In this week’s guest post Gina Visram discusses a book that inspires her and shares her own thoughts and experiences.
Achieve your career goals: Let’s lean in together
By Gina Visram
As coaches, we tend to be avid readers. From industry ‘classics’ like Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to more recent personal development / business books on the scene like Karen Williams’ The Secrets of Successful Coaches, Daniel Priestley’s Key Person of Influence and Bev James’ Do it or Ditch It – as coaches, we favour books that will not only inspire our clients but that will also inspire us to be our best, to provide the best service to our clients and to achieve our own goals.
It is with this in mind that I highly, highly (yes… I did deliberately type that twice) recommend Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In. Sheryl is the COO of Facebook and is not only formidable in business terms but also an excellent motivator due to her experience and passion when it comes to women’s leadership. In her book, she examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes and offers solutions that can empower women to reach their full potential.
Her main message to women is to “sit at the table” i.e. lean in – seek challenges, take risks and pursue goals wholeheartedly. She moves the discussion from what women can’t do to what they can… a necessary, positive reframe that we, as coaches, fully embrace.
With a combination of solid research and anecdotal evidence, there is no shortage of memorable nuggets throughout this text, and below are just a few of them:
- “I truly believe that the single, most important career decision that a woman makes is whether she will have a life partner and who that life partner is. I don’t know of one woman in a leadership position whose life partner is not fully – and I mean fully – supportive of her career.”
- “For many men, the fundamental assumption is that they can have both a successful professional life and a fulfilling personal life. For many women, the assumption is that trying to do both is difficult at best and impossible at worst. Women are hounded by headlines and stories warning them that they cannot be committed to both their families and careers. They are told over and over again that they have to choose because if they try to do too much they’ll be unhappy.”
- “Feeling confident – or pretending that you feel confident – is necessary to reach for opportunities. It’s a cliché but opportunities are rarely offered; they are seized.”
- “Less than six months after I started at Facebook, Mark [Zuckerberg] and I sat down for my first formal review. One of the things he told me was that my desire to be liked by everyone would hold me back. He said that when you want to change things, you can’t please everyone. If you do please everyone, you are not making enough progress. Mark was right.”
This book has received a lot of buzz since its release in March 2013 and true to Sheryl’s comment above about not being able to please everyone – she has received a hefty dollop of criticism since publication. More importantly however, she has also successfully connected with a number of women (and men) who like me, think that absorbing and acting on some of the thinking presented in this book could have a positive, and potentially even revolutionary outcome on the workplace as we know it.
In fact, I am proud to say that I recently ‘leaned in’ by completing my first book, a career coaching book entitled “Happily Ever After for Grown-Ups: A non-fairytale, post-wedding, blues-busting guide for newlyweds.” While coming from a different angle, my book is also about achieving a successful personal/professional balance and I must admit, it feels good to be leaning in further towards my coaching aspirations through achieving this milestone.
What should you take away from this post?
- As a coach, male or female – I highly recommend that you read Lean In. Agree or disagree – it is certainly thought provoking and in my humble opinion, a fantastic read and motivational platform for clients and coaches alike.
- If you would like to support a fellow coach and/or if you coach around the area of careers, relationships and/or ‘work/life balance’ – please do check out and purchase Happily Ever After for Grown-Ups – available on Amazon from 15 April 2013. (If you can’t promote your own work… who will?!)
About Gina Visram
Gina is a career coach, speaker, mentor and author who works with ambitious, multi-tasking women (and men!) who are ready to work hard at being successful in their careers and personal lives – on their own terms. As part of her ‘Limitless Coaching’ initiative, she works with clients to help them maximise or regain focus and drive to achieve key goals. A relative newlywed herself, Gina married on 29 April 2011 (same day as the ‘royal wedding’) and is emerging rapidly as a lead moderator and facilitator in discourse on the traditionally “hushed” subject of ‘post-wedding blues’.
To enquire about working with Gina, stay in touch and find out more about local and online workshops in relation to the book Happily Ever After for Grown-Ups, follow her on Twitter @bridemotivation, connect through Facebook page “Happily Ever After for Grown-Ups” www.facebook.com/happilyeverafterforgrownups and visit her Limitless Coaching website www.limitlesscoaching.com