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The myth around having it all

There are a lot of ideas that, the older I get, the more I think are just plain silly. The idea of having it all is one of them. My feeling is, we can't have it all. Having it all is an idea that isn't attainable and an idea that makes us feel bad when we can't fulfill it. At some point in life, we have to prioritize and put some things in front of others.

I'm not writing this to make you feel sad or upset with me. I'm writing to remind us that we have something better than "it all." We have choice. Choice is a great superpower we all possess, encompassing both the internal and external agency each of us has.

External choices are the big and small decisions we make in the world every day, from what we do for work to who we spend time with to where we choose to be. I like to think of these choices first because some of them we do have less control over. For instance, you can't choose your family. Working may be less than appealing, but we live in a world where money is needed to survive. We may have different alternatives, but there are themes of choices we need to make to live in society.

This is where internal choices come in. What we choose to think, the stories we choose to tell ourselves, how we choose to act. This part of choice often gets overlooked, or we live on autopilot and decide without thinking. Yet these are even more powerful than choosing where to live or what to do. In every moment, we have the power to choose how to feel and how to react.

First, we need to get really clear on understanding our feelings and desires. When it comes to prioritizing, instead of the "having it all" mindset, start with being honest with yourself. If we are going to choose our reactions with integrity, we first need to know what we are reacting to. Are you saying yes to something because you really want to do it? Or because you always say yes to it? We have the choice of self-awareness or self-sabotage. We have the choice to do the work and heal or to stay stuck in the same stories. Do you want to repeat, or do you want to evolve?

While this can get really deep, there is also a lightness to it. One of my favorite ideas to share when coaching is, when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. And while it can be really hard to discern and decide where to invest our time, energy, and other resources, it can also be liberating and exhilarating. When you can get really clear on what you do want, and wholeheartedly choose it, it will be even more gratifying when achieved. This means making internal and external decisions more in alignment with your values and purpose.

Are there ways your spread too thin, aren't satisfied, or in the myth of having it all? Working with these four questions can be helpful.

  • What areas of life am I giving up my power of choice?

  • If I had to choose only two things to prioritize right now, what would they be?

  • Are there habitual reactions I do that no longer resonate with and support me?

  • How can I remind myself daily that I choose my external actions and internal thoughts?

When we challenge the unrealistic notion of having it all, we can work toward true fulfillment from the power of choice. Emphasizing the importance of prioritizing external actions, such as career and relationships, and internal thoughts, like mindset and self-perception, to focus on what aligns with our personal values. Being more authentic, embracing freedom and agency, and fostering self-awareness to live purposefully.

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