First, let me say that I’m not disagreeing with the statement that as a woman you can have it all. What I mean by this is that if you want to make meaningful change in your career or business goals, “having it all” will not help you get there. In fact, it could be the biggest obstacle to you actually achieving what you want.

It was about 15 years ago when I was going through a BIG phase of “I want to have it all” along with a hefty dose of “It needs to be perfect” and I felt like I was responsible for everyone and everything.

In my career, I wanted to be depended on, I wanted to be the “go to” person and spent a great deal of time making myself indispensable (which you know there is no such thing, right?).

My house needed to be perfect, my son needed to do well with grades, sports and friends, and I needed to be the perfect hostess for my husband’s business parties and dinners by cooking like Martha Stewart. At the same time, I needed to be fit and so I headed to the gym 5 days a week at 5:30 am and attended Weight Watchers meetings so I could fit in the clothes hanging in my closet.

I wanted it all and what did that get me?

Stress. Big time.

I want something different for you.

I tell the above story about my stress and how it affected my body physically in my workshops and ask the women “Have you been there?” You’d be amazed at the hands that go up. I see women nodding as I say how the stress was affecting me, my family, my relationships – my life.

So, I want you to consider your definition of “having it all”. If you are looking to have it all in every area of your life, you are required to spend your time and energy across multiple areas. Your attention and focus is divided and that is not how big change happens.

To experience big change or movement, you need to focus. You have to pick a lane.

You have to be willing to put less time and attention on some areas so that you can put more time and attention on others. If you want to make meaningful change in your career, that might mean you have to go back to school. Maybe you need to acquire a certification or perhaps it is putting in long hours to earn the seat at the table you desire.

If you’re moving your career or business to the front burner then something else has to be moved to the back one. It doesn’t mean you still don’t have a flame under the others but it does mean that you might not give it as much attention or your attention at all.

Be realistic about the time it’s going to take to accomplish your career and business goals. Prioritize where it’s most important that you spend your time in addition to your goal. Know that you can’t be everything to everyone.

Get comfortable saying NO.

Get comfortable asking for help.

Get comfortable delegating to others around you.

Even the bottle of Windex, which apparently is the solution for everything, knows that sometimes you need a spray and sometimes you need a stream to get the job done.

Be good to yourself.


Debbie Peterson is a Keynote Speaker, Seminar Leader and Mindset Expert helping executives and professionals develop more confidence and clarity as they create the next chapter in their career. She has helped corporations, charitable organizations and professionals to create the mindset necessary increase career success, productivity and engagement. You can find great career tips and advice at or at