When I heard Sheryl Sandberg had written a new book (entitled Option B) I was so excited! I am a massive fan of Sheryl Sandberg’s first book Lean In. I first read the book back in 2015 and it really resonated for me. After reading the book I joined a Lean In Circle and I doubt my life would look like it was today if I hadn’t read that book (You can check out my post about how Lean In changed my life here.
So with all that enthusiasm, I was a little gutted when I found out it was about facing adversity. I knew all about Sheryl losing her husband, but I thought how will this book be relevant to me. However, Sheryl summed it up perfectly in the book when she wrote
“We all deal with loss: jobs lost, loves lost, lives lost. The question is not whether these things will happen. They will, and we will have to face them.”
Option B is written by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, but written in the voice of Sheryl. Having lost her husband in 2015 her story is the main thread through the book. There is a chapter call KICKING THE ELEPHANT OUT OF THE ROOM. It explores how people deal with others who are experiencing grief. That feeling of not really knowing what to do or what to say. Reading the chapter made me think of the way I had behaved around other people who had suffered loss in their life and how it can be really awkward. As an individual, can be hard to know what is the best thing to do and Sheryl suggests the best thing you can possibly do is ask “How are you today?”
Whilst Sheryl’s story is about loss a major message of the book is about resilience, which everyone will need at some point in their life. In the book the work of psychologist Martin Seligman is mentioned. Martin found that when people have a setback there are three P’s that can stunt recovery – “(1) personalisation – the belief that we are at fault; (2) pervasiveness – the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life; and (3) permanence – the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever”.
I found this a really useful framework. I know personally when I have felt setbacks it is the feeling of permanence that can make the situation feel overwhelming. However, I can totally see how by knowing that one day the pain won’t be as bad and it won’t feel like it does right now you will be able to recover quicker.
Although the topic of the book is heavy it isn’t all doom and gloom. Part of the book is about how Sheryl tried to find joy and love again in her life. Sheryl writes “When we look for joy, we often focus on the big moments…But happiness is the frequency of positive experiences, not the intensity”. This is why you have a duty to yourself to fill your life with positive experiences often. Stop waiting for the weekend or the big holiday, but do something every day that makes you happy.
It brings me great joy to say I really enjoyed this book. I admit that I was sceptical at the beginning, but it is written beautifully and in a way that everyone will find value in it.
Like what you read? Why not buy a copy of Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, And Finding Joy for yourself?
Rather listen than read? Lean In is also available on audible.