Recently, I was offered an invaluable opportunity to serve in a leadership role without having any prior experience. And while I have only been in this role for about a month, most days I am usually overwhelmed with feelings of doubt, fear, and inadequacy. However, tonight, I find myself encouraged and motivated by Sheryl Sandberg’s commencement speech she gave in 2011 at Bernard College, an all-women’s liberal arts school in NYC. And though I was unable to attend my graduate school’s graduation ceremony this past August, I feel as if tonight I was in the audience listening to Ms. Sandberg as she delivered the commencement address from the podium. Sandberg concludes with this:
“You are the promise for a more equal world. So my hope for everyone here is that after you walk across this stage, after you get your diploma, after you go out tonight and celebrate hard—you then will lean way in to your career. You will find something you love doing and you will do it with gusto. Find the right career for you and go all the way to the top.
As you walk off this stage today, you start your adult life. Start out by aiming high. Try—and try hard.
Like everyone here, I have great hopes for the members of this graduating class. I hope you find true meaning, contentment, and passion in your life. I hope you navigate the difficult times and come out with greater strength and resolve. I hope you find whatever balance you seek with your eyes wide open. And I hope that you—have the ambition to lean in to your career and run the world. Because the world needs you to change it. Women all around the world are counting on you.
So please ask yourself: What would I do if I weren’t afraid? And then go do it.”
-excerpt from Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In
Accepting this leadership role is me leaning in, it’s what I would do if I weren’t afraid.