I feel blessed to have grown up with so many great mentors in my life. Recently, one of the mentors who changed the course of my thinking and had a profound impact on my life is Sheryl Sandberg — and it all started when a friend mine gifted me her book Lean In on my birthday.

I had always admired Sheryl for her ideas, talks, speeches she gave at convocation and graduation ceremonies and her work. But this book hit home for me in a meaningful way, as it was presented to me during a time of my life when I was in a stressful dilemma. I had just given birth to a beautiful daughter and she became center of my universe and my life. My own career aspirations took a back seat, as I found that caring for this little life whom I gave birth was the most important work in the world as a mother. I wanted to be the best parent, best mother, and best friend to my daughter. Time and again, I thought about how soon I could resume my work full-time, and I had so many different voices in head telling me what to do.

Reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book helped me navigate my way during that defining moment of my life. There are five important lessons that I learned and implemented in my life after reading her words. Here’s what I learned from her mentorship:

The power to decide:

We as women are often expected to be good decision-makers. Sandberg talks about how we have the power to decide for ourselves what our own mix of personal and professional life should look like. Having the power to decide is not something to be taken for granted.

Having it all:

We are all human beings. No one can have it all. So, at a given time, we will have some aspects of our life where we stand at the top pedestal and other aspects where we stand at lower or other levels. We should enjoy the successes of every areas of our lives, whether that’s being a wife, a mother, a friend, or a successful entrepreneur.

Finding the right mentor:

Sandberg addresses the notion that a mentor-mentee relationship is one that should be beneficial to both parties. She talks about finding people you admire, and seeking their advice and expertise. And if you’re hesitant about reaching out to someone you don’t know, ask someone in your network.

Having a spirit of individual success:

She advocates for the idea that “life is a jungle gym, not a ladder”. When we are given opportunities for excellence and growth, it’s important that we analyze them with the framework of our personal growth trajectory, and avoid comparing our own path with someone else’s.

Community Building:

Sandberg talks about the idea that women should always be supporting other women. When we enjoy and celebrate the successes of other women, the world becomes a better place.

I wish I could personally thank Sheryl Sandberg for the profound impact she made on my life, particularly during a stage of motherhood where I was scared and unsure. Ultimately, her book helped me gain confidence in my decision-making, and inspired me to do what feels right, no matter what others think.

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