A couple of weeks ago, the organization of female professionals I belong to (Femfessionals) had a book club-type meeting to discuss Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In.” This book ties in perfectly to what the women at the CFAWL’s “Developing Distinction in Women” seminar had to say about women finding success.
The panel on professional development consisted of Orange County Commissioner Tiffany Moore Russell, Orange County 9th Judicial Circuit Court Judge, the Honorable Faye Allen, and Mid-Florida Medical Group Physician Dr. Heather Crider, N.D. They each gave their story that led them to success and offered the following advice about women gaining their own success:
-Women have to get out of their own way. We put so many perimeters around our career based on our home life (or our desired home life) that we sometimes lose the ability to accept opportunities that will eventually help enhance our home life because of increased pay and advancement.
-We have to learn to talk about ourselves better when discussing our achievements.
-We need to get a bit thicker skin (and wait to cry until you get home).
-If something isn’t working, stop, reassess, and take another route (this goes for all parts of life – work, home, and health).
-We have to remember that there is politics in every aspect of life. In work, you have to understand career advancement dynamics in your organization and at home, you have to know how to negotiate with your 18-month year old. (And if you can negotiate with that tiny person, you should be able to negotiate with any big wig anywhere.)
-We have to prioritize; we can’t do everything. Something will fall to the wayside. And we each need a village to help support us. Your kid having lots more aunts than you have sisters isn’t a bad idea.
As far as the book, Lean In, I think that it is a very applicable book to my life as well as to my friends, both male and female. The stories that are discussed and her personal lessons learned act as great guide posts to how I want to manage my next steps of success. One of the most important lessons I took from the book is that one’s career is more of a jungle gym than a ladder. You may move left, right, up, or down, and as long as it continues to make you fulfilled, then that’s all that really matters.