I had the privilege of speaking at BlogHer 18 this summer. Before the event, one of my colleagues reached out to me and asked if, as a speaker, I had access to extra tickets. She saw the incredible lineup and wanted the opportunity to attend the conference. I asked on her behalf and found out not only could I get her a ticket, I could invite four more people to attend the event. By her asking for herself, she gave four other women the chance to advance themselves too. Opening a door for yourself allows other women access to the room.
The most common critique of my book is usually lobbed at me in the form of a question: What about single women? I always smile graciously and reference chapter 13 where I write about two straight single women who become all-in partners. But my honest answer is that I've been waiting for a single woman with no kids to release her own #droptheball memoir. A mother of two who has been married for twenty years has no business telling that story.
I'm incredibly thankful to Glynnis MacNicol for answering my prayers. Her debut release, No One Tells You This, chronicles the journey of her fortieth year on the planet as a woman who is sensitive to but defies convention. The narrative is cradled by the recent death of MacNicol's mother who gives the author her original canvas, but MacNicol's paints a masterpiece that is wholly unique. She climbs the career ladder as a web writer, but ultimately opts to prioritize her health and well-being after she finds herself a slave to click bait. She never marries or has children, but is far from alone. In fact, any woman seeking a strategy for creating a life she is passionate about would do well to adopt MacNicol's prowess in nurturing a community of support. What I appreciated most about this book was the author's refusal to ask easy questions and give easy answers. The nuance forces you to read each page with your heart, not just with your head, so the insights burrow deeply. No One Tells You This offers a poignant glimpse into the joys and heartbreak of modern womanhood. It's a blueprint for redefining power. Ditch the tea and pair it with a martini.
By day Tiffany Hall is Vice President and Senior Managing Counsel for U.S. Markets at MasterCard. By nights and weekends she's the Founder & CEO of Empower Cocktails, the first of which is a refreshing Cosmopolitan Martini made with Sweet Potato Vodka, triple sec, white cranberry, and lime. It was featured in the MTV Video Music Awards gift bags and was also the official cocktail at the NAACP Image Awards and the Writers Guild Awards.
The brand's success can be attributed to Tiffany's willingness to leverage her own power as a multi-industry executive—she formerly worked at Atlantic Records—and her relentlessness as an entrepreneur. When I asked Tiffany how she's managed to advance two careers simultaneously, she admitted that she's dropped the ball on enjoying vacations. "Each time I travel for relaxation, I work almost every day on either my business or my day job." If you can relate to this dilemma I encourage you not to beat yourself up over it. It could be an indication that you're a workaholic, but it could also be proof that your work is fueled by your passion and purpose, which is a beautiful problem to toast to.
The paperback version of Drop the Ball arrives at the end of August (watch for the cover reveal)! But before it went to the printer, I had a long talk with my editor about the cover design. She told me: Tiffany, you have to be on the cover. It's your authenticity in spreading the book's core message that is selling this book. I was apprehensive, but she made me realize this: Sometimes when selling a product or service we forget that we're our own best marketing tool.
It's taken me a long time to become comfortable with saying no, but I've learned what's most important to me, what's my highest and best use, and how to make decisions with that as my guide. Sometimes, it doesn't work: Recently, I made a huge mistake in saying yes to someone. I realized if saying yes puts you at risk for not delivering for someone, it's kinder to say no. Here are four steps to stay no nicely and effectively.
This week the news cycle was so glutted with the Trump circus I had a difficult time tuning in. So my thoughts drifted to a controversial magazine cover from two weeks ago. On July 11, Forbes Magazine published its annual list of the richest self-made women. They drew ire because Kylie Jenner, "the youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner industrial complex," was on the cover. Whether she could be considered "self made" given her celebrity status is questionable. Then, to stoke the fire, just a week later Pat McGrath Labs surpassed Jenner and actually hit the billion dollar beauty mark.
I'm sure it's because I'm completely immersed in my newfound entrepreneurship, but I was way more interested in how Kylie Jenner has built and is running her near billion dollar empire than whether she deserves any credit for it. Here are the biggest lessons I'm taking away:
#1 Drive obsession.
I didn't even know Kylie Jenner had a makeup line. Obviously I spend too much time reading books and not enough time on Instagram. But after two weeks of asking nearly every woman I interacted with whether they've bought her lipstick kit, I've discovered I'm on the brink of extinction. "I'm wearing Kylie right now," said my bank manager when I was opening up my new business account, and she is eagerly awaiting the next release. It's not just the quality of the product that is driving Kylie Cosmetic customers, it's the anticipation of it. How can I create sustainable stickiness for my products and services? I've been asking myself this question a lot lately.
#2 Only do what you do best.
Kylie Jenner cosmetics has only seven full-time employees. The packaging, sales, fulfillment, finance, and PR are all outsourced to experts, including her mother. Rather than develop and test new formulas, which can take six months, Kylie defers to her manufacturing partners, so she can get her product to market within weeks after inventing them. With all of her resources Kylie's empire could easily execute some of these functions, but she is crystal clear and relentless about her highest and best use: social media marketing. She pretty much drops the ball on everything else.
#3 Own it.
Despite having outsourced so much of the work required to run Kylie Cosmetics, there is one thing that Kylie Jenner maintains complete control over—the company itself. She insisted on using $250,000 from her own modeling earnings to get it started and owns 100% of the equity.
#4 Fame isn't everything.
One of the facts that got overlooked in the Kylie Jenner "self made" backlash was that out of the 60 women on Forbes' list of the richest self-made women, she was only #27. I had only heard of five of the 26 women above her. Number one, Diane Hendricks, has a net worth of 4.9 billion and owns a roofing company based in Wisconsin. So even if Kylie Jenner only got where she is because the paparazzi started following her when she was 10 years old, there is still hope for the rest of us.
What's impeding your success? Often we are too quick to focus on the reasons why we can't accomplish something. But there's always going to be a gap between the resources you have and the outcomes you want to achieve. Leadership is what closes that gap. The next time you're frustrated because you don't have what you think you need to succeed, know that that is the exact place where innovation begins.
"How do you manage other people's judgment of you when you drop the ball?" I get asked this question a lot. Here's the secret: Once you stop judging yourself, other people's judgments won't bother you. People can only make you feel bad or guilty if you've bought into their expectations of you. Watch and learn how to stop the cycle.
Purpose: It's what most people are looking for in their work and lives, but it can lead to feelings of despair if one hasn't technically "found it." Know this: It's not always that easy to discover. We need to dispel the myth about how people arrive at their purpose. It's typically through a myriad of life events; it's not necessarily going to hit you on your way to work one day. Purpose is simply commitment inspired by experience. But if you're really looking for answers and want to find your purpose, here's how to begin.
It's hard to write a non-fiction book that's also a riveting page turner, but Jennifer Romolini has nailed it with Weird in a World That's Not: A Career Guide for Misfits, F*ckups, and Failures. The book opens with a memoir precursor to the direct advice that follows in the second half, reminiscent of Stephen King's On Writing. I appreciated this approach. I mean, if you're going to tell me how to be successful, the least you can do is outline your street cred. And Jennifer Romolini has plenty of it.
She had more jobs in high school than I've had in my entire life. There should be a picture of Romolini next to the word "hustle" in the dictionary. And she demonstrated impeccable grit through several tidal waves that would have wiped out most people: flunking out of college, being broke, getting divorced, battling addiction—all before the age of 30.
By the time she's slayed her way through New York media, leveraging her edge and extraordinary gift for writing to become editor-in-chief of Yahoo Shine and Hello Giggles, and finally chief content officer at Shondaland.com, you are ready to follow Romolini's instructions to the letter: Keep the resume brief, wear a bra, and show up as authentic you. By the end, it's obvious that Romolini's "curse" was never buying in to societal pressures telling us who we should be in the first place. A more apt title for this incredible debut would be Normal in a World That's Weird.