It’s Time to Accept That You Can’t Do It All


It’s Time to Accept That You Can’t Do It All

You can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t even try. It sounds harsh, but it’s a realisation I’d thought I’d come too, and a lesson I thought I’d learned a long time ago.

It wasn’t an easy lesson to learn either. It took me almost losing everything to genuinely believe it didn’t make me less of a mother if I missed a P&C meeting or less of a businesswoman if I needed to ask for help at work.

But sometimes even with these realisations, during periods of busyness or stress, the insecurities can creep back in. You forget that your best is enough. And that’s exactly what happened to me this week. Luckily, I caught myself in time because if I hadn’t, I would have been setting myself on a path to overwhelm and inevitable devastation.

Knowing when to say, “Help!”.

We’re back at school, and pre-school has started up too, as well as all the extra-curricular activities that occupy our afternoons. At the start of the year, I was appointed General Manager of one of our rapidly growing companies, and in addition to working on and in our other businesses, a few weeks ago I started the publishing journey for my first book. And there’s more …

If it sounds hectic, it’s because it is. I’m still trying to find my feet, so it may be surprising to hear that I’ve actively volunteered to take on more work. See, underneath all the other stuff, I’m also a creative, a graphic designer with a love for all things arty. So, when I started writing my book, before I’d even typed a word, I started laying down ideas for the cover.

Before it all goes to hell…

Now, all graphic designers are not created equally. I’m good at what I do, but I specialise in business branding and marketing, not book covers. Yet, when it came time to plan my cover, up went my hand to do it myself. I had really good reasons for doing my cover, things like, “I’m a designer, it will be expected.” Things that I’d even convinced myself were true, and by not looking in my diary, I’d also convinced myself I had the time to get it done.

If I slept a few hours less every night, I’d have time to get it done. If things didn’t happen, like head-lice or gastro, or dance festivals that I’d forgotten to write in my diary, I’d get it done. But, these things do, and did happen, and I was starting to panic. Pretty soon it became glaringly obvious that I wasn’t getting it done and if I persisted in my pursuit to have a hand in ‘everything’ I was going to fail miserably at all of it.

I swallowed my pride and sent an email confirming that, “Yes, I would like expert help with designing my cover.” Luckily, I had my lightbulb moment early because I was able to do this without impacting my publishing timeline.

As soon as I had hit send on the email, I felt like I could breathe again. Letting go of that one little thing suddenly meant all the worry was gone. I had the brain space and focus to strategise with my Business Development Manager, and I took my son to his music class and watched without anxiety or the distraction of what was waiting for me back at the office.

You can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t even try. It sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. Learning to let go and to ask for help is key to being relaxed and productive at work and home.

So, how about you give it a try, what can you give up this week?

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  • Renee Hasseldine

    Fantastic perspective, Lee. I technically *can* do a lot of things in my business, but it doesn’t mean I *should*. I outsource a lot to my team and to freelancers for one-off jobs when needed. No point me trying to be everything in my business. That’s a recipe for disaster.

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