We are collectively confused about what “having it all” means, and this lack of clarity is causing us to burn out, “quit while we’re ahead,” and play smaller than we’re capable of because “having it all” looks (and is, at times) fucking exhausting. We need to have a conversation about what “having it all” means and what it realistically looks like for women in 2019.
Having it all is not about having ALL the fun in the world. Let’s be clear: success is not a non-stop pleasure ride. When we think of archetypes who have it all—flourishing empresses like Oprah and Beyoncé—we see only what we’re meant to see: the fruits of their labor that create waves of change in the world. What we don’t see is the levels to which they are willing to suffer to have what they want.
We want to have it all because we want to have an impact on the world.
The concept of “having it all” is relatively recent—the phrase was first strung together in popular culture in 1982 with a book by Helen Gurley Brown, famous Cosmo editor, entitled: Having It All: Love, Success, Sex, Money, Even If You’re Starting With Nothing. Since then, the phrase has grown alongside shifting and stagnant gender roles that mean “having it all” equates to quite a load: a wildly successful career, fortune, fame, a family, and massive impact—all with a perfectly adorned home and perfectly coiffed hair. It’s no wonder women are twice as likely to experience anxiety as men.
Nothing new here. (Though it did take a whole team of researchers at Cambridge University to get the stats together to make this point.)
I talk constantly about how women are doing the very most. Traditional gender roles delegate men as the breadwinners who establish financial security while women were created solely to keep the house and home. Nowadays, women are breadwinners and maintaining financial security alongside these old school expectations to continue to keep the house and home (and kids). And women are DOING it. All of it. Women are actually having it all.
But at what cost?
I recently found myself gazing off into space daydreaming about shoving chocolate frosted donuts into my mouth until I reached a damn euphoric infinity of nothingness. I did NOT shove endless chocolate frosted donuts in my mouth, but it was in that moment that I realized I’d reached a level of “over it” that had me wanting to distract myself with bullshit food.
Within a 30 day period, I’d:
- Completed my book proposal and then had exciting, “sweating bullets” calls with multiple agents…
- Slayed two big media hits (which required me to clean my whole house and get my kids and self camera ready) that were plastered all over the internet and had me recognized on the street by people I’d never met…
- Launched Million Dollar MADE, a brand new, higher level offering that pushed me beyond my comfort zone (yes, I practice what I preach)…
- Spent a long weekend playing and masterminding in Miami with my hubby and besties,
- Threw my son a Star Wars themed birthday party and ran around playing laser tag with a bunch of 6 years olds (it was a blast AND my knees still hurt) …
- Led my Million Dollar Badass members through a fabulous retreat in Charleston, South Carolina, that had me away from home and my babies for 4.5 days…
- Nailed a full day of shooting content for my new Million Dollar Badass mastermind member site which was fun, but also grueling…
- Prepared for a speaking gig with Convert Kit that requires prep and planning along with more upcoming travel…
- Enjoyed watching my baby boy learn to walk (it took 20 tries to get a video of it!)…
- And continued running and delivering the every day non-negotiable tasks of motherhood, running a business as CEO (managing the money, meeting with the team, coaching, teaching and podcasting), and being a wife and partner.
It’s a lot of excitement, yes—I recognize and pursued and am grateful for all of these things. It’s the kind of rush of forward facing activity that leads people who are only seeing the result of the labor to say things like, “wow, you’ve made it!” or “you have it all!” But success is not mutually exclusive of less positive feelings—these times can be at once exhilarating and exhausting, delightful and hard as hell, euphoric and challenging AF.
And that’s exactly what it looks like to have it all. That’s what it’s supposed to look like.
Having it all isn’t just about having a good time while rolling around in endless piles of cash. Let’s be honest, that’s not the “all” we want.
We want the version where we are doing meaningful work in the world, where we are seen and known and wealthy, and having an impact. We want to raise good humans, and be good wives and daughters and aunts and sisters. We want to be with our loved ones, a lot. We want to control our own schedules and our own financial futures. Having it all is not about being filthy rich and frivolous.
Having it all is about living a passionate life of purpose on our own terms.
The word passion comes from the Latin root word, patior, which means to suffer. So living a passionate life, having it all means that you get the privilege of willingly suffering for the things you care about most. Think about it …
- You suffer for your career and business when you temporarily work long hours to prepare for a big launch, or slay that client project, or interview 6 candidates for that assistant position.
- You suffer for your children when you undergo your sixth round of IVF, or your ninth interview for adoption, or your fourth month on bedrest. And that’s just the beginning right? Because if you choose to become a parent you will sacrifice sleep, personal time, your sports car, your pretty furniture, your peace of mind, your heart, all of it, to raise those babies.
- You suffer for your health when you eat more vegetables, and get up for that 5am run that you do/don’t want to do and say no to that pile of chocolate frosted donuts.
Ladies, we sacrifice heavily for the lives we want and it’s beautiful and satisfying.
When it all starts to unfold and you realize the life you truly always wanted is developing, ever so slowly but ever so surely, right before your eyes, don’t be alarmed if it hurts a little, if it makes you tired, if you aren’t enjoying every second of the thrill ride. It’s supposed to be challenging. If it wasn’t somewhat challenging, it wouldn’t be as satisfying.
It’s supposed to be challenging. If it wasn’t challenging, it wouldn’t be as satisfying.
Now I don’t ascribe to the idea that, in order to “have it all” we must also have sky high stress levels and do everything ourselves—but it isn’t about feeling joy continuously, either. Defining what “having it all” means in terms of success and regularly refining it for ourselves is always going to be part of the process.
You can choose to have success in whatever way you want it. I guarantee that no matter how you come to it, success and “having it all” is going to require doing some things that aren’t fun. You are going to put in a lot of effort (half of which will be releasing the negative thoughts that constantly tell you it’s not possible), and it’s going to be glorious.
I want you to know that even though I share the things I’m excited about with you, I also experience the difficulty of having these things. This is why my friends and my network of wildly successful women badasses who also “have it all” are essential. They’re who I go to when I begin to question how I’ve gotten off kilter. They help me see what my “have it all” looks like. They help me reset boundaries or cancel things that are no longer a part of my “having it all” plan. I can’t recalibrate on my own, and I don’t recommend you try to do that, either.
Take some time to define what having all means for you, today, and know it’s probably going to shift and change as you take on more and build your resilience. You, too, can create massive waves in the world—but prepare yourself, take precautions, and buckle up, badass. It’s going to be the hardest, most wonderful thing you’ve ever done.
PS: Whenever you’re ready, here are three ways my team and I can help you grow your business this year:
1. Join the Million Dollar CEO Society, a curated Facebook group exclusively for women entrepreneurs making six-figures or more. Learn from and connect with other high-achieving women as we divulge the moves you need to make to get to seven-figures. Click here to join (note: you must answer the three questions in order to be considered).
2. Register for my Million Dollar Made luxe leadership retreat for high-achieving women entrepreneurs. You’ll spend a week with me and a group of successful women in the French countryside. A third of the spots are already gone. Get all the details and sign up here.
3. Work with me and my team privately. If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take you from $100k to $1m … just use this link to book a call… tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details.