Yes, women can have it all–by defining “all” in their own personal terms instead of it being an ideal pushed on them. Each of us defining our own “all” can be a challenging exercise and, even more, a never-ending exercise, as our lives evolve personally and professionally.
My “all” was certainly very different 10 years ago than is it is now, and for sure it will change again in a couple of years. Yet the exercise of reflecting on and defining my own “all” has given me the confidence to make choices and define my own path to a rewarding and balanced life.
When I was finishing university and beginning my first real job, my focus was decidedly on independence and fun. Having it all meant learning and experiencing as much as possible to become a smart, independent, professional woman, while still enjoying the process.
It was a time when I favored situations that allowed me to acquire knowledge and tools to become a successful professional. I took advantage of alternatives outside of my usual life. I embraced every opportunity I could to travel abroad, either for work or leisure, gaining new appreciation of different cultures, people, and developing the ability to adapt and evolve.
In the next decade of my life, all that learning began to bear results. Having it all was then about reaching goals but increasingly needing those goals to have meaning and purpose beyond my own life. My work priorities were slightly shifting, from looking for and assuming level-based roles with increasing responsibility, to focusing on roles where I could have the chance to positively impact others.
On a personal note, I married and began to raise a family, which for sure influenced a shift in my priorities and put more pressure on my schedule.
I favored choices where I could encourage and help others to reach their potential. I had to learn to prioritize and delegate, in the hard way sometimes. To make most of my time, I took advantage of technology more often–struggling at first with the “always connected” feeling but then focusing instead on my newly-enabled flexibility and the possibility to work from anywhere (and learning when to “unplug”). I emerged from that journey with a stronger conviction about my professional choice and gained new perspectives and insights about myself.
Having it all today for me is about sharing and transforming, not only with myself and my family, and the people I work with, but also with society in general.
Now, I feel compelled to try my best in playing the same role for both my daughters, finding my balance by combining work and personal interests in my activities day to day.
That’s why I am truly passionate about Accenture’s vision of combining expert knowledge, design and technology to transform the way the world works and lives. It means we aim to help our clients, our people and community improve the world. I trust this goal and our work will create a better place for our children.
Having it all is fundamentally connected to being genuine and in touch with what you value most at each stage of your life, not letting anyone dictate what that “all” should be. Having it all is all about choices, and the key for me was never thinking of them as resignations but as opportunities to set my own fulfilling path.
I look ahead to what having it “all” will be tomorrow!
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