depending upon your definition of all. ;-)
Several years ago during introductions in the first session of my Art of Balance program, Marie introduced herself by saying, “I believe I can have it all, just not at exactly the same time.” Ask Marie what’s missing from her life and she’ll tell you she has everything she wants based on what’s most important to her at this time in her life.
You can have that too … if you’re willing to be brutally honest about what you most care about right now.
A Tale of Two Perspectives.
To Marie, having it all means balancing her most important priorities: successfully navigating her demanding management job, playing an active role in her 14-year-old son’s life, maintaining a healthy relationship with her husband and taking care of herself so she can do well at the rest of it!
What’s on the back burner? Significant time spent with friends, long quiet walks, and plenty of other things that will move up her priority list when her son heads off to college.
Does she ever get stressed or wish she had room for more? You bet! And that’s when she goes for a run or carves out fifteen minutes of reflection time for herself. Usually that does the trick, but if the feeling persists, it’s her sign that it might be time to recalibrate what having it all means.
Now meet Cynthia.
Her situation is similar to Marie’s. She runs the marketing department at a mid-sized company, has a nine-year old daughter and a thirteen year-old son, has been married for fifteen years, and is a runner. Spend fifteen minutes with her though and all you’ll hear is how much she can’t fit into her life. Island getaways. Forget about it. Curl up with a book on the weekend? Can’t even find time to read a magazine let alone a novel.
Sadly, she’s so busy looking forward to when she can have more of the things she wants in her life, she’s missing out on what’s there now.
She’s stuck in a perspective of scarcity, of it’s never enough.
New Year’s resolutions are lurking.
It’s tempting this time of year to make that list of … well, of everything. Next thing you know, you have a mile-long page that, if you pull it off, will lead you straight into the perfect life.
You’ll be buff from your five weekly trips to the gym and the healthy meals you’re whipping up daily with organic produce straight out of your garden. Your conversation will be the life of the party as you discuss the latest NY Times bestseller (fiction and non-fiction) and hold forth on the child prodigy cellist whose recording you’ve just finished listening to. You’ve taken up yoga, meditation, and your friends are amazed at how Buddha-like you’ve become. You stay in touch with all your friends from past and present but never scrimp on time with your children and partner. You travel, volunteer, and are on track for a big promotion.
In other words, you have it all ;-).
Or you would if 99% if those New Year’s resolutions weren’t going to bite the dust by January 10th.
Dump the resolutions and focus on what works for your life.
Get clear on what’s most important … now. Frustration comes from wanting everything because you’ve set yourself up for the impossible. Identify the 5 or 6 things that are the absolutely, no-kidding, this is what matters most to me and write them down. If you’re having a hard time choosing, consider what you will most regret missing when you look back in five years.
Clear out the energy drainers. There’s time and there’s energy. While you don’t control the pace at which time moves, you are in charge of your energy output. Where is your energy leaking out? Clutter, friends who suck the life out of you (frenemies), and anything on the “should, but I don’t want to” list are examples of things that create a steady drip of energy leaving you less for what matters.
Make room for more with “good enough”. For years my client Jenny was wedded to the belief that she had to be the top performer in her department. When she finally wrote down the cost of her outstanding performance reviews – regular, last-minute cancellations with friends she claimed were important, an extra thirty pounds, and no progress towards creating the personal life she wanted, she decided above average was more than good enough.
Choose a new perspective. Despite almost identical circumstances, Marie and Cynthia experience life in radically different ways. Same details, opposite attitudes and thus each create a different reality. How do you view your life? Take the time to decide what mindset you want to hold. It matters. A lot.
Fill up your life with what you most care about and you’ll have it all!
“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson