• The Dance To “Have It All”

    have it all
     

    “You can have it all, but you can’t have it all at once,” said Oprah Winfrey. The older I get, the more I realise: Truer words have never been spoken. Even Stephen Covey, who advocated for balance in life in his famous The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, emphasised that sometimes, one area of life takes precedence over the others, and that’s completely normal.
     

    I’m on record pointing out that the balance we all strive for, shouldn’t and can’t be static. The idea that we could somehow do just enough of everything that’s most important to us, indefinitely, is absurd. That’s just now how life works.
     

    Therefore, it’s time we let ourselves off the hook and realised that the “dynamic balance” I often mention, is the true holy grail: One thing or another taking priority over others, and at other times moving into the background, so that overall, balance is maintained.
     

    Now the really tough question is: What are the things we should strive to keep in balance? What really should be part of our lives and our priorities? How can we “have it all”?
     

    I’m glad you asked!
     
     

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    Pitfall: Misunderstanding “priorities”

     

    Most people will agree with Oprah Winfrey’s words quoted above, and say that it’s necessary to prioritise the important things in life. However, it’s important to pay attention to which things are actually mutually exclusive and which are fine co-existing.
     

    For example, when I speak about prioritising passion(s), people usually assume that this means sacrificing success in one’s chosen career. Or, they assume that money must be unimportant just because I emphasise that prioritising a passion doesn’t mean earning money with it.
     

    We tend to jump to these conclusions because of our conditioning, because of the world we live in and the way we have been brought up. However, we need to realise that they’re wrong and harmful. Let’s break it down:
     

    1. As you have seen if you’ve checked out my coaching programs, part of my work with my clients involves setting boundaries at work, learning to say no, and going home on time more often. You may have also seen that rather than resulting in problems at work, my clients regularly get offered promotions or pay rises. That’s because being grounded and centered, being a happy, balanced person, and having strong boundaries are all characteristics of leaders.
    2. Not making money with a passion doesn’t mean that money isn’t important. It only means that money isn’t the only measure of importance in life. Money is great – there’s a reason I’ve been working on my own money management skills and my money mindset for years and even have a coaching program about money. There’s nothing wrong with having or wanting a lot of money, but that doesn’t mean you need to make this money with your passion.

     

    have it all
     

    We’re going about it the wrong way

     

    Modern media, influencers, and all sorts of advisors are screaming at us that whatever they have made their mission, is the most important thing in life. Healthy eating, exercise, meditation, maintaining relationships, careers, family, beauty regimes, leisure activities… If we were to prioritise all of these, our lives would be very stressful.
     

    Let me rephrase that: Because we try to prioritise all (or most) of them, our lives are very stressful. Our efforts are also doomed to fail, which makes us feel terrible. At times, and with some people, they lead to the opposite phenomenon, which is inertia and the total inability to get anything done. And no matter on which side of the divide we fall, we feel like we should be doing more.
     

    I’ve pointed out before that never in history have we had this weird expectation to do it all, and perfectly. I repeat, it’s not possible. Granted, some people come pretty close – but if you really look at their lives, not through the filter of social media but their actual, everyday lives, you realise quickly that their schedules are so rigid and regulated, it’s not what most people would call a recipe for happiness.
     
     

    The importance of alignment

     

    So how do you choose what to prioritise? I suggest taking a look at your values and the things that truly matter to you.
     

    What’s most important in your life? When you ask yourself this question, try not to answer in the way that you think is expected of you. You don’t have to say “my family” or “my children” – of course they’re important, but they don’t have to be your reason to exist! It doesn’t make you a bad spouse or parent if your list is topped by different things.
     

    If you’d like to know mine: Freedom and independence are my top values and also my top priorities. I want to live in different countries and regularly meet the people I love, which are also one of my priorities. Another is, unsurprisingly, my passions, especially music and coaching.
     

    In practice, this has led to a life with a lot of downtime. I try to create plenty of space for my passions. I have bought a small house last year, but I don’t have any pets of my own any longer because that would be a problem when I spend months every year elsewhere, or spontaneously want to stay the night at a friend’s or a lover’s house.
     

    The life I’m building requires a deal of money, and so I’m currently focusing on upgrading my money game, which is a lifelong process (I’ve spoken about this in my vlog this month). So that’s another priority.
     

    Everything else, such as my health, fitness, my family etc., are also important, but not priorities. I give them their due, because I love my family and obviously, my health makes this life of mine possible, but my focus is elsewhere. And I refuse to feel bad or guilty about that.
     

    freedom
     

    Don’t “have it all”, have the right things

     

    The conclusion to it all is that I can’t tell you what to do. Well in fact, I can: I’ll tell you to prioritise what lights you up. But what that is, and what else in your life needs to be a priority, is up to you to decide.
     

    Do a bit of soul searching, and please, please resist the pull towards “perfection”. It’s not how humans were meant to be, and it doesn’t make us happy. I’d go so far as to call it the disease of our modern times! Resist, downsize, and focus on what matters to you. Your happiness levels will soar.
     

  • Don’t Speed Up, Slow Down


     

    Abstract:
     

    Classic motivation tends to sound like this: Do the thing! Take action! Crush it! We follow, get inspired for a day or two, and then fall off the wagon, feeling terrible about ourselves.
     

    Has it occurred to you that maybe the fault isn’t with you, but with the “get going and crush it” mentality? I say: don’t speed up, slow down instead.
     

    Your mission today is to learn how to actually get shit done, and be happier along the way.
     
     

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    Task 1: Understand the lure of motivational talk

     

    The thing with motivational talk is, it’s so wonderfully contagious. Got unresolved emotional pain or a health issue? Just jump up and get shit done anyway! You’ll feel like a hero.
     

    Unfortunately, this is highly toxic for the exact reasons it is also attractive: Because it ignores issues. Emotional pain or health issues don’t go away if they’re being ignored, they’ll find other outlets and can turn very destructive.
     
     

    Task 2: Your obstacle course

     

    Becoming immune to the “crush it” mentality is like an obstacle course. That’s not because you’re too superficial to face your problems, by the way. It’s because of how addictive constant “action” is.
     

    I’ve spoken about stress addiction before, so I’ll not belabour it here. This task is mostly a heads-up for you to expect it to be difficult. Otherwise, you’ll become yet another person who thinks “I could meditate/slow down/etc., I’m just XYZ (too busy or I don’t need it)”.
     

    Don't speed up, slow down
     

    Task 3: Don’t speed up, slow down

     

    So what can you do to get there? I suggest a quick, do-able ritual:

    • Grab a cup of something
    • Light a candle
    • Take a deep breath
    • Ask yourself gently: How are you?
    • Listen

    It’ll take a while until you hear more than the stereotypical “fine”. The important part is deep listening. If you do this ritual every day, you will eventually get an answer. Then you can act accordingly – truly meaningful action towards a goal that’s important to you.