What Is Personal Management? Tips from Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg


The concept of personal management is not new. Some know it as goal setting, time-management or mapping your life.

Personal management entails setting personal life goals, and then creating a strategy that will help you to attain these long term and short term goals. Your plan could entail professional development, acquisition of skills, networking, travelling or any activity that is necessary to help you attain your objectives.

With a net worth of about $1 billion, Sheryl Sandberg is undeniably one of the most influential business executives in the world. Her busy schedule entails overseeing communication, business development, human resource and marketing at Facebook. She is also a wife and a mother who manages to do the ‘Mommy Juggle’ while still carrying out her day job as the face of the world’s largest social networking site.

What lessons can the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook offer when it comes to mapping out life goals and attaining these goals? Here is what I have learnt:

Do not be afraid to assert your confidence

People who are clear about their goals are not afraid to do whatever it takes to fulfill these goals. While you do not have to be impolite, you should certainly show ambition especially in the work setting.

Are you the type that just flows with the tide and never airs out your opinion? If so, it is easy for opportunities to pass you by, making it even more difficult to fulfill your goals.

Be bold enough to project your opinions and to share your ideas.

This is an excellent way to stand out from the crowd and to establish your personal confidence.

In her book Lean In, Sandberg describes this as ‘sitting at the table’- assert your confidence and addressing your fears if you want to succeed.

Give up the idea of doing it alone

Sandberg admits that she is a feminist. However, she confesses that strong, influential and successful as she is; she has failed many times in trying to juggle career and personal life.

what is personal managementMost people who are ambitious about their goals often fail because they believe that they can be perfect at all things. The truth is, you need some help to be able to fulfill your goals—you simply cannot do it on your own.

Help can come in the form of mentorship, working with a team, or hiring someone to help you with tasks that you are not too good at.

It does not matter how smart or successful you are, there are areas in your life where you need assistance.

It is acceptable to be imperfect and to ask for help.

At the same time, you also need to help others climb up the ladder whether these are your colleagues, a mentee, team members or employees.

Do not take yourself out of the race

Many times, we give up on our true goals for one reason or another. Sandberg points out that life events such as parenting, often cause people to detract from pursing their goals.

The downside of getting out of the race is that it can be really difficult to jump back right in again. Think about it: If you let yourself go physically by not exercising or eating healthy, getting back into shape can be quite a challenge.

The same applies to career and business goals; once you let them go it can be difficult to get yourself to pursue them at a much later date.

The lesson here is to be persistent with your set goals until you have achieved them.

Set realistic expectations and priorities

Sandberg writes that she always tries to let go of unattainable standards. Her level of success is a clear indication that she is an overachiever. Even then, she highlights the importance of prioritizing and focusing on what’s really important.

Her secret to successfully juggling career and family is giving up the notion that she must do everything perfectly. Sandberg focuses on getting things done instead of being caught up in perfection paralysis.

If you feel that you have too many things to do, simply focus on what’s really important and tackle that first. Do not be too concerned about perfection; just get started.

Be Confident

One of the greatest takeaways from Sheryl Sandberg’ book, Lean In, is the idea that you need to assert your confidence in any situation if you want to be successful. Being persistent about your goals by staying in the race is also an important lesson espoused by Sandberg’s astounding raise to success.


  1. I like this post Andrew. The 4 tips are well organized and clear. I particularly like the way to focus on someone is already lives what you are teaching. The tip about staying in race stands out for me in that many entrepreneurs sprint and then stop or slow down or even disappear and then have to make up the lost ground each time.

    Deciding on a course and then staying the course, even when other life situation pull on one’s focus – is crucial. Of course there will be times when parenting, illness and even sabbatical make it hard to run as fast or engage as completely. I believe that balance is key and often that balance means being fully present to what life putting in front of you. But through meditation, organization and commitment, I feel one can still stay in the race rather than step out and have to begin again.

    Good Read. Thank you

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