What "Having It All" Means to Me

To wrap up our series on “having it all,” we interviewed several of our 4word board members to ask them one question: what does “having it all” mean to you? Here’s what they said.

--------------------

Diane Paddison, founder of 4word & CSO for Cassidy Turley
I “had it all” at the same time. I had two kids early in my career and kept working throughout their lives. I didn’t really have a choice at first, since I was the primary financial support for my family when the kids were young. I chose employers carefully and didn’t do any traveling for work until my kids were in the first and third grade. My early investment in my career paid off for me, enabling me to take significant time off to be with my son during some rocky teenage years. Later it afforded me the flexibility to start 4word!

Richelle Campbell, 4word blogger
My career is taking a back seat to motherhood, for now. I am the young mom of one, with another on the way. I started my career as an attorney in a big firm but left around the time my husband and I started trying to have kids. I continue to do some legal consulting and writing on the side, but for this stage of life, I see my primary role as “mom.” In a few years when my kids are all in school, I expect to shift more focus back to my career.

Betsy Gray, 4word CMO
Starting a marketing career after college, I found great fulfillment in putting my skills to work. Praise from clients and supervisors fueled my enthusiasm, and as a single woman, I didn't see the need to limit hours, voluntarily working late and taking work home.

But as responsibilities grew, the thrill began to fade. The stress of rushing home for a date or a bible study kept my focus on me, not on my friends. My company had begun to expect a volume of work that I couldn't meet long term.

Burned out, I made the switch to a great role leading a corporate creative team, negotiating three weeks vacation. As a manager, I set the creative production timelines and scheduled my own client meetings. That left my evenings and weekends freed up for exercise, dating, even weekday lunches (a rare treat in my old job).

Balance is as critical for singles as for marrieds and moms. Identifying a job that allowed more self-management of my time gave me space to cultivate deep friendships, travel, volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center, lead women's book studies and a high school bible study, and even train for a marathon before I "settled down" at 38.

Bonnie Wurzbacher, Senior Vice President of Global Customer & Channel Leadership at The Coca-Cola Company
I started my career right out of college and expected to teach for a few years, then marry and raise a family full-time. But God definitely had other plans for me, and by the time I met and married my husband, at age 37, I was well into a successful 27-year career at The Coca-Cola Company. I give much of the credit for my ability to balance my life between work and home to my husband, Steve. He is such a great life partner. I don't know of even one highly successful woman leader who has a "traditional" marriage. It takes a full partnership at home to make any dual income couple work well. My advice is to marry wisely!

Stacy Repult, CPA and Principal in SLR Holdings
I left my prestigious family office position at a time when having “it all” meant prioritizing family matters after my mom’s passing. Finding I was unable to take a leave of absence, I chose to finally venture out and see if I could make it on my own professionally.  Working for myself gave me the flexibility to go back to my hometown, clean out the home I grew up in and help get things taken care of in a way that I knew was right for my dad.  While it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, self-employment was the best option for me at the time, because it allowed me the flexibility to focus on the things that mattered most.

--------------------

So what about you, reader? What does “having it all” look like for you? Leave us a comment and let us know.