I read a really famous and popular book, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, and I was unsure how I felt about the message. Basically, Sandberg suggests that women should “lean in” to the business tables that have been historically dominated by men, and not be discouraged by the oppression of females in the workplace.
The sentiment of encouraging women to find their voice and to not to stand on the sidelines, I agree with; and, on the whole, the message of making room for women at the table is a powerful and necessary one.
The real problem I have with Sandberg’s sentiment is her main motto, “Lean In”.
Honestly, why just “lean”? Leaning seems like you’re too nervous to take the step you want to take so, instead, you timidly put your head forward to see what’s there, ensuring that your feet aren’t moving away from the place they’re in.
Isn’t it time that we jump?
I want to take this moment to talk about opportunities:
Sometimes it can feel like the world is just telling you to wait until things feel perfect (see last weeks post about waiting for perfection here), and that if the opportunity is meant to be it will come up again.
Or, perhaps (and very unfortunately), you feel like the world is telling you that you don’t deserve this opportunity. You haven’t worked hard enough. You were just lucky. You aren’t ready.
Frankly, I’ve felt this way on both accounts; but, wouldn’t it be nice to just take action when an opportunity arises instead of checking if your worthy of the opportunity in the first place?
I am not talking about taking action as in assessing the risks and analyzing all possible outcomes. I mean totally and full heartedly jumping into an opportunity whatever the end result.
To be honest, in a lot of ways, I can get tired of “leaning in”, being tentative, (overly) thoughtful, and politically correct. It is exhausting trying to take on new directions while maintaining the comfort of what you’re used to. This is what I feel like I am doing when I assess the opportunity that lands on my doorstep. I make sure that I definitely want to accept the new opportunity, and that I can do so without causing much of a rift in my comfortable life.
… but, I am tired of leaning in to see the opportunities on my doorstep and guessing at all of the potential possibilities. You know what? I just want to open the darn door!
Sometimes, you simply have to hold your nose and just jump in head first. In all honesty, opportunities don’t always come back around, so it’s best to jump on them while you have them instead of leaning in and sensing what you can make of it.