Why having it all is a myth

By Michelle Gibbings.

In a celebrity-obsessed world and where people’s lives play out on social media, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking you can have it all, and worse, put enormous pressure on yourself trying to get it.

The pressure to perform can be overwhelming; so, too, the pressure to lead the perfect life: to be superman or superwoman and effortlessly achieve everything you want.

It’s time to bust the myth and get real about life. Nobody has it all and gets everything they want – all the time.

Get deliberate 

Life is a series of trade-offs. This means that to get one thing you often have to give something else up.

Get clear on what you want out of life and what you’re prepared to give up to get there. When you’re clear on your goals it’s much easier to make wise choices and to take deliberate steps to get you to where you want to go.

Successful business people and athletes will often recount stories of the sacrifices they made to secure their dream of a thriving business or Olympic glory.

Embrace the uncertainty 

When you talk with people who have generated success, they’ll tell you it’s the result of hard work, experimentation, failure and resilience. They have an idea, passion or a dream and set out to achieve it.

This doesn’t mean they don’t have doubt or fears, but they use those emotions to propel them forward. They know that challenges and setbacks will arise.

Reframe the game 

We don’t always get what we want. I learnt this when I discovered that my husband and I couldn’t have children. It was an outcome we couldn’t control. But we still had choices.

The choice we made was to reframe our life positively – starting with writing a list of everything we could do because we didn’t have children. This didn’t mean we weren’t sad at times, but it helped us refocus and move on positively.

Give yourself a break 

Being kind to yourself doesn’t mean you spend the rest of your life sleeping in until midday, eating chocolate and wearing a tracksuit all day.

It does mean you accept the reality that some time things don’t go to plan, and yes, this can hurt.

You don’t ignore your feelings, nor do you wallow in them. Instead, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, learn from the experience and keep going.

Write your script 

We all want to be liked and respected, so it’s very easy to absorb other people’s opinions as to how we should feel, think and act.

These ideas may be filled with good intention and, indeed, helpful. However, it’s your life and if you don’t follow your dreams, you end up living the life that people expect – not the one you want to live.

It’s also very easy to compare ourselves with other people and to feel we come up lacking in some regard. When we live a life that’s congruent with our values and passion, it’s much easier to be content with who we are.

Drop the brave face 

For our mental wellbeing, we need to be OK about telling people when we don’t feel OK. When we hold back our concerns and hide our true feelings it puts enormous stress on us, and strain on those around us. It’s healthy to share our feelings.

The world is amazing, but it can be a tough ride – made harder if we put pressure on ourselves to live up to the myth of the perfect life. Let’s get real!

Michelle Gibbings is a change and leadership expert and founder of Change Meridian. Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them accelerate progress. She is the author of Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work. For more information: www.michellegibbings.com or contact michelle@michellegibbings.com.