What Sheryl Sandberg And Henry Ford Have In Common


Why they both leaned in and what that can do for you...

There has been a lot of hoopla surrounding Sheryl Sandberg and her push to "Lean In."

People have been up in arms saying: "Sure, it's easy when you come from privilege to be able to work harder and longer!" "She's had it all, she doesn't understand" or, on the other side "We NEED to stand up for ourselves more as women!"

Everyone has an opinion.

And there is a lot to talk about: Confidence, Harvard, negotiating, Facebook. Dinner with Zuckerberg.

The list of things to debate is endless.

But here's the thing: I think that some of the chatter has missed one big point of the book.  The point that life is meant to be lived, so given that, what would you do if you could not fail? What in your career or life would be different? How would that change the way you act?

Sheryl says writing this book was the big risk she took, and the big dream she had when she asked herself what she would do if failure was not an option.

It's a great example.

She was uncomfortable, in a new arena, and out of her depth. And she did it anyway.

And that brings me to Henry Ford.  He was a 33 year old man with one failed car behind him and one crazy dream ahead of him.  What if he could make cars accessible to everyone? At a price point that most Americans could afford?

What would happen then?

He tried to build the car and get approval through the association that owned the patent, but it was a no go to get their support.

So, he dreamed bigger.  He took on "the fastest man in america" in a race: expensive car versus everyman car.  The catch? Ford had never raced before. 

He won.  And made a huge name for himself, raised money off the name and built Ford Motor Cars. The history channel does a great job of telling this story in three minutes.

More importantly though - Sheryl and Henry (first names, see how I did that?), both "Leaned In" at a critical moment in their careers to make a difference.  Ford changed the way America operates.  Sandberg is working to change the way we work.  Either way, they both started out with some mis-steps and mistakes, and in Sheryl's case - openly admitting she's felt like a fraud at times.

But neither one let fear or doubt stop them.  So, given that: what goal in your career or life needs achieving right now? What can you do differently?

Whether you lean in or just kick-ass - where do you need to stop being stuck and instead become amazing?

I think as women we have a choice to remain the status quo, or take a risk and do something different today, tomorrow, and down the road.  What that is is up to you - but I know you can do it.  Do you?

Go get 'em!