Last night I went to an awesome networking/dinner event with women entrepreneurs and aspiring women entrepreneurs in the Metro-Detroit area. It always warms my heart when women get together in support and solidarity, so I was happy to support another woman entrepreneur, CEO of Purpose Planner, Brittany Adams and all of the women who were in attendance. The featured speakers at the event were Arian Simone, a native Detroiter and founder of Fearless Magazine; Karleen Roy, former right hand woman to P. Diddy and founder of The Vanity Group; Nina Jackson, established Wealth Management Professional and founder of ProperGirl.com. It truly was an evening of #goodvibes and inspiration. The theme for the night's discussion was the question, “Can women have it all?” Which lead me to write about the topic here.
To open the discussion, Brittany talked about an Inc. article about the entrepreneurial dilemma of time, which featured the following statement from Randi Zuckerberg (yes, of the Facebook Zuckerbergs… she’s Mark’s sister):
“The entrepreneur's dilemma:
Maintaining friendships. Building a great company. Spending time w/family. Staying fit. Getting sleep.
The premise is that entrepreneurs must choose three areas of life to devote their time and everything else will be neglected. I saw this article a couple of weeks ago and it got me to thinking about how my life is structured, and guess what?... I found the statement to be true (I know… OMG). I found that I was devoting most of the waking hours in any given day to one of three areas: maintaining friendships, building a great company and spending time with my family. I haven’t been to the gym (or cycling, which I have a love/hate relationship with) in at least 2 months and I generally get about 5 hours of sleep per night, so yea…
But why?... The idea that I can only be successful at three things at a time leaves me somewhat uncomfortable, because I would like to believe that I CAN have it all. I think this feeling was prevalent in the room last night as well. Most of the women questioned the legitimacy of the statement, which left me still wondering, was it more hopeful aspiration or can women (or anybody for that matter) actually have it all?
I would like to say that I don’t agree with Zuckerberg’s statement, because essentially I believe that people can have and do whatever they want if they focus on it. However, based on the unrelenting fact that there are only 24 hours in a day and on the evaluation of my own time and priorities it’s hard to argue that she is wrong.
So, to answer the question: Can women have it all?... I emphatically say of course!... But, maybe we can’t have it all right now, at this moment, and that is OK. Maybe we should reshape our concept of “having it all.” Society and women themselves put so much pressure on obtaining things. Having “it all,” includes, a poppin’ career, marriage, kids, a house, a summer house, being featured in Forbes, blah, blah, blah. But, first I must ask, is that really having it all? And second, will those things make you happy? Nina Jackson, who was a featured speaker at the event last night, spoke about the practice of creating demi-gods out of things. She emphasized, and I agree, that if you are seeking happiness through the collection of things, you will be forever seeking - creating new gods everyday and never actually being fulfilled.
There was also a lot of talk about “seasons” and “balance” last night. Some of it I agree with, some of it I don’t. Regarding balance, I don’t really know if that is possible in the traditional sense. I believe each individual has to determine what balance means to them, what feels right for their own life and ultimately what makes them happy. I do believe that we live life through different seasons. I know that what is right for me now, is not what was right for me ten years ago and if I continue to grow personally, spiritually and professionally, what is right for me today will not be what’s right for me ten, five, or even two years from now. So right now, I will focus on my three things, and as my priorities shift, so will my focus. So, will I ever have it all?... I don’t know. I guess my answer would be yes. What I know for sure is that I am committed to actions that make me happy, to choosing happiness and in doing so I will forever have all I need in any moment (or at least that is my hope).
I want to know what you think. Please leave a comment or send me a message. My interest is genuine.
As usual, if you enjoyed what you read, or gleaned some insight/value, please share.
P.S. I couldn't resist, I just had to add this last note. As I was searching for pictures to include with the blog post and I was struggling to find one that I really embodied the message. And then it came to me… now while the picture itself is not necessarily what I would have chosen, the file name for the picture is (I hope you’re sitting)... Fertility Egg Freezing. Yes, you read that correctly. So I’m sitting here looking at the picture thinking, how does this represent “fertility egg freezing.” Is it because there is a happy black woman/couple, smiling ecstatically? I was so outdone. It’s just further to the point that outside elements dictate what it looks like to have it all, when in actuality it's different for each individual. “Don’t believe the hype.” - Public Enemy