You cannot have it all without defining your all.

“You can have it all.”

It’s my favorite lie women are crushed under year after year. Believing this lie drives inadequacy, anxiety, a lack of contentment and frustration. It is belittling, it is contradictory, it is false. 

You absolutely cannot have “it all.” Why? 

Because “it all” is not a neat set of measures and standards that is the same across all demographics. It doesn’t come in a nice little package to be unwrapped, savored, enjoyed and easily implemented into real life. There is no instruction manual that, if followed, will result in a life of rich abundance, peace of mind, a soaring career and a thriving family.

You cannot have it all unless you know your all. 

Let me explain. A dear friend and I used to argue over this concept. She would insist she could “have it all” but what she really meant was she could have HER all. And guess what? Hers looked a lot different than mine! If I allowed myself to judge what having it all meant by her standards, I could never measure up. That does not mean she could not achieve it; she absolutely could. But I couldn’t because that was not true to what I placed value in as having it all. 

So how do you determine your all?

For me to be the best, healthiest version of me, I use five key categories to regularly examine how I am operating to make sure I’m focusing on what I believe matters for me and removing or limiting distractions to the best of my ability. 

(Above all, I must keep my faith life active. That’s a give in so I don't count it.)

  1. Family- Is my family thriving? Are my sons happy, healthy and receiving the bulk of my time? Does my husband feel loved and appreciated? Do we have time just the two of us to keep our marriage strong? 
  2. Work- Is my business running well? Are my clients generally pleased with my work? Is my team growing both personally and professionally? Am I serving them well as a boss? 
  3. Friends- Do I log quality time with my best friends? Do I know what’s going on in their lives and vice versa? Am I emotionally available to meet their needs? 
  4. Fitness- Do I allow time for yoga, running and soccer each week? Am I eating well but still giving myself grace for a splurge or two? 
  5. Passion- Do I have the margin in my time to write? To volunteer? To attend church? (This category is more loose because seasons change and kids make schedules hard to pin down exact times each week. I find myself floundering if I try to make this category too strict and miss my goal. It is better for it to be a moving target.)

If I can answer these questions with a positive response, then I have it all. If one area gets too far out of whack, I can feel it, like a tug on my heart that says something isn’t right. It’s important to return here, realign my intention and work towards what really matters most. 

My all is my all. It isn’t for you, just like yours isn’t for me. I cannot get caught up in a comparison game and I certainly refuse to shame other women whose priorities line up differently than mine. 

(Can we pause for just one a second and all agree to cut the shaming crap out? My life is different than yours. It isn’t better or worse, right or wrong. We are not unequal; we are simply different. And the last time I checked that is not a problem but rather the beauty of life.)

Set your priorities. Guard your passions. Protect your convictions. Then, and only then, you can have your all.