Lean In Is Strong Not Desperate

I just got back from a women’s conference where the theme was “Lean In”, which was inspired by one of my favorite books by the same name. Over those three days powerful women, like Lisa Leslie, Julie Foudy and Julie Hermann, reinforced that women need to go after what they want even if they don’t think they have the exact skill set.  You don’t have to be perfect.  And you don’t have to wait for someone to ask you to apply.

While attending a women’s conference wasn’t the best place to meet a guy … even having the Plastic Surgeons’ convention using the same space didn’t increase those chances.  But these strong messages will continue to play a role in how I approach opportunities.

Just like in business, it’s okay to initiate the conversation with a guy or to be vocal about wanting to find someone.  If people don’t know what you want, they can’t help you get it.  Some say this makes a woman look desperate or that she’s too aggressive, but they say similar things in the workplace as well.

It’s a mindset that hopefully will change, but until then, these powerful women will keep reminding us that we can’t take it personally.  If someone doesn’t like your approach, take note and move on.  If you want to use online dating services, don’t be embarrassed.  Instead, ask your friends for help creating a great online profile.

You don’t have to be perfect to put yourself out there.  It’s okay to figure it out as you go.  There’s no reason to wait for someone to tell you that you’re ready or that it’s okay.   Being yourself and being strong should never be seen as a bad thing.  You decide when to lean in, and eventually everyone else will catch up.

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Lisa Leslie NACWAA

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