Recently Indra K. Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo., made waves when asked about work-life balance and the idea of “having it all”.
“I don’t think women can have it all. I just don’t think so.
We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all.”
Nooyi has been lauded for her candor and refreshing honesty about an issue women still wrestle with and are divided on…the infamous “having it all”.
Frankly, I think we are continuing to miss the boat on this topic. Instead of continuing to debate this, let’s agree that:
There is no work-life balance anymore (actually there never was)
And what constitutes one woman’s “having it all” is completely different for another woman. And that’s ok, isn’t it? Isn’t it?
And we forget…
We forget that we make choices,
that’s it’s ok to want what we want (ain’t no shame in that game)
that fulfillment in life looks different for each of one of us
Life and work is not about balance.
It’s about determining what your equilibrium is, what your flow looks like, what keeps you engaged, interested, and happy.
Here’s the thing:
When things are perfectly balanced, there is no movement. Everything is static and still. Think of a scale with equal weight on each side…balanced and still. That’s not real life; life is ebb and flow, give and take, highs and lows.
And another thing:
There is a fundamental difference between “having it all” and “doing it all”
When I was in my late 20’s, I decided that I wanted to get my college degree; with 3 little ones under the age of 7. There was no way I could carry a full course load, work a part-time job, and be a wife and mother (at least to my degree of perfectionism at the time); so I had to ask for help. I enlisted my mother, my mother-in-law, husband, and anyone else I could rope into helping me juggle it all…and I don’t regret a minute of it…and my kids turned out ok.
And one more thing:
It’s hard managing guilt, expectations of others and society, time, and yourself. I wish that I had words of brilliance to impart that would make that an easy fix, but I don’t think anyone has those words. There are a few strategies that I have found helpful over the years that may be something you can use as well.
Know What You Value
What are your 3-5 highest values right now? Family? Wealth? Love? Security?
Dig deep to figure this out…it’s invaluable information to keep your equilibrium. Sometimes your values may oppose each other; for example security and autonomy may be in direct conflict in your current situation. Which one is more important to you right now at this stage in your life? Values change over time, so check in with yourself frequently.
How Do You Want to Feel?
We don’t think about this enough and it ties right into what you value in your life. Recognize that whatever you want to feel isn’t “bad”; it simply is. Don’t feed into other’s expectations of what you ‘should’ feel. Easier said than done I know; but once you start practicing this it will get easier over time.
Listen to Your Intuition
trust it. enough said.
This ultimately is about personal choice and having clarity around what you want your life to look like. And that’s no one’s business but yours.
I wrote a little manifesto a few years ago (back in 2011!) around work-life IMbalance called Beyond the Balancing Act that you can download (and you don’t have to opt-into anything Sugar).