I have never met a woman, or man, who stated emphatically, “Yes, I have it all.'” Because no matter what any of us has—and how grateful we are for what we have—no one has it all.
If life is about balance, then we are on the most vicious teeter-totter ever. If it’s about juggling, then we are setting records for volume.
Truth be told, some days it feels more like dodge ball or whack-a-mole!
Trying to do it all and expcting it all can be done exactly right is a recipe for disappointment. Perfection is the enemy.
The reality is that we just can’t do it all and we know this. Every day (hour/minute) we make choices about what we are going to do and “doing it all” usually means we are choosing what to include in our “all.”
So, why do I keep quoting Sheryl Sandberg?
I read Lean In a few years ago and, initially was quite perturbed by what I read. There were plenty of times, while reading the book, that I thought, “Well, I can’t do that.” Delegate tasks to others – WHO? Hire someone to take care of some home tasks – HOW? Find an equal partner at home – Tried… Failed!
By the time I got to the end of the book, though, I had a shift in my thinking. I realized that the message in the book was about making choices. Choices about what to add to or remove from my “all” list. Yes, it certainly could be about professional choices, but it also included personal and life choices.
Whether it was what Sheryl Sandberg intended or not, I will never know.
Truth be told (just as Sheryl points out in her book), I HAVE turned down promotions and job opportunities based on the impact it would have on my family life. Is it forever? No. Will those opportunities come at a time that fits better with my life? Maybe.
We all make choices:
- If I work on this project, what project will have to wait for my attention?
- Am I able to delegate this?
- This project is due on Friday so what do I need to do today to get it done?
- I’d like to serve on the sunshine committee but, if I do, how much time will that take out of my assigned duties?
- If I work on this project, the meetings are at 4pm on Thursdays so I won’t be able to get my child to dance. Do I want to make this work? If so, how?
You do get to decide what is on your “all” list. (I can hear it now… “But my boss decides what I do.” But you do decide if you are going to talk with your boss about options if it is a conflict… and you can choose to find another job that does fit.)
Done is better than perfect.
― Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead