Will You Lean In?

bookIn March 2013, the book ‘Lean In’ was released. Written by COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, the book has naturally received a great deal of criticism from prior to its release until present day.

I was curious. Hearing the criticism and having some knowledge of Sheryl’s career, the two did not seem to mesh. Many reviews of the book have labeled it a “feminist manifesto” and some have actually gone to the extent to say she is a terrible mother by not spending enough time with her children. Both are extremely bold statements. One can disagree with the manner another may approach life, but to label with such hatred is taking judgment to the next level.

It is far easier to criticize the choices and lifestyle of someone else than it is to try to understand it. I wanted to understand the obstacles Sheryl has faced in her career and how she has overcome difficult choices. She is a very successful business woman, leading the way for females in corporate America. Beyond that, she is a woman that wants it all: a successful career, family, marriage, community involvement, etc. What is wrong with that? In my opinion, absolutely nothing. If I am being perfectly honest, I want the exact same thing and is the primary reason I wanted to read her book.

Due to the never-ending reviews labeling her as a feminist, I was expecting her book to be filled with “girl-power” references and extreme male bashing. It was the opposite. The book gave me a new respect for her, women in business and the need for a balanced lifestyle. Sheryl speaks so highly of her husband (who is also very successful in business), sharing that their marriage is a true partnership. He takes an equally active role in raising their two children, their home and managing the daily chaos. Both Sheryl and her husband want to be successful as individuals, therefore needing to lean on one another a great deal more because of their determination and ambitious goals. It is truly remarkable.

Sheryl openly admits her lifestyle and goals are not for everyone. She respects the decision women make to stay at home to raise their children and give endless amounts of credit to those who have made that choice. She did not take that avenue and does not want to be judged for it. Women who strive to be world or business leaders and those who decide on a domestic lifestyle should be both embraced equally as incredible contributions to the world.

Every lifestyle involves some level of sacrifice and every person has their own threshold of what they are prepared to give up. One is not more correct than the other, just different. And different is okay.


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