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Blog: From having it all to integrating it all

From having it all to integrating it all

“Having it all” – remember the term? As in “She has it all.  A great career, wonderful husband, perfect children, a lovely house, body of a 20 year old and permanently manicured nails.” It was the achievement bar that was high and essentially unachievable. The result? Many people suffered from a sense of shame and or felt they just weren’t good enough.

Think about the practicality of many of our day-to-day lives. Entering into a long-term relationship can be scary enough. Then having children takes the word commitment to an entirely new level. It’s not just the added sense of responsibility, it’s the practical management of our lives as parents – schooling, netball, swimming, rugby, athletics, parties, sleep overs, camps, parents evenings, sports days, carol concerts – not even mentioning the times when the kids get sick or break a leg. We’re often left with a feeling of overwhelm, with a strong under-current of immense love and compassion for your angels. Albeit a love and compassion that is frequently challenged by behavior that you hoped they might have grown out of.

So let’s stop trying to ‘have it all’ and integrate it all instead. Here are my top six tips for integrating it all:

  1. Work is part of life. I used to get my knickers in a very big twist over all of this. How could I possibly work and be perfect in all these areas? Of course the answer is – you can’t. But you can integrate such that you no longer see “work” and “life” as two separate departments. Instead ask yourself: How do I/we want life to be? What is my/our ideal day, week, month, year? How do I/we want to feel at the end of the week?
  1. Get help where you can. Take a look at what support you have around you or could get easy access to. Can a relative help or maybe you could get an au pair or your partner could structure their working hours differently?
  1. Good enough is the new perfect. It is extremely helpful if you don’t have a need to be perfect at everything. Try repositioning perfection as the enemy or at least make “good enough” your new perfect.
  1. Sleep is essential. An hour before sleep time, try to reduce stimulation from news programmes, email, phone or anything else that your brain will spend a long time analyzing. How much sleep is enough? You will know when you wake up refreshed and make it easily through the day.
  1. Discover your purpose. Our purpose drives our feelings, thoughts and actions. It enables us to get out of bed in the morning, do what we need to do, stay emotionally buoyant and gives us energy at the required times. There are many good books on finding your purpose or read my colleague, Alan Littlefield’s, blog on the subject.
  1. Be kind to yourself. I have found one of the most powerful ways to integrate all that is happening is by embodying kindness and compassion to self. For many people it is easier to be kind to others, but to genuinely feel this for yourself, you need to give yourself permission not to be perfect all the time and more importantly, to BE yourself. One way to do this is to create 10-15 minutes in the morning before other people in the house wake up and allow yourself to breathe – ideally rhythmically, smoothly and, if you can, imagine breathing through the heart. Allow that heart area to open and feel that “I am enough”. I may not be perfect but I am enough. Just observe the thoughts and feelings that float in and out of your awareness. Keep breathing. You can read my earlier blog on the BREATHE technique for more details on this.

So, stop trying to have it all, instead integrate.

 

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Katie Ledger

Katie was a TV news presenter for BBC, ITN & Channel 5. She now uses her expertise as a conference facilitator, speaker & coach helping clients communicate with impact.

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