Lean In? Women Should Lean Sideways Instead

Why this mom thinks Sheryl Sandberg's manifesto misses the point

Photograph by Michele Asselin/Contour by Getty Images

Sheryl Sandberg has become a household name since taking the reigns of the Facebook corporation as COO. Since then, we've watched in fascination as her leadership position at one of the most popular technology companies has been heralded as historic and worthy of awe. Sandberg is set to release her new manifesto Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, and in it she describes the leadership skills she developed in her youth, and some of the personality traits she exhibited in her meteoric rise to the top of the corporate heap.

She hopes Lean In will inspire women all across the world to speak up, stand up tall and lean in toward their success. What Sandberg doesn't realize is that women already know to do these things, but we are exhibiting these traits in a brand new way.

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Gone are the days when all women dreamed of was a chance to don a business suit and pumps in the race to be handed salaries comparable to men, in corporations created by men. The business suit isn't as appealing as it once was, and has been replaced by fabulous sweaters coupled with cut-off jean shorts over fishnets and sneakers. The grandeur of the corporate corner office has definitely lost its luster as women today have defined a new format for success that is hinged on our ability to create our own products and propel them into dynamic brands.

We're leaning in to create a lifestyle that complements our chief desires of financial security coupled with creating memorable moments with our loved ones.

Women are no longer seeking permission from superiors or earnestly hoping for a promotion from corporations created by men. We are promoting ourselves as entrepreneurs from the trenches of our neighborhoods, coffee shops and basements. Women like Sara Blakely, the creator of the Spanx brand, have rewritten what it means to be a successful woman today. Out of frustration and undeniable determination she pushed an idea for women’s apparel into a must-have item for every woman's wardrobe.

We can't celebrate successful female entrepreneurs unless we mention creative women like Alexis Levine, who bowed out of her corporate gig in media sales and created Savvy Media, a boutique media buying agency that has transformed the way businesses expand their brands. Women are leading a new revolution that doesn't bow to the rules of yesterday. We're leaving the boardrooms to the big boys as we sip hot chocolate in our pajamas and watch our profits increase from products and services we invented. We're leaning in to create a lifestyle that complements our chief desires of financial security coupled with creating memorable moments with our loved ones.

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So yes, Sheryl Sandberg will remind us to Lean In, and we are grateful for her encouragement and instruction. We'll definitely buy a copy and take our time to read it as a history lesson, while we adjust our new sunglasses and run our empires from our tablets, our toes buried in the sand.

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