Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lean In or Lean Back?

I’ve been following the dialogue of Sheryl Sandberg’s theory/book Lean In.  It is very interesting stuff and I commend her for writing the book and expressing her opinion.  I do agree that women need to Lean In more and not to stay quiet during board meetings or to not not apply for a promotion because we’re pregnant, etc.  The idea that we (as women) need to Lean In to our careers is a good one.  Except for one thing…what if we want to lean into something else besides our careers?  Someone once told me to work towards what you want your end of the day to look like.  What does that look like?  Is it furiously typing emails into an Ipad?  Is it tucking children into bed?  Is it bottle-feeding calves?  Is it a ritual with a spouse?  Or happy hour with girlfriends?  Or some great combo of all?   What do we want our end of the day to look like?  And does that require us to Lean In to our careers or Lean Back?

Great pic from fellow blogger,

When I was training servers, there were those very gifted, confident people that had no problems walking up to a table of strangers and telling them the featured item for the day.  Others had a sense of apprehension at the table and would physically lean into the table stressed that they would miss something or mess up.  If you are an experienced server, you recognize this immediately dining somewhere, and think “how cute, they’re new”.  I would coach the trainees to physically lean back and relax.  Lean back and relax with the table—apprehension is contagious and your guests will feel it.  Be confident, relaxed, and sure of what you’re doing (or do your best to fake it).   It’s better to have the table laugh with you on a FUBR, than laughing at you. 

When we contemplate how we want our end of the day to look—what if leaning back is leaning in to what we want it to really look like? 

1 comment:

  1. I think you're asking some very important questions here. While I think too many women don't progress in their careers because they're insecure/not assertive, I think others push hard and "lean in" not out of self desire, but because they're afraid to look like a failure if they don't. They get to the top of the ladder, look around, and ask, "Is this all?"