Business Tips — Lean In

A series of Business Tips from the book:Lean In
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
By Sheryl Sandberg

Women in this day are in a better position than ever before, having the benefit from the work of those that came before fighting for women’s rights.
— Natalie Thompson — Lean In: A Summary of Sheryl Sandberg’s Book

Gentlemen, please bear with us as I share tips and quotes from the Summary edition of Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In!

Sheryl encourages her female readers to ‘lean in’ rather than ‘pull back’ when faces with the challenges of leadership in today’s world.  Women are just as capable to lead as men — and in some cases and positions are even better equipped than men!

As a female, raised in the 50s and 60s, I too was a victim of gender bias.  All four of my brothers went to college (3 of the 4 graduated from UCLA); whereas, I was encouraged to take “secretarial courses” in high school.  I did go to a career college for 12 months where I earned a special degree in Fashion Merchandising and Sales, but this paled in comparison to my doctor and lawyer brothers!

So women, let’s find a way, through Sheryl Sandberg’s ideas, to take back our own power and being more effective in the world we live.

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She encouraged (female) graduates to seek the right careers and go for the leadership roles, to aim high. She expressed that she hoped they “lean in” to their career. She asked them to pose the question to themselves, “What would I do if I weren’t afraid?”
— Sheryl Sandberg via Natalie Thompson

Would you do things differently if you weren’t afraid?

Although, Sheryl asked this of a group of female graduates, it is pertinent to anyone stepping out in a new endeavor whether it be the start of their life as an adult or starting a new business.

Even though I had years of sales experience when I started my sales rep business, I was still terrified.  And, actually, the feelings of fear started when I decided to leave my job as Book Manager at Hasting to pursue self-employment.  I doubt I would have made that first step if it had not been at the encouragement of my entrepreneurial husband!!

From that point on, fear still played a role in my growth and ‘leaning in’ to a new direction for my business, but I learned to push it aside (in most cases) and move forward.

So, what would you pursue if you were not afraid?  Maybe it is time for you to lean in too!

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Women have a tendency to constantly underestimate themselves, judging their performances worse than they actually are…. when men are asked to explain their success, they usually credit it to their own innate qualities and skills, while women explain theirs by external factors such as hard work, lucky breaks, or help from others.
— Sheryl Sandberg via Natalie Thompson

What is it about us, ladies, that cause us to dismiss our successes?

How often have we been giving a compliment, even if it is about our clothes, when we just explain it off or degrade it by saying:  “Oh, this ole rag!”???

Why do we underrate ourselves so much?  Aren’t we just as talented as anyone else?

I haven’t really figured this out myself, but I have learned to say ‘thank you’ when I am complimented.  Maybe that is just a small gesture, but it is a start!

Next time, toot your own horn!!

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Taking a new position with growth potential that might be a step down can be a good idea, especially if it involves learning a new set of skills.
— Sheryl Sandberg via Natalie Thompson

I find the best way to learn a new skill is to just jump in and do it!  I am a lifelong ‘student’ myself, so I understand this concept completely!

This quote reminds me of my oldest daughter who was a display person for a large soft drink company.  She was involved in an accident that left her unable to do her display job.  So instead, she ended up taking a part time position working in the office.  Having to learn a few new skills was a good choice for her while she heals from her injuries.  Now, she will be ready for a new position when she is ready, if she chooses!

A new skill set will always add to your resume and effectiveness as a business owner.  Always a good asset for life!

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Leaders today should strive for authenticity over perfection. This is good news for women who so often are told they need to suppress their emotions in the workplace and be more like men.
— Sheryl Sandbery via Natalie Thompson

I am reading more and more about being authentic — telling your own story when communicating or even selling.

Back when I first started in sales in the 1970’s, we were told to tell folks how nice they looked in XYZ outfit — even if they looked horrible.  Sales had a bad name back then, and I left the field for several years.

Now days, buyers and consumers are so much better informed about products and services.  And with the internet, they want to know they are buying from a real person/business rather than a (often) large business entity that will only tell them what they want to hear!

So ladies, especially, here is your place to shine!  Be authentic and tell visitors to your booth or website your REAL story!

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1 comment for “Business Tips — Lean In

  1. January 31, 2016 at 4:33 am

    Well, I guess it’s time for me to head over to Amazon to grab a copy of this book.

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