A few months ago, my social media team recommended we shorten Tiffany's Epiphanies so you, our fabulous viewers, would watch to the end. And you know what, it worked. But it meant we had to drop the book recommendations from the end of the video. I didn't realize that this decision would have such an impact on some of you. And it hit me: We don't always realize the difference we are making in others' lives. Try this exercise to see for yourself.
No one reading this will be shocked to know that I'm no fan of Bill O'Reilly. So I was thrilled that FOX ousted him this week over a history of sexual harassment allegations that had amounted to more than 13 million dollars in settlements. It is a good thing for women and the world when men who display such gross misogyny lose their jobs, instead of getting christened with new ones (like President of the United States). But my dance music came to a screeching halt when I learned that another content giant, Macmillan, will continue to publish O'Reilly's books. Their Holt imprint makes a killing off of them, pun intended. I immediately felt the weight of a moral dilemma because my own book, Drop the Ball, was also published by Macmillan. I'm a Roxane Gay fangirl and applauded her decision to pull her forthcoming book from Simon & Schuster after they signed Milo Yiannopoulos, who they've since dropped. I certainly don't have the pulling power of Roxane Gay. But I have a responsibility to stand up against injustice, and standing behind Bill O'Reilly is just plain wrong.
Instead of using a photo of him for this post, I want to highlight someone much much better: Roxanne Jones, who wrote an amazing piece on why O'Reilly's payout is an outrage.
Recently I found an old notebook filled with my (terrible) teenage poetry. As I read through my words of self doubt, I realized this: Insecurity is such a time suck! All of that time we spend worrying what we don't have, is time better spent building ourselves up to get what we really want. Try this confidence-building exercise.
I'm obsessed with getting more women into leadership. Not just the verb leadership, where you're enabling yourself and others to take action. That's important, too. In this case, I'm talking about the noun leadership: Occupying a formal position of authority. I was thrilled this week to learn that Shonda Rhimes has joined the board of Planned Parenthood, and that it was an elevation in her leadership as she had been serving on the board of her local LA affiliate before Cecile Richards invited her to serve at the national level.
One of the most important lessons I've learned from Gloria Steinem is that sometimes you have to put your body where your beliefs are. You have to show up. But it's often difficult for women to commit to leadership when we've already got full-time jobs, partners, kids—let alone a media empire—that we're already managing. That's why I wrote Drop the Ball. It's no coincidence that the woman who wrote Year of Yes responded positively to the invitation to step up, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Planned Parenthood provides critical healthcare services that millions of women otherwise wouldn't have access to, and Shonda's leadership will help ensure that Planned Parenthood continues its important work even as it continues to be under attack. Though Shonda admits that she's never had to use Planned Parenthood services herself, the power of her leadership is that she gets what a lot of men on Capitol Hill don't: "One of the best things that we can do is be concerned about something even when it doesn't concern us. That's the whole point."
After talking to a dear friend who was having tremendous pangs of guilt for missing bedtime again, it hit me: If you feel guilty, stop beating yourself up. You're probably doing a pretty good job. Guilt is a really damaging feeling for all of us—here's how to fight it.
This week I felt like I was watching an episode of the Super Friends where they had to battle their evil Super Friend counterparts that lived in an alternate universe. I'm in London for the UK release of Drop the Ball, and the women on this side of the pond were celebrating the passing of a new law requiring companies with 250 or more employees to publicize their gender pay gaps. It's an accountability measure for a country where equal pay has been the law for more than 40 years. Meanwhile, in the US, women rallied around Equal Pay Day, raising awareness of the fact that women continue to be paid 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. Among many organizations, Levo launched our annual #Ask4More and Lean In their #20PercentCounts campaigns (which you should join ASAP). Unfortunately, all of this seemingly went unnoticed by a President that just a few days before signed a bill that rolled back the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule that protected women from wage discrimination in Federal contracting. Where is Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth when you need it?
Right now I'm pouring over Ann Shoket's newly released The Big Life. I had an opportunity to take a peek at it last year, but I felt that I needed to take the time to devour every word, as all good book worms do. One of the things that impresses me about Ann's writing is that it's declarative and directive. As a coach and women's leadership advocate, I'm hesitant to tell women what to do because all of our journey's are so unique. I prefer asking questions that help people to achieve their own clarity. But as the oldest of four girls I'll put my hand on my hip and give straight advice to my little sisters in a heartbeat! Ann is the honest and invested big sister for a new generation of ambitious leaders who want to create lives that they're passionate about.
As I've said, my village means everything to me. I have only gotten to where I am because of the sage mentors, mentees, sponsors, peers, friends, and family who surround me and help raise me up. Every month, I will be highlighting one of these incredible women, my fellow drop the ballers, who are achieving more and recognizing the need to do less. First up: Luvvie Ajayi.
Has there ever been someone you've never met that everyone tells you you should know? For me it's Luvvie Ajayi, the blogger, cultural critic and New York Times bestselling author of I'm Judging You: The Do Better Manual. At a recent conference where we were both speaking, several people came up to me and asked, "Are you Luvvie?" I guess it was the short hair and infectious smile. So I was ecstatic to finally meet Luvvie last month and to discover that she is as real, funny, and sharp as her public persona would suggest.
With Shonda Rhimes basing a new comedy TV show on her book, you'd think that this rising star would be on cloud nine, but she's incredibly down to earth, admitting that her success has come with a few dropped balls. "I've dropped the ball on self-care—exercising, eating well, sleeping well. I've put everything I have into my work but I've neglected myself." We feel you Luvvie! Women often end up sacrificing our own well-being in the interest of advancing our careers, our families, and our communities. The first step to prioritizing ourselves is getting clear about what matters most to us and figuring out our highest and best use in achieving it. No judgment needed. We're all in this together.
One day, when my husband asked me to empty the vacuum cleaner bag, it gave me pause. I was the vacuumer-in-chief (and often resentful of that fact), and it never occurred to me that HE was emptying the bag for me once a month. I had this epiphany: Resentment about our own contribution often blinds us to the contribution of others.
This week everyone gave a lot of airtime to Fox personality Bill O'Reilly after he dismissed Congresswoman Maxine Waters with a ridiculous observation about her physical appearance: "I didn't hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig." Of course Congresswoman Waters wasn't phased one bit. Like her hair, she is untouchable. And many news outlets covered her response to the incident, in which she inspired anyone who was actually listening to stay true to themselves in the midst of attack: "Be who you are. Do what you do. And let's move on to the nation's business." But the person who I feel should have gotten more airtime this week was Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt. I don't agree with her on many issues, but I applaud her for showing us what it really means to have a woman's back—not after the fact with public statements—but right in the heat of the moment. Immediately after O'Reilly made his comment Earhardt, sitting on a couch with three men on air says to him: "No. OK, I've got to defend her on that. I have to defend her on that. You can't go after a woman's looks." THANK YOU Ainsley. Just another example of why we need more women in leadership.