During my early graphic design days at church, there was nothing more that I wanted than to be the church’s video editor. I remember being in a meeting with my senior pastors and was asked if I would one day like to be the video department head. I was 24 years old then, and so much of my future was unknown. I knew I wanted a family and I would want to be a stay a home mom, so my answer was, “One day, I want to be married with kids.” They all looked at me and said,”Yes, but would you like to be the video department head in the future?” I smiled, and said, “Yes”. The thought of having my own family, was about to make me draw back from what I knew was my calling. I am very glad that no one listened to my answer in that meeting and still decided to developed me as a leader.
There is a similar story in Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. She is the CFO of Facebook and is passionate about encouraging women to never stop leaning in towards new opportunities at their job. As I read, I was horrified at the different studies of women drawing back or giving up. Also, at the different challenges women have to overcome in order to be taken as a leader. I am fortunate that at my work place, the men believe in the women, and I know that’s because of my senior pastor who broke the mold and is an amazing woman preacher and pastor. I started to see I was my bully, telling myself I can’t or I’m scared or I’m just a girl.
“We internalize messages that say it’s wrong for us to be outspoken, aggressive, and as powerful as – or even more powerful than -men…We hold ourselves back not just out of fear or seeming too aggressive but also by underestimating our abilities.”
“At Facebook, I teach managers to encourage women to talk about their plans to have children and help them continue to reach for opportunities.”
And this was true for me at meetings:
“If you take the chair on the side of the room, he will take the seat at the table because he knows he’s awesome. So please remember that you deserve a seat at the same table..and that you are awesome too.”
The book is full of encouraging words and shared experiences from other leading women professionals, to believe in yourself, that you are more than capable, to have a thriving career. To develop a true partnership with your husband, and being co-parents to take care of the daily house hold items and to never stop leaning in towards promotions and leadership positions. I realize I am apart of a new generation of women who work, and its awesome to read I can have a career that I am passionate about and have a family.
“The goal is to work toward a world where those social norms no longer exist. If more children see fathers at school pickups and mothers who are busy at jobs, both girls and boys will envision more options for themselves. Expectations will to be set by gender but by personal passion, talents, and interests.”
Whether I decide to be a stay a home mom or keep working at a job. I am encouraged to keep taking a leadership role in my life. Either way I will be leading my kids or leading others.