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You Can’t Have it All! Focus on What Matters

by Beth on November 5th, 2013

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, are leaning into their careers. Others, like Anne-Marie Slaughter, have made different choices. She decided to scale back when she left her job at the White House working for Hillary Clinton in the State Department to return to her job as a professor because she wanted to spend more time with her teenage boys. And then you have all the women, as many as 43% of working women with children, who have chosen to opt out of their careers.

Let’s face it, being a woman today is complicated! They said we could have it all, then they said we could have it all, just not at the same time. In her book, Wonder Women, Debora Spar suggests that the idea of ‘having it all’ has led women to strive for perfection; to “work a 60-hour week in a high-stress job and be the same kind of parent she would have been without that job . . . and look forever like a 17-year-old model.”

The truth is, nobody is perfect and we can’t have it all. We have to constantly make choices in our attempt to create happy, meaningful lives. And the choices are never easy.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what choice to make. Each of us has different values and changing life circumstances, which will affect our individual decisions. But I can give you some advice. Research in positive psychology has identified certain things that are critical for our well-being. By focusing on these things, on what really matters, you can create a life of joy, meaning, and resilience.

So stop trying to have it all and check out my next three blog entries to learn what truly matters.

1) People matter, 2) Peace of mind matters, and 3) Purpose matters

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