Now, before all of the men stop reading, this here applies to you too. And as Sheryl describes it, it doesn't apply to you in a patronizing "doing it for the moms and wives and daughters" sort of way, it should impact you personally when you are missing out on some of the most talented co-workers, bosses and mentors available to you.
Sheryl Sandberg eloquently describes the feelings women go through, often unknowingly, as they progress in their careers and I guarantee that at least some of the feelings or thoughts she describes will be something that you thought was maybe unique to you. I have thought for years that I have been waiting for everyone at work to find out that I am a total fraud and that I don't totally know what I am doing, and I have been "waiting for the other shoe to drop," so to speak. Apparently this is very common for women to have thought this to themselves, and not really so common for men. It's not that I don't have confidence in my work, I do. But there is something there still that wonders if today is the day that I might be found out.
Sheryl also describes in great detail, the decisions of talented women to leave the workforce in order to take care of children. Since many of my friends are at this age, I implore you to read this book before making a decision.
Overall, Sheryl is describing to us the need to "lean in" to our careers and understand where we limit ourselves unnecessarily. She urges us to "seek and speak your truth," to lead authentically and break down some of the barriers that we don't realize are there and that we need to talk about.
I once had one of my most impressive managers that worked for me tell me how much he liked having a woman as a boss. I also work in an area where there is a serious gap in female leadership at the executive level, and I find this as my golden opportunity to lean in to close that gap and help other female leaders see their path.
Read some more from Harvard Business Review:
Tell Me Something I Don't Know About Women in the Workplace - HBR
Women Rising: The Unseen Barriers - HBR
What's a Working Dad to Do? - HBR