The Key to Having it All.
I sat on the hard chairs in the Metra Coliseum waiting for my son to take the mat at his last State Wrestling tournament ever. It was his senior year and I could feel the lump in the back of my throat holding back tears.
Holding back tears of pride, tears of anticipation, tears of feeling totally and utterly helpless – wanting all the hard work he had put in to pay off for him, for his goals to be met but having no way to make that happen for him. All I could do is sit with my 4 other children and wait.
Perhaps the biggest reason I was holding back tears is I knew it was the last time I would sit on these bleachers waiting to watch, to cheer him on, to celebrate a win or console a defeat. This was it. This was the last.
No one had prepared me for how fast the firsts become lasts. When our kids are little we spend so much time recording the firsts. The first word, first tooth, first step, first day of school – the list goes on and on.
When we are in the midst of recording all those firsts we don’t realize just how fast those firsts become lasts.
It was at that moment, realizing this was the last time I would sit there, that it dawned on me I really did have it all. I was so grateful that as a single mom of 5 and business owner that I had been able to spend so many hours throughout the years sitting on bleachers, cheering on kids, volunteering.
Everywhere we look we are told the ultimate prize is work life balance. That should be our goal. This is the key to a happy, successful life.
I am here to tell you work life balance doesn’t exist.
The fact that work life balance is looked at as the ultimate goal is precisely the reason why it doesn’t exist. It is sold to us as a place to get to, a destination. But the reality is life is not stationary. Any set point in time is only a moment in our lives. There is no “getting to” the destination of work life balance.
So if work life balance doesn’t exist, how can I say I realized I had it all? What does having it all mean? What does having it all take?
As women we are often told having it all means, kids, husband, career, and social life – with dinner made, house clean, laundry folded, a smile on our face and everyone happy. Expectations we put on ourselves – visions of others who we think have it all.
But those visions are not real. And that is not having it all.
To have it all you have to redefine what having it all means. Having it all is having what you want, and what you choose. A life you are in love with. Is it perfect? Absolutely not! But it is a life you love.
The good news is you can have it all in 3 easy steps.
1. Decide your priority for your business and for your life/family. What is the priority for each?
2. Simultaneous work RELENTLESSLY doing whatever it takes to accomplish those priorities.
3. Let go of everything else.
While it is only 3 steps, it is not necessarily an easy 3 steps.
True balance is truly evaluating what is important to you and setting priorities and goals based on what is important to you. Not what someone else has, or what someone else tells you should be your goals. It is based solely on what you want.
There is no set amount of time that it will take you to accomplish your goals and priorities. In fact the amount of time you have to give may change daily, but this is the bar.
Am I relentlessly working towards my priorities?
My priorities were simple.
For work I needed to provide. Many may say that is not a very high goal. And for some it may not be. But you see, I started my business as a single mom of 5 very young children. I had no help, no support, and no one to rely on but myself. I was all my kids had. I spent more nights than I would like to count alone, crying wondering if I would be able to make ends meet. So this very simple goal of needing to provide was my priority.
For my life/family I always wanted to be there. It didn’t matter what it was, from battle of the books to a state wrestling tournament, it was essential to me that my kids had someone there, supporting them, cheering them on. And again, I was all they had. So my priority was simple, I never wanted to miss anything.
Those were my priorities. Simple as they may seem it wasn’t easy.
Over the years, there were dishes left in the sink until the next day, there were many late nights I was up working well into the early morning hours because I was cheering on my kids at football, rugby, wrestling, hockey, track, softball, theatre or some other event. But I didn’t miss them. And I didn’t put off building my business.
You see one priority is never an excuse not to do what it takes in the other. You have to work relentlessly at both.
There were many highs and lows, but this was the balance of being a mom and owning a business.
And this was having it all.
You get to decide what having it all looks like for you. Not what someone else tells you it “should be” but what you really want. Then you get to pursue it with all you have. That is having it all.
And that last state wrestling tournament?
It went really well. There were many edge of my seat moments where I thought I was going to have a heart attack watching, but in the end, he walked away with the medal he had set out to win.
Amanda Read – CEO/Owner Read Mobile Marketing | Author “Unapologetically Me”
Amanda started Read Mobile Marketing as a single mom with 5 kids. In the last decade, she has helped thousands of businesses grow, utilizing her marketing strategies. Additionally, she has helped hundreds of moms create a life they love as business owners. To find out more about marketing strategies and education go to www.readmobilemarketing.com. To buy her book go to www.amandarread.com.