Lean Into the Life You Want

I was honored to attend the Harvard Business School “W50” Summit celebrating 50 years of women in the MBA program. It was an enlightening experience to mingle with more than 800 brilliant and powerful women.

And, I left with a clearer view of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s mission and message behind her seminal book, Lean In.

Success comes in all shapes and sizes – you define it and go for it. This really hit home for me. While on the fast track toward the career I thought I wanted my entire life, my definition of success changed when I had children.

My life isn’t the one that came to mind when I pictured life after Harvard, but entrepreneurship and the opportunity to help other women through Mom Corps is more than I could have ever dreamed of. It has given me an entirely new outlook on life and provides me with a greater level of success – one that doesn’t take from one aspect of my life to benefit the other.

Don’t get in your own way. Don’t be afraid to chase after what you want, whether it’s more flexibility, fair pay or a promotion.

Too often, the fear of a request being rejected holds professional women back from asking for what they want and need out of their work lives. Do a little research in order to present your case with confidence when asking for more flexibility or an alternative work arrangement.

And remember, hearing a “no” never hurt anyone – but your employer won’t know to give you what you don’t ask for.

Bonus PINK Link: If you’re leaning in, are you balanced? Our editor weighs in.

What does “lean in” mean to you?

By Allison O’Kelly

Allison is founder and CEO of Mom Corps, a national professional staffing firm with a focus on flexible work. Follow her at @MomCorps or @AllisonOKelly.

“Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.” Lao-tzu

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