Back in October, I spoke on a couple of panel discussions at the True Beauty Women’s Conference. My favorite panel discussion topic was the “Can I Have It All?” one. Can you guess what my viewpoint was?
I believe that yes, you can have it all…IF you are the one defining what “all” is for yourself. You must be the one to set your own personal definition of success for your life based on your priorities. When that is the case, I absolutely believe that you can enjoy everything that life might offer. There are some things that you need to be aware of though…
1. Know what you value. Knowing what is important to you starts with knowing yourself and what you believe in. We are all individuals, so we value things differently…at different points in our lives. For instance, you’ll see me mention my 5F (faith, fitness, family, finances, and fun) planning style often. That is because those are the things that are most important to me. In reality, it’s more like 22 things, because each “F” has multiple sub-categories. However, I like alliteration and listing all 22 things would be overwhelming for you…and for me!
If you haven’t made the time to reflect on your values lately, when will you? I agree with the philosopher Socrates…
The unexamined life is not worth living.
2. Know what success looks like to you. My family was doing an “ideal day” activity and I said what would be included in my ideal regular day. One of my sons piped up, “Hey! Minus the massage, that is your normal day.” It’s true…I need more massages in my life. Just kidding (sort of). My daily routine is not an accident. It’s very deliberate. I spend a couple of hours each Sunday night plotting out my week and a few minutes each night planning out the next day. Now we all know that “life happens” and sometimes plans need to change but how can we create an all-around life that we love if we don’t know what that looks like? It’s like trying to put together a grown-up puzzle without looking at the picture (that you’re trying to create) on the front of the box.
I know what success looks like to me. I know what I want. A couple of examples…I don’t like to feel rushed. I like to ease into the day. I like to walk my sons to school and have my daily devotional when I come back home. With that in mind, I rarely schedule early morning work meetings. I also like to work about 6 hours a day – 4 hours while the kids are at school and 2 hours after I pick them up/while they are doing their homework. The evenings and weekends are reserved for family, friends, ministry and community activities. Etc., etc….you get the picture. More importantly, do you have a clear picture of what success looks like to you?
3. Know that you will have to make sacrifices. I think that that you can have it all…just not as much of everything all at once. Last year, faith, family, and fun were the strongest areas of the 5 things that I value most. While those areas were great, fitness and finances were still good. My doctors think that I’m healthy and I have run my own businesses (that have been profitable each year) for the last 13 years. I definitely can’t complain but I would be lying to you if I didn’t say that sacrifices have been made.
As I mentioned while speaking on the panel, “It’s unrealistic to think that you won’t have to sacrifice anything in order to have it all. There are trade-offs to be made for the choices that we make. Everyone misses out on something. If you decide to be a stay-at-home mom, then you’re going to miss out on some money. If you decide to be a work outside of the home mom, you’re going to miss out on some of your kids’ special moments. And if you’re a work from home mom, you’ll still miss out on a little of both.” It is what it is. Sometimes, I will hear a mom say something like, “I am there 100% of the time for both my work and my family.” No, you’re not. Stop lying to yourself. More importantly, stop feeling the pressure to do so!
4. Know whose opinions you value. Disregard the rest. It was so interesting to me when many women thanked me for giving them permission to make their own rules for having it all at the end of the conference. It was sweet and all…but who am I? I’m not in their day to day lives. I don’t pay their bills. I “get it” though. We live in a society where the approval and opinion of others can be so important that it can cause us to lose sight of what we truly want and desire. If it takes an outside person’s approval to give you permission to have it all, then by all means, YOU HAVE PERMISSION.
Value the opinions most of those who value you the most! When making life choices, I care about pleasing God first and foremost. After that, I make sure that my husband and I are on the same page. Other than that, it’s my call. [Vivian (my mom) and my two sons also strongly influence my decisions.] It’s kind of morbid, but when I’m feeling torn about not living up to someone else’s expectation of how I should live my life, I have this little phrase that I say to myself to get over it – “They won’t even be at your funeral.” What can I say? it works for me. 🙂
Whose opinion do you value the most? Pay more attention to them and less attention to society at large. Remember:
“If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.
I think that awareness of these four things can help us to be successful in our pursuit of having it all. What do you think?