Whether we’re standing at the checkout counter or waiting in the pediatrician’s office, professional women are bombarded with magazines that deliver a consistent message: You’re not good enough. You should be doing more.
Our world continues to make impossible demands, place increased pressures on and have unrealistic expectations of executive moms. You are expected to be Olivia Pope in the office, Martha Stewart at home and have relationships that are as tight and Oprah and Gayle.
So it came as no surprise to me when recently, a mom asked me, “How do I give 100% to my family, my work and my friends?” My answer was and still is, “You don’t”. If you’re constantly giving 100% to everyone and everything all the time, you’re going to burnout and your body will breakdown.
Listen, I know what it’s like to want to “bring it” 100% of the time. Here’s the thing, practically speaking, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day or fairy godmothers showing up to help us pull it off flawlessly.
So it’s time to muffle the inner-critic. The one that’s been telling you how you’re not measuring up. It’s time to turn away from those unrealistic magazine headlines and begin to embrace the idea of doing the best you can.
Theodore Roosevelt is famous for saying, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” For executive moms striving to give 100% to everything and everyone, this should be your mantra.
“Do the best you can” may sound simplistic, like something you’d say to your child (which I do) but it’s true for grownups as well. When you focus on doing your best instead of doing it all or perfectly, a few things start to happen for you:
- You become more grounded. Instead of feeling frazzled jumping from one task to the other. You’re more grounded in the now and better able to focus your time and energy on who’s and what’s in front of you.
- Your level of productivity and creativity at work increases because you’re not multitasking your way through the day or trying to catch-up to some impossible standard of perfection. You strive to do your best and accept your limitations.
- You stress and ruminate less. You recover from setbacks quicker because you’re better able to make peace with yourself when things don’t turn out perfectly every time.
- You become more aware of all that you have accomplished at work and home. It becomes easier to give yourself permission to take a break, nurture your soul and give your body the break it needs to replenish.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” It’s all any of us can do and it’s enough.
Akanke Adefunmi helps professional women shift from stress to success in their work-family-personal life. You are always invited to attend one of her free work-family-self balance webinars or join her monthly Working Moms Virtual Retreat. Follow her on Twitter, @Akanke_Adefunmi, Like her Facebook page, facebook.com/claimyourshero