having “it all”


This year I have learned many lessons. It was outwardly my most transformational year and inwardly I made similar progress as well.

One lesson I’ve learned over and over each month is that having “it all” in my career is not a recipe for happiness.

I received many emails and compliments while I was juggling Jess LC, Business with Intention, and the blog. Very kind mentions about how I was so lucky to “have it all.”

But I will tell you the experience of juggling everything was not increasing my quality of life.

There is a saying that I was reminded of time and again this year that says “when you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other.” And holding three sticks logs with opposite ends so weighty was draining.

I constantly felt like I was working “in” my businesses, not “on” them… unless I was pulling night and weekend hours (which is never my long-term intention). And though I initially planned to alleviate some of my workload by taking on a more permanent manager for Jess LC, I was stopped in the nick of time by my intuition.

When I started this blog in 2009 I named it Makeunder My Life. After a series of failed attempts at deep happiness via external additions like purses, candy bars, guys, and lipstick, I realized life is improved and strengthened when it is reduced to the most intentional elements. When the unintentional excess is cut out, we shine.

And this universal concept applied to my career as well. Sure if I was truly meant to juggle all three businesses for the rest of my life I would have found a way to make it work. But the fact that I was feeling dull, exhausted, and depleted was a great indication that my “all” was too much.

I think what I’m really trying to say is that no matter how glossy a career looks from the outside, no matter how tempted we are to wish we had a company/job/career like so-and-so, we never know what’s lurking on the other end of that stick. And spending time wishing for “it all” is really a recipe for stress and burnout.

Rather, I hope that we can learn to look inside ourselves for internal direction to find the path that is suited to our strengths, talents, and purpose. Because that’s the stick worth holding.


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  1. AdeOla

    Very honest insight! I am having to think about this lately with all I do. It is so easy to want to hold tight to everything even when it is draining.

    I also live by this mantra i developed in college…”If you want to be someone else’s or have someone else’s life, make sure you are ready to take both the good and bad in their life.It all goes together even if you can’t see the messy hard full picture.” There is nothing wrong with desiring something good in someones life or admiring it, but be careful how deeply you ignore your own life with its good.

    This and a few other things have stopped me in my track for years when I start looking at the other side. I want my own life…I want to be me and your post clearly illustrates that truth.

  2. Pia Bineau


    I love this post 🙂 I feel like I’ve come to these same conclusions this year with everything that has come and gone in our lives. With our new baby daughter, however, I feel like less is more and all you truly need is time to spend with those you love.
    Much love,

  3. Jerseybean

    Hi Jess,
    I am currently reading a book called “The Work We Were Born To Do” by Nick Williams. There are many points in the book that resonate and reflect what you share on this blog, and this post especially. I would highly recommend that you read it if you haven’t already done so. I hope that you enjoy it!

  4. Amy

    Jess, I really enjoyed this post, and I’m so proud of you for listening to your gut and moving your career in the direction that’s best for you.

  5. You are so wonderful when it comes to writing thoughtful / inspirational posts. I am constantly trying to fit everything into my schedule and all the while wishing for certain career paths that look so wonderful to me. But you’re definitely right, having it all is not always what it seems and most jobs are never actually as glossy as they look on the outside.

  6. Roevie

    Insightful Jess, love that you hone in on the essentials. Spreading ourselves and overextending ourselves only leads to piece jobs and work that does not get our 100%. Love your work with business with intention, essentially, its always about helping people.. and them making a living in the process. Happy Thanksgiving!

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