Women and ambition in the workforce has become a hot topic these days thanks (in part) to Sheryl Sandberg, C.O.O. of Facebook, and her new book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

Although I’ve not yet read her book, I’ve always been a fan of her professional prowess.

Of course, the discussions dominating the blogosphere and news outlets as a result of her offering are not unfamiliar to me personally. I know first hand how difficult it is for women to navigate the terrain of work, career success, and family responsibilities.

I live it, baby. (And I’ve got the gray hair to prove it.)

On the Lean In website (Why, yes. Of course there is a companion site.) Sandberg proposes the forming of something she calls a ‘Lean In Circle.’ Essentially it is small group that forms to share and learn together while they pursue their personal and professional goals.

Not only do I agree with the concept but I’m way ahead of her.

I have a personal ‘circle’ but we call ourselves Accountability, Inc. It is a group of four dynamic and talented women from various complimentary industries who hold themselves (ourselves) accountable for our goals both on a professional and personal level.

It started last fall in an unofficial way and quickly morphed itself into a monthly group meeting with weekly online check-ins. The beauty and strength of the group is that we know when to be gentle and understanding with each other but we ALSO know when to call ‘bullsh@t.’

They are one of my two all-female professional ‘circles.’ The other circle I depend on serves a similar purpose but with less structure and more of a personal relationship focus. We have an unofficial name but it ‘secret.’ (And by secret I mean incredibly smart ass and there is no way am I putting it in out there on the internets. Hey, a blogger has to keep some things hidden, right?)

I’ve found tremendous personal strength within these groups. They are my champions, my cheerleaders, my mentors, career soundboards and most definitely, friends.

How about you? Do you have a group or mentor you can lean on?