THE BLOG
09/19/2013 09:02 am ET Updated Nov 19, 2013

You Can't Do It All, So Figure Out What's Important

I wish I could do a yoga class everyday.

I love the breathing, the challenge. I feel so good after each class.

I'm also mom of a young child. I'm the CEO and co-founder of my own startup, MarketMeSuite.

I can't do a yoga class everyday. Let me explain...

This is my first piece for the Huffington Post. I was fortunate enough to see Arianna Huffington speak at the Inbound13 conference this year, and even though I figured I would never get a reply, I had to email her to tell her how profoundly her talk impacted me. And to my surprise, she responded within a couple of days, thanking me for my kind words, and asking me to share my voice on the Huffington Post. My voice! I was so excited I emailed my entire team right away and told them that I had this opportunity to share my voice, and through me (with the hope this is a recurring column), their voices. (Everyone was very excited!)

Arianna said I could write about anything that spoke to me. I was truly inspired by her talk on productivity and balance in life, so I thought, what could I share that you, the reader could take away some real value from?

So I thought about it. I thought about my work/life balance, the challenges in my life, and 3 ways I've been working on it in my own life and career.

1. Be Honest With Yourself

I can't do a yoga class everyday. I can't do a 75-minute class everyday and run my company and be a good mom and do all the other things that are expected of me and that I expect of myself. And that is what I want to share with you today. One simple truth that I think many people, especially those of us still early in our careers, forget: You can't do it all.

That could sound overwhelming negative, but hear me out.

It's incredibly important to understand your own bandwidth. Failure to do this does not result in tremendous success because you worked so hard to make it all work. No, in the end, it results in a great loss, because try as you might, having it all is something that us mere mortals need to let go of, because it simply is not a reality.

2. Figure Out What's Important

The question shouldn't be "Can I have it all," rather, "Can I have what's important. And I believe you can. It's a subtle shift in thinking, but one that has really helped me in my journey both in business and in my personal life. If I did a yoga class everyday, my body would be satisfied, but my heart would be missing time with my son before and after my already long hours.

Find a win...

I still have to get to work everyday, so I decided to start to bike the three miles. It's a good workout and it gets me home at just about the same time as the rush hour subway in Boston. That's what I call a work/life balance win.

As for the yoga, I take one class during the week, and usually grab a Saturday morning session. And it took me a long time to allow myself even that sort of time luxury, after all there's things to be done in my company, and there's always more time I could be spending with my husband and son. But two days a week is something I have accepted, and so I do it without guilt, and without longing. I've made a deal with myself that I can actually see through.

3. Make Good Deals With Yourself

That's the final thing. I think often we make deals with ourselves that are simply unreachable. Arianna said something great in her talk:

I've given up on learning to ski. When we go skiing I sit in the lodge with a book by the fire, and I'm ok with that.

And that is really the heart of it. You can't do it all, none of us can, so rather than have unrealistic expectations of our lives, stop and think about what's really important, and how you can work with yourself to find a way to meet your own expectations.

It's not about settling.

I don't want you to read this piece and think that I'm advising that you should "just settle." Don't settle. Settling breeds complacency, and the world doesn't need more of that. I hope this piece has inspired to not to settle, but rather think about shifting expectations to what really matters to you, and delivering on the truly important stuff. Life moves pretty fast, it's inevitable that we will miss somethings, but it's up to us to decide how we want to live it, and what we truly want to achieve.