I don’t know about you, but there have been many days where I wake up and before I know it the day is completely over. I’m amazed at how quickly the hours can go.
Between a full time job, my company (which is another full time job, just on early mornings, nights and weekends), the book I’m writing, my speaking engagements, my two podcasts, my guest commentating, my spouse, my three kids, and everything else, it’s all a blur sometimes.
The pressure to have it all, be it all, and do it all is real. If you haven’t guessed it yet, I set incredibly high standards for myself. I’m constantly strategizing on how to create a purpose-driven career path and looking for ways to add value to the lives of women entrepreneurs. I am hyper-focused, which can be a blessing and a curse.
I’m often asked how to get it all done, and my answer 100% of the time is that I don’t get it all done. I drop the ball on something on a pretty regular basis.
Baskets of laundry don’t always get folded immediately (Lord I’m ready for the Foldimate laundry robot to hit the market!).
Over the years, I’ve asked for more deadline extensions from editors, conference organizers, and project managers than I care to admit. This does not happen so much anymore, but I’ve definitely had to send those may-I-please-have-another-week emails/texts many times.😁😁😁
I’m frequently annoyed by the “did you get my email?” emails, especially during the days, weeks and months where my inbox is a complete and utter mess. <for the record, yes, I got your email, and along with about several hundred others.>
While I aim to operate at a high level, and I do get some amazing professional opportunities, I mess up. I get rejections. I do not always say and do the right things. But, I’m becoming more accustomed to recognizing that this is just sometimes how things will go.
It is nearly impossible to get “everything” done. My wish for you is that you give yourself grace when things don’t happen perfectly and on time, every time.
I know we live in an age where social media makes people seem like they have it altogether. Heck, I may even be one of those people sometimes. While I work hard to be transparent in my brand and business, I don’t often share the nights that I’m crying to my husband or my mama because I feel like a failure or received some kind of rejection.
My advice for women like you, who are building platforms, companies and reputations in your fields, is to ignore whatever society has defined as “getting everything done” and focus on the most meaningful things you want to get done for your own life. This will free up more time than you realize. And, even if you do cut out the fluff, be kind to yourself when the inevitable happens and something doesn’t work out.
It took me a long time to get to this point. I’m still not perfect at this, because, well, I’m human. But, hearing the stories of others has helped. What truly moved me along significantly was the commencement address Shonda Rhimes gave at Dartmouth in 2014, and her book, Year of Yes.
The entire speech is phenomenal, but the specific part where she talks about the trade-offs of being a woman with many things on her plate starts at the 17:04-ish mark and continues until the 19:40-ish mark.
I’ve included the video to her remarks below. If you prefer to read the transcript from this segment, scroll down below the video and I’ve copied the words there.
Shonda, how do you do it all?
The answer is this: I don’t.
Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another area of my life.
If I am killing it on a Scandal script for work, I am probably missing bath and story time at home. If I am at home sewing my kids’ Halloween costumes, I’m probably blowing off a rewrite I was supposed to turn in. If I am accepting a prestigious award, I am missing my baby’s first swim lesson. If I am at my daughter’s debut in her school musical, I am missing Sandra Oh’s last scene ever being filmed at Grey’s Anatomy. If I am succeeding at one, I am inevitably failing at the other. That is the tradeoff. That is the Faustian bargain one makes with the devil that comes with being a powerful working woman who is also a powerful mother. You never feel a hundred percent OK; you never get your sea legs; you are always a little nauseous. Something is always lost.
Something is always missing.
And yet. I want my daughters to see me and know me as a woman who works. I want that example set for them. I like how proud they are when they come to my offices and know that they come to Shondaland. There is a land and it is named after their mother. In their world, mothers run companies. In their world, mothers own Thursday nights. In their world, mothers work. And I am a better mother for it. The woman I am because I get to run Shondaland, because I get write all day, because I get to spend my days making things up, that woman is a better person—and a better mother. Because that woman is happy. That woman is fulfilled. That woman is whole. I wouldn’t want them to know the me who didn’t get to do this all day long. I wouldn’t want them to know the me who wasn’t doing.
Lesson Number Three is that anyone who tells you they are doing it all perfectly is a liar.Shonda Rhimes Dartmouth Commencement Address, June 8 2014
That’s real, right?
Do you give yourself grace when you don’t get everything done? Is “everything” you’re trying to get done what you really want to do? How do you handle these moments? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
Please give as much information as you can in response to these questions. I’d be happy to share more tools and resources that help you get what you want. And, I know the other folks reading this can learn from your experiences! We are all in this together.
I always say that I’m on a mission to build a nation of good people with dynamic personal brands and successful businesses. We can learn from each other on this journey, particularly when we have accountability partners. This is why I am building a whole nation of them.
You can connect to the the private community I’ve created to provide support and encouragement along the journey–online and via app. Check us out at programs.shontavia.com or via the Mighty Networks App.
Download the Mighty Network app by clicking here. Once it downloads, click “Find a Mighty Network” and search for Shontavia Johnson. You’ll find content there that I may not share elsewhere.
Thank you so much for joining me on this roller coaster of an experience. I am eternally grateful that I get to do this work with wonderful people each day.
Let’s make it happen,
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