Sometime this spring, Sheryl Sandberg will join the ranks of the few self-made women billionaires. Oprah Winfrey and Meg Whitman are the other two. (Sandberg's stake will be $1.6 billion if Facebook goes public at $100 billion.)
Her consistent message to other women: Own Your Own Success! This message applies to all professional women, and especially towards women financial advisors.
When Sandberg joined Facebook in 2008 as COO, the company had 70 million users and no business model. Today, the company has 845 million users and may be valued close to $100 billion. One might think that the boy billionaires of Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Peter Thiel, Jim Breyer, Eduardo Severin, Sean Parker, and Yuri Milner) would owe Ms. Sandberg a debt of thanks.
Sandberg is a polished and effective speaker. Her message to women in all careers is that you must take responsibility for your own careers and not blame men for holding you back.
Sandberg notes that, throughout the world and in all professions, women are underrepresented in the seats of power and position. Of the 190 heads of state, 9 are women. In all of the parliamentary bodies around the globe, only 13% are female. Looking at corporate America, women comprise just 16% of C-level positions.
Nonetheless, Sandberg’s right-between-the-eyes assertion for all professional women is…Own Your Own Success.
Women can do this by focusing on three points:
- Sit at the table.
- Make your partner a real partner.
- Don’t leave before you leave.
Her first point stems from a personal experience of Sandberg’s, from when she attended a business meeting where two other women of influence and importance…had a curious reluctance to join the table with the “guys”. Sandberg’s rejoinder: No one gets to the corner office by sitting on the sidelines. Embrace your “awesomeness” as well as your success!
The second two points of Sandberg’s are directed more to the formation of families, and the need for real partnerships among wives and husbands. Sandberg speaks from personal experience here. She and her husband are raising two young children.
For financial advisors who are women, Sheryl Sandberg’s words should have particular resonance. Despite the fact that women control more than 60% of the assets in this country (see this Allianz study), the percentage of financial advisors who are women remains at only 30%.
As Sheryl Sandberg and other highly successful women will attest, success isn’t simply a destination; it’s a journey. Ms. Sandberg has achieved prominence and incredible income and wealth. However along the way it seems she has found purpose, fulfillment and meaning. Owning, embracing and living fully the journey of success is the key. Being willing to bring your full self without holding back, sitting at the table with the table with the ‘guys’, taking a stand and unflinchingly sharing your thoughts and knowledge is paramount for achieving high levels of gratifying success.
As Ms. Sandberg says, you won’t get to the corner office by standing on the sidelines being a wallflower. Own your power. Own your journey. Own your success!
Finally, here are some questions that may cause you to think still deeper:
- What would owning your success mean to you?
- What would it look like; entail, provide, cost?
- What can you do today to begin or strengthen that success journey?
- What obstacles do you need to remove or overcome?
- What will it take for you to fully embrace your power and success?
Thank you, and all the best!
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