Sheryl Sandbarg


All successful women seem to share a particular innate quality. They all carry themselves with a kind of confidence that matches with their level of success.

They all know there is a need to invest in certain not-so-secret things and they also show that acquiring and attaining these characteristics won’t buy you success. But it will give you the confidence to be the woman you dream to be and show you that it’s not someone you need to transform into, but someone you’ve been all along.

So here is how you can become the best version of yourself as a woman by investing in these 6 things.

1. Education

Sheryl Sandberg has openly admitted that one piece of advice she would tell her twenty-year-old self would be to create an 18-month learning plan.

Alongside your goals, you need to plan out exactly what you want to learn over that period and improve on the things that scare you the most. Because the successful woman knows that in order to succeed she needs to commit herself to education.

More importantly, she knows that it doesn’t finish when University does – the process of learning does not stop there. It’s up to you to further your education and build your knowledge. It’s a choice and it’s a choice you should make for yourself every day.

Your day should consist of at least one hour of personal development. And this can be as easy as signing up to coursera and learning a new skill in an hour.

2. The tools you need to get things done – such as a personal computer, a tablet, a journal.

Oprah famously keeps many journals to get her through, she keeps a health and wellness journal to track her growth so she can look back on it and reflect.

But it’s not only her, no successful career woman can get through any day without her planner. It’s her right-hand man and it goes wherever she does.

A journal helps you keep tab of things and a planner helps you note down things you need to do at particular times. And no, it’s not just about keeping up with a to-do list. You need one for every area, finance, fitness, business plans.

3. Your wellbeing

Gwyneth Paltrow is a huge wellness advocate and has even built a brand around it – and there’s no wonder she looks so good. But it’s not only her on that’s on a wellness mission, Arianna Huffington also boasts that yoga is the best thing she can do to achieve and maintain balance in her life.

Because if you look after your body, in turn, it will look after you. It’s your wellbeing that will help you become successful, it goes hand in hand! Without it, you’ll struggle, but with it, you’ll be bigger and better.

This concerns your health, what you eat and put into your body (make sure to only eat for energy) and how you switch off at the end of the day.

4. Mindfulness

If you want to become successful you have to start taking mindfulness seriously.

Take a leaf from Victoria Beckham who uses crystals to keep her grounded, or Gwyneth Paltrow who is very holistic. It’s about clarity and keeping your mind clear.

By doing this you’ll be ensuring that you’re well looked after and calm of mind, which will help you not only to perform better at work but be more present daily.

5. Your self-development

Growth should be one of your top goals always. And it’s something you need to always remind yourself to do.

What makes you different from six months ago? If you reply with nothing then it means you’re not progressing.
Finding the time can be difficult, but that’s where you need to make the time because it will only help you in your career.

Read and buy books you usually wouldn’t, expand your horizons, attend those classes you never get around to – just do it.

Make a list of the areas of your life you want to progress in and then come up with a plan that will help make this happen.

6. Proper Organization

I could talk about organization for days. It’s something that excites me and helps me operate at my best. I cannot think clearly if it is not tidy around me, which means it’s essential that not only my work life is organized by my home life too.

Emma Watson, for example, said she swears by multiple notebooks to get things done. “I keep a dream diary, I keep a yoga diary, I keep diaries on people that I’ve met and things that they’ve said to me, advice that they’ve given me,” she revealed.

Keeping multiple notebooks is no bad thing, it’ll allow you to organize your thoughts and keep everything in the right place. Invest in stationery that’s designed to help your life run smoother.


If you are a woman in corporate America, you are probably familiar with the term, lean in. In 2013, lean in became a business term derived from the book, Lean In, written by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and CEO of Lean In. When the book first hit the shelves, it became a hit. Yet over the years, a number of women have been vocal about the lean in methodology not being as effective for all women. Late last year, former first lady Michelle Obama said that it does not work. And other leaders have weighed in on the matter in agreement.

In all of my readings of other perspectives on the practice of leaning in, I realized that no one had a conversation with Sandberg about their ideas, work, or experiences.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Sandberg for a one-on-one conversation about women in the workplace. When planning for our conversation, I knew that it would be important to explore the findings specific to black women in the 2019 Women in the Workplace report. I also knew that it was critical to speak with her about her thoughts about black women leaning in.

During our time together, I asked Sandberg about leaning in, mentorship, allyship, and how women in the workplace can find their voice.

There are a number of women of color, black women in particular, who think that leaning in does not work for them. What is your response to women who think that?

One of the good things about the title Lean In is it’s a very strong title. And everyone thinks they know what it means. One of the bad things about the title Lean In is it’s a very strong title–and everyone thinks they know what it means. The book never said, ‘it’s all on women to lean in all on their own.’ It doesn’t say that. My foundation’s work, from the beginning, has worked on both institutional issues and personal issues. But the name Lean In doesn’t really communicate that. The other thing is when I wrote Lean In, I just didn’t know that anyone would even read the thing. The original draft of the book had no stories, it was just data.

I got persuaded to put my story in. Data comes alive with stories. And there should have been many more stories from people with different backgrounds in the first version of the book. I think that would have solved the problem. One thing that’s super interesting is part of the message of Lean In, and not all of it. Part of it is, let’s make ambition safe for women. Black women are more ambitious.

What I hear is that black women have been leaning in for a long time because there was no [other] choice.

Lean In services women all around the world, is there work that the organization is doing specifically to advance black women in the workplace outside of the data and the stories that are being told?

We go by far the biggest on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. Equal pay day is a new thing. It took people a long time to figure out that women are paid less than men and it’s 18% for women overall. It’s 38% for black women. From the day of Equal Pay Day, you have to work through  2020 to make the same amount of money a white male makes in 2019. We do a huge push around black women’s equal pay day and I think that really matters.

What charge do you have for white women as it relates to forming allyships?

There’s this [idea] that women don’t help each other. And then across races, women don’t help each other. One, that’s not true. And two, we have to make it not true.

We [white women with privilege] need to make sure that as women we are trying to raise up all of us. It’s why my foundation does a deep dive on women of color in this data. When we solve the problem, it needs to be not just for white women, but for women of all backgrounds

What advice do you have for women as they move forward as they climb corporate ladders, as they lean in, and especially find their voice in the workplace?

We have to tell women not to not ask. Ask for promotions, ask for raises, and demand to get paid equally.

I think women should say, ‘Hey, I know the data. And I know you’re probably paying a lot of attention to it—but I’m a woman or I’m a black woman and on average, we get paid 30% less. I want to make sure that you’ve benchmarked my offer to white men in this role. I’m sure you’re doing that. But, if you could double-check that before I accept this job, I would really appreciate that.’