“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

(VOVWORLD) - “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” is a famous quote from the book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. She’s also the founder of Lean In, a non-profit organization aimed at creating a global community that encourages women to be active and ambitious in their careers even as they start families. The quote was also the topic of Lean In Vietnam’s recent talk show, which provided an intimate atmosphere for women to share experiences about work, family, and life. Thanh Ha reports.

- “What’s challenging for me now is how to balance work and my personal life. I’ve been managing my career pretty well, but don’t have time for relationships, and that’s why I’m still single now.”

- “My current issues relate to work and personal interests. Since graduation, I haven’t found the working environment that I expected, and haven’t got to do the work that I enjoy. I don’t know how make myself satisfied with what I have right now.”

- “I have achieved a few targets that I set out for my career, but still want to learn more about the field I’m working in, not in just Vietnam but abroad. However, I have young kids and my husband’s job is not flexible enough to travel with me. So I’m struggling to find a balance between raising a family and improving my professional knowledge.”

Anh Nhat, Hai Yen, and Thu Hoai were three of around 70 women who turned up to Lean In Vietnam’s talk show last Sunday in Hanoi. Founded earlier this year as a chapter of Lean In Global, the project has been organizing “Lean In Circles” for 20-30 people, with various topics aimed at women, including those on Leadership, Soft Power in Management, and Health and Beauty. Cam Van, co-founder of Lean In Vietnam said: “When we organized our first circle, we didn’t know how people would react to it. But then after a couple of episodes in Hanoi, we received positive feedback and even questions from people in Ho Chi Minh City asking when we’ll come to their city.”

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” - ảnh 1Around 70 people attended the talk show (Photo: Lean In Vietnam) 

Speakers of the event were Ms. Duong Do, CEO of Talent Pool, a prestigious training organization in Vietnam; Ms. Chau Nguyen, CEO of Vincom Megamall Royal City; and Ms. Lan Nguyen, Deputy Director of the Action to the Community Development Center (ACDC). All three have achieved significant success in their profession but still manage to live a fulfilled personal life. They were willing to share their experience, hoping to give younger audience a little motivation. Ms Chau Nguyen said: “It’s good for young women to meet experienced people who are eager to share with them some life tips, and I’m happy to do that. I was lucky enough to have great teachers at university, and nice employers at work to help me plan a good development path and lead me to the right direction, so I want to share this luck with younger friends.”

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” - ảnh 2From left: Lean In Vietnam's co-founder Cam Van, Ms. Duong Do, Ms. Lan Nguyen, and Ms. Chau Nguyen (Photo: Lean In Vietnam)

For 90 minutes, the speakers in turn told stories of how they managed to get their first jobs; how they dealt with big decisions after 4 or 5 years, wondering whether to stick to their job permanently or to change direction; how to achieve targets set out by their superiors, how to inspire and keep staff motivated; and how love and honesty help them maintain a happy family life. No lectures were needed, their stories of hardships and achievements caught the full attention of around 70 listeners. The interaction increased at the Q&A session, when the audience got to ask the speakers questions about their own problems. Some asked about honesty in the working environment, about how to stick to development plans when loved ones tell them to stop, and some asked how to overcome the fear of failure. Ms. Duong, who got married during university, had three children, opened Talent Pool after quitting lecturing at the National Economics University told them that fear is just a signal. The fear shows a lack of something that requires effort in order to improve. She understood the audience’s concerns as this was not her first time participating in a talk show for women: “I usually attend shows like this and try to inspire the audience based on my personal experience. Women nowadays are very beautiful, smart, and sharp. Opportunities to share experiences like this are a very good advantage to them; it helps them improve themselves and better the community together.”

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” - ảnh 3Q&A session (Photo: Lean In Vietnam)

Having asked the speakers about the fear of failure, Hai Yen shared her thoughts after the show:“The best thing I got out of this talk show is the inspiration that the speakers gave us. I realize fear is not something so serious that it can’t be overcome by facing it directly, identifying the exact thing that I’m afraid of, and setting up a detailed plan to deal with it. I can then achieve higher targets.”

Lean In Vietnam plans to organize 1-2 circles a month and a bigger event every 2-3 months with more topics on women’s daily interests.