Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘streisand’

You Can’t Have Everything

“I want to grab the big brass ring…”

There are a number of artists who hold dear philosophical and political views with which I can find little common ground, and yet I still find great pleasure in their art. Springsteen, of late, is a good example. An older, longer enjoyed example is Barbara Streisand. After breakfast this morning I found myself humming one of her classics, “Everything”, as I headed off to my next meeting.

[As an aside, I am presently at a huge convention for my day job. Did you know that 3 out of 4 doctors say that Las Vegas is bad for your health?]

You see, I’d just spent some time with a 30-something CEO of a really cool company who just returned to work after the birth of her first child, and just outside the restaurant I’d bumped into a 30-something rockstar among eye surgeons with whom I’d shared a drink last night and discussed how she was managing the work life balance of being a mother of two, busy surgeon, and in-demand expert in our field. We all agreed that balance was unobtainable for any of us, but all the more so for the women; the bar is pretty low for the family side of the balance for men. Old news.

Then, an epiphany. I’ve oft written that you can’t have it all, no matter who you are or what you do. Man or woman. But one of the women, the CEO, after a bit of thought disagreed. You CAN have it all, you just can’t have everything. The trick is in defining what “all” means for you and those closest to you. “All” must be examined, its content vetted and negotiated among the parties involved. Once fleshed out in this way “all” becomes an obtainable entity.

“All” is about balance; everything is about never, ever being in balance.

Needless to say the conversation with both of these very impressive, highly accomplished women pivoted instantly, all of the pressure and intensity of the balance challenge dissipated. Seriously, this is the first time I’ve been able to feel comfortable with some of the very famous women–think Sheryl Sanders, for example–who proclaim loud and long that you can, indeed, have it all. They are at the same time just as wrong as I’ve long held, but they may be more right than I’ve given them credit if they are talking about “all” and not “everything”.

I think my young friends are right, you can have it all as long as you are very clear about what having it all comprises. It’s when you confuse having it all with having everything that makes it not only impossible to have a life in balance, it may actually mean eventually not having much of a life at all.

“…give me everything, every thing.”