“You really have it all, Laura.”
I looked at her, a bit confused. I didn’t feel like I did, was there something wrong with me? How could this stranger tell me, so clearly, that I have it all…yet I didn’t feel that way. Was I being ungrateful or selfish? Did I not see all the beautiful things I had in my life?
“Thank you?” I said, and continued on piecing this puzzle together in my mind.
How was it possible that to her I appeared to have the perfect life, but to me there were pieces missing?
And then I figured it out. It’s not that I was being ungrateful or selfish, and it wasn’t that I didn’t recognize how amazing my life was. It was that I wasn’t done building it, I knew I had so many bigger shinier things to accomplish and admitting in that moment I had it all felt like I was settling. Which is where I was going very very wrong. What she saw in me was the life she wanted for herself, but to me I knew I wanted more.
I thought that in order to take a breath, I had to be done growing. That in order to feel happy with my life, accomplished and successful I had to have my business at a point where I could take off to thailand for a month and work from the beach. I was naive!
Your idea of a perfect life is not the same as your “have it all” life.
Because perfection doesn’t exist. Life is always going to be messy, unexpected and harder than you think it should be. It’s always going to throw you curveballs, and pull you into its riptide when you least expect it.
But it’s also pretty great despite the messiness, and I would argue that in order to live a have it all life you need to work more on the inside and less on the outside. These are my four pillars to creating your have it all lifestyle.
When I say “nutrition” you might automatically think “weight loss”, but that’s actually not what I mean here. That’s not your fault for thinking it, it’s how we have been groomed by our society. The latest diet or cleanse is getting jammed down our throats on the daily – do this to lose 10lbs fast, or do that to drop 3 dress sizes in 3 weeks – with no promise of feeling the way you hope to after that transformation.
You think that losing weight, finding the best diet plan, starting a new workout regime, doing a hot yoga challenge, etc is your magic ticket to feeling confident again. But its not. You can lose and regain the weight all you want but if you don’t learn to eat with the intention of feeling good, in control and nourished, it doesn’t matter what diet you do – you’re never going to win that game.
Learning how to eat with the primary driver being sustainability and habitual changes is the key to climbing this first pillar. Without properly nourishing your body, your other pillars will crumble and you will always struggle for the confidence you want. Nourishing your body goes far beyond how many leafy greens you eat in a day as well. It relies on your ability to treat yourself without guilt or shame. It relies on your ability to navigate a social event without a loss of control at the buffet. It relies on achieving freedom from the power food has over you so that you can eat something without worrying if it’s going to make you fat or if it has too many calories. Good nutrition, to me, means eating foods you enjoy with the sole purpose of fueling your body without shame, restriction, or burdened thought.
Within the nutrition pillar, there are many other guidelines that make this an easier one to ascend, and if you’re ready to go all in on this pillar you can download my free ebook HERE where I will take you through your first steps to achieving this for yourself.
Your mind is a very powerful thing – something you know well already. So then why do we neglect it in the pursuit of building a life we love? Your mind dictates your perceptions, your conscious and subconscious thoughts about yourself, your circumstances and about others in your life. Your mind dictates your happiness, your confidence, and your success. It is the pillar by which everything else is governed – yet we neglect it.
In the realm of building a have it all life, you cannot neglect the mind any longer. Your relationships with yourself, with others and with the food that you eat are all linked back to your perceptions of yourself, your circumstances, and the reason you experience a lack of control around food. You cannot simply expect to lose weight and to magically feel confident – it doesn’t work that way. There are thousands of confident women who weigh more than you do, and there are thousands of insecure women who weigh less than you do. It’s not about that – it’s about how you feel about yourself, the health of the relationships in your life, and the coping strategies you have developed to deal with stress, anxiety, self doubt, and self comparison.
Playing the victim to your circumstances will only cement you into those circumstances. Facing your mind can be scary, and I don’t pretend to be a psychologist by any means. But I do know a thing or two about how your mind can affect your life if you let it, and gaining control in this area is going to have a massive trickle down effect into all other areas of your life. Imagine what it would feel like to wake up and accept yourself the way you are right now, feel grateful for the life you have, not be plagued by judgement or comparison of yourself to others, and focus on just living your best life every day. Sounds pretty magical, right? Guess what…there is no price tag on that.
Ahh the elusive thing we all want but rarely achieve – balance. What does it mean to “achieve balance” anyways? That’s the thing about it, it’s going to be different for everyone. Some people will need more down time than others. Some will find balance in travel and experiences, while others find balance in the quiet comfort of their home, or simply feeling excited by the work that they do every day no matter how many hours they do it for. The first step is figuring out what you need to feel balanced. This can sometimes be tricky, because maybe you don’t know – you’ve never felt it before. And that’s okay too, it’s going to take time to establish it anyways and when you get it…you’ll know. Trust me.
You’ll have this “ahhhhh” moment, “this is what it feels like”. You’ll wake up energized and excited for the day. You’ll feel fulfilled by the work that you do, but also refreshed by the time you spend away from it. You’ll understand more clearly where your priorities lie, how to make yourself one of those priorities, and where you need to set your personal boundaries to allow that to happen.
You will find joy in the journey for the first time in a long time, and because of this you will enjoy celebrating your wins more frequently rather than waiting until you cross the finish line to feel accomplished (but never quite good enough). Your days will unfold perfectly, filled with tasks that you love to do rather than tasks that burden you and stress you out. Achieving balance will liberate you from the looming burnout that is always lingering on your doorstep.
The one thing to remember is you need to look inward to define this for yourself. Get off social media, stop playing the comparison game, and quit wishing for the life of someone else. You have amazing opportunities right in front of you, and you have everything you need to thrive in both your work and your personal life. You just need to take the time to define what that looks like and from there you can make it a reality.
I saved the best for last – this should really be the crown jewel sitting on top of the other three pillars. No matter your goals, happiness is what we are all really chasing at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter what you look like, how much money you have in your bank account, who your friends are, what job you have, how often you travel, what clothes you wear – we all just want to be happy. If we are happy, nothing else matters.
But achieving happiness is also daunting – some days it feels as real as the sun, and other days it feels impossible to grasp. How do we achieve happiness every day? Well again, this depends on you. What do YOU need to be happy? What you need and what I need are very different things and it’s important to start by defining that for yourself. Take out a pen and paper – do it, right now – and start writing a list of everything that makes you truly, authentically happy.
If you need to leave this and come back to it, that’s okay (so did I!). From that list, you’re going to choose one thing only, and you’re going to plan how you can make that one thing a non-negotiable in your life on a regular and recurring basis. Depending on what it is this could be a monthly commitment, or a weekly one. It could include other people or it could be something just for you. Whatever it is, be ruthless with how you schedule it in – it’s not a matter of “if I have time I’m going to do x”, it’s a matter of “this is what I’m doing right now, nothing is more important and everything else can wait”. Being happy starts with knowing what will make you happy, and then taking action in how you prioritize those things in your life. You will find that you have everything you need, right now, to live a life where you wake up happy every day.
Beyond that, happiness is rooted in the strength of the other three pillars, without these the happiness pillar cannot stand alone. You cannot fake happiness (other than on your social media account) and you cannot judge the happiness of others based on outward appearances. You can only know what you need to feel happy, and go after it ruthlessly. It will feel difficult in the beginning, and possibly bring up some emotions that you did not expect, but this is the first step to honouring yourself on a deeper level. Don’t wait to cross the finish line to be happy, feel it now. You deserve it.