I had some extra Audible credits early last month, and I found a book that looked interesting to go on my smartphone for my daily dog walk. The book was Lean In.

When I went to the AICPA Tech+ conference shortly after, virtually everyone was talking about this book. It was Lean In this, Lean In that, and discussions on Twitter were #leanin. Holy moly. Apparently, I had been living under a frickin’ rock.

I had just started listening to the book (and was really enjoying it) when I went to the conference, and I was taken by how much this book had resonated with so many women. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, please check out this 15 min TED talk by Sheryl Sandberg (it’s certainly worth the time):

As I continued listening to the book, I reflected back on my personal and professional experiences over the past couple of decades and tried to identify ways in which I may have inadvertently leaned back when I should’ve been leaning in, and I’m sorry to say, despite my “take charge” nature, it wasn’t hard to pinpoint plenty of examples.

I’ve repeatedly underestimated my own abilities and deferred to others when I should’ve raised my hand and kept it raised until my voice was heard. Growing up, I heard more times than I could count, “Patti, one of these days, your mouth is going to get you into trouble.” Considering I’ve never actually *gotten* into trouble, it tells me I learned over time to be quiet. In retrospect, I believe that may have been the wrong choice, so I’m actively working on unlearning that.

I’m now finally in a rewarding, challenging, and “making a difference” kind of a job, and I hope to set a good example for both of my children, boy and girl, about how to build a kind of life they can enjoy and of which they can be proud.

At Catching Clouds, we make a conscious effort to create a company that leads by example. We want our employees (and customers, peers, acquaintances, etc. for that matter) to feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves while still being able to achieve all of their other personal goals.

This is one of the reasons we operate in a ROWE environment. We want our people to feel like grown ups who are in control of their time and responsibilities. We believe it removes the competition between “work” and “life” by making work just another part of life… the way it’s intended to be. We want our team members to achieve goals and speak up and be present (in the figurative, not the literal sense). We don’t want women, or men for that matter, to have to choose between being successful in their careers and being a good parent. It’s possible to be both, and being able to work virtually just makes it that much easier.

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Lean In, Part II