“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Can you have it all?
It all depends on what having it all means to you.
And it depend son how you go about achieving it.
If you can define having it all in a way that is grounded, realistic, and optimistic, then you can have it all if you get clear on who you are and what you want, get creative and strategic in how you approach it, and lead yourself wisely to the outcomes.
In The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership, Joelle K. Jay walks through what it means to have it all and how to go about defining it in a way that you can actually achieve it.
Be Who You Want to Be
One of my early mentors told me that the idea of integrity, as it applies to you as a human, is the state of being whole and undivided. What he was saying is that our inner sense of wholeness is rooted in our consistency of character — where we live and act according to our values, beliefs, and principles.
I think Jay would agree.
“When you take the all at once thinking to heart, you will be living and leading with integrity. You will be who you say you want to be and doing what you want to do.”
Is it Possible to Have it All?
That’s not the right question. Instead, ask, “Do you know what your all is?”
“At this point in the conversation, most people turn to the question, ‘Is that possible? Is there such a thing as having it all?’ To me, it’s an unhelpful question. It’s distracting for it throws you immediately out of possibility and into limitation. To me, the answer to the question, ‘Is it possible to have it all?’ is not yes or no. It’s another question, ‘Do you know what your all is?’”
Be Creative and Strategic in Having it Happen
It all starts from the inside out.
“When people talk about having it all, they seem to mean getting stuff — a fine job, a great office, stock options, an enviable marriage, cute kids, and so on. That may or may not be possible. It may not even be what you want. What is possible is to have the kind of life you want to live. One in which nothing is missing, where you get what you need–emotionally, spiritually, financially, materially–by being clear on who you are and what you want, by being creative and strategic in having it happen, and by leading yourself wisely to the outcomes.”
What Does Having it All Mean to You?
Clarity creates flexibility and possibility. When you define what having it all means, it needs to come from you. It needs to reflect your values, your beliefs, and your principles.
“What does having it all mean to you? Does having it all mean some societal definition of flashy cars, tropical vacations, and a knockout spouse? Or does it mean a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction with a meaningful job and some time left over for you? Does it mean a warm and pleasant home filled with joy? A billion dollars? Your health? Making a difference in the world? Any of these definitions can work–as long as it comes from you.”
Define Your All in a Way that is Grounded, Realistic, and Optimistic
The ultimate key to having it all is to know what you want. The rest then, is using the right strategies to create it.
“If you can define your all in a way that is grounded, realistic, and optimistic, most likely you can have it. If you define your all as some unattainable ideal that amounts to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, then you might not. To find out your all, you can go back to one of the central themes of this book: You have to know what you want. You have the freedom to find out what that is, and now you have some strategies to create it. When you know what your all is, then you can ask the questions. Is that possible? If this is what I want, can I have it all … all at once? You choose. Do you want to? What would it look like if you did?”
Go for it.
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Image by bradleypjohnson.