Defining Ourselves #inspirationfromhillary

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Hillary Clinton joined Twitter last week and made waves with her bio: “Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD…”

Most sources reporting on the story speculate about Hillary’s “TBD…”. Perhaps a subtle nod at Clinton 2016? Not to mention Warren Buffet’s tweet @hillaryclinton welcoming her to Twitter and ending with “#45”. Coincidentally, Hillary would be the 45th president of the US should she win in 2016.

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Though perhaps even more interesting is the way in which Hillary defines herself. She begins with “Wife, mom,” then buries “US Senator, SecState” in the middle, and ends with “TBD” (not to mention the humorously true “hair icon” and “pantsuit aficionado”).

Critics, however, like the Washington Post, think Hillary should “start her bio with anything but ‘wife, mom,’” because “to have U.S. Senator and Secretary of State at Nos. 7 and 8 pretty much gives the shaft to the whole notion of ‘leaning in.’” But doesn’t it speak volumes to Hillary’s character that making family her first priority did not diminish the power of her lean-in?

Hillary has excelled career-wise and, like the bio says, cracked glass ceilings in ways women haven’t ever before, all as a family-woman. We should be celebrating this as the highest form of leaning in.

Further, we should draw the inspiration to define ourselves in limited space as an exercise in understanding what really matters in our lives. 140 characters leave little room for accomplishments like “middle school Spelling Bee champ” and “Harvard Model UN Best Delegate.” As a result, we must reconcile our resumes with our diaries to describe ourselves the way we genuinely want to be known.

If we really want to lean into the business world, let’s begin by leaning into ourselves (and, of course, all end with “TBD”).

Nicole Bleuel

Columbia University

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