The Saturday morning keynote breakfast with Sheryl Sandberg was THE #BlogHer13 agenda item I was most looking forward to. I am a huge fan of Ms. Sandberg, and her book “Lean In”was inspirational and motivational for me. As a woman, especially a single mother, I wanted to feel that it was okay to WANT.
To WANT to be successful at something in addition to being a mother.
To WANT something for myself. To dream, work hard, and make it happen.
To be THE role model for my daughters.
To teach them that it was not only okay to do the scary things in life but that it was NECESSARY and VITAL for their growth as a person.
I wasn’t sure that it was possible and didn’t feel that there was anyone in my corner until Sheryl Sandberg came along.
She gets women.
Some may argue with this. Not me. As I read the pages of “Lean In”, I felt like she was speaking to be. Telling me that I should believe in myself and reach for my ambitions. Asking me the tough questions.
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
As I sat a few rows back from the stage in the vast ballroom with my #BlogHer tribe, eating breakfast and waiting for the program to start, I noticed Ms. Sandberg was milling about towards the front of the room. I wasn’t the only one who spotted her right away – there others that clearly had been influenced by her and wanted to say hello as well. By the time I grabbed my phone off of the table and made a bee-line for where she was, there were a few people waiting to meet her. I struck up a conversation with the two women in front of me – Angela and Kyra from KidsII. Angela had her copy of “Lean In” with her and was waiting to have it signed. (With everything I had brought to #BlogHer13, I didn’t think to grab my book! *face palm)
Panic set in when I realized that none of my roommates had come up with me and I would have no one to take pictures for me. I asked Kyra (who was taking pictures for Angela) if she wouldn’t mind doing the same for me when it was my turn. She enthusiastically said yes – something that I will forever be grateful for!
So here’s my meeting with Sheryl Sandberg . . . . in pictures!
First, I introduced myself and told her how much “Lean In” motivated me to start my own business. Instead of just nodding and smiling, she asked me questions and wanted to know what my business was about!
I handed her my business card as we were talking and she asked for a pen to take notes. A PEN! WHY DID I NOT HAVE ONE OF MY PENS WITH ME! *face palm again
I don’t remember much of the conversation, but I do remember that she told me that she thought I was fabulous for juggling my business and being a single parent. Grateful that it was caught on film!
Somewhere during our conversation, she asked if she could mention me in her presentation. I said sure, not really processing what that meant at the time. And then she posed with me for this awesome picture.
She gave me a hug, and a I floated back to my table feeling like my day was complete at 9am.
But wait – the title of this post suggests that there was crying involved. You might be asking yourself, “When did that happen?”.
Remember I said that Ms. Sandberg asked if she could mention me in her presentation?
She wasn’t kidding.
About 10 minutes after Ms. Sandberg took the stage with Lisa Stone, co-founder of BlogHer, she asked myself and Angela – the woman that had been in front of me getting her book autographed – to stand and be recognized.
Because I have no idea what was said after that, I will refer you to the transcript of the session from the BlogHer website:
As soon as I sat back down, you guessed it. I burst in to tears.
And not the glistening-down-your-cheek tears, but the almost-ugly-ruin-your-makeup-for-the-day tears that I had to pull myself back from. I was so overwhelmed with the enormity of it all. Meeting her, feeling like I was validated as a woman and a business owner. Sitting at a table with some of my closest friends that loved me and supported me while they handed me tissue and tried to get me to laugh to avoid the ugly cry. And just held my hand. Proud of the community of women and bloggers that I had ben surrounded by for the past several days. It was an amazing sense of accomplishment, and motivation to keep moving forward on my path.
I can’t say thank you enough to Sheryl Sandberg for taking the time to speak with me that morning, and continuing to encourage me to keep challenging myself. Here’s my contribution to the LeanIn.Org campaign “What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?”
* You can find the entire transcript of the Keynote Breakfast with Sheryl Sandberg on the BlogHer website at THIS link.
** Coming Soon: My experience with Lean In Circles.
*** By the way – the irony of needing someone to take my #notafraid picture, while talking about not letting others control the direction of my life, is not lost on me. I could have done it myself, but I deliberately chose to ask for help.
More from living