Can You Really Do It All?
Updated: Mar 6
I have been having a lot of conversations with people about work-life integration since I started this podcast. It's never been easy, but since COVID hit, the whole conversation has morphed.
NPR.com interviewed Nicole Mason, the President and CEO of the Institute for Women's Policy Research who said the demands on working moms during COVID is, "an impossible task." Some economists are predicting that the extra burden working moms are carrying is creating such a massive exodus from the workforce, that it could set women back an entire generation in workplace presence.
There are no easy answers to the complex situation we are in. However, what we can control is our mindset. Allow me to virtually coach you through some of the issues that I am also facing as a working mom. Here are some things to think deeply about:
When Did You Last Feel Good About Work? Think about a time when you felt like you really were doing life right. When you felt professionally impactful, personally fulfilled, and when you actually slept well. What were you, and what were you NOT, doing?
Make a list of what fueled you. Of the times you knew you were in your zone of genius, or at least flow. Try not to limit yourself on this task. There are no rules. The things you were doing do NOT have to be traditional work tasks. This is an opportunity to get to know yourself, your strengths, and your interests as they stand now.
What Matters Most Right Now?
This is a hard consideration. But what matters most to you right now? What is your biggest priority?
I have a baby at home. And a company. And leadership responsibilities. And a home life that is hardly hanging by a thread. It is too much for one person to manage. So I had to pick what matters most to me...at least right now. Then, I had to commit to my decision and stop beating myself up for not pursuing the things that are not my top priority.
There is a true empowerment that comes from obtaining absolute clarity. The self-confidence that, I believe, can be obtained from having a definiteness of purpose is much more notable than the unstable self-confidence that comes from doing what-you- think-you-probably-should-be-doing-because-other-people-say-it's-a-good-idea.
What matters most to you, right now? Where do you need to put the majority of your energy? Just right now? The trick is not to spiral and make this choice represent an entire lifetime of choices. The trick is to set a conscious intention for the present and to remember that this intention can and will evolve each day. Take some of the pressure off; you've got enough pressure from other places as it is.
Keep Gaining Clarity
Having to step back from work was creating an identity crisis for me. The stress of being the primary caretaker for my child, managing work demands, and figuring out how to cowork and cohabitant with another person eventually was crushing. This feeling seems to resonate with working women across the globe.
A small study of VP and C-Suite female leaders showed that 77% of women said they were "more" or "much more" stressed in this time of isolation and increased demands.
And while no part of me advocates for the gender inequality, the unhealthy demands on working moms, or the unrealistic demands on women in the workforce, there's this stubborn part of me that remains optimistic.
When pushed to the brink, when forced into trying times, the human spirit can do amazing things. I believe that in these challenging times, there's an opportunity to gain extreme clarity on what your real purpose is. There's an opportunity to find a different type of strength and drive deep within. The opportunity lies in actually doing the work to uncover what that is. And when you do, you are poising yourself to make a major impact.
Daydream Then Find An Advocate
When you have real clarity about what your real purpose is, where you want to be showing up, daydream about it a little. Imagine what you would do, how you would feel, how you would look. What is the big deliverable that you would offer to the world?
In times of stress and survival mode, some people stop ideating. If that's you, I want to give you space to brainstorm, create, daydream.
Your ideas very well might hold some water. What you are envisioning does not have to be a long shot. With the right coach, mentor, or advocate, you can sharpen your vision about what your next big thing is.
I believe strongly in the American entrepreneurial spirit. In the ability of humans to tap into spiritual strength. And in the opportunity we all have to offer something helpful after trying situations. What is next for you?
Download my free time management guide to uncover more time in your day and get your ideas flowing.
Join the conversation on IG with me @theleadershipcoachinggroup.