Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, recently released a book, "Lean In," that is all about ladies taking ownership of their lives and careers by stepping up to the plate and creating the lives that they desire, instead of watching on the sidelines as their male counterparts get promoted and praised for their accomplishments. Although "Lean In" encourages women to fight for equality in the professional realm, Sandberg states that the problem lies not in men getting in the way of gender equality, but rather this innate societal predisposition that persuades the female gender, as a whole, to feel guilty for being awarded for excelling at something ... or anything in life.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon states in her TED Talks presentation that when people speak of successful men, they are rightly considered "icons, pioneers, or innovators to be emulated." However, when a woman is in the spotlight, she is an "exception to be dismissed or an aberration to be ignored." So, how do businesswomen break down the barriers of gender inequalities and, most importantly, begin seeing themselves as equal?
Sheryl Sandberg has a solution that comes in the form of small group meetings that women can form on their own called, Lean In Circles. According to LeanIn.Org, "We often achieve more in groups than we do as individuals. Lean In Circles put this idea into practice." Think of these meetings as monthly book club meetings, but instead of talking about books, members discuss life aspirations and support one another in attaining those goals successfully. You can find more information on how to get started with a Lean In Circle and some helpful tools from the Lean In site.
What will a Lean In Circle do for your career? For starters, a Circle will encourage like-minded women (and men, for that matter) to get together and begin the discussion of gender equality inside and outside the workplace. Lean In Circles will also provide members with a "safe space" to really dream big and find support from colleagues to carry out those ambitions. If you're still not convinced, read some of the inspirational success stories of women (and men) who have bettered their lives by "leaning in," here. Ladies, grab a handful of your trusty women-in-business colleagues and start dreaming big, because you, too, can have it all in life and in your career!
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