Photo Credit: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
If you haven’t read Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, you probably should. What does it mean to lean in, you’re wondering? Read these ten lessons we learned from Sandberg’s book to find out.
Take risks. If you want to reach the next level—personally or professionally—you have to be willing to branch out. You can’t grow if you don’t take the initiative to challenge yourself. As tough as it is, it’s important to push yourself into the unknown. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do something every day that scares you.”
Don’t let fear control your life. How many times have you passed on an interview opportunity, not gone on a date, shied away from introducing yourself, or not pitched an idea to your boss because you were afraid of what would happen? Stop asking yourself those scary “What if” questions. Take a step back and put things in perspective.
Don’t ask for a mentor—earn one. Money doesn’t grow on trees, and neither do mentors. If you want a wise, experienced mentor, you have to make yourself worth their time. Work so hard and be so motivated that your mentor asks to work with you. Once you do secure a mentor, put enough time into the relationship so you can reap the benefits while still making the relationship mutually beneficial.
Fake it ‘til you make it. If you’re in a situation that you don’t like and can’t change, you need to learn to make the best of it. Start telling yourself to think positively and, soon enough, you’ll actually be more positive. Positive self-talk works, people!
Embrace your strengths. Utilize your network, your background, your education, your friends, your family, and most importantly, your own strengths. Give yourself some credit— you have strengths and skills that make you unique. Take advantage of them and use them smartly.
You can’t make it alone. Humans aren’t meant to be hermits. Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Don’t be too indifferent to deny help to others. Open up to others and let others open up to you. Utilize your team members, whether they’re family members, coworkers or friends. Be good to the world, and the world should be good back.
Stop trying to be perfect. No matter how hard you try, you will never be perfect. No one will. It’s great to push yourself to reach your goals, but it’s harmful to obsess about never making a mistake. Accept the fact that you’re going to make many mistakes throughout your life. Some will be small, and some will be huge. Don’t be so hard on yourself and don’t take everything too seriously.
Be a good partner. At home and at work, be good to the people you’re with. Collaborate with them and do what you can to make their lives happier and less complicated. This will make yours happier and less complicated, too.
Speak up. Don’t be so passive. Speak up in your work meetings. Offer ideas to your boss to help make a project better. Walk next door and meet your neighbors. Be loud and let your voice be heard! You’ll be surprised how much your life will change if you make a conscious effort to be present and participate.
Failure isn’t always a bad thing. It doesn’t seem like it when it happens, but failure is a good thing. Failure is how we learn; it makes us better. When you fail at something, try to understand what went wrong. Think about what you could have done better and do that the next time. Life goes on—failure isn’t the end of the world.
If you understand what it means to “lean in,” you’ll be much better off in both your professional and personal lives. Don’t wait to incorporate these tips into your life—start today!