Contrary to what I knew to be true, I wanted it all. I wanted my cake and to eat it too. I wanted the Enjoli commercial – bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never, never let him forget he’s a man. I came to believe having it all meant filling up every moment. Busyness was the mark of a full life. I can be pretty stubborn. Even when at the core of my being I knew this wasn’t living, I stuck to my guns. Unfortunately, there were too many voices around me reinforcing that this was the way to a full life and anything less was just failure – as a wife, as a mother, as a woman.
A common conversation with a colleague, friend or family member went something like this: Me: “Hi. How are you?” Them: “Oh (exasperating sigh) I am SO busy!! I don’t know if I’m coming or going!” Me: “Oh, I hear ya. I am up to my armpits in alligators.” And on, and on the conversation grew as each party talked about an ever-growing to do list while secretly stifling knowing smiles that yes, THIS is living! (please read that with sarcasm if you will)
Living a full life, is not full because of busyness or “stuff.” A full life is full because you are living more of your full potential. That sounds wonderful…and relaxing…and scary as hell. If I’m living my full potential, then I’m at great risk. Risk of falling down, risk of making mistakes, and the biggest risk of all – success. What if someone finds out I’m good at something. Then I have to be, um, good at something. And someone is bound to find out I’m a big fraud. Then what? (side note: It’s called “imposter syndrome” and you can read more about it here.)
We sometimes use the words “courage” and “bravery” interchangeably, but courage is vastly different from bravery. Bravery typically refers to something we can see: showiness, splendor, magnificence. Bravery can be seen in an act of courage.
Courage, on the other hand, is defined as strength or a quality of mind that enables a person to face personal, emotional, physical difficulties. Courage means to “act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.” (Definitions found on dictionary.com)
Having “it all” is, in part, an act of courage that is born out of insight and self-discovery. Understanding who you are – what you value, what you believe, what your service is to the world – and ACTING on that understanding is to have courage and exhibit bravery. You will have to say “no.” You will have to say it to yourself, to people you love, to people you don’t want to disappoint. When you live in congruence with your values, your beliefs and your service, having “it all" becomes clear. It won’t be easy, but it will be simple. Your courage will fill your sails and one small, daily step after another, you can and you will have “it all.”