Several members of my family were sitting around the table after breakfast this weekend talking when my 9-year-old nephew looked up from what he was doing and said, “Basically, life is like dodgeball and the balls that come our way are questions.” I don’t recall what we had been speaking about, but his words made me smile at the time- and they came back to me later as I finished a great book.
Later that day I finished a book that I had hesitated for quite some time to purchase. The book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg had received both accolades and criticism. The accolades celebrated Sandberg’s commentary on the need for equality for women, while the criticism seemed to focus more on questioning how Sandberg is able to speak on behalf of all women when hers is a privileged life with resources that allow her to ‘have it all’.
Having read it, I strongly recommend it to women and men who believe that equality is a necessity and who are looking to rectify the current situation. Regardless of whether or not Sandberg is wealthy and has supports that some may not, her commentary is pertinent to us all. Sandberg states that women must not only urge organizations to change but also must rid themselves of their internal barriers. Sandberg writes:
“We hold ourselves back in ways big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.”
I appreciated the frankness with which Sandberg wrote as well as her insistence to consider not just the external barriers but the internal ones many women have. Near the end of the book, in the chapter entitled The Myth of Doing it All, Sandberg includes a quotation from a 1996 commencement speech at Wellesley by Nora Ephron:
“It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don’t be frightened: you can always change your mind.”
When I read this passage- I immediately thought of my nephew’s commentary on dodge ball…..life is a bit like a dodge ball game….bring on the questions!