I had the amazing opportunity to attend BlogHer’s annual conference in Chicago this year. With more than 5,000 bloggers, writers and people in the social media industry, it was a weekend filled with incredible speakers, workshops and networking opportunities.
One keynote in particular was exciting to hear – Sheryl Sandberg, who served as chief operating officer of Facebook, and author of “Lean In.” The name of the book has now given way to the “Lean In Movement” which encourages women to dare to do what they dream without fear.
During her speech, she challenged us to all write on a piece of paper what we would attempt to do if we could eliminate the fear involved. The answers were moving: from writing a book, to take salsa lessons, to staying home with her children. It seemed everyone was living a life where they were afraid of something.
I was so inspired when I returned home from the conference that I really took those two words “Lean In” to heart. Right now I’m balancing (or should I say stumbling often) with being a stay-at-home mom to two children under the age of 5, a freelance writer, a blogger, a graduate student, and a wife to an incredibly patient and supportive man.
There are many days where I feel I’m might actually be leaning in too far.
How do we know when we are pushing ourselves in a healthy way or trying to do too much at one time?
This question ran through my mind this week when I realized that I was leaning in too much towards my career and not enough towards my family. I had wonderful writing opportunities presented to me that I didn’t want to pass up. And even in my joy with those opportunities, I cried that night. I vowed to jump back on that scale of life tomorrow to balance it out. One day at a time is all I can balance sometimes.
I think that in life, we have to keep that scale near our bedside and make sure to weigh our life choices from time to time. Yes, I believe we need to lean in, but I also think we need to learn when to lean out. I believe finding that balance is the challenge to making certain dreams come true, not just dealing with fear.
I’m very lucky to be able to do what I love each day – parent, write, learn and love. Some days I do one more than the others, but each day I’m trying.
And perhaps tomorrow I’ll lean in a little further, or if my sanity requires it, I just might lean out for a little while.
Danielle Herzog is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom to two children.
Read her every Wednesday on momaha.
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