Leaning in

It was through an Amazon delivery that I received a week ago Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In. I was in a very nice Café on the Gendarmenmarkt when I finished it. The setting and the great concoction of mint-lemon-honey-ginger flavors of the home-made tea I was enjoying, would have been more proper for a Pride and Prejudice moment. It was however during lunch break, so all the black dressed workers eventually created the business atmosphere.

I later investigated what this book was all about and I found the leanin.org community. The great collection of diverse stories struck me as I could read about famous women who made it to the top and about other women stories. They all had something in common, a fantastic testimony.

An ambitious girl who never thought of becoming a model one day, expressed it this way: “I didn’t end up going the route I had intended, but I did wind up exactly where I wanted to be.” That very bright woman is the very successful businesswoman Tyra Banks.

Isn’t eventually the dream that we want to achieve more important than ‘doing it our way’? – I think so. In fact, I always knew I wanted to write and blogging came to my mind a long time ago. However, it was exactly when I tried to be a person I wasn’t that it became the toughest challenge about how I was going to manage it. Writing wasn’t a problem, but crafting, mothering, giving cooking advice or organizing a birthday party, were the problems! Every woman’s blog I could find were about those things that I was incapable of doing.

It was only recently, years later, that I could again see bigger than just big! It was exactly at the same moment that I added leaning in into my vocabulary.

A couple of days ago I enjoyed a great lunch and Starbucks break with two friends of mine. One is an engineer from Brazil who recently attended a conference at Harvard and later came to Germany for another conference. The other is a German student in pharmacy with Vietnamese background. We talked about our cultures and the role of women in a company. Later, as I exposed business ideas that I had, the Brazilian engineer simply asked “which problem are you trying to solve?” – As soon as I found the answer to that question about blogging, I knew that it was in fact the right thing to do and that I would help a great number by just being myself.

We all have the same questions, and we wish someone had given us the answers before. The number of people leaving their families and communities to move abroad for different reasons is increasing every year. The struggle of finding a proper job when you’re a business graduate because you don’t speak the language well enough is an issue for many people. Being a good partner, a good worker, a good parent and for many also being involved in a community, looks like a gigantic mountain. However, it is possible to do it all.

We all have different lives with our own routines and choices. We love where we are but it seems at times overwhelming. We wish we had the right person who could cheer us up and tell us the truth: this is momentary, it is going to be okay!

It is because it’s not all-about-me, but all about the others, that we have to learn to lean in to bring the world a word that is needed at the right time.

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A Good Life

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