You cant have it all

Automatic Summary

Defining Success: A Personal Journey

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening everyone. I am Kim Travian, the CIO at Oldcastle APG. Today, I have the amazing opportunity to share my personal journey towards success. I invite you to ask questions as we embark on this journey together.

Understanding Success vs. Society's Expectations

A few years ago, while sifting through social media, I found a post describing a successful woman as someone with a meaningful career, a clean house, home-cooked dinners, well-groomed children, a hot body and a great sex life. It humorously insinuated that a woman could only pick two of these. A wave of anger washed over me because it felt as though a stranger on social media was judging my success.

I decided to track my life based on this criteria for two weeks. The results were disappointing. I realized I was failing at fulfilling some of these expectations. Moreover, I realized that fulfilling them was not what defined my success. Social media had given me an unrealistic definition of success, which only resulted in disappointment.

Realizing the True Parameters of Success

In an attempt to understand the meaning of success, I approached women in my circle who have lived their lives to the fullest. When asked if they felt successful, their answer was a solid “No.”. This revelation led to many valuable discussions about societal pressures, expectations, and often-taboo subjects — like how they truly felt about fulfilling their roles.

These conversations allowed the realization that success needs a different definition — one that works individually for each of us, and more importantly, for the next generation. We agreed that our identities are not defined merely by the tasks we execute, but by the purpose behind what we do, our engagement with people, and the joy that our passions bring to our lives.

Defining Purpose, Engagement, and Passion

  • Purpose refers to having a clear strategy about what we aim to achieve in our lives. It comes from our personal aspirations, not expectations imposed by others.
  • Engagement interprets deep connections with others and being present in the moment. It is important to remember that 'we' are also 'people', and self-engagement is just as important.
  • Passion encapsulates the thrill, joy, and energy in performing every task. It is the glue that holds together our purpose and engagement with people.

My personal 'Purpose' includes raising strong women, being financially independent, driving value for my company, and serving the underprivileged. 'Engagement' starts at home, where I hold priority over the other circles of connection. 'Passion,' for me, comes from my love for food and serving the community. This method of analyzing our actions in life helped me function better and feel successful.

The Transient Nature of Success

In contrary to popular beliefs, success is inconsistent. We all have days when we feel unsuccessful, but that’s just a part of the journey. I realized the importance of regular check-ins on my Purpose, Engagement, and Passion. I embarked on a weekly self-assessment regimen, which gave me a clearer perspective on the dynamic nature of these three basic constituents of life.

Key Takeaways

To wrap it all up, the key practices to establish your individual definition of success are:

  1. Understanding 'Having it All' isn't about achieving everything outside us, but realizing our unique purpose in life.
  2. Success isn't linear or stable. It goes up and down, and it can be measured by tracking our Purpose, Engagement, and Passion.
  3. Building a community of supportive people who have been through or are going through similar experiences and can provide meaningful advice and support.

Please feel free to reach out to me via LinkedIn or email to continue this discussion. I’m eager to learn from your experiences and join you on your journey

So, remember, there's always a different perspective to look at things. Don't lose hope, and keep going!

Video Transcription

Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening everyone. Uh My name is Kim Travian and I am the CIO at Oldcastle A PG. Today. I have the amazing opportunity to talk to you about my own personal journey about having it all or attempting to have it all.Um I'll be taking questions in the chat. Should you wish to do that? Or we may have some time at the end for us to have a conversation as well with that, I'll get started. So a few years ago, while I was trolling social media late at night, I stumbled upon this post which read maybe hm, women to be successful. You must have a meaningful career, a clean house, home cooked dinners, well, groomed Children, a hot body and a great sex life. Now, while in my heart, I know that the person who posted this information was trying to be humorous. I could feel the anger inside of me growing and I couldn't tell if the anger was driven by the fact that this success criteria was directed only at women or the fact that the bottom line right there said I could only pick two. So not sure where that came from. Other than to say that I felt completely judged as being unsuccessful by a complete stranger on social media.

So in my final act of defiance, um again, late at night, after putting my kids to bed, I decided that I would track my life based on this criteria for the next two weeks. The results of that study are these and my anger quickly turned to disappointment because what the data showed me over the next two weeks was not only was I not able to accomplish and be successful in all of the areas that the post had pointed out that women needed to be successful in.

It also showed me that I wasn't really winning in any of them. I spent 41% of my working life, my working week um on my meaningful career. Now you could argue, well, if you had work life balance, that should be 33%. And we agree, right? Like again, I would, we'll, we'll have to spend another time talking about work life balance versus work life integration. But what it also showed me is that I spent about 28% of my time sleeping. I spent more time sleeping on weekends than I did during the weekday. Um I spent very little time grooming my teenage daughters who by the way didn't like to be groomed by their mother as teenagers. And I spent approximately 0% of my life trying to get to a hot body. So a couple of things from this whole point was sleep was clearly an undervalued type of commodity when we were talking about success. And that little gray bar that you see that says other which anyone who is in data is probably cringing right now. There shouldn't be another other um was what I called life. And what it showed me is that things like eating dinner with my family after I've cooked it or helping with homework, driving to my job paying bills was just a normal part of being an adult, but didn't necessarily define myself as successful.

So again, my anger to disappointment, I decided to call in the big guns women in my circle who have, in at least my opinion, have either tackled or battled or are living their best lives. Um Folks who have absolutely had super huge careers, women who did unpaid work at home and then other women who have retired from the rat race entirely. And I asked them a really simple question. The question was, is, are you successful? And interestingly, the answer was a resounding.

No, not feeling successful. And this then took my disappointment to pure the spirit. If these women who were seemingly having their stuff together were not feeling like they were winning, what hope was there for the rest of us. So we talked about a lot of different things. We talked about the societal pressures on women that weren't necessarily present for men. We talked about the expectations of the generation before us telling us that we could have it all but not necessarily giving us a playbook in order to be discerning enough to know what to do with it. We shared meal plans to get dinner on the table quicker. We talked about disciplining strategies. At the end of the day, we talked about all the things that women typically don't talk about, which is how they are feeling in terms of accomplishing their overarching success. So after all of these conversations, which I have to tell you was extremely meaningful to me, um I was able to sort of extrapolate the the core of what these ladies were sort of talking about and what we were talking about in truthfulness was that there really needed to be a different way for us to define what success meant for ourselves, but more importantly for the next generation.

So the question that I asked as a follow up to my peer group, which we can agree is not statistically significant but significant enough for me in my personal journey was how do we help the next generation of female leaders combat this feeling of either being overwhelmed or, or, or feeling like they're failing.

And what can we do to sort of break that cycle? And this is where things took a much more positive turn finally, right. So we started to talk about that. We as women are not just defined about the tasks that we execute that there really was three big buckets of conversations that we were having. It was about having a clear purpose for who it is. We are what it is we want to do with our lives. Um Not expectations from our parents, not expectations from our spouses or our Children really about our personal meaning. Um We also talked a lot about people, deep engagement with others being present in the moment I myself talk to my Children about, um it's the quality of time we spend together, not the quantity of time given that my life is a little bit uh busy with my role and, and all of the other pieces that make life complete.

Um But what was interesting here on the people side is that we agreed that we are also people and that we need to be part of the conversation. So when we talk about being present and engaged with other people, we had to start with ourselves and as women that makes it really, really challenging because often we are raised to serve others first and ourselves last. So the idea that our engagement with people starts with ourselves, felt very uncomfortable and very foreign. But it was something that we wanted to explore more as a, as a peer group. And then the last piece that, that we sort of spoke about, um or at least the way that I've extrapolated it was, was bringing passion, right? Um And to me, passion really is talking about joy and bringing that energy and tying it all together. And what we agreed here as a, as a group was that it truly was the glue that held together my purpose, it held together my people and allowed us to sort of um feel like there was more meaning to our lives. So, what I did then is I did another two week study and uh this is a fantastic use for excel ladies. I can honestly be uh transparent with you. Um And this is where I started. I said, all right, I wanna, I have to start somewhere.

What is my purpose? And for me personally, my purpose is raising strong women, being financially independent, driving value for my company and really serving the underserved when I think about people in my life, if I have to put myself in the middle of these concentric circles, and it starts with me because if my mental health as well, I can serve others better.

This is really how I viewed my interactions with people and then my passion, right? I love to eat. I love to serve. Um We've created a community garden whereby we can actually yield food, feed my family, raise my strong women, feed into my passion for cooking and food and be able to provide the extras to my community. So that feels like a way to tie this together for me. So really what we've talked about here is is if we talk about having a purpose, we talk about engaging with people and passion is a thing that holds it together, feels like we're starting to win. So again, my two week study what I found here and if you're looking at the graph, it looks a lot less erratic than it did before when we were using six different parts of criteria, what it shows is that success is not linear and it, it doesn't continue to be linear. I started to spend a lot more of my time, really focused on my purpose, making meaningful contributions to the community, meaningful contributions to my family, obviously working towards financial independence through my job. Um I still slept 28% of the time. Although what you could see here is that it started to trend up a little bit towards the end there, which is, is actually a very positive thing. It also showed that I started to interject something called passion into everything that we were doing.

And that also felt really, really positive. At the end of the day when I compare the first two weeks study to the next two weeks study, it really was the difference between feeling like I was losing and feeling like I was winning. So getting this newfound knowledge felt pretty amazing. Um But for me, in, in the data sort of world, um it was important for me to do regular check ins. So created this really simple graph that said for me personally, this is how I want to do a health check every now and then to see whether I am truly being successful, truly making the impact that I wanna be making. So purpose, people passion on the left side minus one says, oh could do a little bit better. Zero. maybe doing all right. But more improvement could be happening. And plus one killing it right. Doing an amazing job. So if I think about how I'm working this week with regard to my purpose, engaging with people and driving my passion, my scorecard looks a little bit like this. I'm actually working really well and and achieving and feeling successful in delivering on my purpose. I clearly have some opportunities to do better levels of engagement with people in my life. But I get to be here today and I get to live up to my passion. So that's very exciting for me.

But again, it's something that is not static, it continues to evolve over time. And there are days where I feel like I'm winning and there are days perhaps where I'm need a little bit more focus on either winning or people or purpose of passion. But this for me felt like a much better utilization of how we measure success. So the wrap it up, key takeaways. If you take nothing away from this, I I just want you to remember one thing which is having it all is this old idea where you have to pick all of nothing. And in today's society, regardless of COVID, I think COVID has certainly made it more exacerbated, making sure that you know what your purpose is and measuring yourself against that yardstick is liberating and a little bit terrifying in truthfulness. But it is absolutely liberating because you are using your own definition of what success looks like. You're looking, you're using your own definition of what my village looks like. Um And that sort of empowerment is, is really what I think at least myself and my peer group feel will really help the next generation of female leaders not feel so overwhelmed by life.

Um My hope is that as you are thinking through your own purpose and the own, your own circle and your own passions and how you do that, that you find a way to, to give yourself a health check and just check in success is not linear. It is not, I am successful today and therefore I will be successful forever. And it's not, I am failing today and I'll be failing forever. It literally is this big wonky kind of journey that says sometimes I'm winning and sometimes not so much. And the way I define success is really shifting from day to day. And then the last thing I hope is that you'll take away is that really engage with your village, your peer group, your sisters in arms. They have gone through something similar even though our destinations are different and our journeys are different. We are all here to support one another and that's why we're here today. So anyway, that is the end of my presentation. I'm over time by three minutes and I apologize for keeping you longer. Um If you would like to keep the conversation going, you are very welcome to reach out to me um via linkedin or email an even more old fashioned way. Um But by all means, please reach out. I would love to learn from you. I would love to hear about your journey. So thank you so much for the time. Enjoy the rest of the conference and take care.