These Sheryl Sandberg quotes provide insight into her projects like Leaning In and Facebook. They also can offer us some wonderful advice about life, and how to be successful.
You might be wondering just who Sheryl Sandberg is. She is currently the COO of Meta Platforms (Facebook) and has been on it’s board of directors since 2012. Before coming to Facebook in 2008, Sandberg was the vice president of global online sales and operations at Google.
Prior to that role she was the chief of staff for United States Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers, whom she had also worked for in her earlier career days. Sandberg earned her Bachelor of Arts in economics and her MBA from Harvard.
Keep reading to learn more about her philanthropic and pursuits outside of Meta Platforms.
Sheryl Sandberg quotes about women and girls
1. “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Everyday Application: In this moment, “female leaders” are a thing because women have not had the ability or opportunity to rise to such positions. Someday we will be able to just say leaders because being female leader will no longer be a novelty.
2. “Done is better than perfect.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Everyday Application: Done, means that you did something. You took action and tried to move the needle closer to your goal. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to do it!
3. “We’ve got to get women to sit at the table.” – Sheryl Sandberg
4. “It is the ultimate luxury to combine passion and contribution. It’s also a very clear path to happiness.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Everyday Application: What are you passionate about? There is something specific that you can contribute to the world. When you can combine your passion with the impact you make on the world, your happiness will increase.
5. “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Everyday Application: Women need to support one another and help build each other up. It doesn’t make a woman shine brighter to hinder to the woman next to her. There is enough of everything for all of us!
6. “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Everyday Application: Sometimes, we are presented with an exciting opportunity, and yet we don’t take it. We get in our way. Not everything that comes up will be THE opportunity, but you won’t know unless you try. You also have no way of knowing if this current opportunity will lead you to something bigger. So, just sit anywhere on that rocket and see where it takes you!
7. “Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.” – Sheryl Sandberg
8. “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” – Sheryl Sandberg
9. “We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.” – Sheryl Sandberg
10. “I want to tell any young girl out there who’s a geek, I was a really serious geek in high school. It works out. Study harder.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Profound Sheryl Sandberg Quotes
11. “We can each define ambition and progress for ourselves. The goal is to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents and interests.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Everyday Application: Don’t let whatever stereotype you might face hold you back from going after your dreams. Use your passion, talents, and interests to craft the life you want to live. Don’t live someone else’s version of what your life should be like.
12. “We call our little girls bossy. Go to a playground; little girls get called bossy all the time – a word that’s almost never used for boys – and that leads directly to the problems women face in the workforce.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Everyday Application: Bossy has a negative connotation, and when we refer to girls or young women that way, they tend to shy away from taking on leadership roles and responsibilities because they want people to like them. Teach little girls to embrace their initiative, powers of delegation, insight, and other leadership qualities. If you were a bossy little girl, I hope you are living the life you deserve!
13. It’s more pressure on women to – if they marry or partner with someone, to partner with the right person. Because you cannot have a full career and a full life at home with your children if you are also doing all of the housework and child care.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Everyday Application: There is a lot of pressure on women all the time. Live your life how you see fit. Want to be a stay at mom, then do it. Want to be COO of a major company, then make it happen. Want to have both? You can do it, it just is about finding balance, and having the right support system in place.
14. “I absolutely loved Tina Fey’s ‘Bossypants’ and didn’t want it to end. It’s hilarious as well as important. Not only did I laugh on every page, but I was nodding along, highlighting and dog-earing like crazy.” – Sheryl Sandberg
15. “When my mother took her turn to sit in a gown at her graduation, she thought she only had two career options: nursing and teaching. She raised me and my sister to believe that we could do anything, and we believed her.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Everyday Application: Believe you can do anything and you will. The only limits we have are those we place on ourselves. Sometimes, you might not the see the immediate fruits of your labor in the way you thought you would. However, you might be paving the road for someone else, and that’s a pretty great legacy.
16. “I’m not telling women to be like men. I’m telling us to evaluate what men and women do in the workforce and at home without the gender bias.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Everyday Application: “Women’s work” and “a man’s job” are phrases no one should use anymore. This idea that we are boxed into certain roles because of our gender is ridiculous. Women can mow the yard and men can rock babies to sleep. Women can sit at the table in the board room, and men can be office assistants. We can each do what we want, and be evaluated on our performance, and not our gender.
17. “Women attribute their success to working hard, luck, and help from other people. Men will attribute that – whatever success they have, that same success – to their own core skills.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Everyday Application: Success is made up of a little of all these things. You have to have a strong set of core skills to accomplish things. Working hard and a little luck don’t hurt either. Having a mentor and some help can also make it easier to succeed. However, the point here is that women often believe their success is some kind of accidental fluke, or that maybe they do not deserve it.
18. “There is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.” – Sheryl Sandberg
19. “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” – Sheryl Sandberg
20. “Women have made tons of progress. But we still have a small percentage of the top jobs in any industry, in any nation in the world. I think that’s partly because from a very young age, we encourage our boys to lead and we call our girls bossy.” – Sheryl Sandberg
21. “Fortune does favor the bold and you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Everyday Application: Fortune seems to favor the bold because the bold take chances. They are not afraid to create opportunities and take action. The only limits that exist are those we set for ourselves. By pushing yourself past what you think you are capable of, you will discover new ‘limits.’
Thought-provoking Sheryl Sandberg Quotes
22. “Success for me is that if my son chooses to be a stay-at-home parent, he is cheered on for that decision. And if my daughter chooses to work outside the home and is successful, she is cheered on and supported.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Everyday Application: Everyone’s life is their own to live. What someone else chooses to do with their life should be of little consequence to the rest of us. If a man wants to stay home and parent, then that is wonderful. If a woman wants to work and not have kids, that is equally exciting. Let people live their lives and decide their own futures. If we stopped worrying about what other people are doing and lived our own lives, then maybe the world would be a better place.
23. “When looking for a life partner, my advice to women is date all of them: the bad boys, the cool boys, the commitment-phobic boys, the crazy boys. But do not marry them. The things that make the bad boys sexy do not make them good husbands. When it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner. Someone who thinks women should be smart, opinionated and ambitious. Someone who values fairness and expects or, even better, wants to do his share in the home. These men exist and, trust me, over time, nothing is sexier.” – Sheryl Sandberg
24. “I spent most of my career, including my time at McKinsey, never acknowledging that I was a woman. And, you know, fast forward — I’m 43 now — fitting in is not helping us.” – Sheryl Sandberg
25. “You know, there has never been a 24-hour period in five years when I have not responded to e-mail at Facebook. I am not saying it’s easy. I work long hours.” – Sheryl Sandberg
26. “I am saying that I was able to mold those hours around the needs of my family, and that matters. And I really encourage other people at Facebook to mold hours around themselves.” – Sheryl Sandberg
27. “Everyone knows that marriage is the biggest personal decision you make, but it’s the biggest career decision you can make.” – Sheryl Sandberg
28. “The things that hold women back, hold them back from sitting at the boardroom table and they hold women back from speaking at the PTA meeting.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg Quotes that will make you think
29. “Every woman I know, particularly the senior ones, has been called too aggressive at work. We know in gender blind studies that men are more aggressive in their offices than women. We know that. Yet we’re busy telling all the women that they’re too aggressive. That’s the issue.” – Sheryl Sandberg
30. “Leadership is not bullying and leadership is not aggression. Leadership is the expectation that you can use your voice for good. That you can make the world a better place.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Everyday Application: There are so many things that go into being a good leader. However, there are a set of soft skills that are important. They include being empathetic, listening, and caring about others. The best leaders are invested in the vision and how that vision will impact other people.
31. “If you ask men why they did a good job, they’ll say, ‘I’m awesome. Obviously. Why are you even asking?’ If you ask women why they did a good job, what they’ll say is someone helped them, they got lucky, they worked really hard.” – Sheryl Sandberg
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of quotes for girls for young women of all ages.
Powerful Sheryl Sandberg Quotes
32. “For any of us in this room today, let’s start out by admitting we’re lucky. We don’t live in the world our mothers lived in, our grandmothers lived in, where career choices for women were so limited.” – Sheryl Sandberg
33. “So there’s no such thing as work-life balance. There’s work, and there’s life, and there’s no balance.” – Sheryl Sandberg
34. “I wish I could just go tell all the young women I work with, all these fabulous women, ‘Believe in yourself and negotiate for yourself. Own your own success.’ I wish I could tell that to my daughter. But it’s not that simple.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg Quotes to inspire success
35. “I feel really grateful to the people who encouraged me and helped me develop. Nobody can succeed on their own.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Everyday Application: We all need a good support system. People that encourage us to do our best and believe in our dreams. We also need people to mentor us and teach us the things we do not know. Then we need people we can vent to and those who help keep us grounded. Check out this article about the kind of people you need in your life.
36. “It is the ultimate luxury to combine passion and contribution. It’s also a very clear path to happiness.” – Sheryl Sandberg
37. “What I tell everyone, and I really do for myself is, I have a long-run dream, which is I want to work on stuff that I think matters.” – Sheryl Sandberg
38. “If more women are in leadership roles, we’ll stop assuming they shouldn’t be.” – Sheryl Sandberg
39. “The more women help one another, the more we help ourselves. Acting like a coalition truly does produce results.” – Sheryl Sandberg
40. “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” – Sheryl Sandberg
41. “Women need to shift from thinking ‘I’m not ready to do that’ to thinking ‘I want to do that – and I’ll learn by doing it.” – Sheryl Sandberg
42. “Taking initiative pays off. It is hard to visualize someone as a leader if she is always waiting to be told what to do.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg Quotes to help you reach your potential
43. “Being confident and believing in your own self-worth is necessary to achieving your potential.” – Sheryl Sandberg
44. “Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively for women. When a man is successful, he is liked by both men and women. When a woman is successful, people of both genders like her less.” – Sheryl Sandberg
45. “Trying to do it all and expecting that it all can be done exactly right is a recipe for disappointment. Perfection is the enemy.” – Sheryl Sandberg
46. “I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning.” – Sheryl Sandberg
47. “Knowing that things could be worse should not stop us from trying to make them better.” – Sheryl Sandberg
48. “Bring your whole self to work. I don’t believe we have a professional self Monday through Friday and a real self the rest of the time. It is all professional and it is all personal.” – Sheryl Sandberg
49. “But the upside of painful knowledge is so much greater than the downside of blissful ignorance.” – Sheryl Sandberg
50. “Motivation comes from working on things we care about. It also comes from working with people we care about.” – Sheryl Sandberg
More Sheryl Sandberg Quotes
51. “A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.” – Sheryl Sandberg
52. “Each one of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” – Sheryl Sandberg
53. “As we get older, we define happiness less in terms of excitement and more in terms of peacefulness. Reverend Veronica Goines sums this up as, Peace is joy at rest, and joy is peace on its feet.” – Sheryl Sandberg
54. “Every job will demand some sacrifice. The key is to avoid unnecessary sacrifice.” – Sheryl Sandberg
55. “Not everything that happens to us happens because of us.” – Sheryl Sandberg
56. “I’m sorry if this sounds harsh or surprises anyone, but this is where we are. If you want the outcome to be different, you will have to do something about it.” – Sheryl Sandberg
57. “I am more vulnerable than I thought, but much stronger than I ever imagined.” – Sheryl Sandberg
58. “The ability to listen is as important as the ability to speak.” – Sheryl Sandberg
More about Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg is also the co-founded an organization called Women in Economics and Government that she started at Harvard. In addition to the Facebook board she also was named to the board of The Walt Disney Company.
She also serves on the boards of Women for Women International, the Center for Global Development, and V-Day. She was previously a board member of Starbucks, Brookings Institution, and Ad Council.
Her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead was published in 2013. The book was about business leadership and development, issues with the lack of women in government and business leadership positions, and feminism. It has sold over a million copies, but has not avoided some criticism.
June 24, 2022 5:00 AM EST