When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Sheryl Sandberg

I have been working with some other moms at my fifth-grader’s school on a memory book that each of our fifth-graders will take with them when they leave elementary school and move onto middle school. One of the questions the kids are asked for this book is “Who is your hero?”

Who Is Your Hero?

This sort of question always gives me pause, since I am not in the habit myself of thinking of heroes. I had to ask: “Who is my hero?” And for a while, I just couldn’t come up with anything since the term “hero” made me think of putting someone on a pedestal, making them different from me, and making them superior. I wound up with a whole bunch of weird emotions about that term, shook my head, and then forgot about it.

lean in collageBut over the last few weeks, I have been consuming all the information I can about Sheryl Sandberg and her movement and new book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. I’ve watch a smart, ambitious woman put herself in front of the firing squad to stand up for what she believes in–that women deserve an equal shot at success and leadership opportunities, in addition to running a family. And I’ve watched a strong, kind woman respond to all manner of criticism and contempt with grace and self-confidence.

This video clip from CNN.com is a great example of how Sandberg accepts and allows criticism of her views and respects different points of views without losing sight of what matters most to her.

Ambition, Confidence, Leadership

I love what Sheryl is doing to bring discussions of gender in the workforce and the choices about raising a family and being successful in business to the table. I appreciate that she’s using her role as a woman leader in business to speak about a controversial topic that matters. Yes, she has resources that most of us don’t and won’t have that contribute to her success, but that doesn’t make her points less valid. She could simply do her job at Facebook, make a ton of money, and be happy. Instead, she’s choosing to leverage her position to attempt to help working women have better choices.

Bless her heart. If I have to pick a hero, she’d look a lot like Sheryl Sandberg. I’m 42 and she’s 43, so maybe there’s still time for me to be just like her when I grow up. If that doesn’t happen, I hope that one day she knows who I am and how much her message makes a my world a better place.

Special thanks to my little sister, Jessica Axton, for sending this video clip to me this morning. She knows my heart so well.

Continue Reading