“How would you live if you only had 11 days left?”
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In, Sandberg combines personal and emotional stories with research on gender differences to prove that woman can achieve their goals. Her latest work is targeted toward graduates. She encourages, a shift from thinking “I’m not ready to do that” towards a mindset of “I want to do that—and I’ll learn by doing it.”
Last Saturday, she addressed the graduates at the University of California at Berkeley.
Instead of speaking to the traditional commencement tropes of “dancing between youth and wisdom,” she focused in what she had “learned in death.”
Sandberg lost her husband, Dave Goldberg, just about a year ago. Sandberg has opened up about the loss publicly in the form of Facebook posts, but never in person. This emotional bravery to confront such a loss in front of a young crowd that Sandberg did during the commencement speech takes serious courage. It takes vulnerability. Vulnerability shows strength.
Great speakers use emotion to move audiences. Audiences can recognize truth. Sandberg speaks with a selflessness that inspires a reckless authenticity.
“The easy days ahead of you will be easy. It is the hard days—the times that challenge you to your very core—that will determine who you are. You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.”
Sandberg gave her graduates one piece of critical advice. This was to make a list of three moments of daily joy. How do you measure success; if you only have 11 days left on this planet, what do you do that will make it count? How do you lean in? What brings you joy? Sandberg encourages everyone to make themselves a little bit more vulnerable in order to build up the courage to answer these questions, and find success while doing so.
Read more about Sheryl Sandberg on Forbes.com