The Next 10 Minutes Will Change Your Career Forever
That’s how long it’ll take to read the surprising advice of one of the world’s most successful women: Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. From where you sit to your choice of romantic partner... get it right and you could boost your salary.
“O n 24 March 2008, I headed to my first day of work as Chief Operating Officer of a small company called Facebook. I remember feeling excited. I also felt a little nervous... maybe even a little scared about this new challenge. I knew the tech business well after spending more than six years at Google. I had shared many dinners with CEO Mark Zuckerberg before he offered me the job, and I knew we were in sync about the importance of Facebook’s mission. My fear was more the general anxiety you feel over the risks associated with a new job and the worry that you won’t succeed. I parked my car and went up to an industrial, open-plan office space. At the time, the office walls were bare. Today, those walls are filled with posters that reflect the company’s philosophy and encourage employees. ‘Proceed and be bold’, declares one. ‘Move fast and break things’, advises another. But the one that would have helped me on that first morning doesn’t make a statement; it asks a question: ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?’ This question speaks to everyone, but I think it has special significance for women. Fear is at the root of so many of the barriers that women face. Fear of not being liked. Fear of making the wrong decision. Fear of
drawing negative attention. Fear of overreaching. Fear of being judged. Fear of failure. And for those who want to have children, the fear that we can’t be both good employees and good mothers.
I know it’s pointless to tell someone to be fearless. But it does help to tell ourselves to fight our fears at every stage of our lives. Don’t be afraid to offer your opinion. Don’t be afraid of waiting to find a life partner who’ll support you in achieving your dreams. And don’t be afraid to be fully engaged in your career, even as you plan to have a family. By fighting these fears, women can pursue professional success and personal fulfillment.
Five years ago, I dived into my Facebook job as fearlessly as I could. And although at the time people questioned why I would want to work for a 23-year-old, no-one asks me that anymore.
It’s your turn now. Please ask yourself: ‘What would I do if I weren’t afraid?’ And then go and do it.