Can We Really “Have It All”? Three Women Discuss.

On June 5th, Team FindSpark had the pleasure of attending the S.H.E. Summit at the 92nd Street Y in New York. Founded by Claudia Chan, the conference aims to empower women through discussions of their careers, tech, wellness, and much more. At a panel entitled The New Vocabulary: Fulfillment & Integration Over “Having It All,” three inspiring women discussed their experiences in finding the balance between work and personal life, and living up to the expectations set out by society that they should truly “have it all.” These women were Samantha Kurtzman-Counter, President of The Mother Company, Shilpa Shah, Co-Founder and CXO of Cuyana, and moderator Kristin Van Ogtrop, Editor of Real Simple.

FindSpark SHE summit

“Find the recipe for your own crockpot of satisfaction.” – Samantha Kurtzman-Counter

These women didn’t waste any time getting to the point. Right off the bat, Samantha dug in, saying, “It’s time to kick ‘having it all’ to the curb.” She says that instead, we need to replace this concept with the idea of finding fulfillment. “It’s defined differently for all of us. Find the recipe for your own crockpot of satisfaction.”

Each individual has his or her own ideas of what will make them happy. The concept of “having it all,” while it may sound nice in theory, is simply unattainable. No human being can run a company, have a perfect family, be in great shape, and be happy all at once. Every person finds satisfaction in different things. Maybe you want to be a CEO, but maybe you’re perfectly happy where you are. Do whatever gives you the most fulfillment.

Samantha later went on to say that, at her first job out of college, she realized something profound about her career goals. “I can strive to be the best professional I can be, but the most important thing is doing good in the world,” she says. “I want to make the world a better place. That’s number one for me.” Find the thing that fulfills you, and make that your goal in life. Don’t get distracted by the things that aren’t truly important to you.

“‘Having it all’ is someone else defining what your life should look like.” – Shilpa Shah

Not only is “having it all” defined differently for every individual, it’s not necessary for everyone. Just because the world is telling you your life should contain x, y, and z doesn’t mean that it actually should. It’s an impossible goal pushed onto us by the society we live in, and it isn’t one we should all live up to.

Shilpa, as a founder, CXO, and mother, is sometimes asked how she was able to achieve the perfect balance. “When someone is judging, based on themselves, what you have, nip it in the bud,” she says. She explains, “You need to break down what it means for your own life.” Not only is what you see from the outside not always accurate, but it isn’t something you need to impose on yourself. It’s one thing to strive for a goal, but it’s totally different to force your life to fit a mold that doesn’t work for you.

When Shilpa first began her career, she says, she “was about getting to some destination.” However, she eventually realized that it isn’t just about the end goal. “It’s not about where you’re headed, it’s about the journey. It’s about staying present and fulfilled,” she says. Whatever you’re aspiring to, be sure enjoy every moment of the path you’re taking to get there. If you aren’t, the goal probably won’t feel worth it when you get there.

Do you think anyone can really “have it all”? Share your thoughts in the comments!


About the Author

Learning & Development @LOrealUSA | @BarnardCollege + AXΩ alum | Formerly @findspark @hercampus @hukkster. Connect on LinkedIn:

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