The bake sale problem is getting even worse! First, I said we need to cut ourselves a break and Screw the Bake Sale, but now my children's schools are requesting us to show up during the workday to help bake treats because our kitchens at home are not allergen-free. I empathize with families with allergies and I empathize with working mothers, so why are we even having a bake sale in the first place? Here's what I think: Don't just screw the bake sale, KILL the bake sale. Here's what we should be doing instead.
The most popular question I've gotten as an author is "What can I do to help?" I love this question because the most powerful answer is so straightforward and simple: buy my book. And if you really, really want to help? Buy multiple copies. Looking back, I spent three months writing a proposal and pitching a book, two years in coffee shops and bars writing and editing it, six months marketing it, and nearly two months on airplanes and in hotel rooms selling it. If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that publishing a book is a LOT of work. And for many authors, the entire point is to simply disseminate an idea that we feel will help people lead better lives. Before publishing my own book, I used to only buy books that I planned to read. Now, I buy books to support authors—whether I intend to read them or not. And you wanna know the best part? It's a lot less work.
PS: If you're a millennial woman don't #droptheball on actually reading Ann Shoket's The Big Life. Trust me.
After my son devoured a comic book with strong female heroes, it became even more clear to me: We learn gender stereotypes, we are not born with them. TV shows, books, movies all spout marketing imagery and language about what it means to be a boy or a girl. In order to disrupt this damaging messaging to the kids in our lives, check out seejane.org, Geena Davis' organization that strives to change the face of gender in media.
Since my life's work is advancing women and girls, I've declared myself exempt from the Women's Strike (kind of like the strike organizers will have to do because they'll actually be working their butts off today). But make no mistake: I'm in full solidarity. I'm wearing red to public appearances where I'll be speaking about the importance of women in leadership. I'm refraining from shopping. And I'm sharing this poem by my incredible mentee Raegan Sealy, a Fulbright Scholar earning her MFA in Creative Writing from the New School. It draws attention to the value of unpaid household labor and the women who perform it—often under strenuous circumstances. Join me and spread her words as we celebrate International Women's Day.
People have told me that one of the most helpful parts of my book Drop the Ball is a peek into my MEL—the Management Excel Spreadsheet Kojo and I came up with based on a project management tool I used at work. The MEL divvies up who's doing what, but after several years of using and tweaking it, I realized this: Assigning what doesn't get done is just as important as assigning who does what. Watch and learn.
This week I learned of an exciting opportunity: a major magazine would be featuring Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant's forthcoming book, Option B, in their June issue and they wanted me to interview her for the piece. You'd think my first response would be joy, but it wasn't. Despite the fact that I'm an expert on women and leadership, that I've taught workshops and mentored hundreds of women on believing in themselves, and that I actually know Sheryl (she generously blurbed Drop the Ball and chatted with me on Facebook Live), my first response was doubt. I'm not a journalist. Why are they asking ME to do this? I had to quickly step in and coach my own self! Too often women begin an endeavor focusing on what we don't have. We see a job posting with ten qualifications. We have eight of them. But instead of applying to the job because we've got 80 percent of it nailed, we start trying to figure out how to compensate for the 20 percent we don't. We ask ourselves: How can I get more experience? Maybe I need a mentor? Maybe I should consider getting an MBA. From here on out, I've decided that I'm going to start making confidence Option A.
Did you know if you put those little store-bought goldfish in a pond they get huge? It's true, goldfish grow to the size of their environment. Here's how this correlates to the working world: People can only thrive in ponds, not fishbowls. It's very difficult to swim in an environment where your ambition and opportunities are being stifled. Watch and learn how to be a better manager to keep women from jumping out of the fishbowl.
Every ambitious woman who's trying to change the world needs good girlfriends. The kind that you're vulnerable enough with to share your dream of publishing a book. The kind that tell you when you say you don't have time to write one: "I think chapter one should be about why women don't have time to write books." You need the kind of girlfriends who give up their bed and make you breakfast every morning when you're on the hometown leg of your book tour. The kind who plan events where your book sells out. The kind who you call in tears when you don't make the NYT Bestseller list the first week your book launches. The kind who gently remind you that your book is about releasing unrealistic expectations. These are the kind of girlfriends who have made me who I am. This week, they were my backbone.
I get up very early in the morning to work out. I don't want to; I don't like to. But I've learned the hard way that my well-being is not a luxury item. I've developed a strategy, called the four go-tos, to prioritize what I needed to succeed. And sometimes that means saying no—even to Kojo. Watch and find out more.
No words can express the gratitude I'm swimming in after this week's launch of my first book, Drop the Ball. Because of your forwards, tweets, and posts my video trailer has reached thousands of people. Our movement to encourage women to let go of unrealistic expectations and live their own stories is officially underway. One of the most powerful examples of women supporting other women came in the form of a book review by my Peer Mentor, Keli Goff. Her analysis for The Daily Beast is fierce and it has become the most forwarded piece written about the book so far. Thank you to Keli and to each and every one of you who is spreading the word, buying the book, and just providing your endless support. I couldn't have done it without ALL of you.