June 10, 2015

In the past three years of blogging on candor, I have never written about the same person twice. Sheryl Sandberg is the first. In April 2013, I reflected on Sandberg’s push for women to “lean in” and how it required them to have candor with themselves about what they want. Now, I write about Sandberg following her sheloshim – the 30-days of Jewish religious mourning following her husband Dave’s unexpected death. Upon completion of this period of “leaning out,” she was remarkably candid with the world.

On Wednesday, June 3, Sandberg shared a letter with the world via Facebook (she is its COO). In it, she is open about her grief, her perspective and her growth. She tells the world – in an honest voice – about her most personal struggles and offers her truth to help others find their own way.  Some of her most powerful insights include:

“Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not… Those who have said, ‘You will find a new normal, but it will never be as good’ comfort me more because they know and speak the truth.”

“I realized that to restore that closeness with my colleagues… I needed to let them in. And that meant being more open and vulnerable than I ever wanted to be.  Speaking openly replaced the fear of doing and saying the wrong thing.”

“I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void… Or you can try to find meaning. When I can, I want to choose life and meaning.”

Candor is often hardest in the most challenging moments and in the toughest conversations. She speaks about one poignant and remarkable interaction:

“I was talking to one of these friends about a father-child activity that Dave is not here to do. We came up with a plan to fill in for Dave. I cried to him, ‘But I want Dave. I want Option A.’ He put his arm around me and said, ‘Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of Option B.’ “

Sandberg again does an extraordinary thing in telling her truth.