Sheryl Sandberg’s advice to her younger self

The renowed COO of Facebook was asked, “What would Sheryl Sandberg tell her younger self when starting out?” on Quora. Her response:

Find work you love. When you believe in what you are doing, you can combine passion with contribution – and that is a true gift. Keep trying and you will find what you love to do… and once you do, you will crush it.

Believe you can do anything. This is important for everyone and especially for women. Don’t let anyone tell you can’t have both a meaningful professional career and a fulfilling personal life. When you hear someone say you can’t do something, know that you can and start figuring out how. Ask yourself, “What would I do if I weren’t afraid?”

There is no straight path to where you are going. If you try to draw that line you will not just get it wrong, but you will miss big opportunities. As Pattie Sellers of Fortune Magazine says, careers are not ladders but jungle gyms. You don’t have to have it all figured out. I recommend adopting two concurrent goals:

  • A long-term dream: It doesn’t have to be realistic or even specific. For example, you might say you want to work in a specific field, travel the world, have more free time. Even a vague goal can provide direction.

  • An 18-month plan: Set personal goals for what you want to learn in the next year and a half. Ask yourself how you can improve and what you’re afraid to do (that’s usually the thing you should try).


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