Sheryl Sandberg's tribute to her late husband reminds us what true love is all about
Last Saturday, Facebook COO and Lean In queen Sheryl Sandberg gave the commencement address at the Tsinghua School of Economics & Management in Beijing, China. Unsurprisingly, her speech was incredibly inspiring, and filled with endless wisdom on life, leadership, and the importance of knowing your worth. According to TIME, Sandberg offered four important lessons for the graduating class: Fortune favors the bold; feedback is a gift; nothing is someone else’s problem; and always lean in (obvs). While she specified that each of these lessons can lead to invaluable leadership qualities, it was the third lesson that seemed particularly meaningful for Sandberg — and she went on to say that her late husband, David Goldberg, was the perfect example of it in action.
“No one won more hearts than my beloved husband David Goldberg, who passed away suddenly two months ago,” she said. “Dave was a truly inspiring leader. He was kind. He was generous. He was thoughtful. He raised the level of performance of everyone around him. He did it as CEO of SurveyMonkey, an amazing company that he helped build. He did it for me and for our children.”
“A friend of ours [once wrote], ‘Dave showed us all exactly what being a great human being looks like,'” she continued. “‘But it was never frustrating because Dave’s greatness was not competitive or threatening. It was gentle, inspirational, and egoless. He was the quintessential standard for the notion of leading by example.'”
It’s no secret that Sandberg and Goldberg always had a tremendous amount of respect for one another (both professionally and otherwise) — and their love was all the stronger for it. In an incredibly moving Facebook post about Goldberg earlier this month, Sandberg similarly expressed just how much she learned from her husband, both in life and in death.
“I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice,” she wrote, in the wake of Goldeberg’s sudden passing while on vacation with his family. “You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning.”
“These past thirty days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well,” she continued. “But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning.”
Along with her four lessons, Sandberg offered four corresponding wishes for the graduating class: That they are bold and have good fortune; that they give and receive the feedback they need; that they empower everyone around them; and that they support equality. Both Sandberg and Goldberg reflect just how much good can come when those wishes come true — and we remain as grateful as ever to Sandberg for the very important, empowering reminder.
You can read the rest of Sandberg’s commencement address right here.
(Image via Twitter.)