2013 is witnessing the collision of two loves… a little something old and a little something new – Wu-Tang Clan and Sheryl Sandberg.
Hopefully you’ve noticed the Lean In craze. I’m not saying you have to buy into it (just because I’m finding a whole lot of truth in the book) but it’s worth your attention. In her book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Sandberg utilizes a brilliant combination of humor and data to explore why women’s progress in achieving leadership has been painfully stagnant. Despite becoming 50 percent of the college graduates, we still aren’t being heard equally. Speaking for myself – and I’ll boldly speak for a few other women I know – we are working hard. We are smart and committed and making sacrifices. We’ve earned and are deserving of an equal voice. Not a voice at the expense of someone else, but an equal voice. So what do we do? We “Lean In.”
Understanding that some people don’t love to read (and I deeply appreciate you sticking with me this if you lack the reading love) you can and should check out Sandberg’s TEDTalk. Her points are simple:
1) Sit at the table
2) Make your partner a true partner
3) Don’t leave before you leave
As an intellectually curious woman, I have spared the time to consider Sandberg’s points. I hope my co-workers, staff, peers, mentors, and daughters spare time. I hope my father, brothers, and male friends spare time. As people blazing a trail to a world where everyone is flourishing, we must all make time to consider and participate in the discussion.
But wait, you ask, where does Wu-Tang come in? 20 years ago, 1993 was a stellar year in music. The classic greats – Queen Latifah, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and others – changed the sound of America. And in 1993, Wu-Tang Clan debuted their album Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers.
Robert Fitzgerald Diggs (RZA) made a decision. He was going to fill a void. He was going to advocate for himself and solve a problem. The answer that he gave the world was Wu-Tang Clan. He gathered the talent and made them legendary.
Now, I’m not a rapper. I don’t know for certain, but I don’t think that Sheryl Sandberg is a rapper. I don’t think she should be and I certainly don’t think I should be either. I do think we can take a lesson away from the Wu-Tang Clan. When you have an audacious 20 year plan… Lean In and go for Number 1.
ARE YOU LEANING IN?
Ifeoma U. Aduba