I always knew that I wanted more out of life than the traditional path I was expected to take. As I grew up, I dreamed big, fantasizing about all the amazing experiences I’d have–traveling the world, a fulfilling career, a family . . . with a side of adventure. I wanted to “have it all.”
I didn’t know it then, but my version of having it all was created according to what society and everyone else in my life thought it should be. So I laid out my path: went to college, got the job, and worked the plan. But I had this inner voice nudging me that I wanted–and needed–more. That this couldn’t possibly be “it” for me.
When I started my first company I thought I was on the right path to having it all. At first, I loved that I had more control over my own destiny, but over the course of three years, while my company was extremely profitable, the way I was running it just wasn’t sustainable, and I wasn’t happy. I was working non-stop, obsessing over the money and my clients. I had no time for myself or the other things I loved to do. That’s when I hit the wall, as I like to call it.
I remember thinking to myself: “Why does it have to be either/or? Why can’t I have time to live my life AND have a fulfilling career? Why does it always have to feel like I’m sacrificing?”
It was at that point, I decided enough was enough–it was time to figure things out. Only through a serious journey of self-discovery was I able to figure out what would truly make me feel happy and alive, like I had it all. I learned that the key to getting everything you want in your life and business or career is self-awareness. It’s about truly understanding who you are: your personality, strengths, weaknesses, what you’re passionate about and naturally good at (and maybe not so good at), and all of the experiences you desire, so you can create a life that’s completely aligned with that.
Self-discovery isn’t easy and it takes time to really dig to the root of things, but here’s what helped me get on the path to building a life I loved.
It was during this phase that I attended events where I met entrepreneurs and other women who truly had it all. They had wildly successful businesses, they were healthy and happy, had great relationships, traveled the world, and they were making big things happen without having to sacrifice all other areas of their life to get there. It opened my eyes to a different way to do entrepreneurship. I sought out personal time with them, soaked up their knowledge and energy, and asked them for endless advice. I began to study these people I admired who had limitless amounts of energy and loved their careers.
It’s easy to experience things and meet people, but to remember what you felt, learned and accomplished afterwards is far more difficult. Spend time actively reflecting on what you discover about yourself. When you find clarity around a goal, a desire or a deal breaker, write it down and make time right then and there to journal why it matters. You may feel different from day to day, but looking back and seeing patterns captured during your time of reflection will help you learn what really matters.
I read books upon books, took classes, read blogs, and learned as much as I could about human nature and business during this time of self-discovery. There are endless resources available and people are more willing to share advice than you may think. Learn from the experiences of others and identify where you might align within their stories. My favorite read was The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.
Knowing yourself to the core means that you are in touch with your motivators. What are you relentlessly passionate about? Do you care more about profit or impact, or do you need to accomplish both to feel fulfilled? Is there a cause you’re willing to dedicate yourself to? Ask yourself a lot of questions. There are no wrong answers. And don’t forget to be honest–otherwise, the exercise will be fruitless.
Once you have clarity on what really makes you tick, start saying no to all of the things you used to do that no longer align. Clear your schedule so you can say yes to everything that makes you feel alive. And don’t apologize. When you put yourself first, focus on your skills and do what gives you the most energy, everyone around you benefits. You’ll attract more of the right people, your business will thrive, and you’ll be happier, because you will be able to do want invigorates you.
I believe we’re at the forefront of a paradigm shift, a new way to do entrepreneurship. In fact, it’s a new way of doing life. You can have it all–in all areas of your life (and business), without sacrificing anything you want or desire.
That is what I currently teach women through Hello Fearless and our Boss School and Core 4 programs. We believe that entrepreneurship is more than building a successful business–it’s about building an extraordinary life. Not only is it important to learn critical business principles, your mindset, self-discovery, and personal development are essential to becoming a money-making, name-taking, happy entrepreneur.
Having it all means exactly that–having everything you desire, whatever that means to you, without having to sacrifice or sell yourself short of anything. To me, it’s having a business that is high-impact, crazy fulfilling, and astonishingly profitable, a life that I’m wildly obsessed with, along with awe-inspiring friends and experiences to match. It means you never apologize for who you are and what you want, and won’t settle for anything less than extraordinary. You wake up crazy excited every day. No sacrificing, no compromise. Life feels like play.
It’s impossible to know what will truly make you happy unless you really know yourself. And in order for you to have it all, you have to start living your life for you–not for the accolades, what your family or friends will say–just for you. The question isn’t whether or not you can have it all–the question is when. Life is a beautiful experiment, so it’s important to trust the process and enjoy the journey. Dream big and fearlessly, go after everything you want, and then some. Because I promise, it’s all possible.