Leaning In

lean inI have delayed blogging Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. I’ve been sorting ways to really do it justice. I want you to feel as inspired as I do. I want you to run into the streets, shouting, “I too shall lean in!” But, after all of the ways I can think to spin it… I really feel that you won’t feel that way until you read the book. Then I have no doubt, whether you have 8 kids or none, married or single, stay at home or working, you will shout “For the love of all that is good, just lean in!”

I was hooked on the book early on. I tend to enjoy self-help, inspirational, memoir, career… this is a great mix of all, I think. The long and short of it: Author = very successful woman. She recognizes mistakes that society, women, and yes, even herself, have made in career development. Unlike other books of this type, she does not blame society, women, or men for these mistakes. In fact there’s not a whole lot of finger pointing at all in the book. I love this. I’m not into the blame game. So as I brag on it to everyone who will listen, I am finding others who have read it as well. My cousin in grad school is reading it. She’s as excited as I am.  My boss is burning through it as well. Just pages in, she burst into my office suggesting the libraries might need pregnancy parking and on fire with other ideas.

Why are these all so significant? Because this book transcends life stage and situation.  My single cousin: early 20s, just starting the kernels of a career. Me: mid 30s, married with two kids and a mid level career. My boss: more established than myself, married, no kids, accomplished career. All women and men too would benefit from reading and discussing this book.

Some of my favorite points:

  • Don’t make decisions until you have to. So many women opt out of demanding and/or fulfilling work because ‘one day’ they might have kids. If that never happens then what?
  • Men aren’t free to pick their path either! Ever know a man who stays home with children? Some do it very successfully. Everyone that I know that has, Mr. Hero included, describes staying at home a very isolating experience. Mommy & Me classes and playgroups are all filled with women. And they aren’t inviting dad and kids over to hang out at their house all day. ~which for the record I completely understand.
  • Be willing to share the load. This is something I’m just starting to work on. Did you know that both my kids and my husband survive a trip to the doctor’s office without my assistance? Of course they can! My husband can handle the logistics of whole Cavalry units. He has led and delivered soldiers from continent to continent accounting for every need along the way. I assume because I was the stay at home mom, and the one who has traditionally always managed all of the doctor visits that I am the only one capable. Boy, I have an inflated sense of self importance – no? He now regularly shares equally in appointments and we are all the better for it!

There are too many more to list out. I can possible work on everything at once. But let me say that not only has this book made me a better worker, I think it’s made me a better manager as well. At a recent meeting, we were setting up the seating arrangement. We decided to place every chair in the room at the table. Any chairs not necessary were made unusable. This forced every woman in attendance to come to the table and actively participate in discussion. This wasn’t solely my doing, but I was able to better appreciate the significance of this after having read the book.

Now here’s my negative, only because I feel it’s best to attempt to be neutral in these things. It sure is easy for someone at the top with an ivy league education to look back and tell everyone else they too can change the world. Sandberg does acknowledge this in one chapter. But I think some women & men will look at her message and think it couldn’t apply to them. They aren’t educated. They aren’t in decision making positions. They might be living paycheck to paycheck and just thankful to have dinner on the table. In many ways, a lot of this discussion feels like a conversation of the entitled.

I am now seeking a Lean In Circle.

Now, this book has me thinking of, and it even addresses, some of the trailblazing women that have gone before me. To be honest, I don’t know many. So the example I have is The Young & The Restless. Remember that one? Or Dallas? Every business transaction occurred over some amber liquid poured from a decanter. This was how business was done by the good ol’ boys in my teenage mind. Well, times have changed… I’ll take my scotch with eggs. BTW – it makes a great breakfast on the run, which is how this momma rolls.

Scotch Eggs

scotch eggs

6 boiled eggs, pealed
1# ground pork
1T maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon (or adjust to taste) each of the following: cinnamon, ginger, paprika, salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375º. Mix pork, syrup & seasonings together well. Divide the pork into 6 even portions. Flatten the portion and place an egg in the middle. Wrap the egg in pork. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until pork is cooked through.

I personally love the maple syrup in mine because I eat them for breakfast. You can substitute honey or leave out the sweetener all together, if so desired.