Duchess Digest: How to Have it All

By Jill Brown

Big_LoveHaving it all is an idea, a dream and a practice you’ve heard about for a long time. This ever elusive “all” is the holy grail of a life well lived. I should know; I’m writing a book about it!

But what does having it all really mean? I heard a very interesting idea on this age old highly subjective phrase from a very unlikely source; Big Love. In a recent episode of this HBO award winning series, Margene, the youngest of the main character’s three plural wives is addressing a group at her Toastmasters meeting. And she opens by sayin to the group that for centuries, really since the dawn of modern civilization, men have had careers, money, education, spouses, a family and a home but that is never referred to as anything but normal. Yet, if women want family, a spouse and a home but also want to pursue a career, they’re told “you can’t have it all.” Margene argues that maybe it’s time we step up and change the idea of having it all to just a life of equality with the same want and expectations our male counter parts have enjoyed for so long.

It got the wheels in my head turning as I reconsidered the issue of “all.” I think about that a lot as I navigate my own life and as I try to lend guidance to my readers, clients and friends. And I came to a few conclusions of my own about the life and our quest for the holy all.

  1. Balance: The greatest way you can have it all is to have balance. A well balanced life is a blissful one. Knowing how to carve out and protect your time for career and family, as well as spirit and self, are all equally crucial. Whether you call it “all” or not; balance is the number one name of the game.
  2. Community: Margine contended that the only way she was able to balance career, family and spouse was through a community of women. Can I get an AMEN?! Community through church, organizations, our extended family and friends is absolutely essential! No woman is an island. And we especially as women need to build each other up and unconditionally support, love and encourage each other. I have my own mastermind group of women for this exact purpose. And I’m sure when I’m married with kids I will have a new amazing community of women. Community is key and women are essential! And that means giving to a community of women as well as receiving (see tip number one on balance).
  3. Define: Here is a little rhyme for you to think about, in order to shine I need to define! Yes, it’s true. You can not live someone else’s definition of having it all and be satisfied. You need to take the time to sit down and clearly write out what your “all” is. Start with major categories like those I listed above (self, spirit, relationship, career and health) and expand on them. Even if you start with five bullet points underneath that describe you’re specific ideal “all.” You need a map to know where you’re headed and even more importantly you’ll need guide posts along the way to map your progress, keep you on track and help inspire you to keep moving. Make sure you know what your all is so you will be able to achieve it!
  4. Time: Consider along the road to the mythical all that timing is everything. Sometimes having it all will be over periods in your life sequentially, versus an exact moment in your life consecutively. In whatever form all comes, balance is the key to having the most of it. So be sure to consider timing and manage your time well.
  5. Concessions: While you don’t have to give up your all, you may have to tweak it along the way. Maybe in order for you to go after your dream you will have to map out a short term situation of your spouse staying home with the kids. Or vice versa. Or maybe to live your dream of all you’ll have to work a little harder then your peers and make some concessions on a little sleep, fun, or going out for a while. Again, life is about balance. If you can balance being flexible without breaking – you shall have your reward! A well lived life of purpose, joy and having it all.

–Jill Brown


Jill Brown is a Los Angeles, California-based life coach and writer. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is a member of the National Association for Conflict Resolution and the Ladies Who Launch Network. She is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to helping women become their most fabulous and unique selves. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, traveler and health nut. When she isn’t writing or working on Duchess, Jill loves spending all her free time with her Labrador – Betty. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: www.theduchessequation.com

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