Last summer, my former boss handed me a book titled, Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu. She had invited Tiffany to speak at our firm and wanted me to read her book and get my thoughts. She also thought the advice within would be helpful to me as a relatively new working mom who was still figuring out how do it all. I’m not typically one for self-help books, so I admit I was skeptical. But I quickly found myself poring over every page, nodding along as she described her feelings of frustration, and empathizing with her perfectionist tendencies that often made it hard to just “let go.”
When I met Tiffany, I was unsure of what to expect. After all, she has a pretty impressive resume. She describes her life’s work as “advancing women and girls,” and her bio supports her description. She was a launch team member to Lean In and was Chief Leadership Officer to Levo. She served as President of The White House Project, as a Major Gifts Officer at Simmons College in Boston, and as Associate Director of Development at Seattle Girls’ School. She is a member of Women’s Forum New York, Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc. and is a Lifetime Girl Scouts. She also serves on the board of Girls Who Code and Simmons College.” She also speaks to thousands of women over the course of the year at events like the one at my firm. And she somehow also finds time to mentor young women on a weekly basis.
So, how does she do it? You’ll have to read her book to get the full scoop. But, in a nutshell, Tiffany learned to redefine what it means to “drop the ball.” For her, dropping the ball means letting go of the things that don’t serve or help you reach your best and highest use. It means “delegating with joy.” It means curating your job description in a way that aligns with and advances your true goals. It means meaningfully engaging those around you to help you achieve your dreams.
This book is part manifesto, part how-to, and it’s a must read for women everywhere who want it all, but may not even know how to define what that means, much less how to achieve it. Tiffany is funny, relatable, honest, and incredibly inspirational. She embodies everything it means to be a champion for women. And for that, she gets this week’s Friday Spotlight.