Sheryl Sandberg at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 25, 2014.
Chris Ratcliffe—Bloomberg via Getty Images
December 15, 2015 2:51 PM EST

Answer by Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook and founder of, on Quora.

I stay motivated by working on things I really care about. Facebook’s mission continues to be important to me because I believe so deeply that an open and connected world will help create a better world. People come to Facebook to share the things they care about, and in 2015 we saw the global community come together in ways we never have before. At a time when there’s hate and violence and uncertainty around the world, I really believe that people are seeking greater understanding, more communication, and a larger sense of community. On Facebook, more and more, we find people fulfilling those desires as part the largest community of volunteers, donors, and activists in the world.

The world’s problems can feel impersonal and distant, but a single image instantly makes them personal and real — and I think that’s what happens on Facebook and Instagram. Images and stories make invisible victims visible. They inspire us to act faster, do more, and keep working towards a better world. We saw that this year with the photo of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian refugee child who drowned before reaching safety and freedom on shore. For me, the reaction to his death on Facebook – from the expressions of sorrow to the calls for action — showed that when people feel connected to each other they are inspired to do more to help.

On a personal note, Facebook is helping me get through what has been the hardest year of my life. When I lost my husband suddenly and unexpectedly in May, I felt very isolated — I shared on Facebook and the support of strangers and friends made a huge difference. Recovering from loss is a huge part of the human condition and by connecting with people on Facebook I was reminded that I was part of that global community. Anything you experience, no matter how tragic or devastating, is something that other people are also going through. There’s something universal about the ability to connect and share and say to someone else, “It gets better.”

This question originally appeared on Quora: Sheryl Sandberg: How do you keep yourself motivated?

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