I read an amazing book recently. Scratch that. I discovered an amazing human recently. Sure, I’d heard her name and her legend somewhat. But until I took the time to read her book; Lean In, I really had no idea of how exceptional this human is. She’s a total badass.
That person is Sheryl Sandberg.
What makes her so exceptional is the abundant realness. Realness is unbelievably important to me. The realness in saying; hey, this is me, I go out and I do the best I can, each and every day. I rise to life’s challenges. I am grateful. I am evolving. I am far from perfect. But I am real.
I am unashamed about my realness. In fact, it’s one of the things about me I am most proud of. I am lucky that I work for a company that absolutely celebrates and embraces that.
One of the biggest comments I seem to get over and over again when I write my blogs is someone thanking me for my honesty and candour – and I’m always slightly surprised by this each time.
We owe it to one another to keep it as real as possible. To share our stories, our triumphs over adversity, but also to be transparent about our journey and our struggles, acknowledging what it might have taken for us to get where we are.
Sandberg absolutely captures the essence of the internal dialogue I have had with myself as a woman and I know that will be the same for many others. I can’t speak for men on this subject, but I know that myself and the many different brilliant females I am proud to know, are hard on ourselves in just the way she describes.
She talks of the difference in the way that women describe their experiences vs. men. She talks about how a woman will usually only apply for a job if she is completely convinced she ALREADY has the skills they are looking for. Rather than throwing caution to the wind and applying anyway, which Sandberg suggests, is the male approach.
Women only feel truly comfortable when rising via merit, when someone says; hey you have earned this promotion, here you go, its yours. The reality though is that we need to get a whole bunch better at taking it. Leaping for the opportunities that scare us a little. I know that’s what I did with my role at Shazam.
I have recently called myself to account on is the way I present my ‘career story’ to the world, and the way I have allowed my own detrimental inner dialogue to steer that. I may have even written some of my blog posts from that very standpoint.
Someone asked me earlier this week how I had ‘managed to land a job like Shazam’ – with a very barbed emphasis on the how – having come from an external recruiting background. I laughed along with them, and explained how I’d been extremely lucky to meet the person that brought me into Shazam, and how grateful I am that I did. And it is true. I am both of those things. But what I should have articulated was that I got my role on merit.
I need to get better at being clear about that with myself and the rest of the world that:
- I got here because I was able to cope with the pace, and the amount of change that a company like Shazam goes through.
- I got here because my small company background, meant that I have been conditioned to operate positively and swiftly whatever the day might bring.
- I got here because I am a problem solver, first and foremost; there’s nothing we can’t fix with a bit of thought.
- I got here because I am tenacious, and took Shazam into my heart. I thrive here because I work my ass off to help create an effective recruiting function that provides the people that Shazam needs to fly.
- I got here because I took every opportunity that entered my peripheral vision and grabbed it with both hands.
- I got here because I live with the focus of continued development, of self and everything around me.
- I got here because I make a choice every day to be happy, and to be the best version of me I can possibly be.
The role might have been presented to me, but I won it and made it permanent. I also made the connection with the brilliant human that reached out to me for the role in the first place.
I didn’t just lean in, I dived in. I created (and continuously evolve) great processes. I developed (and continuously develop) new initiatives. I built a team that has assembled an exceptional collection of humans that deliver amazing work and help make Shazam the very best business it can be.
What is your ‘story’? How do you allow your internal dialogue to colour the way you present yourself to the world?
We all need to get better at being our own cheerleaders and we can work together to help us all improve on our internal dialogue. We need to hold each other to account when we can see and perceive negative attitudes towards self. I am blessed to have a rich and diverse group of friends that work to hold ourselves and each other to exactly that. Male and female.
In the work context, we can also make sure that credit is taken where credit is due. If we can see that someone isn’t comfortable in claiming their own, we can lovingly point it out and help them along their way. We need to celebrate one another’s successes abundantly. We are all badasses.
And the next time someone asks me how I ‘managed’ to secure my role at Shazam, I hereby make a pact with myself to become better at being my own advocate, at celebrating my own badassery. I will simply reply; because I am a badass.