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Learning To 'Lean In'
Maybe the key to having it all is redefining what "all" means. That's one of lessons I've learned after spending some time on the brilliant website for Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg's new non-profit organization, LeanIn.org. Any professional caught between the demands of work and home ought to pay it a visit.
Sandberg is having a "moment" in popular culture. She's on the cover of this week's Time magazine, doing the talk show circuit and generating a ton of media publicity. Her new memoir, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, is an attempt to explain how she manages to find balance in her personal and professional life. It's a kind of response to Ann-Marie Slaughter's controversial 2012 piece in The Atlantic in which she claimed her own experience proved that women can't have both a fully realized career as a professional and a satisfying life as a homemaker. Sandberg vehemently disagrees. Women actually need to be more proactive about striving for career success, Sandberg argues. What's missing is a business ecosystem that gives all employees - men and women - the opportunity to realize their goals in all facets of their lives.
Not content to merely write a best-selling book, Sandberg decided to form an organization that would foster discussion, mentorship and community for professionals who have achieved her vision and those who want to learn how to reach that place. "By talking openly about the challenges that we all face in the workplace and at home, we can work towards solutions together," she wrote in her debut blog for LeanIn.org.
Together, we are stronger than any one of us alone. Together, we can break down the stereotypes that hold us all back, making our organizations more productive and our homes happier. Together, we can create a world where everyone—women and men, girls and boys—has true choice and equal opportunity to follow his or her dreams.
The "Learn From Experts" section of LeanIn.org is perhaps my favorite. It includes video essays about a wide range of topics impacting office professionals, including body language, negotiating, advocating for your own ideas and team dynamics. More pieces are scheduled and all of them sound very interesting.
Modern life is complicated for all professionals. Sandberg has created a place where we can find fellow travelers and get some great, practical advice for navigating the journey. If you ever feel lost in a vortex of work and home, LeanIn.org is worth a look.