4 Takeaways for Professionals from “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg

By: Abby

Editor’s Note: We’re welcoming Abby back for a guest post! Check out all of her previous work on the blog from when she was a student.

Last summer I read a book that has stuck with me for this whole past year. The book swept the world and was labeled “revolutionary.” Oprah Winfrey even deemed it, “the new manifesto for women in the workplace.” But don’t leave yet, men! Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg is a book to benefit all people.

(For those of you who haven’t heard of it yet, give it/her a Google)

Lean In

I found 4 quotes/takeaways that can benefit all professionals (college students, recent grads, or even not-so-recent grads):

  1. “So I thought about calling you and telling you all of the things I’m good at and all the things I like to do. Then I figured that everyone was doing that. So instead, I want to ask you: what is your biggest problem and how can I solve it.” (Pg. 52)

When faced with the opportunity to talk to someone you admire in a position of power at a company you want to be at… do not be generic. Stand out. That’s what Lori Goler did to Sheryl Sandberg while at Facebook, and it worked.

  1. “One of the conflicts inherent in having choice is that we all make different ones.” (Pg. 166)

One of the things I’ve found hardest while being in the “real world” for this past year is that there is no right path/answer (even though half of my brain still tells me that is the wrong answer! <- see?!). Do not let the “what if’s” take over. The only choice you have is to make the best decision you can and in that, be confident. It will be a different one than the choices your friends make, but that is ok. Lean In says never feel guilty or resentful.

  1. “You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around,” Padmasree Warrior (pg. 35)

There is not an exact perfect fit out there when you’re starting a career. Don’t pass up an enticing opportunity while you’re learning.

  1. “Do not wait for power to be offered. Like that tiara, it might never materialize. And anyway, who wears a tiara on a jungle gym?” (Pg. 63)

Ok… this one is a little girl-specific, and it also has some Lean In inside jokes*. I shared it anyways because I found it to be the most profound. This quote means that you cannot wait to be adorned with the success and happiness you feel you deserve or want. You must go out and achieve it on your own. Promotions won’t (never say never…) land on your lap. Go out and ask for what you want.

*The inside jokes = Sheryl explains that a career shouldn’t be called a ladder, it is more of a jungle gym… as there are more directions that just up in a successful career. The tiara is referring to the tiara syndrome, which is also discussed in the book.

This last quote reminds me of a not-so-fortune fortune cookie I got the other day “Mediocrity is self-inflicted. Genius is self-bestowed.” Go out and make yourself a genius!

There are so many more great lessons in this book. If you have the time (or not)… I recommend giving the full book a read!

Read Abby’s other posts

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