Friday, June 27, 2014

Leaning In

I’m part of a new, small little book club with some amazing women. We chose Lean In for our first book. I love to read and usually read pretty quickly but I INHALED this book. I think I finished it in 2 days. Every single page spoke to me and it could not have come at a better time in my personal and professional life. If you haven’t read it yet, do it. If you can’t commit to the whole book, at least check out Sheryl Sandberg’s TedTalk for the highlights.

Today, I got some amazing news at work. I was accepted to participate in a Leadership Institute for State Advocate class with the Annie E Casey Foundation. This is only the second time they have offered this class and I’m one of 18 people participating from across the country. This is a tremendous investment on the part of the Foundation and I think is a true reflection of their priority to improve the lives of America’s children through advocacy work.  It’s a fantastic experience but also a tremendous investment on my part: additional work outside of my usual work load and frequent travel for the 18 months beginning in November.

When I first got the application, I was excited but nervous. Should I do this? Could I do this? After much hemming and hawing (and discussion with husband and colleagues), I completed the application and submitted it.  But I was torn. I’ve always been ambitious with my career but I’m a mom now. And like it or not, that changes everything in a big way. I wasn’t sure I wanted to or could do something that would keep me away from my baby girl and her daddy.

But as God would have it, I started reading this book on my way to the interview for the leadership institute. And the more I thought and the more I read, the clearer it became. This rare opportunity before me was giving me the chance to lean in to my career and lean in to my family. The happier I am and the more opportunities I have at work, the more committed and satisfied I am with my work. And the more satisfied I am outside of my house, the more satisfied and dedicated I am to what goes on at my house.  But I wasn’t going to have those opportunities for growth and advancement personally and professionally if I didn’t lean in.

Now, I know I’m just at the beginning. I’m excited today but there is no doubt a long road ahead of me.  But I have to take this moment to say to all the career moms who struggle with this every. single. day (and as I reminder to myself when this journey gets rocky) LEAN IN. Lean in with everything you have. I know, some days it hurts like hell and you just cannot give one more ounce of yourself to anyone. But we aren’t going to make this world any better for our own kids and for all our children, if we don’t take the opportunities that are right in front of us, staring us in the face.

I don't know what other opportunities await me but for now, I'm going to enjoy this moment. I'm going to pick my little one up child care and celebrate over a dinner out and no dishes to clean. And then I'm going to lean in to my bed (because it's been an incredibly tiring week) and stay there at least until 7am tomorrow morning. Because we all know toddlers love to sleep in on a Saturday.

Here's to leaning in and new adventures....