Career Advice from the Facebook Queen (and some life lessons, too)

February 14th, 2014 by Search Influence Alumni

Sheryl Sandberg is one of the most influential women in the world, according to Time, CNN Money, and Forbes. She’s the COO of Facebook, and in my opinion, one of the biggest badasses out there.  I’ve been reading her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and it is changing my perspective on life, offering tips on how to navigate the business world, and giving me a little gumption to speak up for myself. I haven’t finished reading the book yet, but I guarantee I’ve learned some lessons that are going to stay with me for a while. Check them out:

 Quote from Sheryl Sandberg

1) Don’t Dis-credit Yourself

Many women (including myself) suffer from “impostor syndrome.” I often feel that my accomplishments really aren’t accomplishments, but rather things I’ve muddled through with many errors along the way. The truth is, we need to start acknowledging our efforts and own our accomplishments. You did it! With or without the help of others, you’ve most likely accomplished a lot of positive things in your life, and you need to be proud of yourself for that!

2) Fake It Till You Make It

When something negative happens in the workplace, sometimes it’s best to keep going and put a smile on. Recently, I had a frustrating experience at work (as we all do), and I was fuming mad before a conference call. However, I put those feelings aside and lead the call successfully. When these situations arise, do something that takes your mind off the situation. Even if that means stopping work to go for a walk, call  a family member, or run an errand. Anything you can do to get away from the problem (for a while) will ultimately help reduce a negative reaction to the situation, which will make you look like and feel the professional woman you are.

3) Jump Into Opportunity (don’t wait for it to come to you)

Men apply for a job when they meet 60% of the requirements, but women apply for a job only when they meet ALL of the requirements. We hold ourselves back because we think we are not ready, instead of thinking, “There is an opportunity here and I can learn by doing it!” Apply for positions that offer growth, adaptability, and room for you to fill a gap that the company needs. Don’t NOT apply for a job because you’re scared. We are rarely handed things in life and you should take advantage of every opportunity.

4) Don’t Be Discouraged – Be Persistent!

Sheryl tells the story of leading a Q&A section and reaching a point where she had time for two more questions. When she answered those questions all the women put their hands down, but all the men who still had questions kept their hands up. She answered a few other questions, but only the men got answers because they kept their hands up! Ladies, we need to be as persistent as men! There is no reason why we should stop asking for more information, details, and answers. We live in the same world as men, and we need to start acting like we deserve to be in it.

Lean In Book by Sheryl Sandberg

5) You Don’t Have To Be Liked by Everyone

This is a complex that a lot of women have. We want to be liked by everyone, because we don’t want to be perceived as bossy or rude. Women think we can please everyone, but men know that’s not humanly possible. There are going to be times where we have to make tough decisions. Those decisions are not always going to provide positive outcomes for everyone, but we need to learn to make decisions that are going to positively affect a great number of people. You’re inevitably going to hurt someone’s feelings or make someone mad, but there’s not much you can do about that. So, make decisions that create positive outcomes and keep the ball rolling.

The moral of the story is, ladies, if you want to be a badass at life, go out there and do it! There’s no reason we should not be a part of conversations and advocating our thoughts and beliefs. I fully believe that we can have our cake and eat it, too. We just have to start leaning in and participating in life the same way men do.

Cheers, Sheryl! You’ve inspired me more than you know. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂