No, women can’t have it all. This is not a pity party, but rather a reality check for women. As we celebrate Women’s Month, I have begun to think about the challenges of being a female leader. The reality is that if a woman wants the career (where she travels away from home often) and she wants to have the family (in my case a blended one), but at the same time she also wants to be physically active and spend time with her extended family while also being in a healthy, happy relationship with their partner, it is evident that something will have to give.
It is impossible to have it all, and if some woman is claiming she is that person, she is probably lying to herself and the rest of the world.
I would like to share some words of experience with other women in business. These guidelines have proved to make a massive difference in my life, and I hope that they can make a positive contribution to other women’s lives.
Build a brand
Use the wealth of social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn to build a strong, professional personal brand and stay connected with the rest of the world. This could prove to be the key differentiator between you and your dream job.
Find your style
Being a working mother means that we have no time. If you are clear on your personal fashion style and you keep it simple, your life will be so much easier. Dressing in the morning and packing for business trips become a breeze. My advice is first and foremost to stick with a colour theme such as black, white and cream with a splash of red on the lips (advice taken from Coco Chanel).
Health is wealth
It does not matter how busy you are—there is always time to exercise. When your children are young, find a trainer and go to the gym at 5 am. That means you will never have an excuse not to go and your exercise regime will the done by the time your family wakes up. You have to be unapologetic about this alone time because your health is your wealth.
The point of my story? To have a generous heart, you must be selfish about your own happiness. You simply must be authentic because that gives you the opportunity to lead by example. Having made the tough decisions I have (to not have it all) I can teach my children that pursuing your dreams comes with loads of sacrifice. I can lead them by my own example, that rags to riches stories are not fairy tales and do come true, that girls can be strong leaders without losing their gentleness and that the more you give the more you get.
I may not have it all, but I live a charmed life and I would not change a single thing.