September 22, 2015

Quote of the Month: Sheryl Sandberg

A headshot of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Sheryl Sandberg.  Image from Thinkers 50.

By Megan G.

“We can each define ambition and progress for ourselves.  The goal is to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents and interests.”

A large part of Sheryl Sandberg’s public presence has been defined by her efforts to establish gender equality in the workplace.  For all the innovation the tech industry has accomplished, its corporate culture is still guided primarily by white, male, and young employees.  Sandberg urges women to “lean in” during important discussions and meetings at work, as opposed to hanging back and letting other employees—i.e. men—lead the flow of ideas. 

While gender equality is a big part of what Sandberg is addressing in this quote, she also speak to another aspect of the business world that is hardly touched upon and often believed unachievable by the general workforce.  With “personal passion, talents and interests,” Sandberg is talking about being able to do what you love for a living and being successful at it.

A barista clad in typical hipster attire steams milk with an espresso machine.
For some people, success and happiness could mean owning their own small coffee shop.  

Imagine being able to add your personal sort of value to the world and getting paid for it.  Sounds nice, doesn’t it?  It also sounds like a fairy tale.  To do what you’re passionate about is often considered a pipe dream and, because of this, most people settle for a safer career.  Well, thanks to some studies and personal anecdotes on the subject, your aspirations don’t have to stay fantasies daydreamed from a cubicle.

Here are a couple of examples that show anyone can and should go after his or her dream job, because it not only means happiness, but also security. 

It’s Actually Not All About You

A recreation of the "diva" emoji from the Emoji app.
So calm down, diva. 
Image from
Emoji Stickers.
Sheepish dreamers, who need an extra helping of self-worth, have no fear!  Going after your dreams isn’t a wholly selfish prospect.  

According to an article from Business News Daily, there are 12 reasons to go after the job you love for the sake of yourself, your family, your peers, and even your industry!  

Since some of the article’s points overlap, I’ve condensed its arguments into three easy bullet points.  

1)  You become a beacon of motivation and a leader in the workplace.  
Attitude is everything.  We’ve all worked with people who are less-than-thrilled to come to work every day—heck, for most of you, that’s probably the norm.  

When one person is consistently productive and motivated to succeed, that positive energy pushes through to those employees’ peers.  If that one motivated person is the leader of that company, his or her enthusiasm convinces others to engage with the business as passionately as he or she does.

2)  Your family and peers look up to you.  
Just like coworkers can be an inspiration to each other, family members can be the role model for their children, siblings, and even their parents!  If you love what you do, it inspires your friends and family to fulfill their own career aspirations.  

There’s also no better kick in the pants than a successful friend or sibling passing you by on the road to happiness.  Healthy competition never hurt anybody!

3)  You’re excited to tackle new industry challenges.  
Do not deny the industry you love a chance to utilize your talents and ideas.  Dan Ruch of Rocketrip talks about aligning incentives for both companies and their employees, as well as the thrill of behavioral economics.  

If the industry you adore wants something that you can provide, and you can be passionate about providing it, then the industry, your company, and you will be happier and healthier.

Geoffrey James and “the Plan”
A quirky head shot photography of writer Geoffrey James.
Geoffrey James. 
Image from
Geoffrey James avoided his dream job of working as a professional writer for 20 years.  Today, he is a successful author, journalist, and freelance writer, contributing to popular publications like Inc.  

While James admits the day he quit his well-paying job was the best day of his life, he also argues that his 20 years spent learning about the industry of computers, programming, and marketing was “time well spent.” 

Without James’ experience in the business world, he could have never written Business Without the Bullsh*t, his highly successful and self-described “infamous” book about creating lasting success in business.  

To top off this blog post, let's add an extra dose of quotable inspiration from Mr. James:
“You’ve only got one life.  Become the person you’re meant to be.  But don’t assume the time you’ve spent doing something else is time wasted.  It’s all part of the plan.”
 Do you feel inspired after reading this post?  Are you working in an industry you love?  Tell the Tek Team your story in the comment section. 

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