“Drop the Ball” with Tiffany Dufu
Are you a fixer who loves taking responsibility and caring for others, but feel like you have too much on your plate? You’re not alone. Today’s episode features Tiffany Dufu, Chief Leadership Officer at Levo League and author of the new book Drop the Ball — a must-read for all of us trying to do everything ourselves and struggling to embrace imperfection.
Tiffany’s gems of wisdom include the value of delegating with joy, a concept she calls “strategic chaos”, and the three attributes to look for in a partner before you build a life with them. She also talks about motherhood as the last frontier of dropping the ball.
Majo: I would love to start focusing on your book now, Drop the Ball, there’s so much I want to dig into there. I really enjoyed it. Could you describe what you mean by “dropping the ball”?
Tiffany: Dropping the ball for me means letting go of unrealistic expectations that you likely have of yourself, maybe you’re conscious of them maybe you’re not, but it’s really the source of our overwhelm. And dropping the ball is about engaging other people in your journey so that they can help and support you.
But fundamentally, it’s about embracing imperfection.
Majo: Yeah, and I love that so much, that point of view you have throughout the book. Would you say this is the number one expectation you believe women need to let go of?
Tiffany: Well, yes. Particularly if they, like me, care deeply about performance. If you’re someone who has a lot on your plate who is often playing defense instead of offense when it comes to requests and your to-do list and everything you’ve got going on… and if you haven’t yet gotten clear on what matters most to you — which is the first step, really, to dropping the ball—then it’s very difficult to be all of the things that you think that you should be. (And by the way, you were socially conditioned to believe that you should be all of those things.)
So for me, dropping the ball was such a critical part of my leadership journey. And it’s the honest reason why I’m able to have a career that is rooted in my passion and purpose — and at the same time have an incredible partnership with my husband — and at the same time raise two amazing kids — and at the same time be physically fit, happy, engaged in my community and all of these things that seem so obvious… things that, earlier in my life when I got to a point where I couldn’t do it all, seemed so daunting.
That’s been my solution. You can have it all as long as you don’t do it all.
- Tiffany growing up: An imaginative “good girl” who experienced early on a sense of injustice that sparked a feminist spirit. [5:25]
- Trying to be valued and liked in her teenage years, plus the benefit of experiencing failure at a young age. [9:59]
- College years, realizing she had more options than she’d been shooting for, and how she got into the nonprofit world. [15:11]
- On the specialness of millennials and the powerful meaning behind the title of her book. [20:33]
- How Tiffany and her husband fell into default mode when it came to the division of domestic labor — and what they did when that didn’t work. [25:10]
- How to delegate tasks in a meaningful way and other essential tips for busy women. [31:39]
- Learning to live with chaos: An incredibly amusing story that resulted in restored balance at home. [36:49]
- Exploring our social conditioning as women, and how to stay focused on what matters most. [42:40]
- Tiffany shares why motherhood is the final frontier in “dropping the ball”, plus the three attributes any partner of yours should have. [45:30]
- On our relationships with our mothers, having a greater sense of service, and Tiffany’s final thoughts. [51:52]
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