For so long I have been passionate about the legacy the women before us have left. The sacrifices they made, they fight the put up, the protests, the feminist movement, all so we could have a voice. So that we could work. So that we could have businesses and so that we could have it ‘all’.
If not for the work they have done, I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t be here running a business. Thankyou sisters!!!
But the thing is, I wonder if in some ways it has hindered us. Because now while we believe the world is at our feet, our dreams can be big and anything is possible – the roles and demands we had on us before this time are still there. This concept of having it all is overwhelming us, it’s stressing us out, it’s contributing to burnout and it can sometimes make us feel like we’re failing.
I was chatting with a friend today about feeling a bit like I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t at the moment in some ways. As a mother and a woman in business I have two seriously competing demands. As an ambitious woman, I have had those feelings of being torn between pushing forward heavily in my business and my career, yet at the same time wanting to be ambitious in my role of mum and breastfeed and work in the school canteen. If I go too much one way, the other suffers and vice versa. Finding my flow has been tricky.
I have had moments of being ready to leap into business debt, but then having a child who now needs extra learning support. Or the moments I was ready to significantly change part of my business, and then remembered the school fee bill and realising it just isn’t possible right now. Or when I wanted to throw everything aside and be a stay at home mum after I had my second (which lets be honest…. I would have lasted one week tops! Hats off to stay at home mummas!!), but reality is we have a mortgage to pay (one that certainly isn’t $30k) and I have a vision! All those moments where as much as I wanted to, there are other factors to consider.
I have always seen myself as an independent woman. I was determined to pay my own way, to have a career that saw me rising through the ranks and be raking in 6 figures. I would have kids, take 12 months maternity leave and be back at work full time. I was going to have it ALL! Well the All that society seemed to tell me I could have anyway. Easy right?! Reality is very different, I didn’t take 12 months because I had a business to run. And I actually realised I don’t want to work full time! Others may disagree, but for me personally, I have learnt that I actually can’t have it all. Actually, Let me rephrase that, I can’t have the all that I first invisaged back when I was about 21 and had the whole world at my feet!
We chatted today as well about the women before us who didn’t have the pressure of work, of finding their passion, of making money…. we spoke about how simple life would have been without those choices. And how today, not just are a lot of us working but there are still so many things that continue to fall back on women to take care of, we really work 2 jobs sometimes (and there is still more work to be done in this area and in the area of pay etc). But then we thought about how stifled and miserable if we didn’t have the opportunities we have now. And just how much the world would have missed out on if the women before us didn’t fight for our rights. Imagine how much growth there has been in innovation, the raft of new businesses that have popped up, the positive impact on the economy, the new ideas in the workplace and the lives saved because we as women have had the opportunity to now step up and live to our full potential! I think the world is only just starting to see the impact women are and will continue to have…
In writing all this, it’s reminding me why I nurture women in business. Because the feelings of overwhelm and not being sure where to be pulled to next, can really have us feeling lost. And it’s fair enough, because when you think about it what we are experiencing now is a new era for women. We are at the forefront of forging the path for those who come after us! And thats a bloody lot of responsibility! With all we are taking on, we need to have others by our side to support and cheer us on the journey. And while there are some things we may not be able to change (I for one am not willing to give up my home or my business!). There are lot’s that we can. And the first is redefining for ourself just what exactly ‘all’ is. Is all a high income? Is all being a CEO? Is all being a full time mum? Is all travelling the world? Is all following a passion and doing school drop off each morning? Is all being on the school P & F? Every single one of us has different values and areas in life that bring us the most joy. It is the alignment of values to life and work and drawing upon as many activities that bring us joy as possible, to lead us to a sense ‘fullness’. And from my own personal experience, gosh, the freedom you feel when you are able to experience that level of joy from all areas of your life is phenomenal! It is a power like I have never felt before! When you break it down to creating your own ‘All’ story, it makes the whole concept not seem quite so overwhelming. It also means that having it all can be fluid and change from one area of life to another, so that life is in pure flow on an ongoing basis. After all nothing is finite, we have power to change our future. Let go of whats not working, and add in more of what you want.
So really, we can all have it ‘all’, as long as we define what that is to us. And if I can help other women find that place of clarity, to determine and accept their own ‘all’ story and create a level of flow while being aligned with what brings them joy, then I know the ripple effect that will create for generations that will come. Because we are living on a ripple now, and that is worth me fighting for.
Find out more about how you can work with me HERE. Or jump into the upcoming round of my small group NurtureMinds, where you have a tight knit crew of phenomenal women backing you up as you navigate life as a woman in business – Find out HERE.