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We need to get real about having it all

Instead of asking whether we can or can’t have it all, we must focus on what we are willing to create, writes Megan Dalla-Camina.

The conversation around women having it all seems to have been going on forever. We can have it all. We can’t have it all. We can have it all but not at the same time. It’s a never-ending debate that leaves us exhausted, frustrated and feeling endlessly not good enough. Are we over this conversation yet? What if we just decided to get real about it and start a different conversation?

How about this: You can have what you are willing to create. If. If you’re willing to truly define for yourself what that is. If you’re prepared to go deep and be honest about it. If you’re aware enough to realise that you actually don’t need that much to be happy. If you are willing to acknowledge that, at times, you will have to compromise and negotiate and make sacrifices (because, you know, this is life).

And if you’re willing to admit, as a somewhat privileged woman with the agency and education to read this, that you likely have more choices than you realise. Because even if you feel you can’t change your circumstances, you can always change your mindset and how you feel about them. But also, what about this: You don’t need to have it all, and even the concept of “having it all” may be just a little bit, well, greedy. Is that a radical thought?

When we see women living in third world countries who can’t feed their children, when we see mothers standing in front of tanks to stop war invasions, when we still live in a global community that refuses to feed starving children or educate girls or stop human trafficking or end religious persecution, doesn’t this conversation seem a little, well, out of touch? Misguided? Overly self-absorbed even?

It’s time to get real about it. It’s time we realise that for the vast majority of us, we have agency over our lives. That we can make empowered choices. That we can design the lives we want to live.

And this conversation about having it all only distracts us from getting clear and declaring what we truly want our lives to look like.

Next time you’re tempted to tune into the story of whether you can have it all, try this instead:

• Write down three things you are most grateful for in your life just as it is right now and practice deep and heartfelt gratitude.
• Think about the three things that matter most to you. It could be family, wellbeing, purposeful work, as examples.
• List out what an ideal week looks like for you. Get really clear here and simplify it as much as possible.
• Know that you don’t need a lot to have a fulfilled life of meaning and happiness.

Megan Dalla-Camina is an author, women’s mentor, award-winning entrepreneur and business coach. Her latest book is Simple Soulful Sacred: A Woman’s Guide to Clarity, Comfort and Coming Home to Herself.