I love Mondays. I really do. I wake up most Monday mornings feeling refreshed, my armour polished and ready for tackling the world.
Fridays should be about home time and celebration, but by the time it gets to Friday I tend to be feeling somewhat drained. Give me a pile of pillows and a pair of pyjamas rather than a pub and a pint.
Friday, I am in need of inspiration. With this in mind I have decided to try and dedicate some time on a Friday to blogging about something that has inspired me. Because why wait until Monday to feel ready to tackle the world?
My aim in life is to one day give a TED talk. The speakers always talk with such conviction and knowledge, and I always find them incredibly inspiring. None so inspiring as this talk with Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook.
If you are a woman, I urge you to watch it. If you are not a woman, you should definitely still watch it.
Some key quotes from Sheryl Sandberg:
"Women systematically underestimate their own abilities."
I know what that feels like. Anyone who knows me well will know I am not an arrogant person, yet I am plagued by the fear of being perceived as arrogant. Self-depreciation is a habit as pervasive as thumb-sucking among children. And I would argue that it is a largely female habit.
But I don't want to be someone who hides behind their thumb. I want to be someone who is not afraid to own their accomplishments and to speak proudly and confidently about them.
"Women do not negotiate for themselves in the workforce. 57% of men negotiate their starting salary. Only 7% of women do."
I discussed this with a male friend who said that when it came to his starting salary, he thought of what salary he wanted then doubled it and asked for that. The company didn't bat an eyelid.
"I want my daughter to not just be successful but to be liked for her accomplishments."
A big problem comes from women themselves. Women are often suspicious of successful women. In fact not even just suspicious - they can just not like them. I think we all have a responsibility to one another, a responsibility that starts at congratulating our friends on their achievements rather than being envious of their success.
Things that would never have happened to a man...
A friend of mine is starting out in the film industry. A senior male colleague recently asked her what her career aims were. When she told him he said that he thought she was naive. She told him all the places she had worked and gained glowing recommendations. "You've been around haven't you?" was his response. Never would have happened to a man.
Another friend has recently got a job at a television company. When she got the job there was only one condition, "just don't go and get pregnant." Somehow I can't imagine the boss saying "now don't go and get your girlfriend pregant."
Things like this happen every day. But it doesn't have to be like that if we don't stand for it.
Sheryl Sandberg: thank you, I feel empowered.
P.S and yes, you can wear pink and enjoy baking and still be a strong and independent young woman.