals views she admires, and converses with other leaders. She brands herself as not only a leader and a business professional but as a human being just trying to balance it all.

What I hope to still learn

I really hope I am able to learn tools on how to assert myself in business to earn my success. I also really hope to gain insight into the changing landscape of women in business. Her perspective is incredibly inspiring to me, she has such a factual based insight; everything is demonstrated by fact, which I love as an analytical person.

The first real edit I made to my life

As a child, I always knew I wanted to end up on a career path that made me feel like it was the best place on this earth for my energy to be. I went through many phases along the way. From ages 8-15 I geared my life to becoming a doctor; an OB/GYN to be exact. From ages 16-18 I geared my life into the legal field in search of being a lawyer. But then something happened when I turned 19; an awakening of sorts. When I turned 19, I realized I didn’t want those careers at all.

I think I got swept up in comfort of the routine in it all and as a highly organized person, I liked the seemingly traditionality of paths like becoming a doctor or a lawyer. It was something about being young and told I would only find a job if I picked a path like those. A path with a clear trajectory; and a long road ahead of my young soul. I was so scared of not finding a stable career I even started university in a pre-law program thinking that I would start to fully see myself in that type of suit one day. It was the suit everyone already saw me in. Just not the suit I was sure I would fit into perfectly.

In the winter of 2016, I had decided that I was going to listen to that voice in my head and look for what I was really best suited to do. Now, I approached this life decision differently than all others I had made before because I realized that I was letting the people around me affect my choices too much. I kept my unhappiness a secret from everyone and started looking for my happiness.

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My search started with a personality test – Myers Briggs (Hello fellow ENTJ/INTJ people!). From there I examined other successful people with the same personality type, then looked into their careers and life stories. Many of them were writers, media personalities, tech moguls, and politicians. I had always thought of a job in writing and media but it never felt like an option for me as people had already put me in that “She’s going to be a lawyer” box. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had been repressing my wants all along. I guess you could say my need for structure and stability bit me where the sun don’t shine on that one.

As my countless career quizzes were coming to a close I was seeing a few commonalities in the results. Commonalities I had noticed about all my careers quizzes/tests I had taken through my entire life, but ignored up until this point. The results all had a few career path suggestions in common… advertising, communications, publishing, public relations and digital design. All areas I had been interested in and excelled in naturally, but never explored fully.

I knew I needed to find a program that I could explore these areas more thoroughly while gaining some real experience. I started with a simple google search: “Advertising and marketing programs Canada”. Looking back, that simple google search changed my entire life trajectory. As I started reading the program description, my gut told me this is what I needed to do with my education and my life.

I guess you could say my life has changed vastly since coming to St. Lawrence College. I finally chose happiness, I finally only listened to myself, I didn’t let others opinions, praise, or criticism change my decision. This was really the first edit I made to my own life and I much enjoy wearing my new suit over my old one.

– Regan Druce