Nearly 12 months, 365 days, 8,760 hours have passed since the moment my life changed forever. Nineteen hours of labor seems like a distant memory…well, if I think about it long enough I do have flashbacks of terror.
Being pregnant and giving birth to our son has been the most awe-inspiring experience I’ve ever encountered. It changed me…forever.
Today, our little Kingston is 1 years old! Before he arrived, I often thought about how motherhood would fit into my compact and crazy life. Could I be a good CEO and a good mother? Oh, how I wanted to be more than good, I wanted to be great. As a high achiever who coaches leaders – I want “it all.” I often talk with women about the conflicts we face between the professional and personal roles. Before Kingston, I thought I understood the conflict. Now, it’s even more clear. Children do change everything.
I want to be all that God created me to be – wife, mom, sister, friend, executive, manager, fitness athlete, author, speaker…and the list goes on. Over the past 12 months, I’ve been put to the test. It’s called Mommy Bootcamp 101. Yes, I still believe you can do and be “all” that you want to be. However, you can’t be all things to all people at all times. Every choice comes with a cost. Sleep, your own private ambition, time, money, relationships…fill in the blank. At different times and seasons in my life, having it “all” looked very different. If you’re struggling with the quest for having it “all,” here are three simple questions that help me get clear:
Why do I want it? – Be clear on the purpose of my pursuit of “all”. Honestly, what is my motivation. If I don’t know where to start – I ask myself “why” five times. Slowly, I peel back the onion to get to my core motivation. Sometimes the answer is… “because it matters to me,” “because it’s my assignment,” “because others said I can or I can’t” or “maybe, because of fear of missing out.” Aligning meaning matters. For me, I’ve learned that purpose is my highest pursuit. So getting clear on my motivation helps me to determine if what I think matters…really matters. I believe I’m purposed to be a mother. That is who God created me to be. I also believe I am purposed to impact the world through my life’s work. Can my role as mom and CEO co-exist? Yes, but the next few questions help me manage and create boundaries verses unrealistic ideals at this time of my life.
What are my priorities? – Every choice comes at a cost. What will I prioritize in this season of my life? What am I willing to let go in order to achieve my priorities? There were many things that I dreamed of doing as a mom and as a CEO. When my son came two weeks early, my work transition didn’t happen. I had to re-negotiate my priorities. Clarify and articulate your priorities and work to organize your time around those priorities for this season in your life. Everything has purpose for a specific season. It’s summer but I would look ridiculous wearing, summer, fall, winter and spring clothes at one time. Yes, I need all of my clothes but I don’t have the capacity for all of them at the same time. Prioritizing will force you to choose best over good. It may mean, for this season of time, this priority has my unrelenting focus. The more clarity you have with question two, the more strategy you can apply to how you will execute your priorities daily. Priorities create boundaries for your time and talent.
Who will help me? – Once you have clarity of focus on your purpose, it gives you freedom to pursue your priorities. Your ability to do your “all” is directly linked to how much you are willing to invest in the resources and relationships to delegate to someone else. Yes, you can have your own version of “all” in your career and you can be a present parent but time is ticking. Who is going make the meals, clean the house and do the laundry? Who is going to travel globally for the new assignment and who is going to stay late to ensure the delayed project meets deadline? Help can look like: your spouse, staff, assistant at the office, personal assistant at home, a babysitter, a house cleaner, an organization expert, massage therapist, physical trainer, a lawn service provider, etc. You see, the more support you have to help you delegate the daunting but necessary daily tasks – you have freedom to do more. If you are in a season where you where you don’t have the finances to pay for help — you can barter. If you can’t barter than you have to go back to question #2 and renegotiate your priorities. Time is the great equalizer, there are only 24 hours in a day; 17 waking hours (or less). We all have to make choices about what we do with our time and unfortunately we can’t be everywhere for everyone at the same time.
Using this litmus test daily has helped me get real with what I can do and get honest about what matters most. I’ve realized that often what has to change — is my mindset. I can be present but I must slow down to speed up. It is about cherishing the moments that matter most in this season of my life.
The last 12 months I’ve inhaled each moment as best I could. Yes, it cost me. Some days it’s sleep (well most days), a missed workout here or there and some days it’s walking away from the computer and calling it a wrap. I can confidently say, I’m living my version of “all” in this season of my life…committed to my purpose, my priorities and creating the support system at work and home. Everything else, will just have to wait.