"I couldn't be married to a woman who was more successful than me," said my father right in front of my mother and me. He didn't say it with pride, after all, he helped raise a successful daughter. He was talking about this fact as a shortcoming. One that my mother, who was a school principal at age 25, accepted in order to have the family she dreamed off in the late sixties.
Ironically or maybe because he knew he was wrong, my Dad placed no limitations when it came to my career dreams. Needless to say, my mom, who often regrets never going back to work after my brother and I reached a certain age, drilled in me the importance to follow my work goals to the fullest.
"You guys would have been fine if I had gone back to my career while you were at school all day."
So when I listen to Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, talk about begging her high school year book editor not to print that she was voted most likely to succeed, I couldn't relate. Yet, I could relate to everything else she said during her excellent 60 Minutes profile.
I've lived my life aiming for success. I've made tough choices that have helped me reach my goals and I haven't settled for less. I chose a spouse that could handle a successful wife putting his career second to mine. We waited to start a family until I reached certain goals. But as she mentioned, like many women, I've always felt very lucky that I've made it to where I am. I credit others with helping me in my success and I believe hard work, not necessarily an outstanding talent, has brought me to this point.
Although accurate, that is the attitude Sandberg thinks holds women back from being even more successful. Men will tell you they have the outstanding skills to get the job done. We, either as learned or innate behavior, are more humble about it.
If you've ever been called bossy or if your little girl has been called the same: you need to watch this interview. No matter what your definition of success is, bossy is a title we should all embrace.
Here is the link: