You Can Have It All, Just Not at the Same Damn Time
Based on an Interview by Dr. Shellie Hipsky
My first book that I wrote about three years ago is called Get Over Your Damn Self: The No BS Blueprint to Building a Life Changing Business, and my latest book is called, You Can Have It All, Just Not at the Same Damn Time.
I think for lots of us, life is an evolution. Many of us end up doing multiple things as we keep growing and stretching. I was a lawyer when I got out of school, and I absolutely hated it. Turns out I’m not actually meant to fight for a living. I went into PR over a dozen years ago, and when I had two little kids, I got really tired of being tied to the billable hour and hitting my head against an earnings glass ceiling. To be honest, I’m not the greatest employee, because I wanted to be my own boss. So I jumped at the opportunity to start and grow my own business. I first did it alongside my PR career, and then it grew to be so successful that I was able to leave PR completely. My business now extends into three countries and launching into a fourth. I’ve been able to build it from my home around our kids, and it’s given me the time flexibility to be able to share my knowledge and experience through my writing, which I absolutely love. There’s nothing I like better than helping other people, especially women, design the lives they want.
I am living a life filled with my all. It wasn’t easy, and there was period in my life when I was drowning like so many others find themselves—trying to juggle work, marriage, kids, getting in a shower, exercise, and preserving one’s sanity. I didn’t even remember what the hell I wanted. I was so busy doing that I had lost touch with what was important to me, and I was trying to do everything and be there for everyone else. I was doubting whether I could have it all because I was trying to do it all.
There was a time when I went to my husband and said, “You know I have to run away from home for a couple days. I just need some quiet and space and to figure out how to get a handle on my life.” John my husband said to me, “Absolutely, sweetheart, go. You have to take this time.” It was the greatest gift I ever gave myself. It was in that hotel room where I was reading and doing some online searching and just getting quiet so I could hear what I like to call our “heart voice,” that voice inside all of us. And I had this huge epiphany. I was 42 at the time, and I had never taken the time to figure out what my priorities were in life. In fact, all those years, I had been confusing priorities and goals. In traveling across the country talking about this book, I have seen that most women are the same.
Priorities are the things that are so important to us, right now, in the present tense. Serving our priorities is non-negotiable. For example, a perennial priority of mine is that I make healthy choices every day because I know if my body and mind aren’t healthy, I can’t do anything else.
I had been setting goals my entire life. I set goals, and I slay them! That’s just how I’m wired. But goals are different than priorities. They’re things that haven’t happened yet, but they’re important enough to us to want to invest our time to make them a reality.
Now here’s where the important connection happens: Once you figure out your priorities, you must set goals that serve those priorities. Because if you don’t, your goals that you’re devoting all this time, effort, and energy to aren’t serving your priorities. That’s when you’re unfulfilled. You’re scattered. You’re stressed. You’re not living authentically. You’re living for someone else or something else than what you really want, than what’s really important to you.
In that hotel room, I finally identified for the first time, what my priorities were and then I set goals to serve them. That gave me a road map of where to spend my time, and anything that didn’t serve one of my priorities and goals, had to either get deleted or get delegated. This was lifechanging, and started my process of completely recalibrating my life.
To figure out what your priorities are, you need to get quiet. Find a place and make sure that you’re listening to your true heart voice about what’s important to you. You can only have two or three priorities at any one time. Once you have established what’s truly important, you must get rid of everything else. Every single thing that’s going on your To Do List must be things that are serving your priorities and goals and not what I like to call “the Shoulds.” We women are Should-ing all over the place, and it’s taking our time and emotional energy. This is one of the primary reasons we’re not getting to the stuff we really want to do in life.
The word “Should” should become a red flag. Anytime you find yourself thinking or saying, “But I should accept the position on the fundraising committee because if I don’t I’m going to disappoint these people.” Or, “I should be the one to always carpool my kids around to their activities because if I don’t, the other moms might think I’m not a good mother.” Should is a signal to you that you’re not serving your own priorities and goals. That you’re giving the power of your life choices and where you’re spending your time over to preconceived notions or some BS story you’re making up in your head about what someone else expects of you. These are the things you need to delegate to somebody else or delete altogether.
Plus, you must get really comfortable saying No. In general, men don’t seem to have a problem saying no to things because they’re never concerned with what people think of them. But we women have a very difficult time, and when we do say no often times it’s accompanied by an apology. Part of my mission is to help women get comfortable uttering what can be one of the most powerful, freeing, empowering words out there, which is “No.” And if you get a request for non-stop requests for your time, you have to measure that against your priorities and goals. If it’s not serving one or more of them, you have to decline.
You can’t say, “I’m sorry, but I can’t” or “I really apologize for having to say no.” If you’re living your truth, and you’re making this decision based on what’s important in your life, you’re not sorry! By being completely authentic and straightforward, you simply say No. When you politely, respectfully, authentically decline, the person on the other end accepts it graciously and often says, “I so appreciate you being honest with me.”
Somewhere along the line, women started to believe we were supposed to do everything, and I think it’s being exacerbated by the carefully curated Insta-perfect world we live in. But for many of us, we are very reticent to delegate things that are currently on our plates to other people. Most women tend to be control freaks. I know. I’m a recovering control freak. Women tend to be afraid to hand something over to someone else because they don’t believe someone else can do it as well as they as they can.
But here’s the thing, if we want to live fulfilled, authentic lives, we need to do only those things that each of us can uniquely do that serve our priorities and goals. For example, if keeping track of your expenses and accounting is not in your wheelhouse, somebody else should be doing that for you. Often the person you hire ends up doing these things better than you could and you’re freed up with some much needed time and bandwidth to focus on the stuff that you need to focus on.
So be honest with others and yourself as you determine what you truly want in your life, what your ALL is. And then stop trying to do everything else!