Sheryl Sandberg Publicly Shares Her Lessons From a Year of Grief

By James Mills, Associate Partner, Lighthouse International

In 2015 the COO of Facebook; Sheryl Sandberg, tragically lost her husband, Dave Goldberg, who died suddenly and unexpectedly whilst on a trip in Mexico celebrating a friend's birthday. Just a year on in 2016, Sheryl Sandberg addressed the graduates of the University of California, Berkeley, to share what she has learnt to date, from facing the greatest challenge of her life.

Sheryl Sandberg's speech is incredibly powerful and humbling; regardless of our current life situation - her lessons from experiencing extreme loss are ones that we can all learn about life and facing adversity. Here's Ms Sandberg's address - we recommend you take 25 minutes to really appreciate her incredible words of wisdom...


Amongst others, here are four key lessons that Sheryl Sandberg wanted to share with the next generation of leaders:

We Always Have The Power To Choose How We Feel

"Dave’s death changed me in very profound ways. I learned about the depths of sadness and the brutality of loss. But I also learned that when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again. I learned that in the face of the void—or in the face of any challenge—you can choose joy and meaning."

Our Ability To Face Challenge Is What Defines Us

"The easy days ahead of you will be easy. It is the hard days—the times that challenge you to your very core—that will determine who you are. You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive."

Daily Gratitude And Appreciation Is Key To Resiliance

"Finding gratitude and appreciation is key to resilience. People who take the time to list things they are grateful for are happier and healthier. It turns out that counting your blessings can actually increase your blessings. My New Year’s resolution this year is to write down three moments of joy before I go to bed each night. This simple practice has changed my life. Because no matter what happens each day, I go to sleep thinking of something cheerful. Try it."

Our Growth And Development Is Key To Facing Adversity

"And when the challenges come, I hope you remember that anchored deep within you is the ability to learn and grow. You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are—and you just might become the very best version of yourself." 

Sheryl Sandberg shows us that legends are prepared to be vulnerable and share the lessons from their own challenges, for the benefit of others. It is because of her strength of character and the community she has built around her, that she has been able to face a challenge that has pushed her to the edge. She knows that sharing her experiences, through delivering genuinely heartfelt messages of hope and inspiration, not only helps her, but also helps those facing similar challenges.

For a full transcript of Sheryl Sandberg's moving address, check out the Tech Insider article here. You may also want to read the article we wrote that included her initial response to her husband's unexpected death.

If you, or someone you know is struggling with the loss of a loved one, or indeed would like to be part of an intitiative to support those recovering from grief, please contact us via LiveChat.

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