An article came out last week and made the rounds, and I held off on writing about it because I have mixed thoughts. Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook COO who was in the news a lot in the past year for her TED talk and encouragement for women to ‘stay in the game’, said in an interview that among the issues that contribute to women not being as successful in technology are that they need to be more ambitious.
I think of myself as being a pretty ambitious person, so I have a hard time personally identifying with this. Because I was always studious, because of the schools I went to, and because of the type of people I’ve become friends with as a result, I think I’m surrounded by a higher percentage of ambitious women (and men) that the general population.
What I think is really going on is that women are ambitious inside, and want great things for themselves, but they are less likely to admit it out loud, for fear of coming across as too boastful or fear of failing to execute on their ambitions. Sharing your ambitions and goals with others can come across as being self-centered and too vain.
I think what we all need to do is admit our ambitions out loud, and provide one another with the support and encouragement to give a voice to who we want to be and what we want to accomplish.