Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lean in and take a seat at the table

Sheryl Sandberg's book, Lean In, has challenged me the past couple of weeks in June when my older sister handed me the book to read in a Marriot Hotel parking lot in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We were there to attend my little brother's high school graduation, that not only sprung up debate on where he would attend college and what he would major in. I relished in my memories of my Howard University days, where I would gravitate towards the Yard on a spring afternoon with my Calculus book propped up on my lap trying to do that nights homework assignment. There that memory stayed where I realized I missed that college experience. The Howard University bubble was where I could be this creative cookie whom majored in a hard science but loved to work on my minor in the Fine Arts department. Oh-Howard, how you challenged me to dare to be different!

However, as I kept reading into Sandberg's book in my sister's front seat of her car in that hotel parking lot, I stumbled on this quaint question: What would you do if you weren't afraid? WHOA. Did that scare me more than ever! I mean, here I thought I was actually doing something that I was afraid of: studying physics! Until I realized that, no, physics is hard BUT it ISN'T the thing I would do if I wasn't afraid. It's more like my fallback. If I wasn't afraid I would take my Nike design idea seriously. I would search for a masters program in Industrial or Material Design or Engineering than the obvious Masters in Physics. [Really, who does a masters in physics anyway?]

I returned the book reluctantly to my sister before we parted ways the end of the week. She told me to rent the book out from the local library.

TWO HUNDRED AND FOURTY SIX HOLDS LATER, I get a hold of the Lean In book from the public library. Dude - is everybody trying to read this book? Of course! It was a two month wait for the book but it is worth it. I feel like Sheryl is reading into my soul...scary. I had so many questions about, "What if I hate my job?", "Do I have to be the God-send for women in STEM?" and the infamous, "I feel so inadequate because my male peers make it seem they are better than me because social norms have made it seem like this forever!" I mean, Sandberg addressed all these issues and more! I cannot say she is the Jesus of the career industry. Of course not! But she is one to address the problems that some women didn't even know existed within themselves.

Women in any industry cut themselves short because of their OWN fears. I cannot speak for everyone but I can speak for myself. I believe God has given me a sound mind, body, and soul to achieve whatever mission He has for me. And I have to admit, that this is a relief that I am not the only woman who thinks of all these questions! I'm glad someone faced them and is continuing to face them! Additionally, I love how transparency can be someone else's breakthrough.

Go Sandberg go!

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