Written by Lizzie Alberga, Founder of Collective Gain.
Some of you might remember the “how to have it all” talks I used to give. I spoke at Mattel, Salesforce, MomFair.... I gave my last talk on this subject two years ago--not ironically, right around the same time my magic formula stopped working.
Sure, there was a lot going on--a sudden job change, a home remodel that went on for years, an unexpected surgery for my four-month old son … but none of that was breaking me, at least not on the outside. Everything was taken care of--except I was starting to feel broken inside.
Recently, I looked back on that talk I used to give and tried to see what I was missing. Why did my have-it-all method work for me for so long--and then it didn’t? Today I’ll tell you what I discovered and the biggest lesson I’ve learned to date.
There was a lot I was right about on “how to have it all.” And to this day I still use much of the strategy I shared. But there was one BIG thing I missed.
Here’s a recap of my have-it-all secrets--and my thoughts on them now:Balance on the whole: Not every day will be balanced, and maybe not every week, but know that after a heavy push of productivity, you will need a heavy push for R&R.
- True, still believe this.
Know what you want: Spend the time to truly figure out, in detail, what you want. It makes decision-making easy.
- True, still believe this.
Compartmentalize: When you feel overwhelmed, compartmentalize what you need to focus on right now and don’t worry about what may need to be dealt with in an hour, a day or a month from now.
- Mostly true, but now I would add to breathe and trust in yourself and the universe that when you do your best -- truly your best with good intention--the rest will fall into place.
Prioritize: Figure out what’s most important to you, forget the rest.
- Needs editing. Yes, we need to prioritize, but sometimes things that don’t seem efficient still need to happen. Like alone time, rest, free-form creative expression. There may not be a tangible productive output, but it’s important to slow down to experience the joy that comes from just being instead of always doing.
Act like a start-up: You have limited time and resources.
- Needs editing. You have as much time and resources as you need to make what you want happen. My previous belief came from a place of lack vs. a place of abundance.
Mindset matters: When you live in gratitude, when you believe in better, when you make decisions that support your life vision, you will feel like you have it all.
- True—the only part missing is that it takes courage. Courage to really follow what feeds your soul. To not settle for what you have, but instead to listen to who you are and serve that.
What I was missing is that life is not all about efficiency, goals and strategy. It was that way for me for decades, and on the outside it worked for me. I got everything I really wanted, and I made it happen. But in the end, I was left feeling unsatisfied. Why? Because life is not all about productivity. It’s not all about doing more in less time, or climbing faster, or going bigger (house, salary, boobs/biceps). Sometimes it’s about slowing waaaaaay down to experience the mystery and magic of life. It’s about noticing that same hummingbird that visits your doorstep every morning to get its morning snack. Or the way your child twirls their hair when the scary part of the movie comes on. Or how it feels to truly surrender and receive love from your partner, being vulnerable and appreciative of that moment in the moment.
I lived my life in the doer state for years, believing that everything I wanted was on me to create. But what I was missing was my spirit and its connection to something greater. The idea that there is a magic and mystery to life that is there to help us, protect us, teach us, push us down the right path. I was raised Catholic and still felt religious, still believed in God. Even prayed every night. But it was a feeling of being subservient, below. I have lack and God has abundance. I am in need, and God gives.
Now, my perspective has changed. Through trusting, taking a chance and having faith, asking for support and then receiving it, I now see that life is about a dance of energy, a dance with God. That we are in play all the time with that which created us--whatever you call it. That we can have anything we want simply by asking and then following up with energy put in motion and the excitement and anticipation of what we will receive. And if you’re like me, that there is support, it’s not all on you. You don’t have to do it alone. There is a whole world of people ready to help you in the most unlikely of ways when you start putting your ideas in motion, stepping boldly toward what you want to create and offering up your unique talents to the world. There are miracles, coincidences and opportunities that will just show up to help you on your journey.
That is not by chance. That is not because you made it so. That is because life is more complex that we will ever understand. And to truly have it all, you must step into faith and trust that whatever, whoever, is pulling the magic strings of chance … they are on your side and ready to serve you when you’re ready to receive and dance with the possibility of your life.
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