By Ryan Velez
During the recent Women of Power Summit, Alisa Gumbs of Black Enterprise had the chance to have a meaningful one-on-one chat with Tiffany Dufu, chief leadership officer of Levo. In it, Dufu shared a message that is meaningful for just about any woman in business: don’t try to do it all. This message isn’t new for Dufu, who has espoused the philosophy in her book Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less, a part memoir, a part manifesto on how you can balance home and work, but only if you don’t do it all.
In the chat, Dufu said that she was a be a self-described “hot mess”—a woman whose entire professional career was working for the advancement of women and girls but who was on “Stepford wife autopilot” in her personal life. The balance between these two worlds teetered for some time until she returned to work after the birth of her first child. It took her almost three years to realize that dropping the ball was what she needed to do, and shared three major tips for people looking to do the same.
What you need to do to start is a bit of self-reflection on what is truly important to you. “It’s impossible to figure out what you can let go of, what you need help with, and what you should be spending your time on if you haven’t yet figured out what’s actually important to you,” Gumbs explains. Dufu’s book lays out specific exercises that she used, but no matter your methods, it’s important that you are willing to be honest with yourself and give voice to your deeper desires.
Another thing to do is delegate and communicate why you need to delegate, telling your partner what you need and making sure that they understand that it is important for them to take this responsibility. A simple request to do more housework can mean much more, but be sure to let them know that this is the case.
Perhaps the key thing you need to get over for this to work is your own expectations. Women in business are often driven to always work hard in every facet of their lives. However, it can be a bit scary to let go of the notion that you are “good” at everything. Just realize that it doesn’t have to be you doing every bit of work at home and in your career, and soon, you will be able to delegate and relax a bit.