'Lean In' by Sheryl Sandberg has taught me an invaluable lesson for myself and my daughter.
My 4-year-old daughter loves princesses. She often declares that she will be a princess when she grows up and insists on repeating it even after my son jokingly chides her for her choice in career.
I'll be honest, the idea that a tiara is something she aspires to frustrates me as a parent. And yet, I realize now that I've waited for a tiara myself. I've waited for people to recognize my accomplishments and bestow a gift, whether it be a job, a promotion or a raise. I want to make sure that my daughter knows that she shouldn't wait for her dreams to be fulfilled—she is the one who will make them come true. (For more tips on making your dreams come true, click here.)
After reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, I'm amazed at how many times I've held myself back—without even realizing it. I thought I was making the right choice based on what women "should" do. And while I wouldn't change the course of my life, I do want to learn from it.
In my senior year of college, I got to the final round of interviews to be a consultant at McKinsey & Company, an elite consulting firm. The day after the last interview they called me back. A partner told me that they were concerned about my low math scores on my SATs and because of the score they couldn't readily offer me a job. I see now that a man would have taken this as a starting point in a negotiation and I wish I would have fought for that job. I could have suggested I would do an intensive math course or argued that the SATs didn't represent my current math skills. Instead, I held back tears and said, "I understand, thank you for the opportunity."
I graduated, got married and moved to Upstate New York where I spent the next six months working at the Gap and looking for a real job. I didn't fight for my dream job because I didn't know that I could. Keep reading ...
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