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Hello Seven Podcast with Rachel Rodgers | Stepping Fully into Your Power with Sheryl Sandberg

097 Stepping Fully into Your Power with Sheryl Sandberg

Women systematically underestimate their own accomplishments and abilities, and y’all, it is time to change that. We all have the potential to do so much more, and we need to start showing up and being unapologetically ambitious. You are never going to get something you don’t raise your hand and ask for, and this week’s guest joins me to show you exactly how to step fully into your power.

I am so excited to welcome Sheryl Sandberg to the show this week. After 14 years as COO of Facebook, now Meta, she is stepping down from her role. She is 14 years into a job that she thought would last 5, and she joins me this week to share more about the incredible work she has done at Facebook and Meta, her experience of being the COO of that company for so long, and why she has now chosen to step down.

Join us this week and hear more about Sheryl’s incredible contributions for women, her key takeaways to help you manage through transitions or become more public as you run your business, and the principles of scaling a business. Learn more about the philanthropic work that Sheryl will be devoting more time to as she steps down from her role, her process for making big life-changing decisions like this, and her experience with the dance of motherhood while maintaining an important, high-profile job.

Are you ready to stop wasting 40 hours a week doing busy work that doesn’t produce revenue? You need to shift gears and spend 5-10 hours a week making money moves. Get onto the waitlist now for Make Money Moves and be the first to hear when registration opens again.

How come you’re not a millionaire yet? Whatever is standing in between you and having more money, I want to help you clear those blocks out of the way. Click here to join The Club where you get an education, you get coaching, you get a community, you get everything you need to remove those roadblocks and start making more money today.

What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • How businesses have not only survived but thrived during the COVID pandemic because of the democratization of access through tools such as Facebook and Meta.
  • The differences between the ways men and women apply for jobs and the problem with these.  
  • One of the deepest biases we are up against as women.
  • Why it is completely possible to be great moms and employees.
  • How Sheryl handles harsh criticism and being talked about or hated in public.
  • How she made a life-changing decision as a public figure.
  • What Sheryl would say to women who are struggling with imposter syndrome.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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*** Some of the links shared here are affiliate links – we only serve as affiliates for products we believe in.


Sheryl: You can do this.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: Estimate your success a little high, not a little low.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: And know that your success is based on you. Obviously help from others, obviously some getting lucky, obviously working hard. That is true for all those men out there too. But it is true that you have the potential to do so much more.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: Take a deep breath and apply. Never going to get something you don’t raise your hand to ask for.

You want to make more money? You are in the right place. Welcome to the Hello Seven Podcast, that’s seven as in seven figures. I'm your host, Rachel Rodgers. On this show, it’s all about you and your money. We talk about how to maximize your earning potential, how to make better financial decisions, and how to find your million-dollar idea, that genius business idea that’s going to make you a whole lot more money. I’m here to show you how to expand your income and expand your confidence, power, and joy.

If you are a woman, a person of color, a queer person, if you’re a person living with a disability, or you don’t fit the stereotypical image of what a millionaire is “supposed” to look like, this show is for you. No matter who you are or what you do for a living, you could be earning a lot more than you currently do. Your journey to wealth starts right here.

Hello, hello, and welcome back to the Hello Seven Podcast. I am so excited to share that we are relaunching this podcast with a whole new look, and feel, and experience on the very next episode, okay? So very soon you are going to be able to see the Hello Seven Podcast, you will be able to hear it, and we have a whole new experience coming for you. So get excited about that.

In the meantime I have a great episode for you today. I was able to meet Sheryl Sandberg who is the current COO of Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook at the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce this summer. And during that time we sat down together and I was able to interview her and learn more about her experience of being the COO of that company for 14 years.

She’s had a very long corporate run, she is now stepping down. And so we were able to hear all about making a big decision like that as a public figure, right? And transitioning. When you are in transition, thinking about that, making that decision.

We were able to talk about work life balance and being a mother while having a very important job or running a business like many of you are. We were able to talk about what it’s like when your name is being talked about in public, and managing being a real person but also having a public life and being subject to hate, right, being subject to public conversation. Sometimes it’s being held accountable by the public. And so how does she deal with that, right? That’s something that we can all learn from.

So we got into all of these things. We also talked about her philanthropic work that she is going to be devoting a lot of her time to as she steps down from Meta, from this role. So I’m excited to share this conversation with you, I hope you get a lot of value out of it, and I can’t wait for the very next episode, what we’re going to be dropping. So get excited about that as well. For now, listen to this conversation with the COO of Meta, Sheryl Sandberg.

Rachel: I’m so delighted to have you on the Hello Seven Podcast, thank you so much. This is such an honor. So you recently made a major announcement and I was like, “Ooh, I get the exclusive!”

Sheryl: You do, actually.

Rachel: That’s amazing. So after 14 years you are stepping down from your role as COO of Facebook, now Meta. And so I’m just curious, there are so many of my listeners who are women who are making big decisions in their lives and I’m curious, what is your process for making big, life-changing decisions like this?

Sheryl: Well let me start by saying how nice it is to be here in Raleigh, how nice it is to meet you in person because we’ve only met on Zoom as I was virtually visiting small businesses around the country and world. And it’s way better to be in person.

And this trip and this podcast was previously scheduled, it was not after the announcement but before the announcement. But I am honored to find myself in person with you in Raleigh at this moment, both for your business, for Meta, and in my life. So I’m really glad to be here with you.

Rachel: Thank you, me too.

Sheryl: So big life decisions, you know, they come to us in small ways and they come to us in big ways. I think on this one for me I am about 14 years into a job that I thought would last five.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: I was at Google, I wasn’t really looking for a new job but I met Mark. And I met Mark at my friend Dan Rosenzweig's holiday party. And the funny story from last week is I posted that I met Mark there, I got a new life at the party but I never got a drink. And then Dan sent me the world’s largest bottle of champagne. I didn’t even know anything could be that big, I can’t even hold it.

Rachel: I saw that photo.

Sheryl: Well, if you noticed in that photo the champagne is on a table because I couldn’t really hold the thing. And I don’t know how anyone could drink that.

Rachel: He’s delivered now on his promise, right? On what he owes you.

Sheryl: Well, he stills owes me a drink. No, that’s fair, Dan has totally delivered. But when I took this job, Dave, my late husband who I adored so much and who was such a great partner and such a great advisor, when he met Mark on the way to dinner that night he said, “You’ve got to be able to stay in this job for five years. It doesn’t make sense to leave Google and take on something this challenging if you don’t have a five year vision.”

And so I had a five year vision for 14 years. And Facebook, now Meta, Mark, my colleagues, it is my colleague Justin’s 14 year anniversary today at Meta, just one of the many, many people I have the honor and privilege of working with. And he’s from the south by the way, proudly.

Rachel: Love it.

Sheryl: Everyday was a challenge, every day was an opportunity, but most important everyday was an opportunity to build products that people and businesses use.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: Look at your story, you started as a lawyer, I obviously don’t need to tell your story, and you went to start a small business and here you are and our free tools were part of that.

Rachel: For sure, absolutely. I think about all of the entrepreneurs that are in my community who have used Facebook ads. You know, a big part of my paid program includes an enormous Facebook group that is like the heart and soul of what we offer, and everybody is obsessed and loves it. And we’ve actually, you know, people have said like, “Oh, should we move community here? Should we have community here?” And everyone has a revolt, they want to stay right where we are.

So it is huge and I think about the people who wanted to start businesses years ago before these tools were available, it would have been much harder. So yeah, it’s been a big part of the journey for so many of us.

Sheryl: And it was harder. If you wanted to start a business before the internet and before the free tools that Facebook, Meta, other companies like ours offer, but I think in many ways particularly our company, you had to go get a bank loan. You had to rent a retail space. That’s hard, that also benefits people who already have money, position, and power.

Rachel: Correct.

Sheryl: And that benefits people in power, white men, people who already come from means. Now, that makes it harder for the people who need those tools of entrepreneurship even more. So we believe our tools democratize access.

They democratize access for women, for people of color, for women of color who face the most discrimination, but they also just create amazing things. Earlier this morning in this very building, the beautiful building we’re in, I had a chance with the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce to meet with small business of all shapes and sizes, from coffee to The Green Monkey, to Pennies which are cheese straws that aren’t straws, they’re pennies. The most delicious thing I ever had, I just downed some with my lunch.

But all of these are businesses that exist and have survived and thrived during the Covid pandemic because of the democratization of access. Because you can set up a web presence or a mobile site on our services in minutes and for free.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: Because you can spend dollars to find exactly the audience that needs your product. And that, for me, has been just the opportunity of a lifetime.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: The decision to leave is just a decision to try to find some more space and time in my life and also write my next chapter.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: But I remain as much a believer in this amazing company. I am honored and proud to stay on our board and I will always be grateful to Mark for the opportunity. How do you make decisions like this, which is where your question started, I think you think long and hard.

Rachel: Yeah.

Sheryl: And then you do what’s right for you, for your community, for your family. And I really believe in that.

Rachel: Yeah.

Sheryl: I wrote this book called Lean In, it is sometimes, Lean In is a very powerful name so it’s sometimes mischaracterized as that means you do everything every minute. That’s not it.

Rachel: Yeah.

Sheryl: We lean into who we are as people, we lean into who we are as professions, we lean into who we are as women, as women of color, but most importantly we lean in believing we can and should have a voice and power as much as anyone else.

Rachel: I wholeheartedly agree with that and that’s exactly what I wrote about in my book as well. Stepping into our power fully, right? That’s part of it.

So one of my questions is, so you said initially when you joined Facebook your thoughts were you would be there for five years and here you are 14 years later, right? What kept you there?

Sheryl: I think a number of things. First is real belief in our product, and that doesn’t mean that our product is always used for good, it’s not. No product is. It doesn’t mean that our product and our community, enforcement of the community want is perfect, it never will be at this scale. But it is a product that gives people voice.

I grew up in Miami, Florida, went to a big public school, if I wanted to speak to anyone, and I kind of did, I had no way of doing that.

Rachel: Yeah.

Sheryl: I could write a letter to the editor, no one was going to publish it. I couldn’t get myself on local TV, no one was going to put a high school girl on TV. But that same girl today, growing up anywhere in the world can put her thoughts, he can put his thoughts, they can put their thoughts on Facebook, on Instagram, and that gives us voice.

And I so believe that the world is better for that voice. And so being part of Mark’s vision for giving people that voice all over the world, when I joined Facebook we had 17 million users of one product named Facebook.

Rachel: Wow.

Sheryl: Now I leave or transition to the board of Meta with over 3 billion users on multiple products, on a product called Facebook.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: A product called Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger. And I believe those products, I really believe have given people an opportunity to express who they are. Now, with the size and scope we have we have enormous responsibility. And I really believe in the people of my company, of Meta, that we take those responsibilities really deeply and we will continue to do so going forward.

Rachel: Yes, yes. It is a huge amount of responsibility. I was actually listening to an NPR interview with one of your former co-workers who was saying that you are a genius at scale, right? And so you have obviously scaled a business that is bigger than what most entrepreneurs will do or even necessarily want to do, right?

But for the average entrepreneur, could you share one or two principles of scaling a business for small business owners?

Sheryl: So I think this is a little bit like the same advice I give women who are aspiring to positions of power.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: Think about where you want to be, not where you are. So if you have a small business owner, I met with some today who said they started online but they knew that they wanted a brick and mortar shop. So while they were scaling, while they were building, while they were building their audience online, they always had in their mind we're going to open a store one day.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: And they did. It's called Green Monkey and they're looking for larger retail space now. And I think if you interviewed these two amazing gentlemen, what they would say is they always had their goal in mind. I think as an entrepreneur, when you start maybe you're doing it yourself out of your kitchen. I met two incredible people today who started in their dorm room, 321 Coffee.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: They started in their dorm room. They didn't want to be in that dorm room forever. But they were thinking ahead to where that business could be. And I think that is the main piece of advice, think ahead to where you want and where you want to be.

Rachel: Yes, for sure. And just keep following that vision as well. I think sometimes we get so afraid along the journey and we let fear stop us from taking the bull by the reins and seeing ourselves there.

What do you have to say, and I'm sure you have lots and have said a lot, to women who have impostor syndrome. So many of us do, right? Where we have these impressive resumes, we have all of these skills and experience but we're like, “Oh, I couldn't do” or “I don't know” or “What will people think?” And we're afraid to step into our power. What do you say to women who are struggling with imposter syndrome?

Sheryl: I have a lot to say about this because this hits women.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: You know, it hits women of color. And here's what the data shows, that women systematically underestimate their own accomplishments and abilities, and other people systematically underestimate their own accomplishments and abilities.

So if you survey men and women on things that are totally measurable, like sales quotas or GPAs, the men remember it a tiny bit high and the women remember it a tiny bit low. But even those tiny bits matter.

Rachel: Yes, they do.

Sheryl: Because that's who gets the promotions. And this is really important, people ascribe success differently, both the individual and the people around them. In men we attribute success to their core skills. In women we attribute success to getting lucky, working hard, and help from others.

Now, if your success is attributed to your core skills you can get the promotion, you can apply for the job because you know you can do it.

Rachel: Right.

Sheryl: And other people know you can do it.

Rachel: Exactly.

Sheryl: But if your success is getting lucky, well that luck may not show up again. That is why men get promoted and hired and apply for jobs based on potential. Women, after they've already done it. Well the problem with that is you can't do something till you do it.

Rachel: Exactly. How do you get the experience in the first place, right?

Sheryl: That's right. So my foundation, Lean In, with McKinsey and Company, we do the largest survey anywhere called Women in the Workplace and we've done it for seven years. And one of the most important insights that's come out of that survey is that there's so much focus on the C suite and entrepreneurship, and there should be.

But the first broken rung in that ladder up, is that first promotion to manager. That is where the bifurcation happens in more men. That is where the bifurcation happens in more women, more white women than women of color.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: Now, why is that? Well, that's because being a manager is not something you can do until you've done it, you can't prove it. So again, men promoted and hired for potential. So here's my message to every one of your listeners, and your listeners are already getting this from you, from your book, from your work, all of which I admire so deeply, is you can do this.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: Estimate your success a little high, not a little low.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: And know that your success is based on you. Obviously help from others. Obviously some getting lucky. Obviously working hard. That is true for all those men out there too. But it is true that you have the potential to do so much more.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: Take a deep breath and apply. Never going to get something you don't raise your hand to ask for.

Rachel: I agree. Totally. Thank you for that. I love this advice, it's so good. So tell us about motherhood and the dance of having a big job and being a mom. I'm a mom, I have four kids, and sometimes people are like, “How do you do it?” And then I even get people saying like, “Oh, you can't possibly, you must never see your children.” Right? And I'm just like, I actually really resent that assumption that you can't possibly do it well.

And so if you're constantly getting these messages that you can't possibly do both of these roles well, right, sometimes you start to believe it. And then also it's just like either people think you're a bad mother or they think you're not good enough in your role, right?

So I'm just curious how you've navigated that. And I loved the story you told when you announced that you will be stepping down from Meta. You've talked about how you had to get the courage up to leave the office at 5:30 in the beginning, in the early days. Just tell us how you've done that.

Sheryl: You know, it's such an important question. I really love how you framed it because you are exactly right. Let's review, most women work outside their home and have to to support their families.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: And a lot of those same women, in fact, the majority have children. We never assume that a man can't have a job and be a father.

Rachel: I know.

Sheryl: When was the last time you said he has a job, he must be a bad father?

Rachel: Exactly.

Sheryl: He has a job, he must never see his kids. He's a father, he must be bad in the workplace. Have you ever heard any of that?

Rachel: Never. Never.

Sheryl: I do, you know, obviously speeches, I ask audiences, if you're a man raise your hand if anyone's ever said, “Can you have it all?” Let's review, have it all is defined as a job and a family.

Rachel: Right.

Sheryl: Almost all women have jobs and families, and have to. So telling them they can't do something they have to do and want to do is cruel, and we never do it to men. The assumption that you cannot be good in the workplace and a mother is really problematic, and in fact leads to real discrimination against women.

They've done experiments where they sent out resumes, exact resumes, exact names, and all they do is put member of PTA, Parent Teachers Association, on that resume. So you've changed nothing except signaling that that person is a mother. 80% fewer interviews.

Rachel: Wow.

Sheryl: 80%. Motherhood bias is one of the deepest biases in our community. And for women and women of color it piles on top of gender, it piles on top of race, and it becomes that third really heavy leg, heavy leg of a heavy stool to bear.

We can be great mothers and employees. In fact, we are. You are. You've got four kids, I've got five. I have been assumed, asked over and over again how I do it all, how I do it. And I do it the way so many other people do it, I try to give my heart and soul to my company while I'm there. Try to get my heart and soul to my family while I'm with them. We have to tell little girls that they can do both or they will not try.

Rachel: Yes, I agree. I agree 100%. And I tell my clients all the time and the community that's listening to this podcast that you absolutely can have it all and demand that you will have it, right? Just demand it, right?

Sheryl: That's right.

Rachel: It's yours, right, it's your choice, you get to have it. And for me it's the same thing, right? It's just like making sure that I get that quality time in every day, whether it's in the morning watching Peppa Pig, which is like, you know, one of my favorite cartoons to watch with my kids, or like at night reading a book. Or if I'm traveling I'll take a book with me and read to them on Zoom, right?

There's a way to build it all in, and it's up to you. It's just about prioritizing and making it happen, right? And women are doing this every day. And in fact, I actually think that being a mother makes you more qualified to be a manager, right? Because how much are you managing as a mother? And you're delegating. I delegate to a three year old, okay? If I can delegate to a three year old, I can delegate to a 30 year old.

Sheryl: That’s right. And I want to like double click on that moment for one minute. You just said something I think is really beautiful. If you're traveling, you're reading a book sometimes to a child on Zoom.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: I believe that most people, not your listeners, but most people, if they heard a woman say that they're like, “Oh, that's so sad she's not with her kid in person.” If they heard a man say that they’d be like, “He's father of the year.”

Rachel: Give him an award, right?

Sheryl: Give him an award, he’s traveling.

Rachel: Where’s his trophy?

Sheryl: Where’s his trophy? And that is the issue. And if we are going to get to equality in the workplace, we're going to have to get to equality of the home.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: Now, there's all kinds of families out there. Turns out that same sex couples actually share chores more evenly, so this advice is less relevant to them. But what the data shows is that when you have a couple and one's a man and one's a woman, chores, housework, child care, elder care, very big issue always, particularly in a pandemic, are not evenly split. The women are doing more.

Rachel: Yep.

Sheryl: And that means it's hard to “do both.” We find that in the office. Anyone listening who works in an office of any size, think about the last meeting you were in and who took the notes. Ready? Think about the last office birthday party, who brought the cupcakes?

Rachel: Right? Totally.

Sheryl: We're doing the office housework too. My friend Adam Grant and I published a piece a while ago in the New York Times on office housework. We need to get to a division of labor that makes sense.

The other thing we need is better public policies. Our country is behind almost every country in the world on what is maternity leave. We do not have affordable childcare. We do not provide the quality education children need. And so we need everyone to be doing their part, we need companies, we need our government, and we need our families to be doing that as well.

Rachel: I agree. And this is where I think small businesses, one of the things that I love about being a business owner and being an employer is I get to create a workplace that I would want, right? And so we created a, I didn't have a maternity leave policy just because no one had gone on maternity leave yet.

And then last year we had two people and I was like, great, this is our opportunity. And so we created a very generous maternity leave policy, right? And I'm like I don't even know if we can afford this but I'm doing it because it's the right thing to do and that's it.

And so I love that. And I think small businesses play an important role in creating that. And I hope that we can inspire policy so that it becomes this is what has to be done across the board. Instead of us putting it on our responsibility, our shoulders to make sure that fairness happens for our employees, you know?

Sheryl: So you are bringing the data to light, because what the data shows is that organizations run by women, organizations with more diverse voices make often better decisions, but particularly around support for other people. What our women in the workplace survey shows is that women are more likely to be to be care giving, not just at home but in the office. Women are more likely to care about diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: Women are more likely to push for those policies. And so the fact that this small business is run by you is part of why you have the right maternity policies in place. And good for you for taking that leap and I hope all the people listening out there follow your lead on this.

Rachel: Yes, I hope so too. In fact we should publish ours to share it with people.

Sheryl: And we’ve done that at Meta.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: We've published a lot of our policies.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: We shared our bias training. You know, we built our own bias training. I helped work on it myself because I felt like all the bias training out there, they were good and they were well meaning, but they didn't actually talk about the biases. They would say we shouldn't have bias, but people are afraid to name them. Well, here's the bias.

Rachel: Here's what it looks like.

Sheryl: Here's what it looks like so that we can name it. We think men are smarter than women. That's the bias, it's not true.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: It's not true, but we have to be able to say that so that we can make sure we fight those biases. And we've shared a lot of our stuff publicly.

Rachel: I love that.

Sheryl: I can't wait to see your policies published online.

Rachel: Well, thank you. Thank you for the challenge.

Okay, so that actually brings me to in your announcement you talked about being able to focus on your philanthropic work. What are you looking forward to with Lean In and Option B and all of the philanthropic work that you are stepping into more?

Sheryl: Well, my focus right now is a smooth transition from Meta, which will happen sometime this fall and then I will remain on the board. But my focus in my philanthropic work, I have a family foundation named partially for my husband, the great Dave Goldberg. And we do three programs, Lean In, Option B, and the Goldie Scholars Program.

So, going backwards, the Dave Goldberg scholarship program was named in his honor. We pick scholarship kids every year in partnership with KIPP. These are unbelievable students. Almost, I think, entirely people of color. Almost entirely, I think, except maybe one or two, the first person in their families to go to college.

And KIPP has done a great job and the high performing charter schools have done a great job getting people into college, but the graduation rates have not matched the national average. And this is our fourth year and I'm so proud to share that 100% of our kids are on track, are graduating this fall or on track to graduate within the next year.

And so we're going to continue to grow that program, support and mentor these amazing, amazing young women and men who, I think, by some of the characteristics they exhibit really honor my husband's legacy.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: Option B, the program I started and the book I wrote after I lost my husband, Building Resilience in Communities. And then the heart and soul of what we do will always be women.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: Lean In. Lean In Circles, someone mentioned them in the meeting you and I were just at. We were hoping that we'd have 1,000 when we launched nine years ago. There are 66,000 circles that have been started.

Rachel: Wow.

Sheryl: In almost, I think, 178, 179 countries in the world. And the core idea is none of us get to where we want to be alone. We get there through support, we get there through support from other people. And how do we do that? We get mentors. But sometimes we have to mentor each other.

And peer mentorship can be the one of the most powerful forces in the world. So if you are in a Lean In Circle you are much more likely to have taken on a new challenge. You are much more likely to have done something to improve your life and you attribute that to your circle. So if anyone's interested, go to and you can start a circle there or join one.

Rachel: I love that. And I'm a wholehearted believer in community because I know it makes such a difference if you're surrounded by people who see you, who can lift you up. This is part of how we overcome impostor syndrome, right? When we're in a circle with other folks who can say to us, “You’re amazing, of course you should go after that raise. Yes, look at all your experience.” Right.

Sometimes we need other people to advocate for us and that's a great way to create that community to lift each other up. I've seen different pictures and examples of it online, it's really cool. So I love it.

Sheryl: One of the first Lean In circles I ever met with was right after we launched in 2013. I was in Dublin, Ireland and I met in a small conference room with six young women and they were young. They were in their early 20s, at least young compared to me. And of the six at that moment, five out of the six had gotten raises since joining their circle and the sixth was about to ask.

Rachel: Wow.

Sheryl: And they just said, they made a pact like we're all going to get a raise and we're going to go ask for it. And they practiced with each other.

Rachel: I love it.

Sheryl: And it's those moments. Lean In Circles are a place for women to be unapologetically ambitious.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: Ambitious, ready? Same thing on the gender. He's ambitious. That's positive, he wants to do great things, build a company support the company he works in. She's ambitious. That's a mixed message because we don't celebrate ambition in women and girls.

Lean In Circles give women and the men, we’re welcoming to everyone, anyone of any background who wants to fight for equality and wants to improve their own lives can join. It's free, it's open. Unapologetically ambitious.

Rachel: Yes, I love that. Which brings me to one of my last few questions. I'm curious, as a woman how do you handle harsh criticism? I think that's something that we experience probably more than others. And I'm a public figure on a tiny, tiny scale compared to you and I feel like I have gotten a lot of, you know, at the same time online some days it's like there's one person who's like, “I hate her.” And there's another person who's like, “I love her,” at the same time, right?

So I try not to feed too much into it. But I'm curious because I feel like some of my clients and some of my community, it stops them from putting themselves out there, from owning their expertise, from sharing their perspective and their opinion and experience. And so I'm curious, how do you manage that?

Sheryl: Look, it's an important question. And I do worry about that when I see other women get criticized, when I saw women get criticized before me. It gives you pause and you think do I want to make myself that, put myself in that position?

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: But I'm proud of you for doing it and I'm glad that I've done it. We’ve definitely, I've definitely faced some really harsh criticism. I think whenever you are criticized, you have to look yourself in the mirror and say okay, which part of this has some validity? Which part of this is true? Partially true? All true? Not true?

But really ask yourself that honestly. And when there are things you want to improve, be willing to admit you made a mistake and be willing to really invest behind fixing some of those problems. I think we've done that at Facebook, now Meta, over the course of time. When there are things we missed, we tried to address it head on and build the systems to prevent that going forward.

As an individual, I think you have to really be your own judge.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: I have five children, as I said. I've got four teenagers and teenagers it can be hard and people can say things about them that aren't true. And I look at my children and I say, “When someone says something about you, you look at it, you look at yourself in the mirror, you fix what you need to fix and then you hold your head high and be who you are, and be your own judge in the end.”

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: And I really want little girls out there to know that's true. I do think that we need to make sure we understand the biases that women, that people of color, and that women of color especially face because when other people see those criticisms, then they are less likely to want to put themselves out there. So we need every little girl to run for office.

Rachel: I agree.

Sheryl: When you run for office, that might be the middle school student council.

Rachel: Yes.

Sheryl: Your opponent is going to say you're not qualified, but you know you are.

Rachel: Yes, that's right. I love that so much. Okay, so last question and this is just a fun one. What's something fun that you feel you don't have time for right now that you're definitely going to do once you have more free time later this year?

Sheryl: I mean, it's not that exciting of an answer but I really want to read again.

Rachel: Yes. Oh my gosh, I can relate to that.

Sheryl: People ask me what's the last book you read? And I can't remember because it's been so long. But I really do want some time for that. I'm looking forward to having more time with my foundation, particularly with the Lean In Circles all around the world.

Rachel: Awesome. I love it. Well, thank you so much for your contributions for women. Thank you so much for this time and this podcast, I know it's going to inspire so many people in my community. Thank you.

Sheryl: Well you inspire me and so many people in your community. So keep it up, your voice for women, your voice for power and ambition has mattered so much.

Rachel: Thank you.

I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Sheryl Sandberg and had lots of takeaways that you can use in your own life as you are managing through transitions, or becoming more public as you grow your business, or managing your work at home life and all the things.

If you want to check out Sheryl’s philanthropic work you can do so by visiting the Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg Family Foundation’s website, which is You can also check out her organization Lean In at

And remember, we have a whole new look and feel of the Hello Seven podcast coming to you very soon. The very next episode that we drop is going to be a whole new experience, so get excited. my friends. And in the meantime please do not forget to join the Make Money Moves challenge at Stop leaving money on the table, start making money moves.

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So go to to sign up for our very next challenge and I will see you there.

How come you’re not a millionaire yet? What is standing in between you and having seven figures in the bank? Well, a lot of things might be getting in the way. Maybe you need to work on your mindset. Maybe you’re trying to build a business but you honestly have no clue what you’re doing. Maybe you don’t have the right support network or you never got a basic financial education.

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