Tag Archives: Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In: My story of pursuing my passions

GRIT by Brit Lean In

A few months ago I wrote a blog post about an inspiring women’s conferenced I attended at my alma mater, Harvard Business School.  Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO,  was the keynote speaker and I become very moved by her advocacy for women to “Lean In.”  I could relate to her stories about over coming corporate obstacles, balancing work and life and trying to build and maintain self-confidence.   She even talked about the importance of maintaining her health and wellness (she was also a fitness instructor on the side, like me!).  This woman has some #GRIT.  Anyway, I decided to share my “Lean In” story with the global community, so I today I wanted to repost it for my GRIT by Brit readers.  Hope my story inspires you and encourages you to make your dreams come true!

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The only person who can hold me back from making my dreams come true, is me!  Lots of luv, Brit

And here’s my story…

I drained my savings account to develop and produce an original home workout DVD. I was working crazy hours in management consulting and had recently completed my MBA, but could not ignore my deep desire to share fitness, health and wellness with others. I chose to lean in.

I realized I had unique ability to motivate and encourage others through fitness and wellness. At a very young age I began struggling with my weight. I weighed 106 pounds in the 3rd grade. However, my weight loss journey transformed my way of thinking and revealed my personal strength. My new-found mental grit positively impacted my career, relationships and my faith. I had a duty to share my weight management success story and tools for others to succeed.

First, I auditioned at a major fitness club to start teaching part-time group fitness classes. I was terrified. Completely out of my element, I had to study for fitness certifications, get my body in impeccable shape and learn to lead a class. I would have been much more comfortable in a conference room with PowerPoint slides.

I then started a fitness and wellness lifestyle blog in which I became totally immersed. After long days with my corporate clients, I would stay up late designing workouts and writing motivational messages for my blog followers.

Last, I took the big leap by draining my entire savings account, hiring a producer, and shooting a home workout DVD, staring me! While being in front of the camera was very uncomfortable, it was also amazingly exhilarating. In less than one year, I finalized the video content and packaging. The DVD was picked up by an Amazon distributor and is now for sale online to customers worldwide. In the first three months I sold over 100 copies without any paid marketing or advertising. Also, my blog grew to almost 2,000 followers. In the meanwhile, I received a promotion from Senior Consultant to Manager at my full-time consulting job—wow!

My lean in decision taught me that I’m capable of doing things far beyond my imagination. While I haven’t led a major corporation or raised millions of dollars, I have encouraged the lives of many people by simply sharing my gifts and taking a risk. The only person who can hold me back from making my dreams come true, is me.

Leaning in Sheryl Sandberg Style: Up close w/ Facebook COO and other Wonder Women

picstitch (22)Word on the street is Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, is positioning herself to run for US political office which is why she’s investing so much time and energy in promoting her new book, Lean In.  I don’t really care what her intentions are.  I just know that after I read the book and heard her speak this weekend, I felt re-energized and ready to CRUSH it.  I like Sheryl and the “Lean In” message because, to me, it’s a modern day, sexy, non-butch feminist movement.  I’m a “girly” girl, but I’m also feisty, aggressive and have lots of GRIT (aka GRIT by Brit).  The way Sheryl describes a feminist allows me to be ME 🙂

Sheryl Sandberg Lean InI graduated from Harvard Business School in 2010, so last weekend 2 of my best friends/classmates and I went back to Boston for the Women’s 50 (#W50) Summit.  W50 celebrated 50 years since women were admitted to HBS.  We had a rockstar list of key note guest speakers including Anne Moore,  Karen Gordon Mills and Frances Frei.  But in addition to these high-profile guests,  I learned SO MUCH from my fellow HBS women alumni who simply shared their personal stories.  I left the weekend feeling like…

“I got this. I’m gonna be okay.  It’s all good. The world is MINE.”

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I also feel a duty to share the Top 5 Life Lessons I learned over the past 3 days.  I hope these nuggets of wisdom impact you as much as they’ve positively impacted me.

  1. Life is about “juggling” not “balancing” priorities.  If we try to be “balanced” we’ll always be disappointed.  It’s not that easy.  Better yet, think of life as juggling and the only way to get good at it is to practice.  In life, we are juggling several balls (i.e. priorities) , family, career, friends, hobbies.  Some balls bounce if you drop them (i.e. career) but others don’t (i.e.family.)  When juggling, the ball that requires the most attention at a point in time is the one that’s falling – Howard Stevenson
  2. Dare to be bad.  This doesn’t mean we should act like 16 year old rebellious teenagers.  It means that in order to be GREAT at some things, we have to have the courage and wisdom to be BAD at somethings (i.e. Wal-Mart is not GREAT at customer service).  If we try to be good at everthing, all we achieve is perfect mediocrity.  The road to mediocrity is paved with good intentions.  But daring to be BAD is pathway to greatness. – Francies Frei
  3. Attribute your successes to your OWN talents and skills.  This is a key point that Sheryl hammered home which rings especially true for women.  While luck, the help of others and hard work play a large role in our achievements, we also have to acknowledge that we are pretty freakin’ talented.  Men do this much more than women.  But ladies, we need to start giving ourselves some credit when we knock it out of the park.  Like I always say, “Show some Swagger”
  4. Leaders adapt and pressure is a privilege.  We should be excited about the challenges in our lives and face them head on, with confidence.  – Ann Moore
  5. The most important decision in our lifetime is who we choose to marry.  Frances Frei says, “Plan A, marry the person who energizes you and inspires you to be a better person.  Plan B is to surround yourself with a team of people who do the same.”  No matter who I spoke with this weekend, a key theme I heard is that a happy, supportive spouse played a critical role in each woman’s livelihood,  career success and family health.  Many of the husbands described were willing to help do the laundry and take care of the kids so that these high-achieving women didn’t have to “lean back” from their own careers. – Sheryl Sandberg

Now go CRUSH this week #GRIT

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