Leaping in

I'm leaning in, Sheryl Sandberg. Oh no excuse me, I'm leaping in. I'm jumping in. I'm diving in! Why? Because for all the critics who say Sheryl Sandberg is too "out of touch with reality," "too rich," or "too down on women," I say she is one of the best role models we have for working women right now, and so, you bet I'm leaning in.

And while I'm not second in command of a Fortune 500 company, I don't live in a 9,000-square-foot home, nor earn $30 million per year as does Sheryl Sandberg, I ask you, haters: Why would we not take career advice from a woman at the top? Someone who has built everything she has with her own bare hands. A Harvard graduate who worked her way to the top, and earned that seat. A mother who leaves work at 5:30 p.m. to be a present parent. Someone who's telling us women, that we must lean in, step up, and fight for our seat at the table. That women cannot have it all, but we sure as hell can fight to try and create a meaningful life of happiness, balance and passion.

Call me out of touch too, and I will be blunt here, but don't you find that it's those who want the world, but don't want to work for it, which are the most critical? Yes, after working with thousands of women around the world as a success coach, speaker, author, and entrepreneur, I can tell you, it's the people who are out there risking and failing, who judge others the least. Anyone who risks, is humbled by life.

But I digress...

My goal today isn't to rehash all the issues newsmakers have been examining the past 24 hours -- it is simply to remind us that yes, we women do "leave before we leave." That yes, we women do "lean out." I leaned out when I sold a thriving company in 2006. I couldn't hack it. I leaned out, and threw in the towel on my successful career, because I just wouldn't cut myself any slack, and wouldn't struggle as, aghast, an imperfect leader and imperfect mother. I leaned out.

But thankfully, in 2009, I leaned back in. And now, as I dive in to most everything I do, I echo Sheryl Sandberg's message. We women cannot have it all; you tell me one person who has absolutely everything. Perfectionism is an illusion of the mind. I'm here to represent the women who think they can try and have it all, and then end up in therapy on the brink of burnout (as I did) when they realize that's virtually impossible.

But here's what smart women know: Most of the successful "jugglers" understand that things don't come together at the same time. Meaning, the three components of balance and success -- fulfilling relationships, personal rejuvenation and meaningful work -- rarely happen at the same time, and without stress. Superwoman may be able to juggle 10 things in a movie, but that's just what she is... a fictional character. Life is both a juggle and a struggle, and it doesn't only take a village to raise a child. It takes a village to raise a woman.

Therefore, we must lean in, together. We must lean in, and lift each other up. We must be each other's cheerleaders. And we must fight. We must not be afraid to fight and succeed, fight and fail. For I know with certainty, that with every failure, comes great wisdom, and great life lessons. I believe it is your destiny to fail, for it sets you up for your next ace.

So today, I lean in. After leaning out, I lean in again, and most recently, am completely out of my comfort zone, as I am getting ready to launch my third venture -- a Global Movement of leaning in and getting off the fence. Yes soon, the GET OFF THE FENCE Movement is coming, where I too, am encouraging the world to both lean in, and take the leap off the fence. Unstuck and off the fence to your best you. To a thriving you.

And if I could close today with my two favorite quotes. because my WomenOnTheFence.com readers know, I love a good quote more than I love a good glass of Cabernet, I leave you with my two favorites:

"And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." -- Anaïs Nin

May you risk, albeit in a calculated way, but may you dare to live the life you were meant to live. And live it fearlessly.

And my second favorite:

"Alis volat propriis" -- A Latin saying for "She flies with her own wings." I wish for you, women everywhere, to open your wings, take flight, and soar. To fight for your happiness, to work hard, and to lean in to your life.

With love and gratitude,

Erica Diamond