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Breaking Glass

Leaning in, at long last

By ,
Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook - ()

I have something to confess: I haven't read "Lean In." For someone who blogs about women in business on a (semi) regular basis, that is blasphemy, pure and simple.

But I can't let such sacrilege go on any longer.

I can't continue dodging the "Lean In"-related conversations at meetings and events. I can't stomach the guilt of casually referencing Sheryl Sandberg's meticulously researched and (I don't use this term lightly) revolutionary work, knowing nothing beyond what I've read about it online. Nope, I'm proud to say I'm reading it — right now. As we speak, it is sitting on my nightstand — not gathering dust but actually being read.

And I have to say, I really like it. As cliche as it sounds, it is truly inspiring. Sandberg does an excellent job, in my view, of using her personal experiences and stories collected from others to put a human face on an issue that can get bogged down in numbers and trends. I know Sandberg has her detractors — and I could very well be one of them by the time I finish — but for now, I'm a fan.

A couple of things have resonated right off the bat.

First and foremost, the Facebook COO talks about how women are more likely to fall victim to the "imposter syndrome," or the phenomenon of capable people being plagued by self-doubt. That's definitely something I suffer from.

Another came from Pattie Sellers, the editor of Fortune, who said: "Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder." While there's only one way to get to the top of a ladder, there are many ways to get to the top of a jungle gym. Plus, a jungle gym provides great views for many people, not just those at the top. With a ladder, you're usually stuck staring at someone's backside. Love that. May be related to the fact that I used to love scaling jungle gyms, but I digress.

Sandberg also encourages women to have both a long-term dream and an 18-month plan. Both get you thinking ahead and moving forward in your career, and both can totally change. But goals are good, and it is not a sign of failure if they shift over time.

That may all be old news to many of you, but a refresher never hurts, right?

Plus, writing about my progress thus far holds me accountable. Now I have to finish it — consider it my seven-day plan.

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