power

Taking Stock – 16

End of summer vibes people! How are you doing? Hope well and taking in the very last rays of the sun before fall descends upon us here in Europe in a few weeks. To those back home in Kenya I’m sure you’re just counting down the days to the end of the cold season there, and I’ll be home soon too so guess I get a double summer this year, whoop! Anyway, that aside, let’s see what the past month has been like…

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Typewriter Tuesdays – Lean In

I totally forgot to post this last week… Blame my confused brain for that and I like how I didn’t realize till today when I was meant to write yet another review, lol.. Well I guess now I’m ahead for next week, lets hope I don’t forget to post that one either.

Today’s review is on the nationally acclaimed book by Sheryl Sandberg or the Facebook lady as most people call her, which I don’t get why.. How is she the Facebook lady just because she works there?

LEAN IN: Women, Work and the Will to Lead

That title alone should already interest you to find out what’s so good about Sheryl. Sheryl Sandberg is the current COO of Facebook and has been listed not only as one of the 50 most Powerful Women in Business but also as one of TIME’s 100 most influential people. Her TEDTalk catapulted her even higher in the status area as she spoke about women holding themselves back from getting what they want and what they deserve in the professional world.

As I read this book, I thought it was going to be another self-help book in the likes of the 7 Habits books, not that I have anything against those books, but we get it already, we don’t need 100 more books talking about the same thing… It turned out Sheryl wasn’t as nauseating as most of those books, which is good or my review wouldn’t have been as nice as its turning out to be haha..

One famous statement from Sandberg is ‘sit at the table’. What does this mean you ask? Well simply that.. SIT AT THE TABLE. Don’t wait to be invited, don’t wait to be summoned, know your place in an office, boardroom, conference, meeting, business deal and sit at the table. She goes on to explain that ‘sitting at the table’ means seek challenges, take risks and pursue your goals with gusto. Sheryl has various big shots quoted in her book who are just as normal as you and me, they made the same mistakes, some even made bigger ones but they learned from them and that’s what’s placed them where they are today as powerful women.

For instance, Cisco’s chief technology officer was interviewed by Huffington Post and asked what important lesson she learned from a mistake she made in the past… She admits to saying no to a lot of opportunities when she was starting out because she thought she wasn’t qualified due to the type of degree she had studied for. Sheryl reminds us that there isn’t any perfect fit when you are looking for the next step in your early career, you should just take various opportunities and make it fit for you rather than vice versa. Confidence is key in finding your footing in this big bad world and only when you have confidence will you learn to sit at the table

Sheryl’s style of writing isn’t ‘preacher’ type like most self-help books, she tells a story that I think every single woman no matter what background can relate to. Being a recent graduate this book has been key in making sure I don’t die of depression due to the constant search for a job and the constant rejection I have faced in the past months and will face in months to come. It has helped me keep my head high and stay positive and continue working hard to get to where I want to be eventually. It has been my solace of sorts as the situations I have faced, she has too or has examples of powerful women who have gone through it as well and if they came out as strong as they are now, I know my time will come as well. Sheryl introduces us to not only her professional life but her personal one as well as the two are fully integrated and both depend on her a lot. Having an entire cooperation under your care plus a family as well can be demanding, tiring and hectic but she handles it with all the grace and poise in the world… with obvious mishaps here and there but no one is perfect right??

One other important lesson I learned from reading Sheryl’s story is to never mute my achievements. It doesn’t do anyone any good. I know it looks all modest and all but if you mute your achievements, who will ever know about you and realize your potential and value? Sheryl talks about women being these nurturing beings and men being the leaders; meaning women are meant to be nice first before being competent. “If a woman is competent, she does not seem nice enough. If a woman seems really nice, she is considered more nice than competent. Since people want to hire and promote those who BOTH competent and nice, this creates a huge stumbling block for women. Acting in stereotypically feminine ways makes it difficult to reach for the same opportunities as men, but defying expectations and reaching for those opportunities leads to being judged as underserving and selfish.” I can quote so much more but what good will that do in boosting up her sales index right? We as women have to work twice as hard as any man to get to the top and we still have to be nice while doing it?? Why is that? We feel the need to belittle(for lack of a better word) our accomplishments to appear as ‘nice’ and liked by everyone and for what purpose? What will being liked gain for YOU in the future? I highly doubt it will pay those bills you have on the kitchen table and neither will it feed your children unless you are a nanny.. Nice nannies make more money:)

Lean in, literally leans in to the lives of the everyday woman, the mother, the teacher, the driver, the professor, the scientist, the manager, the intern, the sales associate, the MD, the CEO, the COO like Sheryl, the President, etc… No matter your ranking in society, you still have to give in to certain societal norms just because apparently thats how it’s meant to be? Sheryl’s book tells us otherwise, it lets us know that we can be all those things and not be afraid of showing off, and not have to think about how it looks to society. We can do all that and sit at the table with the big boys, have the same meetings, make the same deals, make the same money or much more and become even better than they are. I may come off as all feminist in this post but I do agree with everything ‘Lean In’ talks about.

Have a sit at the table ladies, have the will to lead and you will succeed. Also, get this book, I promise you it will not drudge on and on but actually inspire you and get you motivated to take charge of your life as a professional woman, it will help you harness the power within you that you know you have.

As it is the end of summer, I wanna wish you a good first week of school for those of you in school
(how cool is it that Im not in that group anymore?? haha) and a good first week of life in the real world for us newbies and a good week to the rest of you wonderful people!