Can Women Have Success
without it Being an Either/Or Situation?
Five need-to-know tools for women who desire have it all with ease
In the corporate world, some companies function from the “up or out” principle: you either follow your career successfully and you climb up the career ladder or you are out. When women work in companies like that and they desire to have kids, in many cases they can feel their career is over if they make that choice.
Is this really an either/or situation or are there possibilities that have not been considered yet? As in all other areas, life is not a black and white picture—there are all kinds of shades in between. The first decade of my corporate career, I worked in companies that were driven by the “up or out” principle and yet I have also encountered unlimited ways that women found to have both a successful career and a wonderful family.
Especially with the changing perceptions of gender roles, there are so many different possibilities for working and raising kids, some even supported by legislation—depending on the country you live in. One thing all these businesswomen who didn’t settle for an either/or scenario had in common is that they were clear on what they wanted in their life and then they went for it.
When you find yourself facing a situation where it seems you must choose between career success and another priority or desire, I would like to invite you to the possibility of going beyond it and playing with some alternative tools and perspectives:
#1 – Get clear on what success actually means to you
For some people, being successful means climbing the career ladder to the top. Others consider themselves successful if they make a certain amount of money and receive a specific annual increase in their remuneration. For some, success is creating a work-life balance. And others would like job success and happiness along with a relationship and kids. Even within a career or job, we have different ideas of success: as a doctor, success can be saving lives or making medical breakthroughs, as a coach or therapist it could be helping people launch successful businesses or empowering them to lead happier lives. We all have different priorities and desires of what creates a successful and fulfilling life.
What is success for you? Are you being successful if you get what you want, the difference you make, the kind of connections you have? Get clear on what it is you would like to have in your job, your career, your business and your life—and start creating it.
#2 – How do you get around all this?
When you find yourself in a supposed either/or situation, rather than feeling caught between only two options, start asking questions:
- How do I get around all this with ease?
- How does it get any better than this?
- What else is possible here I have not considered yet?
With every question you ask, you create space for curiosity and wonder, opening up doorways to different ideas and solutions. Things that you have not considered before can show up when you don’t jump to the conclusion of, “I have to choose A or B,” and you can literally get out of the box of either/or and be open to greater possibilities..
#3 – What is right about this you have not considered?
Many of us have a tendency to immediately judge our situation (or ourselves) as wrong when something is not working as we would like, or when we feel as though we are confronted with a conflict of desires, or have limited choices available. Instead of being stuck in the wrongness of the situation or the wrongness of yourself, ask:
- What is right about this, I am not getting?
- And what is right about me, I am not getting?
When you stop judging yourself or a situation, you can begin to perceive possibilities and opportunities that would otherwise remain hidden from view. Asking “what’s right?” will get you off the hamster wheel of self-judgment and allow you to more easily access a creative and innovative mindset.
#4 – How can you use this situation to your advantage?
What is the gift in this situation you are not allowing yourself to see? If you are willing to ask, “How can I use this to my advantage?” you will start functioning from a perspective of possibility rather than problems and you will be surprised at what can come out of any situation. What if every single thing that occurs in your life, not matter how it appears at the time, can create a greater possibility in your life?
#5 – Stop creating your future from the past
When I was in high school, I changed schools the same year I took my A-Level Exams. Up to that point, I was always a good student without ever studying much.
My new school had a reputation for really high standards and I was afraid to fail. For the first time, I actually studied for the exams and I was really surprised when I became the best student for the entire year.
What was really interesting for me, was that right from the beginning I was considered as highly intelligent by the teachers in my new school, while in my old school I was only considered a good student. I literally created a new start for myself, changing directions in my life at the new school.
With your either/or situation: what kind of new start could you create for yourself? If you had no past, what would you be or do different and what would you choose now, to create a different future?
Nowadays, with all the different job models in place (part-time, home office, parental leave), woman can have a successful career as well as numerous other priorities, without having to compromise.
Getting around either/or situations can be so much easier when you look outside the box and invite different possibilities in. Start creating a future that is greater every day: be clear on what you truly want in your life and your business, keep your mindset on possibilities and questions, take the action steps to create your desires, and you will be truly unstoppable.