“Lean in,” Sheryl Sandberg has been saying for years now. But she doesn’t just mean women. Men can, and should, lean in as well.
In the April issue of Cosmopolitan, Sandberg explores this idea as part of the “Cosmo Careers” section, but also mentions the notion that when she was younger, she was implored by others to find a good man in college, where she would be “surrounded by the smartest men she may ever meet.”
“I believed them. I analysed all my potential dates as possible husbands. I even had a poster in my dorm room that read, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.” I’m amazed that anyone was willing to kiss me under that ridiculous poster,” Sandberg writes in Cosmopolitan.
This is not the quote you’d necessarily associate with the woman who made “lean in” a popular, common phrase.
We don’t know what the poster looked like exactly, of course, but if you Google the quote, you get a lot of images, many of which are attributing the quote to E.L. James, the author of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
This quote is popular, and has been used in many forms, but it was not first written by E.L. James.
Sandberg says this drive to find a husband resulted in a marriage at 24 that ended by the time she was 25. She said she feared the divorce would damage her potential to meet someone else.
This wasn’t true, of course, but a little more time and growth helped her to realise it wasn’t about finding a good man, it was about finding a true partner — someone who she could advocate for and vice versa. Being a part of a team was important to her.
This is where she gets to the men “leaning in” part, especially in an office setting.
“We can also encourage enlightened behaviour at work. Companies and individuals perform better when men and women support one another. We can thank the guy who, when a woman is interrupted, says, ‘I want to hear what she has to say.’ We can reward men who help us achieve our goals by helping them achieve theirs,” she writes.