Women are pulling back when we should be “leaning in”. Leaning in is being ambitious in any pursuit, personal or career related. Women often fail to put themselves forward, consistently underestimate themselves, and see ambition as a dirty word. The author advocates that women should speak up confidently, thoughtfully, respectfully, and often just to be heard.

She breaks her lean in concept down like this:

-Increasing your own self-confidence by being an active participant…by sitting at the table, not off to the side, knowing that you have ideas worth contributing then contribute them

-Working as a team at home by allowing our partners to do more at home…let your parenting partner be a real partner, empower them, how “done is better than perfect”

-Letting go of holding ourselves to unreal standards…”the myth of doing it all”, cut yourself some slack instead of succumbing to societal norms for women

In this book, the author frankly relates her experiences personally and professionally. Then, shares how she resolved the problems that arose and how personal choices affected her career.

Sheryl urges women to ditch the “bad mother with a briefcase” image (the mommy wars). We have long undervalued the contributions of those who volunteer. Sheryl points out that “we all want tzhe same thing, to feel comfortable with our choices and to feel validated by those around us. So let’s start by validating one another”. Be respectful of the life path others choose.

One women’s personal decisions about living her life and career should not be a decider for all women. Validate each other’s choices (both men and women). Sheryl closes with the thought, “In the future there will be no female (or male) leaders…just leaders.”

The reader, Elisa Donovan, communicates through her vocal skills the necessity with which the leadership gaps need to be closed. She reads with energy, at a pace and clarity which allows the listener to reflectively consider the points this author makes.

This book is inspiring, reminding me of lessons learned when raising small children and managing a business as well as lessons learned when I was an at-home mother. Sheryl reminds that not all women have the same desires/goals/life course/interests at the same moment in their lives or ever and that’s OK. But women (and men) still have to “lean in” as leaders in their own lives, both personal and work lives. This is valuable wisdom to share with your favorite grad (male or female) who is about to step out into the corporate world.

Lean In – Women, work, and the will to lead, by Sheryl Sandberg with Nell Scovell, Randomhouseaudio.com

While I’m listening to enlightening audio books, I’m sewing denim aprons with bandana trim for my online shop ( http://www.etsy.com/shop/topdrawerthreads ). Or, I’m knitting stocking caps from novelty recycled yarn for my other shop ( http://www.ety.com/shop/topdraweryarns ). My daughter’s (and friend) have an online shop, http://www.etsy.com/shop/yesdesigns , where they hand make and sell crocheted bikini tops, knitted picnic afghans, and cotton beach shorts with cell pocket. My other daughter has an online shop, http://www.etsy.com/shop/shroombloombags , where she designs and crochets mushroom inspired festival bags from recycled yarn.