Top 10 lessons from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s best-selling book, Lean In.
• FAKE IT TILL YOU FEEL IT.
For days when you feel far from confident, Sandberg suggests adopting a “power pose” – spread your feet and place your hands on your hips. Power posing increases your dominance hormone levels (testosterone) and lowers your stress hormone levels (cortisol), making you feel more powerful.
• PUT YOUR HAND UP. SPEAK UP.
Don’t wait for opportunities to be offered. Seize them – even if you’re unsure of your abilities. Jump in and learn as you go.
• FIND SUPPORT IN YOUR SPOUSE.
Sandberg believes it’s important for husbands to split domestic duties 50-50 with their wives. In doing so, they lessen the load at home – allowing you to have the time and energy you need to achieve your career goals. Discuss your priorities and the potential trade-offs with your husband, then come up with an arrangement that suits you both.
• DON’T LET FEAR INFLUENCE YOUR DECISIONS.
Courage will get you places you never dreamt you could reach. Don’t prevent yourself from attempting something new because you’re afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid of making the wrong choices. Don’t be afraid of not being liked. And don’t be afraid to be ambitious and to want more for yourself.
• DON’T DOWNPLAY YOUR SUCCESS.
When Forbes ranked Sandberg the fifth most powerful woman in the world in 2011, she said she felt “embarrassed and exposed”. It took a conversation with her executive assistant, Camille, for her to realise that she had a lot to be proud of and grateful for, and she ought to be flattered instead of feeling insecure about the acknowledgement. She admits that she should have just said a simple “thank you” when the list came out.
• PERFECTION IS UNATTAINABLE.
“Done is better than perfect” is one of Sandberg’s favourite mottoes. She says that too many women strive for perfection in every area of their lives, thereby holding themselves to unattainable standards.
• SPEAK YOUR TRUTH. AND ADD A BIT OF HUMOUR IF YOU NEED TO.
Truth is better served by using simple language, Sandberg writes. Avoid office-speak, which can bury the point you’re trying to make. And if you want results, it doesn’t hurt to deliver your message with humour and good-naturedness.
• ASK FOR ADVICE AND FEEDBACK.
Knowing where you’ve gone wrong and how you can improve is important for building a successful career. Don’t be afraid of hearing the truth from people you work with. In fact, ask them for their honest opinions.
• DON’T LOOK FOR A MENTOR. ATTRACT ONE.
You can do this simply by excelling at your job. When you have the best ideas and show a willingness to learn and put in the effort, your higher-up will be drawn to you and will want to share his or her advice and experience with you.
• YOU CAN’T HAVE OR DO IT ALL. AND THAT’S OKAY.
“Having it all” is a myth, says Sandberg. Instead, she urges us to redefine our idea of success and aim for a life that is sustainable and fulfilling. It’s all about making the best choices you can – and accepting them.