The Only 3 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself To Find Out If You Have It ALL.
Having it all.
Never has there been a phrase to incite such debate amongst women. Can women have it all?
And what does that even mean?
I heard it the first time when I first joined the ranks in my corporate profession. I had always been driven to succeed.
It was in my blood; the daughter of an academic, raised with the belief that the world was mine for the taking. I met those expectations and soared beyond them, always striving higher, always working harder.
Pushing for that next level of happiness.
Like many others, I pushed to get ahead, to stay ahead.
I thought I had no choice because that’s what women do. It wasn’t long before I acquired the things that defined success but the question still remained. Did I have it all?
Can women really have it all – the thriving, professional career and fulfilled personal life – and be good at it?
I read the interview of Indira Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo by The Atlantic’s David Bradley with mixed opinions.
Here was a woman who, by every accepted definition of success, had it all.
Many applauded the frankness with which she answered the age-old question, being open and honest about what her success had cost. But reading between the lines of that interview, an interview intended to commemorate her professional achievements, lay the real answers.
Behind the stories of doing what she had to do to succeed, to me, Nooyi sounded like a woman who was haunted by her choices.
For not being there to the standard of the mother, wife and daughter that she was still expected to be. And perhaps wanted to be.
It makes me sad. And it makes me mad.
What the hell does “having it all” even mean?
Having It All has been the elusive dream since the age when you figured out that, somehow, being yourself was not enough. So many women find themselves struggling to find that “perfect” balance in life – busy chasing a feeling that never seems to come.
Somehow “having it all” has morphed into “doing it all”.
Being everything to everyone. And the consequence of occasionally dropping the balls comes with the territory of being and staying at the top of your game.
But here’s what I think.
People spend far too much time on doing,
and not nearly enough time on being.
And while we keep chasing the notion of having the proverbial “all”, we forget to take the time to stop, pause and take a breath and ask, “Who are they to say that I don’t have it all already?”
Balance isn’t about piling parts of our life on one end and then spending the rest of it trying to bring it back to centre.
It’s about being present, mindful of what makes you happy, of what needs attention. And then going and consciously creating the space to nurture that.
Instead of asking if you can have it all – ask these instead.
Am I happy with my life and choices right now?
Am I living with purpose, aligned to my values and priorities?
Am I looking after myself completely – mind, body and soul?
These days I don’t think about whether I “have it all” or not.
My life and priorities are ever-changing and impossible to predict or commit to.
But I do know that I consciously check in with myself and then make choices to bring me back to my truth.
I have let go of trying to do it all and created boundaries around my energy, spending time on the things that truly light me up inside.
By doing so, I know that wherever I wind up I will have it all.
It just may not necessarily line up with what society considers as “all.”
Share in the comments below. What does having it all mean to you? Do you have it all?