You have likely encountered the question "Can you really have it all?" as well as the answers that come with it: "Yes, you can," "Yes, but not all at once," "Not a chance," "Not unless you're Beyonce," or "Not if you want to be happy and have any semblance of a life."
There are 1,000 other versions of these; you likely have your own.
I've grappled with this question. I've worked on playing it out. I've found some years I "could," some I couldn't, some I wanted to for the wrong reasons, some I pulled off gracefully, and some cost me dearly. Some years "all" was very simple and joyful. Some years "all" ran me ragged. In the end, I've found this question incredibly personal. And I've found it very simple--when I let it be.
This question, to me, is all about choice, vision, motivation, and support.
Do you want to have it all? And what does that actually mean? (Choice.) What does it look like? (Vision.) To have it all, what would you choose to give up? (Choice again. By the way, I'm not talking about things or opportunities; I'm talking about beliefs and bad habits you'd need/want to give up in order to have it all.)
And then, of course, why? Why is this important? What's driving your desire to have it all? Ego, culture, your mom, your friends, your peer group, your unconscious defaults; or is it true desire; a desire for more impact, to do more good, to have more joy, to live more? Do you really want it all? What's important about "all"?
And once you have that sorted, it should get a little more quiet in there (there being your brain), what do you need to do to set yourself up for success so you can do and have what you really want? What support can you give yourself?
These are really useful places to look. Often when people want it all, they're not conscious to why, or what that actually means, or even that saying "no" to "all" is an option. Slowing down to look at it more intentionally can be a game changer and a space opener.
In my experience, the people who are really good at "having it all"--without frying themselves out--spend time with these inquiries. They're honest about what they want and why. And so often, that why helps them cull their list quite a bit. That why helps them get clearer on what they truly do want so they can be more intentional in creating it.
Sometimes having it all means having a very simple, spacious life. Sometimes having it all means saying no to all of it. Often having it all means something very different from our original definition.
What matters is that we're conscious here.
Taking it a step further, here are three things that can support us in "having it all"--whatever that means to you personally:
A clear brain and a resilient body and spirit.
Intentional self-care, good food, sleep, an environment that supports you, a conscious attitude, solid boundaries, presence, and a commitment to joy (use your own desired state here) help keep the mind clear, the body and spirit awake, and all of you resilient to whatever comes your way.
An honest and conscious "why."
That motivation that is true to you; not anyone else--you. Get still here, remember who you are, dig in, and serve that why. The world needs it, your people need it, your kids need it, and, yes, you need it.
Your tribe are the people you surround yourself with, the people you lean on, your brothers, sisters, peers, advisers, collaborators in impact. It is in tribe that we best create impact, that we best create lives and relationships we love, and that we help each other have our "all."
So, what is your "all"? What in the heck does that really mean to you? Whether your "all" this year is simple and quiet and impactful, or you're going gang busters, this is your first place to look. Breathe. Enjoy. And step in. All in.
This post originally appeared on Inc.com on January 11, 2016.
- Share this post with your network or add your comment below!
- Subscribe to The Beat - the weekly reflection and accountability tool
- Learn more about creating a Contagious Culture in your work and life