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How to Have It All: Go From Failure to a Resounding Success

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How to Have It All: Go From Failure to a Resounding Success

After years of telling myself that if I just tried harder, believe in myself more, and work smarter that I could do and have it all. I have since realised that all I have been doing is setting myself up for failure.

Don’t get me wrong – I haven’t given up, I’m not throwing in the towel or crying into my doona – I have just had the epiphany that this myth of having it all is simply just that… a myth.  No more, no less.  A myth that desperately needs to be busted and so I’m calling it out.

You see by sincerely believing I can have it all what I’ve managed to do is feel like a failure for almost 10 years. Thanks to this myth I have verged on the edge of breakdowns many times thinking to myself why can he/she do it and I can’t. What am I doing or not doing wrong that is stopping me being able to achieve what everyone else seems to be achieving. What I’ve realised is that you just can’t have it all or not at least in the world that I live in.

My world is called Small Business.  I am a solopreneur, single parent, high achiever who has a clean-ish house, two well rounded-ish kids, two cats and an ex-husband who thankfully has the kids half the time.  The week I have my kids I cook most nights, wash clothes every day, I do homework with the kids (albeit usually in my office), fit in various appointments with OT’s and doctors and still manage sporting activities.

The week I don’t have the kids I eat out most nights, work late at the office every night, work weekends and schedule interstate work trips. I also go to conferences, catch up with friends (ok maybe I don’t do that very often) and I’ve just finished writing a book.

As a solopreneur who is trying to change my little part of the world, I don’t have time to be sick, take a holiday (I really need to get better at taking holidays – I’ll put that on next year’s to-do list) or even god-forbid go on a date. You see, I want it all. I want to be the best version of me I possibly can be so for the last 10 years I’ve told myself that just try harder, work smarter, be positive… then I’ll be able to have it all too. But I’ve realised that none of us have it all – ok maybe Michelle Obama has – but she’s also got maids, personal assistants, cooks, cleaners, nannies and is married to the President of the United States.

You see when I realised that instead of focussing on trying to have it all and feeling like a failure I should actually be focussing on what I am doing really well (ok maybe not really well but well at least) and when I did that I realised that I was far from a failure and more like a resounding success.

Since having my little epiphany, I’ve shared it with many other Small Business people, both male and female, and guess what? We’re all doing the best we can. We all think everyone else is doing it better, easier, faster than us and we all think we are the only ones doing it tough.

So from now on I’m not going to beat myself up for ordering pizza, buying supermarket made pasta sauce or not getting to the gym. Instead, I choosing to reflect on all the great things I am doing and what a great role model I am for my children in how I live my life with authenticity and passion, how I love what I do every single day and how I never give up in my quest to simplify compliance for Small Business owners and let’s not forget giving lots of love and cuddles for my beautiful children.

Now when I look at that list I really do have it all. It might not be the ideal per the ‘have it all’ myth but I think it’s better. Not more feeling like a failure for me – I am a resounding success.  Cheers to that!

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Showing 6 comments
  • Michael Hanrahan
    Reply

    Great article Debra, and well done for your honesty. It’s so easy to spend all your time worrying about what you haven’t done rather than celebrating what you have.

  • Sharon Chisholm
    Reply

    Yes, love it. I like to think we can have it all, just not all at the same time. Even Michelle Obama (fabulous though she is) doesn’t have it all – something has to give. Perhaps she wants to be able to go to the shops with no make-up on, or veg out in front of Netflix for a week, who knows? It is so important that we look after our own emotional and mental well-being and not get caught up in that hamster wheel of doing everything and doing it NOW!!

  • Linda Wilson
    Reply

    Great article Debra. I think we need to decide as individuals what is MY all. This takes off some of the pressure as it is about ourselves internally not some external representation of that. Love that cuddles with your kids is in your list.

  • Debra Anderson
    Reply

    I think as high achievers our lists are endless but it’s important we stocktake what we have done and what is ‘really’ important…like cuddles with my kids 🙂

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