“Never take advice from someone you wouldn’t trade places with.”
This is one of my favourite quotes.
I remember a lovely first date I had with my (new at the time) friend Matt Corker.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of or met Matt – if you live in Vancouver, you’ve been living under a rock – this guy knows EVERYONE! And it’s because he’s fantastic.
Matt and I were out for a run the first time we met and we got into the discussion of working women – one of my favourite topics. At the time, Matt worked for lululemon. I told him that I believed it was possible to “have it all” – work and family.
I also told him that I felt like I had it all but didn’t know many other people who did.
Do you ever feel like this too? Do you ever feel like you’re the only one?
The narrative out there seemed to be that “having it all” was a myth. Or that telling women they could “have it all” was cruel, and makes those who don’t have it all feel worse about themselves.
Matt said something very profound to me.
He said, “If you think you can’t have it all, you’re talking to the wrong person.”
Someone who doesn’t have it all will probably tell you it’s not possible. They’ll tell you it’s a myth, and that you have to pick between work , fun, and family.
Matt hit the nail on the head. If you ask the right women, they will show you it’s possible. At lululemon, he knew many female executives who still made time to exercise, volunteer, and raise families.
The same goes for men. If you ask the right men, they will share wonderful stories from their paternity leave, of backpacking trips through Europe and exciting business accomplishments.
Let’s remember that “having it all” doesn’t mean there aren’t sacrifices. Tough decisions. Constant prioritization. And support required.
But it IS possible! And isn’t prioritizing, making decisions, and being deliberate in what you do a HELL of a lot better than the alternative?
Being deliberate beats missing out on having kids that you would love to have.
Prioritizing beats being lonely because you’ve spent too much time at the office.
Making the decision to set boundaries with your boss (or your business) sure beats missing a best friend’s bachelorette party or birthday.
Do you ever feel like you know it’s possible but just aren’t sure how to “have it all”?
Here’s how you can get there too.
1) Having it all starts with figuring out what “having it all” means to you.
For some, it will mean running a marathon a year.
For others, it will mean having three kids.
For others (like me), it means travelling to new countries every year.
For many of us, it means having great family and friend relationships.
I believe we can have all this and also have rewarding, challenging and engaging work to do!
2) Having it all also means surrounding yourself with other women and men who feel like they have it all.
- Reach out to a friend or mentor who is clearly happy and fulfilled in their lives, and learn from them.
- Talk to your friends about what “having it all” means to you, and to them. Support each other and encourage them to “have it all” too.
3) Having it all means being deliberate with your time and consciously creating the life you want. This might mean:
- Setting the alarm early to have breakfast with your partner and kids because you aren’t always home for dinner.
- Saying no to volunteering for the fundraiser.
- Pumping the song “You can have it all” by JRDN in moments of doubt. Which literally just came on my iTunes random playlist. Yup – it’s a sign – we can have it all!
- Having a conversation with your boss about after-hours emails.
- Working late some week nights and weekends so you can take a Friday off and head out on a wine-tasting weekend early.
- Taking paid or unpaid leave of absence to spend more time travelling.
All of these things become HEAPS easier when you know you’re doing it because you want to have it all.
And you deserve to have it all.
PS If you’re looking for awesome books to get into the structure of HOW to have it all, I highly recommend Laura Vanderkam’s books168 Hours and I Know How She Does It. I’ll be sharing learnings from her work from time-to-time but if you are super passionate about this topic, get her books now! Side note - If you do follow my links, they don't cost you anything extra and keep me reading and recommending only the best books and advice for you!