Women leaders, especially high-achieving, people pleasers like you, face a challenge not often discussed directly but so often shows up in my clients’ lives. Why does having it all seem so impossible? Why doesn’t professional success come with success in relationships? Why does home life have to be sacrificed for professional achievement? I have so many clients who have these and other unspoken questions.

But why is it so hard?! *insert whiney voice and pouty face*
Good news—or maybe bad news, but at least this information will help you feel seen.

What makes you successful at work can be exactly the thing that makes home life challenging. The problem is not you. The system is rigged against you finding that perfect “Goldilocks” work-life balance. That is a short way to say, the patriarchy screwed you over and there’s nothing wrong with you. You do a lot for others and you doing more for yourself would support you. The key is to take the next step toward tending to your needs. See the Five Cheat Sheet Tips below for more.

What Doesn’t Work
I won’t insult your intelligence and say that the solution is for you to be a boss bitch at work and a docile lady at home unless that’s your jam. And if it is, you probably don’t need to read any further because you’re likely having a good time. But if you are like my clients, you’ve kicked ass, achieved a lot against the odds, you’re extremely reliable, and you’ve gone above and beyond not just for yourself, but for those around you. And at home, you do your best to provide for your family—because many of you are female breadwinners—but things haven’t been easy in your romantic relationships. Sometimes it feels like you haven’t been enough or you’re too much for your partner or you are just plain failing in the Love Department.

Oh yeah, one more thing, you’ve probably tried to prioritize self-care, but don’t ever make time for yourself and when you finally do, you fall asleep on the couch in front of your favorite show you were supposed to watch when you finally got a chance. If someone sent you this article and you’re scrolling through it on your phone, just know I do not have a camera in your home. Your situation is more common than you think and you’re ok.

You Are Here (& You’re Not Alone)
Here are a few scenarios I’ve often seen (and supported clients to transform) in the lives of women like you, just to let you know you’re not the only one:

  • Failed relationships or painful divorce(s)
  • Concerned there’s something (or lots of things) wrong with you even though you’re totally brilliant and amazing and all your friends say so
  • Infrequent sex or lack of intimacy (like, it’s been years) with your partner
  • Deep resentment, frustration, or irritation, knowing something must change or you’re out of there
  • Compassion fatigue or generally exhausted and unable to connect with yourself so you can’t connect with your partner


Ok, so read on if you’ve got one of the scenarios above or perhaps two or three. You may be wondering: How I get things on the right track. Also, what’s the deal with this feminine-masculine balance mentioned earlier? Well, the answer will probably be surprising to you since it is extremely counterculture… and I do mean counterculture, not counterintuitive since your intuition already knows a lot about what I teach. It’s the culture—and the socialized survival tactics you were trained to do that prevent social death—that has you trying and trying to make things work according to an aspirational “normal” that seems impossible to achieve and emotionally costly, to boot.

The Cheat Sheet
Here are my Five Cheat Sheet Tips to get you started toward greater confidence in your personal life and a more balanced professional life.

  1. Start your day with pleasure. Do NOT try to schedule your spa day at the end of the week when you’re already dog-tired from all the ripping and running you do. Instead, identify what deeply nourishes you and front load that shit. Yes, deep pleasure might be fancy chocolate or a 90-minute massage. But take a moment to go deeper than the surface stuff. What do you know sets you up for success in your day? Things like journaling or meditation are ideal, but it might be dancing to your favorite song or a specific food or beverage that boosts your feel-good, not just your tastebuds.
  2. Stop “shoulding” on yourself. Most women leaders suffer from the shoulds. The shoulds are the insidious running list of to-dos, to-bes, and to-haves that constantly remind you what you are not, If you find yourself in the shoulds and feeling bad, focus on at least one pretty awesome thing you’ve done, been, or had, no matter how long ago. If that feels tough, call a friend who knows you and ask them to share one (or more) thing(s) they appreciate about you.
  3. Say “No” more often. No is a complete sentence. You don’t need to explain. People are very good at figuring things out. I already hear you saying that you don’t want to be mean or hurt someone’s feelings. But, when you say yes to so many people, you are saying no to yourself and your feelings are hurt and probably have been hurt for quite some time. And because I know you value integrity, know that when you overcommit and say yes to everything, you don’t have a solid “no,” your yeses aren’t real. If this resonates, it’s time for you to identify where you can let someone else show up for a change. If this seems impossible, I invite you to look at what commitments you have that drain your energy and either train someone to take over or, at the absolute minimum, get help.
  4. Name it when you feel vulnerable and need support. This can be a terrifying prospect, especially if you are someone who has been there for so many people in your life. If you can never put down the armor required to be “the strong one,” your physiological and emotional need for rest will make you take a break. Hopefully, you catch it early enough that it’s just a cold. But life has knocked many a “strong” woman on her ass. Don’t be the next. Identify someone supportive who can take some time to hear the scary thing you need to say or give you space to rage or both!
  5. Cultivate your sexual energy. Please notice that I did not say have more sex. Do what is required to get your sexy groove on. Identify what nourishes you sexually and make that a priority. Once you cultivate your sexual energy, you get to choose what to do with it. If you want to share that with a partner, that’s fine. But maybe use it to energize yourself for your next big meeting or presentation.

What about the Relationship Stuff?
How am I supposed to get better at dating or relationships to have it all? Well, I’ll tell you that this is the preliminary work to be ready to navigate the relationship stuff. If you don’t have these five cheat sheet items handled, you’ll be evaluating every date or challenging situation partner situation based on external socialized survival tactics that keep the same scenarios remixing and repeating themselves.

What’s Your Next Step?
Finally, although these five steps are simple, they are not easy to implement. These tips are just the beginning. And because of your own emotional and relationship baggage—don’t feel bad we all have some—you’d be in danger of thinking you’re broken and nothing can be done to shift or improve your situation. If you find yourself nodding your head or feeling seen and you want to start getting more of what you need and desire, schedule a time to talk with me. I offer a complementary Initial Chat that will help you get clear on where you need to focus to go from frustrated to fulfilled, resentful to radiant, or irritated to intimacy. I’m here to help you take the next step. Schedule an Initial Chat.

Content provided by Women Belong member Tazima Parris