Reshma Saujani—founder of Girls Who Code and Marshall Plan for Moms and bestselling author of Brave, Not Perfect—has spent more than a decade fighting for women and girls’ economic empowerment, working to close the gender gap in the tech sector, and most recently advocating for policies moms need to achieve their full potential. Her new book is called, PAY UP: The Future of Women and Work (and Why It’s Different than You Think).

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  • “We can’t become unique by copying someone else’s formula any more than we can become successful by striving for someone else’s definition of success. And really, what’s the point of succeeding by someone else’s rules anyway?”
  • “The work here isn’t to figure out why they didn’t like you, or who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s to practice being okay with the idea that there are some people who will get you and some people who won’t…and that’s fine.”
  • “One of the hallmarks of happiness is having close, meaningful connections with others. But keeping up a facade of having it all together keeps us isolated, because it keeps us from forging real, honest, deep relationships where we can fully be ourselves and feel accepted exactly as we are.”
  • “The desire to be perfect holds us back in so many ways. We don’t speak up for ourselves, as we know deep down we should, because we don’t want to be seen as pushy, bitchy, or just straight-up unlikeable. When we do speak up, many of us agonize and overthink how to express ourselves, trying to hit just the right note of assertiveness without seeming too “bossy” or aggressive. We obsessively analyze, consider, discuss, and weigh every angle before making a decision, no matter how small. And if we do, heaven forbid, make a mistake, we feel as though our world is falling apart.”
  • “We’ve become conditioned to compromise and shrink ourselves in order to be liked. The problem is, when you work so hard to get everyone to like you, you very often end up not liking yourself so much.”
  • “I’m not alone in having spent my adult life only pursuing positions or projects I knew I’d ace. So many women stick to doing only the things at which they excel, rarely going beyond what makes them feel confident and comfortable.”
  • “The Great Resignation”: Historic numbers of women left the labor force last year Pre-pandemic—51% of the labor force was women. 12 million women lost jobs in 2020, unemployment rose from 3% to 15%; for black women it rose to 16.4% and to 20.2% for Latinas. Women’s labor force participation rate hit a 33-year low in January 2021 and by September 2021, 300,000 women left the workforce and every new job (140,000) was filled by a man. Many women are staying home or opting out of their careers, determining that the cost (in terms of not only childcare but sanity) of returning to workplaces toxic to motherhood isn’t worth it.
  • Business bottom line: policies that support women—such as providing subsidized childcare and gender-neutral parental leave—are proven to reduce attrition and increase both employee retention and employee satisfaction.
  • Covid has exposed the cracks in corporate infrastructure, but it also provides businesses with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reboot and revisit the way that they provide for employees 
  • “If you wait until everything lines up, it’s over.”
  • “What will I weight more heavily, the sting of failing, or the pang of what might have been?”
  • “If you haven’t failed you haven’t tried anything new…”
  • Apply to be part of my Leadership Circle

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode #300: AJ & Keith Hawk – How To Instill Work Ethic & Curiosity In Your Children

Episode #303General Stanley McChrystal – The New Definition Of Leadership