Sheryl Sandberg is back with some career advice. The Facebook COO recently wrote an essay for Cosmopolitan on what has helped her career–and it may not be what you think: her friends. While hard work, dedication, and communication are all keys to success, having a support system is also necessary.
Sandberg is famous for writing “Lean In,” which has sold more than two million copies since its 2013 publication. She also admitted that she got parts of her theory on how women can be successful wrong this past year, after becoming a single mother following the death of her husband.
When it comes to having a support system, Sandberg explained how it’s never too early to start building a network–and sometimes that support system comes from unexpected places. She wrote:
“It was in seventh grade that I found the women who would become my lifelong friends and supporters. We were “the smart girls”— which, in a Miami public junior high school, was not a compliment. We weren’t cool, but we were fast and loyal friends. And we have stood by one another for decades — from junior high to high school to college to starting careers and families to the present day. They have advised me on what dress to wear to the prom and what job to take. They were part of the inspiration for Lean In Circles — the small peer groups that meet regularly to learn and grow together. And they are a big part of why, a year after the death of my husband, Dave, I am able to smile again.
We need people who encourage us, believe in us, support us, and remind us that we are not alone. For women, this kind of support can be especially important — because, too often, the world tells women what we can’t do.”
She goes on to explain why she started the Lean In campaign in the first place:
“Research shows that women create more opportunities for other women at work — and that’s the reason LeanIn.org launched a campaign that celebrates women supporting women. It’s called #TogetherWomenCan, and the logic is simple: When women celebrate one another’s accomplishments, we’re all lifted up. I truly believe that together, women can level the playing field to go farther faster. The more we help one another, the more the notion of that “queen bee” will go out of style.”
Besides this, Sandberg actually gave a somewhat detailed outline of how her friends actually got her jobs–which is extremely refreshing and useful to see, considering she is one of the most successful women in the world. While much of her success has been earned because of her dedication, she shows how no person is an island unto themselves–we all need help:
“Michael Dearing and I became friends on the phone when we both worked at Disney. Later, he joined a young company called eBay and encouraged me to check out its open jobs. I did, and spent five remarkable years there —thanks to a gentle push from a friend over lunch.”